The Center for Global Dialogue hosted guests Patrick Doherty and Mark Mykleby on Tuesday, May 20, at the Santa Barbara Club in a discussion on America’s future, both internationally and domestically. The two — senior fellows at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.— designed a new “grand strategy” for the United States that focuses on creating a more economically resilient and sustainable country.
Mykleby, previously a career Marine, started off the discussion and addressed the idea that the United States is currently maintaining the status quo with a focus on containment. He stated the U.S. is still set on creating an “illusory sense of security, as if the world is a closed system, but it’s open.”
The two came up with a strategy that they feel will take the U.S. in a more positive, sustainable, and multilateral direction. Mykleby cited sustainability as one of the most important factors, saying,“The great global challenge to America is not China, it’s not Iran, it’s not North Korea; it’s truly global un-sustainability. The growth rate America is going at means that we would need 4.5 more Earths full of resources.” Doherty described their grand strategy as a plan that fundamentally correlates economics, domestic policies, and international relations in a way that benefits everyone globally. Multiple techniques are needed for their strategy, they explained, such as regenerative agriculture, resource productivity, and public transit, and they spoke of the need for America to acknowledge its power to make a large, positive change globally.
Of American political strategies, Mykleby believed they “all are focused on threat and risk and protecting us from the outside. But we are the land of opportunity, so why don’t we have strategies focused on extending that opportunity outward?” Doherty also spoke about the importance of America having an open-system attitude: “We fundamentally have a strategy in which we have the best possibility of delivering prosperity, security, and sustainability to every continental economic system in the world, not just a system designed to take the resources from the third world.”
Mykleby said that the most important part of their grand strategy is local grassroots organizing. The New America Foundation is a nonpartisan think tank, and so is their plan. Mykleby stated that in order for things to change positively, all citizens must get engaged. “It’s about more than being in a conversation; it’s about being in a fight. Don’t wait for people to do it for you. Write your mayor; get it started on your own.”
Peter Haslund, president of the Center for Global Dialogue, said the event was “one of the most challenging programs that has been done at the center, because it pushed us to all think critically without bias.” The center puts on two events a year and focuses year-round on what can be done locally to make an impact on a global level. For more information about the Center for Global Dialogue, visit their website here.