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The Center for America’s Purpose (CAP) was launched to promote America’s leadership role in the world. Headed by Sagamore Institute Senior Fellow Alan W. Dowd, CAP identifies historical guideposts to bolster national-security strategy in the 21st century, applies the lessons of history to the challenges of today and seeks to remind the American people that as civilization’s first-responder and last line of defense, the United States is a force for good in the world. Drawing from history, CAP is idealistic about America’s purpose in the world, optimistic about what America and its allies can achieve in the world, and realistic about how and where to employ American power in the world. To share CAP’s message and mission with engaged citizens and policymakers, Dowd authors essays for leading magazines, journals and websites, and publishes Capstones, the Center’s monthly publication covering national defense and international security.

In Focus

Capstones: A National Security Strategy of Free World Defense

There are strong headwinds pushing against U.S. engagement on the world stage.

Just 20 percent of Americans favor overseas engagement; 41.9 percent literally “favor greater isolationism”; 51 percent of Americans say the U.S. should pay less attention to problems overseas and concentrate on problems at home—up from 30 percent in 2002. We see evidence of these headwinds in the most important polls of all: elections. In 2008, 2012 and 2016, Americans elected candidates who advocated and implemented policies of disengagement: President Barack Obama announced, “It is time to focus on nation-building here at home.” In strikingly similar language, President Donald Trump declared, “We have to build our own nation” and “focus on ourselves.” And today, there are growing blocs in the party of TR, Eisenhower and Reagan and in the party of FDR, Truman and Kennedy that want America to pull back from the world.