Impact 2016

A non-partisan initiative by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition to advance America's role in the world.

2016 Democratic Platform Foreign Policy Highlights

Diplomacy and development essential for national security and U.S. economy

“When America leads, it should be as a principled force for peace and prosperity in the world… We believe the smart use of diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft can prevent crises, foster stability, and make us safer.”

– 2016 Democratic Platform


  • American Global Leadership Is Indispensable

    The platform’s foreign policy plank highlights the essential role and need for strong American leadership to “to grow our economy, protect our interests and values, and make our country safer and more prosperous” and that our nation should be “a principled force for peace and prosperity in the world.” In a world where the United States faces competition for global influence, the platform notes “we cannot walk away from our position of global leadership and allow other countries to make decisions about our lives, jobs, and safety.”

  • Global Development Critical for U.S. Engagement, 1% of Budget

    The platform defines America’s civilian tools as pillars of U.S. national security. The document states, “We believe the smart use of diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft can prevent crises, foster stability, and make us safer.” The platform showcases the game-changing results of strategic investments in global development, saying “our development assistance has helped cut extreme poverty in half, drastically decreased maternal and child mortality, reduced global hunger, provided food security, countered deadly pandemics, promoted education, and put an AIDS-free generation within reach.” The platform also urges “more progress on important global goals like ending extreme poverty and hunger.”

  • Platform Prioritizes Global Health

    From Zika to Ebola to HIV/AIDS, the Democratic platform reinforces the need for strong and robust American leadership in combating pandemics and eradicating communicable diseases. The document calls for funding and testing for a vaccine to address Zika. The 2016 version sets a new goal of an AIDS-free generation, saying “we will continue our commitment to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and increase global funding for HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.”

  • Focus on Women and Girls

    As a reflection of core American values, the platform foregrounds the advancement of women and girls in America’s foreign policy. Calling upon the U.S. to be a leading advocate for the rights of women and girls, the platform states that “elevating their status is not just the right thing to do—it is also a strategic imperative that advances American interests in prosperity and stability.” Further, the platform specifically pledges that the U.S. will work with our African partners to improve their capacity to respond to crises and protect of their citizens, especially women and girls.

  • U.S. Partnership with Africa

    Applauding President Obama’s engagement with African partners on a range of foreign policy issues, the platform asserts that “we will continue to strengthen democratic institutions and human rights, fair trade and investment, development, and global health” and support African partners “to respond to crises and protect citizens, especially women and girls” and to respond to terrorist attacks undertaken by extremist groups.

  • Human Trafficking, Refugees, and Multilateral Organizations

    The platform also highlights a number of other related issues including:

    – Addressing the global refugee crisis, highlighting the more than 60 million displaced from the crises in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe and supporting an “international summit to address this crisis so that every country assumes its responsibility to meet this humanitarian challenge”

    – Support for “global institutions—most prominently the United Nations—and multilateral organizations” that “are an important amplifier of American strength and influence”

    – Pledging to “stop the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery of men, women, boys, and girls” and building on the accomplishments of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

“The burdens of this century cannot fall on our soldiers alone… Our diplomacy and development capabilities must help prevent conflict, spur economic growth, strengthen weak and failing states, lift people out of poverty, combat… epidemic disease, and strengthen institutions of democratic growth.”

President Barack Obama

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