November 6, 2008

Editor's note: We polled several friends of the Atlantic Council last week on the question What are the top foreign policy priorities for the next president?   We'll be running their responses all week.

Among the many pressing issues the next president will face, the following should all be foreign policy priorities:

1.     Pick the best team possible.  A talented, experienced, and well-coordinated support team is among the most important requirements for a successful administration.  It is also among the most botched requirements.

2.     Fix the financial crisis.  The U.S. needs to get its financial house and the global financial house in order.  Strong leadership will be needed to see the world through potentially shaky economic times ahead.

3.     Start rebuilding domestic capability, including improved security.

4.     Deal with Iraq and Afghanistan in an intelligent fashion.  An effective “comprehensive approach,” like that pursued with various factions in Iraq, will be critically important.

5.     Create an integrated strategy for the Greater Middle East.  Cooperation at the regional level will be necessary for progress in Iraq, the Israel-Palestine peace process, dealing with Iran, and more.  A new security structure for the Persian Gulf is also needed.

6.     Enlist allies and partners in these efforts.  This will allow for the sharing of decisions and influence as well as risk and responsibility.  The next president should promote a new U.S.-EU “strategic partnership” and work to break down the barriers between NATO and the EU.

Ambassador Robert E. Hunter is President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, Senior Adviser at the RAND Corporation, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Atlantic Council's Board of Directors as well as its Strategic Advisors Group.