Virtuous Leadership and Restoring the American Dream

We Americans are at a particularly consequential moment for our republic — one that presents unique opportunities to contribute to veterans of our military. Despite the exceptionalism that defines the great experiment that is our nation, we seem to be losing our way as a country. We aren’t living up to the promise of America’s exceptionalism, and the American dream — the idea that anyone willing to work hard and play by the rules can succeed — is in bad shape. Eroding confidence sits at the core of this crisis. In recent decades, the American people have been losing confidence in three of our most important institutions: business, the media, and our government. The worse this trend gets, the harder it will be to revitalize the American dream.

What should our answer be to this perilous moment? And what, in particular, can members of our armed forces do to help fix this problem and create a brighter future for our country? In my view, the answer is something called virtuous leadership — something that has been in short supply in recent decades.

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David McCormick is chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board.

Image: 311th Signal Command's 2011 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Sgt. Harold Stoker helped a fellow soldier over a wall during the week of competition at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii on May 4, 2011. (Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, 311th Signal Command Public Affairs)