What is the purpose of global relations? What is it that the U.S. is trying to achieve? Are we trying to create a peaceful world? Are we trying to support other nations? Are we trying to protect our financial assets? protect the environment? Resist revisionist regimes?
Well, as I’m sure readers will assume, we are trying to achieve them all. The issue I have is that we often try to achieve them separately. We have one department that deals with political connections and another that deals in humanitarian issues and another that deals in defense and yet another that deals in education. But the best solutions typically involve looking at the gestalt – the whole, over-arching goal, rather than a set of sub-goals. Further, we often make the myopic mistake of assuming we can, and should, operate alone – as a single nation.
If we define ‘mission success’ as keeping our people safe, growing our financial assets, and helping the world interests – to include human and environmental safety, then one of the most important aspects of the leadership within our country is to convey to the world that we are partners in innovation, defense capabilities and strategy, in protecting the environment, and reacting to humanitarian issues. We would have a strategic message that tells the world in word and deed, that we are part of the global team and can be trusted to be involved, supportive, and inclusive.
The best teams create scenarios and opportunities for all entities to operate at their best and the same is true at the international level. When we work together most effectively, all nations are optimally empowered to be self-sufficient, unique in their contributions to the world efforts, and respected and appreciated for the value each of us can provide to the global scene.
But what would this look like in the United States?
It would be a synergistic strategy across our nation that would cross the civilian-military divide and bring us together to act as a cohesive unit. We would optimize our capabilities and financial strategies so that we could also share knowledge with others and in turn, learn from them. Many of our citizens worry that sharing resources, information, or capabilities with others is a one-way or unfair situation. Rather, what we share is returned in many different ways – whether that be through shared defense capabilities, environmental impacts, or technology innovations. I think in some ways, we may be hindered by our lack of world exposure and involvement. With only about 20% of our nation traveling abroad, the size of our nation, and the geographic disconnect we have from others, it is easy to slip into being inward focused. But it can bias us to look only at what we give and undervalue what others share. Moreover, is not a sustainable position economically, defensively, or environmentally.
Rather, a true global partner-nation operates with respect and cooperation in a manner that recognizes our world and the human race as an interconnected planet where we can all learn something from others and where we can also share something for the greater good.