An Invitation

What’s your vision of the US role in the world? Should the United States invest most of its time and treasure in a bigger military and higher walls around our borders, or focus on greater cooperation with other nations to address our common concerns?

Military power and isolation may offer some protection for people within our national borders for a short period of time, but this protection comes with serious long-term costs to our country and world.

An Invitation to Reimagine US Foreign Policy

The Friends Committee on National Legislation and American Friends Service Committee have started a conversation about  a new vision for U.S. foreign policy grounded in our shared security as global community.  Now we need your help. We invite you to check out the Shared Security document, the study guide and blog posts.

Then we hope you will help us start a broader conversation among Friends and other like minded folk. We invite you to consider using these resources as the basis for a discussion in your meeting, church, or other community group. Most importantly, we’re looking for your ideas, your leadings and your development of these ideas. Please let us know your thoughts, comments and questions. We hope that this website will become a platform for inspiration, critical thinking and action as we move forward in this work together.

How This Project Got Started

This Shared Security project began in the summer of 2012 as staff from AFSC and FCNL came together to begin drafting a joint publication describing the problems we saw in U.S. foreign policy and a better way forward. We were troubled by the heavily militarized and short-sighted nature of current U.S. policy, this collaborative educational and advocacy effort is focused on moving toward a more humane, inspired and ethical role for the U.S. in the world.

Friends and colleagues provided feedback on the text, discussed the core concepts, and designed action ideas and practical next steps. In April, 2013 we gathered at Pendle Hill with a dynamic and diverse group of Friends to help us consider a way forward with the project.  We are happy to share the Epistle from this gathering with you to give a sense of the energy and inspiration we felt as we imagined a world of shared security together.

About this Website

Several of the participants in the Pendle Hill discussion have continued to reflect on the themes that came out of that gathering. You can find their thoughts on our blog. We encourage you to engage with them through the comments section of each post.

We are excited about this collaboration–with FCNL, AFSC, and you–and look forward to working with Friends toward a world of shared security, away from fear, toward love.

Have a Comment or Question? 

Please see the Submit a Response page to share your reactions to the Shared Security document or project.


San Francisco Friends Meetinghouse

Sunday, October 27, 1:00 p.m.
65 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(near Civic Center BART, between Market & Mission streets)

Second Hour Discussion of Shared Security: Reimagining US Foreign Policy.

AFSC and FCNL have put out a new document calling for a major shift in US Foreign Policy from one of looking at just our national interests and national security to one of Shared Security for all peoples and nations.  We believe this is not only much more in keeping with Friends values and beliefs, but is also the only real security.

Please join us for a lively discussion of this document and explore how Friends in the Bay Area can help encourage discussion of this important issue in the larger community. This gathering is sponsored by the SF Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

David Hartsough and Paula Stinson, facilitators.

If you have questions, please contact David Hartsough at

Central Philadelphia Friends Meeting

Sunday, November 3rd, 12:30 p.m
Friends Center
1515 Cherry St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Please join Diane Randall, executive secretary of FCNL, and Shan Cretin, general secretary of AFSC, for a conversation about Shared Security, a new joint AFSC/FCNL project to re-imagine U.S. foreign policy. The project seeks to promote alternatives to militarism, war, deadly conflict and climate crisis and to engage all who care about these issues in a renewed vision for shared security. For more information and to see the working paper, go to  Open discussion to follow.

For questions, contact Paul Ricker: or (215)482-3943.


7 thoughts on “An Invitation

  1. Parts of this world are already marginally inhabitable by people, Bangladesh, for instance. Do Heifer donations go to areas where agriculture is nonsustainable? Should Save the Children work toward moving populations? Margaret Maxfield

    • Ms. Maxfield: You missed the point of my interview (edited)! Where does de-population have anything to do w/ it? What Dr. Bacevich was arguing in a traditional conservative — but not Neo-Conservative terms — is, non-intervention. He is arguing that the U.S. does not require so many “forward” bases. That comes out of World War II realities. The example of China is very telling. Their large influence over Africa comes from shared economic interests — not military threat. What he is arguing is that what the American armed services should be doing is to guarantee the protection of the homeland — not to maintain an army. I don’t feel a 100% of his thesis correct, but there is a lot to extract!
      Again, thank you!

