Declaration of Principles
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We, citizens, former officials, and representatives of governments and private entities, united by common values, have agreed as follows:

THE PRESENT CHALLENGE

For seven decades, free nations have drawn upon common principles to advance freedom, increase prosperity, and secure peace. The resulting order, built on the foundation of democratic values and human dignity, has brought better lives for our citizens and billions of people around the world.

But the international system must rise to meet new challenges. New technologies are transforming societies. In many of our nations, stagnant wages, income disparities, and uneven benefits from global trade are leading many to question free market economics and the value of engagement in the world. Increased migration is fueling concerns about job security and national identity. 

Around the world, politicians are exploiting these challenges, denigrating the rule of law, and undermining faith in democracy. Autocrats and extremists are attacking these principles, oppressing their own people, threatening security, and contending that might makes right.  

Yet, free peoples have met greater challenges in the past, and we can master those in our time.

Innovations in communications, energy, health, and more yet to come are opening possibilities unimaginable before. Entrepreneurship based on freedom and new ideas can drive prosperity. Empowered men and women can address social problems from the bottom up. Governments that answer to their citizens and respect the rule of law can best address inequity, correct injustice, and serve the good of all.  

Free nations must adapt and change. Yet our principles remain sound because they reflect the common aspirations of the human spirit. Societies that respect these principles are better placed to produce security and prosperity. Nations that uphold them are more likely to work together in peace. And authoritarians who stifle enterprise, dispense arbitrary justice, and abuse their people ultimately will fail.  

Inspired by the inalienable rights derived from our ethics, traditions, and faiths, we commit ourselves to seek a better future for our citizens and our nations. We will defend our values, overcome past failures with new ideas, answer lies with truth, confront aggression with strength, and go forward with the confidence that our principles will prevail.   

We call on all who are willing to join us in this common cause.

SEVEN STATEMENTS 

1. Freedom and Justice

We affirm the right of all people to live in free and just societies, where fundamental rights are protected under the rule of law.

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • respect and protect the freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, the press, expression, association, and assembly
      • allow for the free flow of information and ideas, while protecting personal information and individual privacy 
      • ensure equal protection and non-discrimination with regard to race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, culture, nationality, language, gender, disability, and sexual identity
      • combat corruption, hold public officials accountable, and uphold the rule of law

2. Democracy and Self-Determination

We affirm the right of all people to make decisions about their own affairs through elected governments that reflect their consent, free from foreign interference.

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • respect and protect the right of all people to choose their own leaders through a free, fair, and competitive democratic process
      • refrain from threats, coercion, intimidation, violence, election meddling, or other undue interference in the internal or external affairs of free nations
      • respect the right of peaceful self-determination and seek the settlement of disputes over political status without threats, violence, or oppression

3. Peace and Security

We affirm the right of all people to live in peace, free from threats of aggression, terrorism, oppression, crimes against humanity, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • refrain from engaging in or providing support for such actions
      • seek to prevent such violence and cut off material or financial support or safe haven to governments, groups, or individuals engaged in such actions 
      • support the peaceful settlement of disputes, including civil conflicts, and refrain from the use of force, except as just and necessary to advance these principles 

4. Free Markets and Equal Opportunity

We affirm the right of all people to engage in economic activity based on free market principles, with equal opportunity to contribute to and the ability to share in the benefits of national prosperity.

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • protect the right of people to own property, purchase goods and services, and invest in free and open markets
      • promote the free and fair flow of trade and investment; protect intellectual property; respect agreements; and support an open global economy 
      • protect the rights of workers, including the right to seek gainful employment; seek to mitigate the adverse impacts of global trade; and encourage inclusive, equitable, and well-regulated economies
      • seek to mitigate poverty, eradicate disease, and facilitate access to food, water, shelter, medical services, and education for their own citizens and others in need

5. An Open and Healthy Planet

We affirm the right of all people to enjoy free and open access to the global commons and a safe and healthy planet.

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • reduce the risk of damage to the global climate or environment caused by nature or human activity
      • refrain from undue interference with freedom of navigation in the air, seas, and outer space, or with access to cyberspace
      • while harnessing their benefits, seek to mitigate potentially dangerous or unethical applications of advanced technology
      • while protecting their national identity and controlling migration over their borders, provide refuge for those fleeing from persecution or violence, and respect the rights of all people living and working in their nations

6. The Right of Assistance

We affirm the right of national sovereignty, while recognizing that sovereignty obligates governments to uphold these principles. 

