WASHINGTON, D.C. — National security is a priority of United States foreign policy and of Congress, but lately, in what escalated to a government shutdown back in October of 2013, partisan bickering has plagued American politics. Issues of safety are harder to negotiate, and solutions to security threats are harder to sell to opposing party members. Such a dichotomy of close-minded politicians is not conducive to problem solving, but there are nonprofits, such as the American Security Project, who are doing what they can.
ASP, a non-partisan research organization, works to raise awareness about national security issues by publishing on a variety of topics. Threats to U.S. security, according to ASP, include economic challenges, energy and climate change, terrorism and nuclear proliferation. There is much in today’s world by which to be threatened.
Likewise, political life in the 21st century is more complex than it once was. Unlike the politics of decades ago, a country’s military is no longer the defining characteristic of its safety precautions; diplomacy, economy and innovation are all key components as well. These measures will eliminate U.S. threats like al-Qaeda, ISIS and recent cyber attacks.
But before American politics can effectively defend the nation, its constituents must agree on the legislation that will provide its people protection. The congressional bipartisan tug-of-war has brought such agreements to an unproductive standstill. Partisan and divisive opinions, however, stretch beyond a gridlocked Congress and into the American electorate, where common democrats and republicans increasingly clash and grow weary of one another’s motives.
“Polls show that the American electorate has become more deeply divided along ideological and party lines and more wary that those who represent the other party are acting in good faith,” says The Christian Science Monitor’s editorial board, “they are more likely to stay in social ‘silos’ in which their friends share their political views.”
ASP attempts to break those opinionated, possibly bigoted, people from their “silos,” because the most effective problem solving is, and in this case must, be done collaboratively. ASP’s three guidelines, so to speak, are “vision,” “strategy” and “dialogue”; a vision to develop and share new ideas, a strategy to build bipartisan agendas and a dialogue to raise public awareness of national security threats and proposed solutions.
The 13 board members of ASP come from a range of backgrounds of political allegiances. The group is chaired by former Senator Gary Hart, a democrat from Colorado. Other board members include notable democrats and republicans such as republican United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, former republican Governor of Massachusetts John Kerry, aerospace businessman Norman R. Augustine and United States Navy four-star admiral William J. Fallon.
Following the decisions of this diverse board, information is disseminated to the public via public and broadcasted events, traditional and new media, meetings and publications. Upcoming events, all of which are happening in Washington, D.C., but all of which with information and summaries that can be accessed anywhere in the U.S. with Internet, will incorporate these talks throughout September:
“Under Secretary Richard Stengel: American Public Diplomacy in 2014 and Beyond”; “Industrial Competitiveness and Worker Leadership” with the Harvard Business School Club; “Future of the Middle East and America’s Role” with an expert panel arranged by American Security Project; and “What’s Next? Fostering the Next Generation of Energy Security Conference.”
ASP tackles a variety of national security threats while trying to mitigate partisan tensions. Decreasing, or at least temporarily getting over, political party tensions is the only way, according to ASP, to begin to create efficacious and protective foreign policy.
– Adam Kaminski
Sources: American Security Project, The Christian Science Monitor
Photo: American Security Project