Power in the world is increasingly being measured and exercised in economic terms with China and other significant countries already treating economic power as a core part of their statecraft. But Jake Sullivan, a former senior official in the Obama administration, argues in this podcast with Paul Haenle that there is a disconnect in U.S. grand strategy in linking foreign policy with national economic policies. The U.S. policy community, Sullivan said, needs to examine how to better use economic tools and influence to advance national security objectives—questions that Sullivan is working to address in his new role as senior fellow in the Carnegie Geoeconomics and Strategy Program.
During their conversation, Sullivan and Haenle discussed how best to strengthen and sustain the vitality of the middle class, which Sullivan believes is a core challenge facing the United States and other advanced economies today. While Sullivan recognized the value of President Trump’s efforts to re-focus foreign policymaking on protecting the U.S. middle class, he was critical of many of the administration’s remedies. He said the United States should maintain its foundation of alliances and partnerships, its global leadership, and its promotion of U.S. values of democracy and human rights abroad. If the United States sets these values aside, Sullivan argued, its ability to influence and inspire the rest of the world will be greatly diminished at a cost to U.S. security and prosperity.
Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Jake Sullivan is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Geoeconomics and Strategy Program. He served in the Obama administration as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and director of policy planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.