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CSIS: CSIS Commission on Smart Power: A Smarter, More Secure America

Author: CSIS Commission on Smart Power
November 6, 2007



This report lays out the commission's findings and a discrete set of recommendations for how the next president of the United States, regardless of political party, can implement a smart power strategy. The United States must become a smarter power by once again investing in the global good -- providing things people and governments in all quarters of the world want but cannot attain in the absence of American leadership. By complementing U.S. military and economic might with greater investments in soft power, America can build the framework it needs to tackle tough global challenges. Specifically, the United States should focus on five critical areas.


This report is about power and how America wields it in the world. The United States has been at war for six years now. During this time, debates over the best use of American power have tended to focus almost exclusively on fighting in Iraq and on the struggle against terrorists and violent extremism. Do we have the strategy and tools to
succeed? What would constitute victory? What role should our military play? These questions have defied easy answers and divided a weary but determined nation. The war debates will continue into 2008 and beyond. This report, to the extent possible, seeks to replace the narrow lens focused on Iraq and terrorism with a broader one that looks at U.S. goals, strategies, and influence in today's world. What principles should guide U.S. foreign policy in the next administration?

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