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Redefining American Leadership for An Internationalized Era

Task Force 2017

Redefining American Leadership Task Force report 2017


Jim McDermott

U.S. Representative 7th Dist., Washington State (1989-2017)

Faculty Adviser

Jackson School Assistant Professor Daniel Bessner

Daniel Bessner

Associate Professor

Task Force

  • Madeline Wiltse
  • Thomas Zadrozny
  • Kaia Boonzaier
  • Grace DeBusschere
  • Cameron Evans
  • Ezekiel Giron
  • Matthew Hegyes
  • Josiah Jones
  • Alexander Nelson
  • Esther Oh
  • Audrey Peronnet
  • Kevin Salyphod
  • David Schwartz
  • Zacharia Tarhouni
  • Francis Wilson
  • Peijin Yang

U.S. foreign policy is often criticized for being unfocused and shortsighted. Our task force develops a cohesive and proactive Grand Strategy for an unsettled time, addressing the manifold critical issues that the U.S. faces in order to ensure American prosperity and security for the coming years and decades.


  • Political Affairs: The United States has been and must continue to be the foremost leader of the international community, in order to advance a world order that serves both American and global interests. The U.S. must vigorously modernize its military structure, technology, and doctrine for the evolving forms of warfare, while bolstering fundamental international institutions and combatting crucial threats such as climate change and nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Economic Affairs: Innovation must continue to be unapologetically fostered to remain ahead of its ascendant competitors, it is imperative that the United States enhance its comparative advantages while fostering innovation in order to address the disruptions and opportunities of the coming “knowledge economy.”
  • Domestic (Sociocultural) Affairs: The United States must remain an open and welcoming society to the world by accepting immigrants and refugees, and by promoting educational exchanges, while taking the necessary steps to protect the nation from both foreign and domestic threats.
  • Regional Crises: The clear and present threats posed by China, Russia, and within the Middle East endanger regional stability and prevent the United States from pursuing its vision of a stable and prosperous international order. The U.S. must apply military deterrence in the face of territorial aggression while promoting peaceful long term solutions and building stable relationships.
  • The following tenets must guide the United States in the coming years:

-Commitment to supranational organizations and international treaties

-Support for and defense of every nation’s sovereignty

-Defense of American people, soil, and interests against foreign and domestic threats

-Encouragement and protection of liberal institutions around the world



  • Broadly reform the military to prepare for uniquely 21st century threats and capabilities
  • Remain committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and show good faith to the treaty signatories by making significant cuts to our nuclear arsenal while maintaining a credible and effective deterrent force
  • Follow through on our commitments in the Paris Climate Deal and become the leading nation in combatting Climate Change
  • Work with the UN on both international conflict resolution and human rights, while calling for greater accountability for human rights abusers and regional opportunists
  • Expand American soft power capacities to achieve the national interest through nonmilitary means
  • Invest in a modern “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East, sparking economic growth and fostering liberal institutions
  • Commit greater military forces to Eastern Europe as a deterrent to Russian aggression while working to lower tensions with the Kremlin in order to make progress on nuclear disarmament and improve our economic relationship
  • Increase the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea as a deterrent, while encouraging China to join a U.S.-engaged regional economic group


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