Since the end of the Cold War, our political leaders have largely adhered to what has been called an “Indispensable America” worldview in which the United States plays a dominant role in maintaining global stability. Yet our research shows substantially more public support for what EGF board president Ian Bremmer has called an “Independent America” worldview. Popular with the public but largely dismissed by the foreign policy establishment, this outlook sees America focusing more on its own domestic challenges than on the challenges that come with global hegemony. That our country succeeds when it leads by example rather than by military dominance or economic coercion.
Independent America, a three-year research project led out by EGF research fellow Mark Hannah, seeks to explore how U.S. foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters. The American public’s support for a more restrained and less interventionist foreign policy is politically diverse, extending well beyond the usual anti-globalism suspects. And yet, U.S. elected officials continue to fund small wars, arms sales, and troop deployments which are often counterproductive to the country’s long-term interests, security and prosperity. The Independent America project is currently comprised of the following three interrelated projects.