WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, penned a piece for The Atlantic making the case that a new Democratic administration needs a new foreign policy toolkit to advance our values and interests in U.S. foreign policy. In this piece, Murphy argues that progressives must clearly articulate the parameters that justify the use of military force, recommit to our security and economic alliances, and focus on building up non-military capabilities for dealing with challenges around the world. Murphy outlines how America must rebuild our foreign policy toolkit with non-military capabilities like creating a new category of Foreign Service Officers dedicated to fighting corruption abroad, supercharging the investments America can offer to other nations to create more economic leverage, and leveling the playing field with the Chinese on technology. The piece responds to criticisms in the recent Atlantic essay by Brookings Institution’s Thomas Wright that presents several concerns with the emerging outlines of a new progressive foreign policy.
Murphy wrote: “I don’t speak for any of the Democratic candidates for president, nor do I have intimate knowledge of their foreign-policy priorities. But from my seat on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, I can see a distinct lane for progressive Democrats to occupy when discussing the future role of America in the world.”
“A successful approach would be built around three elements: a clear articulation of the circumstances that justify the use of military force, and those that don’t; a recommitment to security and economic alliances; and, most crucially of all, a focus on building up the United States’ non-military capabilities for dealing with challenges around the world,” Murphy continued.
Last month, Murphy proposed this new framework for progressive foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. In this speech, Murphy discussed four concrete ideas for how progressives can close the perceived national security gap with Republicans and maintain America’s role in the world. Murphy is also the author of “Rethinking the Battlefield,” a comprehensive road map for rebuilding our foreign policy in order to keep pace with the global challenges we face.
More excerpts from the op-ed are below and can be viewed here.
“Admittedly, without new tools in the foreign-policy toolbox, the next Democratic president will not see much more success in promoting democracy and human-rights promotion than Obama, and asymmetric, non-military threats to the United States will continue to grow. And without supersizing a president’s non-military options, our nation will continue to be overly reliant on military tools to protect our interests, risking unnecessary war. That’s why progressive foreign policy must focus on capabilities as much as it focuses on strategy and philosophy. And it’s the potential for these new tools to make American foreign policy much more nimble that critics underestimate,” Murphy wrote.
Murphy concluded: “Thoughtfully articulated limits on the use of military force, an embrace of alliances, and a dramatic restocking of our national security toolbox should be at the core of a progressive approach to foreign policy.”
Read the full op-ed here.