Tags: AEI | Lieberman

Former Senators of Both Parties Unite for Better Policy

Wednesday, 06 Jan 2016 09:27 AM Current | Bio | Archive

With national security and foreign policy at the top of the debate for 2016, two former U.S. senators from across the aisle recently unveiled a report on the role America should play.

Billed as the “American Internationalism Project,” the report is a product of months of research, discourse, and conclusions under the aegis of the Washington D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Its individual studies on issues ranging from free trade to the U.S. relationship to Putin’s Russia to American exceptionalism were crafted by panels of experts representing a broad spectrum of political opinion.

But perhaps what makes the project most inviting to pundits and pols of all stripes is its co-chairmen: former Sens. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and Jon Kyl, Republican from Arizona.

Both Lieberman and Kyl had earned kudos from colleagues across their respective sides of the aisle during their Senate stints. Both former lawmakers also agree that the U.S. must remain engaged and involved in the world as it grows more and more turbulent.

“The recent positions of several leaders in the Republican and Democratic Parties on international issues gave me great concern,” Kyl told me, referring to the vocal voices for non-interventionism in his own party; and a worry that the Democratic Party’s leadership was, in his words, “a reflection of Barack Obama” on foreign policy.

To Kyl’s concerns, AEI’s Danielle Pletka admonished: “Do a report.” Hence, the American Internationalism Project was born.

The panelists who fleshed out the specific documents within the new “Project” were a Who’s Who of experts on the international scene. Among them were Eric Adelman, retired Gen. Jack Keane of the Institute for the Study of War, former Bush Administration National Security Council staffers Elliott Abrams and Stephen Hadley, Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution Rudy deLeon of the Center for American Progress, and former Sen. Jim Talent, R.-Mo., now with AEI.

“We dealt with three key categories on the world front—national security, economics, and principles of freedom,” Kyl recalled, “and worked out a pretty fair and balanced assessment to individual problems within those categories.”

The Arizonan cited the issue of free trade, noting that in the politically pivotal state of South Carolina “there are a lot of people who are anti-free trade, especially in the textile industry.”

The conclusion of the report included making a case as to why it is in the best interest of the U.S. to lead in the international economy.

Among the provocative titles of the Project’s individual studies were “Obama Should Channel Reagan on Russia” (by Kyl and onetime Missouri GOP Sen. Kit Bond), “Still Exceptional: Liberals Want to Evade Responsibilities of American Exceptionalism” (by David Adesnik), and “An Interactive Map: Why American Leadership Still Matters.”

“We looked at many of the lessons of our generation in foreign policy — why we said ‘No More Munichs!’ and what ‘Captive Nations’ meant—and explored how we could convey those lessons to the political dialogue of today and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Kyl.

The success and legacy of the “American Internationalism Project,” he concluded, “will be determined by whether it remains on the shelf or is a living document. I’m determined that it will live and the election year of 2016 is the time in which it will come to life.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



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With national security and foreign policy at the top of the debate for 2016, two former U.S. senators from across the aisle recently unveiled a report on the role America should play.
AEI, Lieberman
Wednesday, 06 Jan 2016 09:27 AM
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