Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Post-Trump U.S. Foreign Policy Must Embrace Democratic Values, CAP Report Says
Press Release

RELEASE: Post-Trump U.S. Foreign Policy Must Embrace Democratic Values, CAP Report Says

Washington, D.C. — In a major new report, the Center for American Progress lays out the case for a democratic values-based U.S. foreign policy that makes defending democracy a national security priority.

The report urges the U.S. to adopt bold new policies to regain the advantage in great power competition, help vulnerable democracies resist authoritarian influence, and strengthen a growing global democratic community. It comes as democracy is at a crossroads at home and abroad. People are losing faith in democratic institutions, authoritarian competitors are asserting the superiority of their own political models, and American democracy is itself under threat.

Unfortunately, President Donald Trump is undermining the democratic values and international rules the United States has traditionally sought to uphold, the report says. He bashes democratic allies such as Canada while admiring authoritarians, including Vladimir Putin. And he attacks democratic institutions and values at home.

The United States must change its approach by placing democratic values at the heart of U.S. foreign policy, the report says. It urges America to view democratic values as a comparative advantage, not a hindrance or liability, in the fight ahead. The more thriving democracies there are in the world, the more secure and the more prosperous the United States will be in the long run.

“This is a fundamental re-embrace of American values,” said Kelly Magsamen, lead author of the report and vice president for National Security and International Policy. “It is a recognition that America’s democratic values—not just its economy or military—are essential to winning in a world of great power competition.”

The report urges the United States to pursue a foreign policy that supports democracy by adopting the following policies:

  • Restore democratic values and norms at home by abandoning xenophobic policies and stopping reckless attacks on the judiciary, law enforcement, and the press.
  • Work in concert with our democratic allies to counter the authoritarian playbook in ways that ensure democracies remain open societies.
  • Privilege relationships with other democracies by granting exclusive economic and security relationships to key democratic partners.
  • Enhance cooperation among the world’s democracies to build a global democratic consensus to act on key strategic challenges.
  • Boost support for peaceful democratic movements across the world while clearly rejecting violent regime change abroad.

Read the report: “Securing a Democratic World: The Case for a Democratic Values-Based U.S. Foreign Policy,” by Kelly Magsamen, Max Bergmann, Michael Fuchs, and Trevor Sutton.

 For more information, or to speak to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected] or 202-478-6327.