      Geoffrey Cook

  2. Geoffrey Cook: From a 2010 column:

    Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

    Andrew Bacevich,, who retired as an American Army Colonel with a distinguished military career,, twenty years ago, and, then, became an academic with a position, currently, in Boston has created a book (the title of this piece) that has created quite a stir through several layers of society to the point of being on the New York Times best seller list..
    Bacevich was at Berkeley, speaking to an academic audience, to promote this new hardback last month…
    For a “retired” military man, Bacevich writes with a sensitively with a national political vision.Washington Rules merges foreign affairs into recent American military history. The study intends to examine the national issues of the day. Historically, what he discusses are America’s security questions since the denouement of the Second World War.
    Dr. Bacevich deduces that America’s external affairs’ theorem…is similar to Israel’s validation for its Eternal [unsustainable] War modus operandi that largely was developed by American Neo-Conservatives during the first of Netanyahu’s Prime Ministerships. America’s policy credo has to have the Armed Services de facto – although not in name — control the civilian body politik. The fortified soldiers’ primary function is no longer to defend the United States, but to extend the District of Columbia’s dominance within Globalism. This strategy was configured in the period after World War Two, and has been enlarged since, but the world was a much different place then and America was truly the dominant policeman, but not so now. There are many more local forces available than the U.S.A. to do that job.
    Washington is doing its own toil only for (the interests of) itself (D.C)…[but] how to create a long-lasting peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Islamic World (?) … . Unfortunately, official Washington’s “…[the American government’s] efforts [to outreach] to the Islamic world have brought [even] more instability” even, though President Obama’s Administration has attempted to reverse this long-standing trend.
    Iraq was not a security threat at all!, (but) Afghanistan was a threat (if a Post-Al’Quaeda world can be achieved, a government of national unity from Kabul with inclusive of elements of the Taliban is not outside the range of possibilities). Bacevich emphatically states that War should only become a tool of self-defense – not employed as a preventative stratagem in and of itself such as in the Bush Doctrine.
    Although the States have been formally hostile to losing the slightest status in the past, contemporary Civil Society in the Americas and Europe are in rebellion to the Classic modern vision of the Metropole (Washington, D.C.).
    This book looks at the alternatives to the status quo of the last fifty-five years. Foremost, the NPT (the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) should become part and parcel to the U.S.’ Security schemata we do not require bases or even an armed presence worldwide anymore. He gives the example of China’s expanding control of Africa’s natural resources without deploying one single occupying soldier!
    Your researcher concurs with Professor Bacevich, “Globalism is where the big guys win and the little guys lose.” (In fact your scribe would go so far as to declare that the rise of the Global along with a reinvigorated Capitalism [economic Liberalization] has been one of the worst disasters to the average citizen worldwide!) Regional control of local resources is the call for the day!
    Curiously, the (Former) Colonel considers himself to be a Conservative whereas the tome he penned has been taken up enthusiastically by the Democratic Left within his own country and our allies and detractors, for he perceives an alternative hegemony. Your correspondent, further, observes Andrew Bacevich to be a political moderate out of the time-honored traditional antipathy of for foreign adventurism. Therefore, he considers “… the [U.S.] redefinition of the Counter-Insurgency Doctrine, has made… [the only]… possible…conclusion to armed conflict solely [a] military… [one].” Hopefully, Professor Bacevich is inaccurate, and the process will quickly make it possible for NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), our allies in the Hindu Kush, to exit Muslim lands with stability, and an orderly military withdrawal for all the armed forces involved in the battle.

  3. Basically, I like what I read, but the material seems to need editing. At times it was unclear, and I saw at least one run-on sentence, which caused confusion.

    Judy Moreland

  4. Ms. Morland,, this came from a column I write for the Muslim Observer. It was & quickly edited (when I should have been in bed), late last night which partially explains the “run-on” sentences, to focus on the initial comment late last night. It was from an interview w/ (Colonel) Prof. Bacveich when he his was promoting his then (2010) bk. The second factor that may confuse the sentences is that my style derives frm. from Cicerionian (sp.?) prose, & you would see that from diagraming a sentence.
    If anyone is willing to make it possible (& provide the column inches) for me to rewrite this piece exactly for “your” needs, just contact me.
    Thank you for reading my words, & taking the time to comment!

  5. Yes, I am also a fan of Bacevich. I would add, though, that non-proliferation is not a truly fair standard. No single human being on earth is safe as long as there is a single nuclear weapon anywhere. The only fair standard is to abolish nuclear weapons from the earth. Having not only built nuclear weapons, used them in warfare, and planted then in Britain, we sat idly by while Russia, China, India, France, Israel, and Pakistan developed their own nuclear arsenals. Kennedy started a path toward elimination by negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was reversed by G.W. Bush, and we are now saying that the nuclear club must grow no larger. North Korea is a very special and difficult case in which progress is possible and in which the steps of progress made by Carter and Clinton were reversed by G. W. Bush. Have we forgotten that India and Israel each gave assurances to the world that its purpose was solely for the peaceful use of nuclear energy? But the genie is out of the bottle. While we tighten the economic screws on every man, woman, and child in Iran, its very hostile neighbor, Israel, continues to make threats while perfecting and enlarging its arsenal of 200+ weapons, while carrying out its ruthless ethnic cleansing of lands that have belonged to Bedouin Arab families (who are citizens of the nation of Israel) for 1,000 years. President Obama is gently leading Russia in a plan to reduce our arsenals together. This is a great step, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough, and it doesn’t include the five other nuclear powers.

    • Who can’t be a fan of Bacevich who cares about the things we do. Below is the URL which should lead to an article of mine on him & his book:

      My academic training is as a South Asian regional expert whose interests have broaden into the areas of nuclear proliferation there. I have articles on Avner Cohen (Israel), Steve Cohen, Pervez Khan, and Neil Joeck besides notes on General Cortwright and Geo. Perkovich which I would like to turn into “high Brow” journalistic articles as well as an academic paper with which I’ve been struggling — on the probable reaction of Pakistan to a nuclear attack upon Iran by Israel. Further, an essay on the e-monograph on the human cost on any attack Tel Aviv might make upon Tehran.
      All this is to say I am excited about this blog. If the discussion slows down at any point, I hope to present some of my research for learned discussion, but mainly to listen to those who have thought deeply upon these matters.
      What is most interesting for me is the concept of the Zero Option. I have the material, & hope I can write on it over the coming year, too.

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