The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security works to develop sustainable, nonpartisan strategies to address the most important security challenges facing the United States and the world.

The United States confronts a range of national security challenges, but the marketplace of ideas defines these too expansively, fails to prioritize them effectively, and limits the range of options for addressing them. The New American Engagement Initiative challenges prevailing assumptions governing US foreign policy, in particular with respect to the efficacy of military intervention and the lost potential of diplomacy, and helps policymakers manage risks, set priorities, and allocate resources wisely and efficiently, in order to preserve our security and prosperity. Unconventional thinking is needed to help Americans put dangers into perspective, and encourage them to embrace global engagement through diplomacy, trade, and mutually beneficial cultural exchange. The military is an essential tool of US foreign policy, but is inherently limited. The most effective and durable solutions to global problems must be developed in conjunction with allies and partners, and in ways that reduce the risk of conflict.

Thu, Feb 18, 2021

Reality Check Series

The New American Engagement Initiative’s Reality Checks are short briefs dedicated to exploring a particular policy or set of policies, assessing their efficacy, and, where appropriate, proposing alternatives. Reality Checks are published regularly and tied to the news of the day or derive from NAEI’s Assumptions Testing series. All are succinct and straight-to-the-point. The briefs are designed for busy professionals anxious for pragmatic and timely policy options.

Port de Barcelona at night

Mon, Feb 22, 2021

Reality Check #2: Economic sanctions should not always be the go-to foreign policy tool

As the Biden administration begins to implement its foreign policy vision, organized around reestablishing US leadership on the international stage, it will inevitably confront foreign policy challenges. Indeed, only a few weeks into the new administration, protests have erupted across Russia over the government’s decision to detain and sentence Russian dissident Aleksei Navalny; the military […]

Reality Check by Erica Borghard

Thu, Feb 18, 2021

Reality Check #1: Build cooperation cycles, not security spirals

The danger of crisis escalation with China and Russia is increasing. Much of today’s thinking about great-power competition suggests that the greatest threat to global order comes from what international relations scholars call “revisionist” states, countries that seek to challenge existing institutions, norms, or borders. It also suggests that the best way to respond is […]

Reality Check by Emma Ashford

Tue, Jan 12, 2021

Assumptions Testing Series

The New American Engagement Initiative’s Assumptions Testing series explores some of the foundational beliefs that guide US foreign policy. By questioning the conventional wisdom, and exposing these assumptions to close scrutiny, the series aims to open a new seam in the policy debate and generate a more lively, fruitful, and effective strategic dialogue – one that is capable of producing a sustainable, nonpartisan strategy for US global engagement.

Photo: "Indian and US naval ships in formation during Malabar 2012", by Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wed, Feb 3, 2021

Assumption #1: Revisionist states are the cause of great-power competition

A key unwritten assumption underlies most of today’s strategic thinking on US foreign policy: that stable multipolarity is impossible because of fundamentally aggressive and revisionist states that seek to rewrite international institutions, grab territory, and challenge the status quo. Though these states are presumed to be creating a dangerous new era of great-power competition, it is […]

Assumption Testing Series by Emma Ashford

Fri, Jan 29, 2021

Future foreign policy series featuring Rep. Ro Khanna

Online Event The Atlantic Council’s New American Engagement Initiative presents a conversation featuring Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District) in discussion with Vox’s Jen Kirby.

3:00pm Arms Control Conflict International Norms Middle East

Related past events

Employment opportunities

Mon, Feb 22, 2021

New American Engagement Initiative – Summer 2021 Young Global Professionals Program

Internship

The New American Engagement Initiative, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, challenges prevailing assumptions governing US foreign policy and helps policymakers manage risks, set priorities, and allocate resources wisely and efficiently.

New American Engagement Initiative Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

Experts

Content

Port de Barcelona at night

Mon, Feb 22, 2021

Reality Check #2: Economic sanctions should not always be the go-to foreign policy tool

As the Biden administration begins to implement its foreign policy vision, organized around reestablishing US leadership on the international stage, it will inevitably confront foreign policy challenges. Indeed, only a few weeks into the new administration, protests have erupted across Russia over the government’s decision to detain and sentence Russian dissident Aleksei Navalny; the military […]

Reality Check by Erica Borghard

Fri, Feb 19, 2021

Ashford on Wisdom of Crowds: Who are the real realists?

