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Pragmatic Primacy: How America Can Move Forward in a Changing World

Pragmatic Primacy: How America Can Move Forward in a Changing World

The United States cannot be all things to all people.

For the past seven-and-a-half years, we have had a president skeptical of American exceptionalism, doubtful of America’s ability to act as a force for good in the world, and uncertain that our values are shared and envied by millions of people around the world.

The good news is that American leadership is still prized by many of our friends and allies around the world; the better news is that they want more, not less, of it. Pragmatic primacy is not a miracle cure, but provides the best chance to reestablish America’s purpose in a complex world.

This is the fourteenth in a series of essays on the future of American primacy. You can read the previous essay, “Will the Next President Restore U.S. Primacy?” by David Rieff, here.

Barry F. Lowenkron is the former assistant secretary of state for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department, 2005–07. Mitchell B. Reiss is the former director of Policy Planning at the State Department, 2003–05.

Image: A sailor directs an EA-6B Prowler aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. Flickr/U.S. Navy