New Report Finds Bipartisan Common Ground in Foreign Policy

March 9, 2021 By Matthew Wright

Yesterday, the USGLC unveiled the brand new 2021 Report on Reports: A Roadmap to U.S. Global Leadership at a virtual event alongside National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and a panel of bipartisan leaders from “Main Streets” across the country — including Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, CARE President & CEO Michelle Nunn, and former Congressman Peter Roskam.

In a town where it often feels like policymakers can’t agree on anything, we have found a lot of agreement when it comes to U.S. global leadership in USGLC’s new Report on Reports. There is a clear roadmap of a foreign policy that delivers for American families.

-Liz Schrayer, President & CEO, USGLC

The 2021 report was like no other, released against the backdrop of a global pandemic that has touched every aspect of Americans’ lives and reviewed through the lens of six global challenges – including the pandemic – that affect Americans’ health, economic, and national security. To tackle these crises, the USGLC’s analysis of more than 100 policy reports from across the political spectrum revealed bipartisan support for strengthening and elevating diplomacy and development tools.

A full recording of yesterday’s launch event is available here and a snapshot of perspectives shared by leading policy makers across the country is below:

On the impacts of COVID-19

  • Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor: “We’re at a moment right now with COVID-19, where American working families are experiencing, in many cases tragically, firsthand the impact of our interconnected world. …we have to be operating in a cooperative fashion with the rest of the world to meet common challenges that affects people in their homes in their communities.”
  • Hon. Mary Fallin, former Governor of Oklahoma: How do we help people get back in the workforce, stay engaged in it, and unify as a country that we’re all in this together, no matter what political party that you’re in? I think it’s really been highlighted during the COVID crisis not only here in America but across the world.”

On International Women’s Day

  • Michelle Nunn, President & CEO, CARE: “I think an appropriate question on International Women’s Day for us to mark, [is] what the devastating impacts of this global pandemic have been on women and girls… I think as we look at what we need to do, U.S. leadership is required in order for us to move through this crisis. I think we need to both attend to the needs of women and girls and also to ensure that we’re putting them on the leadership tables that will enable us to really navigate this crisis.”
  • Jake Sullivan: “This is not some niche issue; this is literally half the world’s population. And if we do not make the investments necessary for half the world’s population to succeed and to thrive, none of us will.”
  • Liz Schrayer, President & CEO, USGLC: “Today is a celebration of success in investing in women, but it’s also a moment of heartbreak of how the last year has disproportionately impacted women around the globe.”

On Diplomacy and Development

  • Jake Sullivan: “If we recognize our interconnectedness with the rest of the world, if we see that diplomacy and development are not about just doing good, but they’re about America doing well in all respects, then I think we can turn what has been just an immense set of overlapping crises here into opportunities.”
  • Hon. Peter Roskam, former U.S. Congressman from Illinois: “We’re really kind of focusing in on Main Street and what’s the impact, state and local… One of the things that this report on report suggests is that we’ve got to up our game as a country from a competitiveness point of view, competing with other worldviews, competing in particular with China, which has a different view of things.”

On Democracy v. Authoritarianism

  • Jake Sullivan: “It’s about democracies pulling together to show that good government transparency, accountability, anti-corruption and respecting the human rights and human dignity of all people everywhere. This is a better model for leading to progress, prosperity, and respect for all citizens.”
  • Hon. Mary Fallin: “As far as being competitive, I think it’s telling the story: how do we make it relatable to our American families, to Oklahoma families? And that we talk about the issues that are pressing to American families, and especially when it comes to being in a global economy and competing, is countries like China [that] have such a big portion of the trade market.”

On Bipartisanship

  • Hon. Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC: “I would encourage every single elected official, particularly those in the federal level, to read this report. I mean the report is pretty telling, and it shows that the challenges that we face here are a challenge that affect everyone all around, around the globe… It’s important for us to realize that if we focus on issues of common humanity that [are] important to people literally in on every continent of the globe, then it’s amazing how we can move all of us, together, forward. Republicans support this. Democrats support this. I would encourage our elected officials to do a deep dive into this report, and I think we’ll find a whole lot more common ground that moves us all forward together.”
  • Hon. Mary Fallin: “It is a stellar report of people who are very, very credible. And the mayor said it right, you know, you look at who supports the issues that are in this report, as far as what’s important to the American people, you find there is a lot of commonality between all the political parties. And so it’s important to move forward to show people you will take these things seriously.”
  • Hon. Peter Roskam: “I’ve always told people who are getting active in politics for the first time: Let your opponent take a victory lap on some issue. Just let him take credit for something… Sometimes we have this oppositional thing going on in our country, where because one party agrees to it, all of a sudden it becomes ‘I can’t say yes because they’ve agreed to it,’ which is just an absurdity.”

Congressional Voices

Leading policymakers in Congress also welcomed the report and highlighted the importance of U.S. global leadership:

  • Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Foreign assistance is a crucial component of US foreign policy, demonstrating America’s capacity and commitment to building a better world. We are a global community, as are our challenges. Development professionals are saving lives while enhancing the stability and security of countries around the world, which in turn promotes our own economic, health and security interests. American leadership, through international cooperation, will continue to make significant progress in finding solutions to our global challenges.”
  • Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican: “Whether it is pushing back on the malign influence of Russia and the Chinese Communist Party or addressing the root causes of fragility and conflict, America’s interests are best served when we are at the table. It’s reassuring to see clear bipartisan consensus behind using America’s diplomatic might and foreign assistance dollars as critical tools to advance America’s leadership and foreign policy interests. Ultimately, strong engagement on the world stage, in coordination with partners and allies, advances the health and security interests of American citizens.”

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and the Biden Administration should use the findings in this report to find consensus and common ground as America faces major global challenges. The analysis is clear: tackling these crises starts with strengthening our diplomacy and development programs around the world, and it ends with delivering results for American families here at home.