The United States needs to shift from muscle-flexing to alliance-building and diplomacy when it seeks to wield power in the world, if it is to patch up its battered global image, a report published Tuesday in Washington said.
"America's reputation, standing and influence are at all-time lows, and possibly sinking further," the report by a 20-member think-tank commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said, citing half a dozen opinion polls from around the world.
"Since 9/11, the United States has been exporting fear and anger rather than more traditional values of hope and optimism ... Even traditional allies have questioned whether America is hiding behind the righteousness of its ideals to pursue some other motive," the report said.
"At the core of the problem is that America has made the war on terror the central component of its global engagement," said the report, which was two years in the making.
It called on the next US president to chart a new course towards a "smarter" foreign policy that balances hard power -- "wielding carrots and sticks to get what you want" -- and soft power -- "the ability to attract people to our side without coercion."
"US foreign policy has tended to over-rely on hard power," the report said.
"The Pentagon is the best trained and best resourced arm of the federal government ... it tends to fill every void," it said.
"The United States must become a smarter power by investing once again in the global good -- providing things that people and governments in all quarters of the world want but cannot attain in the absence of American leadership," the report said.
By shifting its foreign policy focus from the war on terror to championing the global good, the United States will not only defeat terrorism but will also restore its greatness, the report said.
The commission included former military commander in Iraq Anthony Zinni; ex-US ambassador to the United Nations, Russia and Israel Thomas Pickering and former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor; members of congress, business leaders and the heads of non-profit organizations.
Click to view image: '116650-2445533370.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|