The Responsibility Doctrine

In today’s interconnected world, the United States needs partners to help bolster the global economy, prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, stem climate change, alleviate poverty, and destroy terrorist networks. U.S. peace and prosperity very often hinge on getting other countries to step up. This has led the Obama administration to pursue a strategycall it the ‘‘responsibility doctrine’’of prodding other influential nations (especially the pivotal BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to help shoulder the burden of fostering a stable, peaceful world order that delivers security and prosperity. With a more concerted and systematic push than widely recognized, the Obama administration has sought contributions from other nations to help address an extensive range of global challenges. Through incentives, cajoling, and coercion, it has made the pursuit of American-led collective action a hallmark of its foreign policy.

This article was originally published in The Washington Quarterly.