The American Interest (AI) is a new and independent voice devoted to the broad theme of “America in the world.” Our agenda is threefold. The first is to analyze America’s conduct on the global stage and the forces that shape it–not just its strategic aspects, but also its economic, cultural and historical dimensions. American statecraft is not simply about power but also purpose. What is important to the world about America is therefore not just its politics, but the society from which those politics arise–including America’s literature, music and art, as well as its values, public beliefs and its historical imagination.
The AI‘s second aim is to examine what American policy should be. It is our view that the challenges and opportunities of our time transcend the assumptions and vocabulary used by both the Left and Right in recent years, and that we need to move beyond the defense of obsolete positions. We therefore seek to invite the best minds from a variety of professions to engage in lively and open-ended debate founded on serious, sustained arguments and evidence. We wish to provoke and enlighten, not to plead or to please the guardians of any ideology. We take a pragmatic attitude toward policy problems, privileging creativity and effectiveness over contending orthodoxies.
Third, though its name is The American Interest, our pages are open to the world. The simple and inescapable defining fact of our era is that America is the foremost actor on the world stage. For good or ill, the United States affects the lives of billions because of its dominance in military, economic and, ever more so, cultural affairs. Hence, the AI invites citizens of all nations into the American national dialogue, convinced that Americans have much to learn from the experience and perspectives of others.
There is of course no single or simple “American interest.” The United States is what novelist Tom Wolfe once labeled our “wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog-stomping Baroque country”; it is a complex society that not just foreigners but Americans themselves often do not well understand.
Therefore, The American Interest will not represent any single point of view. The names listed on our editorial board and global advisory council form an eclectic group, though not infinitely so. As the pages below attest, we share many first principles, but we often disagree energetically on their application. Both through what we share and what we contest, we mean to enliven and to enlighten the public debate.
We therefore invite adepts of all political schools and persuasions, and those too busy thinking to concern themselves with labels, to join the fray. In our five annual issues we want to provide the premier forum for serious and civil discussion on the full spectrum of issues–domestic and international–that shape America’s role on the world stage. We seek a discourse characterized by mutual respect, humility and passion for useful truths.
–Francis Fukuyama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen & Josef Joffe