U.S. Needs a New Strategy on Global Health to Address Vital National Interests, Argues New CFR Report

U.S. Needs a New Strategy on Global Health to Address Vital National Interests, Argues New CFR Report

July 5, 2023 12:54 pm (EST)

News Releases

“The United States should, at long last, treat pandemics and global warming as [major] threats to its national interests—especially the vital interests of security and economic power,” argues a new Council Special Report by David Fidler, senior fellow for global health and cybersecurity at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The United States needs “a new foreign policy on global health that protects those national interests through pandemic preparedness and climate adaptation strategies.” 

More From Our Experts

The report, A New U.S. Foreign Policy for Global Health: COVID-19 and Climate Change Demand a Different Approach, examines U.S. global health policy before and during COVID-19 to identify why the United States failed “to protect vital national interests, develop public and global health capabilities, and maintain domestic and global solidarity against health threats.” 

More on:

Public Health Threats and Pandemics

Climate Change

“The United States,” Fidler writes, “was unprepared for a pandemic and is not ready for climate change—despite global health involvement, warnings about both threats, and no competition from authoritarian countries for global health leadership.” 

Warning that “U.S. foreign policy on global health faces the worst domestic and international conditions it has ever encountered,” Fidler argues that a “new strategy for U.S. foreign policy on global health is needed to address the security, capability, and solidarity failures that COVID-19 and climate change have exposed.” 

To better defend and advance U.S. national interests in global health amid domestic polarization and geopolitical competition, Fidler makes recommendations for domestic and foreign policy reforms, including: 

More From Our Experts
  • “Strengthen the federal government’s command-and-control system for national biosecurity.” 
  • “Turn the Global Health Security Agenda into a Global Health Security Alliance.”  
  • “Authorize funding for public health capabilities needed to protect vital interests through the National Defense Authorization Act.”  
  • Create “state-level health security fusion centers to strengthen federalism on biosecurity, climate adaptation, and other public health threats,” and establish “a Foreign Health Service to strengthen U.S. diplomatic capabilities.” 
  • “Ensure funding for the G7 Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership’s health and climate change priorities to avoid more broken promises by democracies.” 
  • “Design the U.S. capability built from Operation Warp Speed to partner with foreign countries that are producing or seeking to make countermeasures to respond to health emergencies.”

“A new moment of transformation for U.S. foreign policy on global health has arrived,” Fidler concludes. “Crises are coming fast and hot. There will be no time for complacency, no progress in partisan politics, and no benefits from geopolitical machinations.” 

More on:

Public Health Threats and Pandemics

Climate Change

To read A New U.S. Foreign Policy for Global Health: COVID-19 and Climate Change Demand a Different Approach, visit https://cfr.org/new-foreign-policy-global-health.

For more information or to interview the author, please contact the Global Communications and Media Relations team at 212.434.9888 or [email protected]

Creative Commons
Creative Commons: Some rights reserved.
Close
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License.
View License Detail
Close

Top Stories on CFR

 

Venezuela

The closely watched elections on July 28 will determine whether incumbent President Nicolás Maduro wins a third term or allows a democratic transition.

International Law

The high court’s decision could allow future U.S. presidents to commit grave abuses of power with impunity, with serious implications for U.S. foreign policy and national security.