Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Ideas for Candidates Beyond Talking Points

Americans want a nation that leads by example. The candidates for the presidency and Congress should provide it to them.


American political, economic, and military global hegemony—sustained by America’s past economic productivity, the dollar’s reserve status, and the reliance on forward-deployed American military power—is over. In a new world shaped by sweeping technological change in warfare, business and finance, it’s not just the end of the much exaggerated “unipolar moment.” The tectonic plates of the international system are shifting beneath America’s feet, crushing Washington’s reactionary, postwar world order, giving rise to a new international system with new power centers and coalitions.

Washington is horrified. Washington’s impulse to think and behave like an unyielding autocrat is a failure. Attempting to freeze the deteriorating postwar status quo, or beating down resistance to Washington’s will, is a poor way to cultivate liberty and order in the world.


Unfortunately, Washington is currently populated with far too many men and women who cannot reconcile the reality of the new world that is emerging with Washington’s failed vision of hegemony. This delusional state of mind reinforces the idiotic belief that political, economic and military conflict or crisis is inevitably a contest between absolute virtue and absolute evil. 

The biggest problem with this approach is that it discards tangible concrete interests as a guide to action in favor of a false ideology of moral supremacy. The outcome is Washington’s blatant disregard for human life, ethics, and morality combined with a predisposition to smear, demean, and demonize any foreign power or individual that opposes them.

To paraphrase the Roman historian Tacitus, Washington’s policies destroy the lives of tens of millions inside the United States and overseas, then call the resulting wasteland “Democracy.” The wastelands created by Washington’s ruling class are visible at home and abroad.  

America’s city centers are filled with homeless people. Smash-and-grab gangs roam American city streets unchecked. Criminals sell drugs, traffic children, assault the innocent, and devastate rural and urban communities without fear of punishment. America’s electrical grid is unreliable, its roads are crumbling, and its bridges are collapsing.

Inflation is destroying the middle class as real wages stagnate. America’s southern border is overwhelmed with millions of illegal migrants whose presence inside American society comes at a time when America’s economy is fragile. Many illegal migrants are taking jobs that Americans need, and many others are committing criminal acts. Societal cohesion in America is at an all-time low.


The wastelands beyond our borders are out of sight for most Americans, but the destruction of life and property stretching from Kabul to Baghdad, Baghdad to Damascus, Damascus to Benghazi, and Benghazi to Kiev is impossible to hide.

Ukrainians are living in a hell that Washington’s political class created for them. Today, the Ukrainian army relies on whatever men and boys the Ukrainian military’s press gangs can force into uniform and send to a front that is melting away in the face of the Russian onslaught. What Ukraine needs now is peace and humanitarian assistance, not more weapons that will change nothing on the battlefield.

Washington’s reckless actions in Ukraine and Washington’s unconditional support for Israel's ruthless war of annihilation against Gaza, and increasingly Hezbollah, is doing irreparable damage to American interests and threatens to provoke a much wider war with nuclear-armed powers.

The 50-year-old petrodollar agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia expired on June 9. The end of the petrodollar will likely precipitate a decline in global demand for dollars that could hike inflation and devastate an already weak bond market in the United States.

America's futile attempt to isolate Russia has isolated Washington, not Moscow. Rather than joining the sanctions bandwagon, the rising powers of the Global South—India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, the Gulf States—are all deepening economic ties with Moscow and Beijing. Turkey, our erstwhile NATO ally, will now probably join the BRICS

In Europe, where authoritarian globalism masquerades as liberal democracy, the glacial pace of change in European politics is giving way to a flood of anger at the ballot box. The wholesale devastation of Europe’s economies, especially Germany’s economy, combined with an intense backlash against the policies of denationalization through unrestricted mass migration, is creating a political upheaval that will sweep away the current governing elites. NATO, the sacred cow of the uniparty, is on life support.

Instead of negotiating to resolve the conflicts that threaten world peace and investing in the health, education, and prosperity of the American people, Washington hunts for elusive "white supremacists," whom the ruling class believes is the real threat to America. It is time for the American people to redefine America’s role in the world, reverse America's economic decline, and restore the foundational principles of the American Republic.

Americans want to live in a prosperous country that is strong and free. Americans want a nation that leads by example. The candidates for the presidency and Congress should provide it to them. To chart a new course, the candidates should pursue action in ten key areas:

1.     Secure America’s Borders: End the practice of open borders and regain control of our southern border. Immigration has become a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of the current government. Enforce existing laws and expel the illegal border crossers. Devise a new legal immigration system that respects our sovereignty and promotes national power.

2.     Defend America First: Reserves the use of American military power for the defense of the U.S., American citizens, and identified vital strategic interests unless the U.S. is directly attacked by foreign State or non-State power. U.S. Foreign Policy must prioritize diplomacy and peaceful cooperation over the use of military power. Aside from nuclear weapons, which can only be deterred with nuclear weapons, none of our potential adversaries pose a direct threat to the American homeland. In addition, if international terrorism is still a threat to America, how do open borders aid in that fight?

3.     Restore the Rule of Law: We must support law enforcement agencies and ensure they have the resources necessary to keep our communities safe. We must also reform our criminal justice system. The system must be just and hold criminals accountable. It is time to reconsider the lifetime appointment of judges who release criminals onto the streets, ensuring that our judiciary prioritizes public safety.

4.     Build New Armed Forces for the 21st Century: We need a strong military designed to protect our nation in the 21st Century, not an anachronistic and expensive structure with an enormous overhead, and very few fighters. Missions involving self-defeating interventions to export democracy at gunpoint must end.

5.     Reenergize the U.S. Economy: Inflation is eroding the middle class and harming citizens of every income class. Washington’s economic policies must benefit American workers and small businesses, not just the wealthy and the corporate sector. Spending must pass the test of necessity. Reduce regulatory burdens, abolish the Internal Revenue Service, and implement a new tax system that stimulates economic activity and brings manufacturing back to our shores.

6.     Build New Infrastructure: American infrastructure is the backbone of the economy. We need a comprehensive plan to repair and modernize our roads, bridges, electrical grid, and public transportation systems, ensuring they are safe, reliable, and efficient.

7.     Create Energy Independence: Harness America’s vast energy resources, including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables. Energy independence will reduce our reliance on foreign powers, lower energy costs, and create high-paying jobs.

8.     Strengthen Free Speech and Civil Liberties: The Bill of Rights is the foundation of our republic. Protect Free Speech; the right to speak freely and ensure that government censorship, or by extension its private sector appendages is not tolerated.

9.     Reorient Education: Technological advancements are reshaping the world. Americans must invest in research and development, incentivize education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and develop an educational culture of merit-based advancement to ensure that America remains a global leader in technology.

10.  Forge National Unity: At least 52 million people inside the US were born in another country. It is time to insist that those coming legally to the US immerse themselves in American culture and way of life or leave. Americans must unite to ensure that every American feels strong, secure and involved in our national life. 

Until the forces of change overtake them, Washington’s political class rarely sees change coming. But change is underway. The world is turning away from American leadership. 

If America is to secure a role in the emerging international system it must be a vital, positive force for stability and peace in the world. America must adapt to the new international system and stop clinging to the past. 

Washington must respect the culture and security interests of people who are different from us. These changes do nothing to diminish America’s readiness to vigorously defend its citizens and its interests against any threat. If anything, these proposed changes will enhance American national security and restore confidence in American leadership.