Despite some eerie parallels between the position of the United States today and that of the British Empire a century ago, there are key differences. Britain's decline was driven by bad economics. The United States, in contrast, has the strength and dynamism to continue shaping the world -- but only if it can overcome its political dysfunction and reorient U.S. policy for a world defined by the rise of other powers.
The State of the Union is a speech given annually by the president to Congress, in which the president outlines the current condition of the United States and national priorities for the coming year, based on the U.S. Constitution, Article Two, Section Three. President Bush delivered his State of the Union Address speeches on January 29, 2002, January 28, 2003, January 20, 2004, February 2, 2005, January 31, 2006, January 23, 2007, and January 28, 2008.
The United States needs a foreign policy that is based on reality and is loyal to American values. The next U.S. president needs to send a clear signal to the world that America has turned the corner and will once again be a leader rather than a unilateralist loner. Getting out of Iraq and restoring our reputation are necessary first steps toward a new strategy of U.S. global engagement and leadership.
The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out. In particular, it should focus on eliminating Islamist terrorists, stabilizing Iraq, containing Iran, and toughening its stance with Pakistan.
After 60 years of U.S. domination, the balance of power in Northeast Asia is shifting. The United States is in relative decline, China is on the rise, and Japan and South Korea are in flux. To maintain U.S. power in the region, Washington must identify the trends shaping this transition and embrace new tools and regimes that broaden the United States' power base.
Authors: Charles A. Kupchan and Peter L. Trubowitz
Deep divisions at home about the nature of the United States' engagement with the world threaten to produce failed leadership abroad -- and possibly isolationism. To steady U.S. global leadership and restore consensus to U.S. foreign policy, U.S. commitments overseas must be scaled back to a more politically sustainable level.
With presidential politics already coloring all aspects of international policymaking, CFR.org launches Campaign 2008 to track the tangle of foreign policy and national security issues throughout the election cycle.