On February 19, Emma Ashford was interviewed on the Wisdom of Crowds podcast, about realism, democracy promotion, and the Biden administration’s foreign policy. “Was Barack Obama America’s last “realist” president? Was he even a realist at all? Emma Ashford of the Atlantic Council joins Shadi and Damir to answer these questions and more. They also […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Politics & Diplomacy United States and Canada

Thu, Feb 18, 2021

Reality Check #1: Build cooperation cycles, not security spirals

The danger of crisis escalation with China and Russia is increasing. Much of today’s thinking about great-power competition suggests that the greatest threat to global order comes from what international relations scholars call “revisionist” states, countries that seek to challenge existing institutions, norms, or borders. It also suggests that the best way to respond is […]

Reality Check by Emma Ashford

Thu, Feb 18, 2021

Christopher Preble on War on the Rocks: Should Europe defend itself?

On February 18, Christopher Preble and co-hosts Melanie Marlowe (CSIS) and Zack Cooper (AEI) waded into the long-running debate on European defense in the War on the Rocks Net Assessment podcast, entitled “Should Europe Defend Itself?”. Some doubt that Europe will ever be able to stand on its own without substantial support from the United […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

English NATO

Wed, Feb 17, 2021

Ashford featured in Foreign Affairs: Has Trump Permanently Altered U.S. Foreign Policy?

On February 17, Emma Ashford was featured in Foreign Affairs’ “Ask the Experts” Roundup, discussing whether Donald Trump has permanently altered the course of U.S. foreign policy. “Donald Trump’s foreign policy encompassed both a continuation of the United States’ existing foreign policy and a repudiation of the rationales that so often accompanied it. In speaking […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Politics & Diplomacy United States and Canada

Wed, Feb 17, 2021

Ashford quoted in Defense News: Can the Biden administration break the cycle of marathon naval deployments to the Mideast?

On February 17, Emma Ashford was quoted in a Defense News article by David Larter, focusing on the strategic implications of stationing a U.S. carrier group in the Persian Gulf. “After showing signs of improvement following two deadly collisions in 2017, the Navy is again under pressure to provide aircraft carrier presence to the Middle […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Maritime Security Middle East

Sat, Feb 13, 2021

Manning and Cooper in The Hill: How to fix the US public diplomacy deficit? Bring back USIA

On February 13, Robert Manning and Evan Cooper published an op-ed arguing that the US needs to bring back the US Information Agency to address the collapse of public diplomacy. “A robust USIA with a modern approach to information ecosystems would be a valuable asset for combatting disinformation. The U.S. faces a global landscape saturated […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Disinformation Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Ashford in ABCNews: The Breakdown: President Biden gives 1st foreign policy speech

On February 4, Emma Ashford was featured on ABC News live coverage and commentary of President Biden’s first major foreign policy speech. More about our expert

In the News by Atlantic Council

Politics & Diplomacy United States and Canada

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Christopher Preble on War on the Rocks: Primacy anxiety

On February 4, Christopher Preble and co-hosts Melanie Marlowe (Center for Strategic and International Studies), and Zack Cooper (American Enterprise Institute), discussed the Trump administration’s “Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific,” and the continued pursuit of strategic primacy over all other alternative approaches on War on the Rocks’ Net Assessment podcast. They called for a national debate to […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

English Politics & Diplomacy

Thu, Feb 4, 2021

Borghard in the Council on Foreign Relations: Time to end the dual hat?

On February 4, Erica Borghard published an article entitled “Time to End the Dual Hat?” for the Council on Foreign Relations. In the article, she explores the risks and benefits of separating the dual-hat authority structure that government U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, and maps a path forward for the Biden administration. […]

In the News by Atlantic Council

Cybersecurity Defense Policy