Governments, as well as private entities and individuals where they are able, have a responsibility to: 

      • allow their citizens to receive assistance from others to advance these principles, including, in non-free societies, support to non-violent groups, political parties, and individuals aiming to foster democracy or human rights 
      • assist those adversely impacted by violations of these principles, and where governments or other actors are unwilling or unable to cease or remedy flagrant or systematic violations, take such actions just and necessary to prevent them

7. Collective Action

We affirm the right of all people to cooperate in support of these principles and to work together to advance them. 

Governments, private entities, and individuals should seek to advance these principles by supporting:

      • partnerships, coalitions, and alliances that bring together likeminded governments, including a potential new alliance of free nations
      • public-private partnerships and coalitions that bring together governments, private entities, and other stakeholders 
      • international institutions and agencies, including the United Nations, that aim to foster dialogue, cooperation, and shared responsibility between nations

THE TASKS AHEAD

Principles are not self-executing. Working with all who are ready to join us, we will develop a plan of action to implement these principles and advance our common goals.

We call on individuals, institutions, corporations, and governments in our own nations and around the world to advance these principles and create a more effective and responsive set of global rules. Our responsibilities rise commensurate with our influence.

We will advocate for these principles within our own nations, reaching out as broadly as possible to build public support.  

We will seek to revise and strengthen the international system to reflect these principles and advance them on the basis of international law.  

We will reach out to all nations to seek common ground, enlisting all those willing to help build an adapted international order based on these principles.

We will forge creative solutions to address the just claims of nations underrepresented in the current system, the needs of those left behind in our societies, and the impact of revolutionary technology so that it becomes an agent of sustainable development and positive, rather than destructive, change.

We will establish a standing mechanism to track compliance with these principles and call out those that are seeking to undermine them. We will urge our governments to act when these principles are violated.

We will stand firm behind our principles and work together to advance freedom, prosperity, justice, security and peace for all nations. 

SIGNATORIES

Co-Chairs

Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, United States
Carl Bildt, former prime minister, Sweden
Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor, United States
Yoriko Kawaguchi, former minister of foreign affairs, Japan

Distinguished Former Officials

Roberto Abdenur, former deputy minister of foreign affairs, Brazil
Lloyd Axworthy, former minister of foreign affairs, Canada
Dino Patti Djalal, former deputy minister of foreign affairs, Indonesia
Alexander Downer, former minister of foreign affairs, Australia
Gareth Evans, former minister of foreign affairs, Australia
Han SungJoo, former minister of foreign affairs, South Korea
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president, Estonia
Wolfgang Ischinger, former deputy minister of foreign affairs, Germany
Mehdi Jomaa, former prime minister, Tunisia
Jean-David Levitte, former national security advisor, France
Tzipi Livni, former minister of foreign affairs, Israel
David Miliband, former foreign secretary, United Kingdom
Ana Palacio, former minister of foreign affairs, Spain
Nirupama Rao, former foreign secretary, India
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former prime minister, Denmark
Malcolm Rifkind, former foreign secretary, United Kingdom
Allan Rock, former minister of justice, Canada
Claudia Ruiz Massieu, former secretary of foreign affairs, Mexico
Radek Sikorski, former minister of foreign affairs, Poland

Former Officials, Strategists, and Experts

Goli Ameri, former assistant secretary of state, US Department of State
Colleen Bell, former US ambassador to Hungary
John Bellinger, former legal adviser, US Department of State
Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, US Department of State
Esther Brimmer, former assistant secretary of state, US Department of State
Ivo Daalder, former US ambassador to NATO
Eileen Donahoe, former US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council
Alan Dowd, Sagamore Institute
Daniel Fried, former assistant secretary of state, US Department of State
Jamie Fly, German Marshall Fund
Carl Gershman, National Endowment for Democracy
David Gordon, former director of policy planning, US Department of State
Ettore Greco, Institute of International Affairs (Italy)
Marc Grossman, former under secretary of state, US Department of State
Nikolas Gvosev, US Naval War College
Hahm Chaibong, Asan Institute for Policy Studies
Fen Olser Hampson, Centre for International Governance Innovation
William Inboden, former senior director, National Security Council
Ash Jain, Atlantic Council
Robert Kagan, Brookings
Frederick Kempe, Atlantic Council
Paul Miller, Georgetown
Derek Mitchell, National Democratic Institute
Joseph Nye, Harvard
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Georgetown
Anne-Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning, US Department of State
Jake Sullivan, former director of policy planning, US Department of State
Daniel Twining, International Republican Institute
Andrew Wilson, Center for International Private Enterprise
Damon Wilson, former senior director, National Security Council

Affiliations are Listed for Identification Purposes Only


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