The Institute of World Politics commemorates Pearl Harbor Day each year to remind Americans of our country’s need for defense preparedness. In 1941, our nation’s prevailing preoccupations were centered upon domestic issues, and a sense of isolation from major world events resulted in a hubristic attitude that a secure peace was a national birthright.
The entry of the United States into the Second World War rendered void any remaining argument that the country could rely upon its geography to maintain security from the hostility of adversaries. This realization led to a new era in American foreign policy as the nation launched the largest military expansion in history and began to exercise its global diplomatic, military, and economic power. Through the experience of the Second World War, the United States began to recognize better the realities of its strategic prominence – a revolution in the country’s national security and foreign policy mentality.
Moreover, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the World Bank – and much else of the fundamental structure of today’s international order – are all results of America’s emergence from isolation as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Despite this revolution in thinking, subsequent events have shown that it can be difficult for the United States to keep its attention on international realities, strategic opportunities, and threats in times of peace and prosperity. Today, even after the infamy of 9/11, altogether too few Americans recognize that a just, secure peace is the highest public policy priority – that nothing in public life is possible without it: neither in commerce, domestic governance, organized charitable work, nor such luxuries as the protection of the environment or most forms of leisure activity.
Even fewer Americans understand how to bring the entire array of the instruments of national power to bear on problems of strategic import. Statecraft is an art understood by few, but appreciated by all who enjoy the benefits of America’s just and free society.
It is for this reason that The Institute of World Politics exists: to educate leaders who appreciate our civilization, who understand the realities of human nature as it is manifested in international affairs, who possess a deep understanding of the nature of peace, and who are second to none in their mastery of all the instruments of statecraft. Only with such lessons can foreign policy and national security professionals maintain a post-December 7 worldview: to detect and understand threats and political-strategic opportunities; prevent, manage, mitigate, resolve, and prevail in international conflicts; match the ends and means of policy; and to do all this in ways that minimize the necessity of using force.