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An American Century—A Strategy to Secure America’s Enduring Interests and Ideals

An American Century—A Strategy to Secure America’s Enduring Interests and Ideals

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Published by Mitt Romney

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Published by: Mitt Romney on Oct 07, 2011
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05/12/2014

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 — 
 
 A 
N
 A 
MERICAN
C
ENTURY 
 — 
 A Strategy to Secure America’s Enduring Interests and Ideals
A ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT WHITE PAPER
with a Foreword by Eliot CohenOctober 7, 2011
Paid for by Romney for President, Inc.www.MittRomney.com 
 
 — 
 
 A 
N
 A 
MERICAN
C
ENTURY 
 — 
 A Strategy to Secure America’s Enduring Interests and Ideals
A ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT WHITE PAPER
October 7, 2011
 America does not have the option of abandoning a leadership role in supportof its national interests. Those interests are vital to the security of the UnitedStates. Failure to anticipate and manage the conflicts that threaten thoseinterests . . . will not make the conflicts go away or make America’s interestsany less important. It will simply lead to an increasingly unstable andunfriendly global climate and, eventually, to conflicts America cannot ignore, which we must prosecute with limited choices under unfavorablecircumstances — and with stakes that are higher than anyone would like. – Final Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel
*
 
Stephen J. Hadley, Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William J. Perry, Former Secretary of DefenseCo-Chairs
FOREWORD, by Eliot Cohen
 
Now, as in the 1970s, as in the 1930s, and as at other times in our past, Americans are being told that the ability of the United States to influence international politics has passed. On both endsof the political spectrum we hear that the United States should clip its own wings, because it is toobroke, too unpopular, or simply too incompetent to act like a superpower. American hard power,the argument goes, is waning, our soft power ineffective, our moral authority compromised, our willenfeebled. Some people even think this is a desirable state of affairs. This is an era, supposedly, forleading from behind, or indeed, not at all — propositions which amount to pretty much the samething.
*
Final Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, United States Institute of Peace,2010, p. 28: http://www.usip.org/files/qdr/qdrreport.pdf.
Eliot A. Cohen, a special adviser to Governor Romney, is a professor of strategic studies atJohns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He was Counselor of the U.S. Department of State from 2007 to 2009.
 
 An American Century: A Strategy to Secure America’s Enduring Interests and Ideals
A Romney for President White Paper 
 
Page 2
 This is a fallacious, and indeed a dangerous doctrine. The United States cannot withdraw from world affairs without grave danger to itself and to others. Almost every global conflict fromthe end of the eighteenth century has, in one way or another, embroiled this country. Even if some Americans today wish to disengage from the world’s affairs, they will find — as they did onSeptember 11th, 2001, and as other Americans did on December 7th, 1941 — that the world willnot disengage from them. America has global interests. Without a free and orderly international trading and financialsystem our own economic system cannot flourish. The values that make us Americans are universal:our Founders declared that “all men,” not some, “are created equal,” and Lincoln insisted that theCivil War was a test of whether “any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” Whether we wish it or not, our values, our policies, and our example matter to all who cherishfreedom, and our conduct inspires or dismays them accordingly. A world without Americanleadership will be an unstable world, in which unscrupulous or tyrannical regimes feel free to gettheir way by force, and in which international cooperation frays and ultimately dissolves. The American choice is not, therefore, whether it should lead: it is how to lead wisely.Skillful leadership requires an ability to recognize that sometimes our interests and our values will bein tension, and to figure out how to live with that ambiguity, without forsaking either. It meansmaintaining strength and using it prudently, while refraining from useless bluster or diplomacy conducted from a position of weakness. It means sustaining old friendships and alliances whileseeking out and strengthening new relationships. It requires prudence in calculating risks, whilerealizing that sometimes nothing matters as much as communicating resolve. And it demands self-awareness, because, to a degree that often surprises Americans, others abroad take the doubts weexpress about ourselves here with the utmost seriousness.

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