July 24, 2008

A 21st Century Vision of U.S. Global Leadership Building a Better, Safer World

Click here for a full list of signatories

The extraordinary global challenges and opportunities of the 21st century call for a new vision of America’s engagement with the world. Today’s U.S. investments in diplomacy and development are insufficient to promote global stability, expand the benefits of the global economy, and guarantee American security. Our increasingly interconnected world requires strong U.S. leadership to strengthen democratic governance, harness economic potential, alleviate global poverty and improve human conditions. American investments in these goals will reaffirm America’s tradition of moral leadership, reduce our vulnerability to threats from destabilizing forces and improve America’s image abroad. To achieve these objectives, the U.S. must use smart power – elevating diplomacy and development assistance while integrating them with our economic policies, defense and intelligence activities.

Keeping America Safe: Our Best Defense is a Good Offense

We cannot rely on military power alone to make our nation secure. This was a key conclusion of three recent reports on national security: the 9/11 Commission Report, the 2006 Department of Defense Quadrennial Review Report, and the 2006 National Security Strategy. America’s prosperity and security have become inextricably linked to the prosperity and security of other nations and their people. Diplomatic initiatives, anti-proliferation programs, international exchanges and long-term investments in the health, education and livelihood of citizens of other nations keep America safer by combating terrorism, engendering goodwill toward the United States, and alleviating conditions that leave fragile countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan vulnerable to the influence of extremist groups.

Revitalizing Our Moral Leadership

America’s innovation and investment can address some of the world’s greatest challenges. Ten million children die every year of preventable diseases before age five; 77 million children don’t attend school; and more than one billion people lack clean water. Over the past four decades, U.S. assistance has helped millions of people feed their families; nearly eradicated river blindness and polio; helped Mozambique and El Salvador rebound from civil war; and put hundreds of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients on life-saving anti-retroviral treatments. Doing more to help governments of poor countries offer their people hope for a better future reaffirms our American humanitarian tradition and helps strengthen America’s image abroad.

Promoting and Harnessing Economic Growth in Developing Countries

Over the past 40 years, trade has tripled as a share of our national economy. Since nearly 45% of U.S. exports go to developing countries, economic progress in those countries has a direct impact on our own. We must put in place development assistance and trade policies that will increase market access and create greater economic opportunities for both America and our trading partners.

A Call to Action for the 2008 Presidential Candidates

The next U.S. President must be prepared to tackle these challenging issues with bold new ideas that encourage global cooperation in the pursuit of freedom, security and opportunity. The next Administration needs to revitalize America’s moral and pragmatic leadership by making greater investments in our diplomatic and development programs, modernizing our foreign assistance institutions, and improving the accountability and effectiveness of our foreign assistance programs.

We call on all of the 2008 Presidential candidates to elevate and strengthen our non-military tools of global engagement to build a better, safer, more prosperous America and world.

Madeleine Korbel Albright
Secretary of State (1997-2001)
Co-Chair, Impact ’08

Frank C. Carlucci
Secretary of Defense (1987-1989)
Co-Chair, Impact ‘08

Madeleine Korbel Albright
Secretary of State (1997-2001)

James A. Baker, III
Secretary of the Treasury


Secretary of State (1989-1992)

Samuel R. Berger

National Security Advisor


Harold Brown

Secretary of Defense


Frank C. Carlucci

Secretary of Defense (1987-1989)

Warren Christopher

Secretary of State (1993-1997)

General Wesley Clark (ret.)

NATO Supreme Allied Commander,

Europe (1997-2000)

William Cohen

Secretary of Defense


Tom Daschle

Senate Majority Leader


U.S. Senate (1987-2005)

Bill Frist

Senate Majority Leader (2003-2007)

U.S. Senate (1995-2006)

Benjamin Gilman

Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee (1995-2000)

U.S. House of Representatives (1973-2002)

Lee H. Hamilton

Chair, House Foreign Affairs Committee (1993-1994)

Vice Chairman, 9/11 Commission

Gary Hart
U.S. Senate (1975-1987)

Carla Hills

U. S. Trade Representative (1989-1993)

Bob Kasten

U.S. Senate (1981-1993)

Tom Kean

Governor of New Jersey


Chair, 9/11 Commission

Jack Kemp

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1989-1993)

Henry Kissinger
National Security Advisor


Secretary of State (1973-1977)

Anthony Lake

National Security Advisor


Bob Livingston
Chair, House Appropriations Committee (1995-1999)

U.S. House of Representatives (1977-2000)

General Barry McCaffrey (ret.)

Commander, United States

Southern Command (1994-1996)

Sam Nunn

US Senator (1973-1997)

Paul O’Neill
Secretary of the Treasury


William J. Perry
Secretary of Defense


Tom Ridge

Governor of Pennsylvania (1995-2001)
Secretary of Homeland Security


Robert Rubin
Secretary of the Treasury


General Henry H. Shelton

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


George P. Shultz
Secretary of State (1982-1989)

Lawrence Summers
Secretary of the Treasury


Timothy Wirth

U.S. Senate (1987-1993)

Jim Wolfensohn

President, World Bank Group (1995-2005)