The World We Seek: Free of War and the Threat of War
As election season heats up, candidates are debating the direction of U.S. foreign policy in addition to discussing the economy, jobs and health care. What is the future of U.S. engagement in Afghanistan and the ongoing “global war on terror”? Will the U.S. continue to pursue diplomacy with Iran, or launch a new war? What role should the U.S. play in addressing human-caused climate change, or reacting to political change in the Arab world?
How policymakers answer these questions will shape U.S. engagement, and the world itself, for years if not decades to come. The United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, and U.S. foreign policy plays a critical role on the global stage. Currently, that role is driven largely by militarized approaches to what are fundamentally political, economic and environmental challenges. For all the power it wields, U.S. foreign policy is still ill-equipped to tackle today‘s problems effectively.
Unfortunately, few candidates running for office are proposing the type of bold new approaches that are necessary today. Candidates may argue for drones and high-tech assassinations, or for large-scale military invasions, but both these approaches rely on notions of U.S. exceptionalism and militarism that are, unfortunately, all too similar. Instead of competing to present the best plan to end and prevent wars or promote a new era of global cooperation, candidates are arguing over who will ensure U.S. global military dominance at all costs. And those costs climb higher each day, in lives lost, treasure wasted and communities suffering in the United States and abroad.
FCNL envisions a U.S. foreign policy grounded in human dignity, justice, compassion and peacemaking. We believe in the possibility and practicality of “a world free of war and the threat of war,” and we work to move U.S. policy in that direction. Such a world will not emerge overnight, but we are convinced by our faith and our own experience that preventing war and building a more just global order is possible. Step by steady, small, step, we are moving forward.
In our work at FCNL, we see that ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan is now a question of when, not if. Diplomacy with Iran is underway. The United States is taking steps to help prevent genocide. The international community, including the United States, is even working months in advance of tense elections in Kenya to help prevent violence before it has begun.
Other global indicators provide additional hope. The Human Security Report, which tracks war and armed conflict worldwide, finds that the number of international and civil wars and war deaths is on the decline. The Global Peace Index, which annually measures peacefulness around the globe, is beginning to teach policymakers that investing in peace reaps great economic benefits. If the world had been just 25 percent more peaceful last year, the global economy would have benefited by $2.25 trillion. Global peace would reap more than $9 trillion.
These small but important steps give us hope that FCNL’s vision of a world without war may one day become a reality. In this newsletter, you'll find updates on FCNL's foreign policy agenda and suggestions for how you can help teach others that a more principled, humane, effective and less costly U.S. foreign policy is possible. In this election season, it is more important than ever that you take part in this conversation
Find out more about how you can be part of this work to support a world free of war and the threat of war.