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Introduction


The Reagan Institute Strategy Group (RISG) is founded on the notion that America’s role in the world is indispensable to preserving the free, open, and peaceful political and economic system that provides the foundation for how countries interact. While in recent years there has been much discussion of the decline of the American-led, rules-based international order, it is worth stepping back to assess what is really at stake. In the context of rising threats from authoritarian regimes, the question of America’s global leadership is crucial to the survival of the free world itself.

While President Reagan led our country through a different geostrategic environment, the Reagan Institute is dedicated to using the timeless principles and vision he championed as a lens through which to view the current set of challenges and opportunities before us. That is why in July of 2019, the Institute gathered a group of leaders from the foreign policy and national security arenas to discuss the way forward for those who believe President Reagan’s example offers a roadmap for navigating today’s world. The essays collected here reflect the discussions that took place at the first annual RISG summer retreat in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

The Reagan Institute Strategy Group is committed to a core set of beliefs: that American leadership, including military strength and economic engagement, is the best guarantor of peace, security, and prosperity; that America’s national success is inextricably linked to the that of the free world; and that American values are universal, as freedom and human dignity are the birthright of all peoples regardless of their country of birth.

The goal of RISG is to chart a course for reviving a Reaganesque approach to foreign policy and national security. Any set of policy ideas is only valuable insofar as it is politically viable. And with American leadership under assault from both ends of the political spectrum, we need fresh thinking to sustain its relevance. Our hope is that the following essays will serve as the start of a conversation about the principles and policies that will promote a world where freedom and opportunity will flourish— but also that are responsive to the shifting political environment.

Fundamentally, the Reagan Institute Strategy Group is not a nostalgia exercise yearning for a bygone era that will not return. Rather, it is a forward-looking endeavor that focuses on the new ideas, priorities, and frameworks needed for meeting the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century based on the timeless vision and values of our 40th President.