The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies works toward closer cooperation among the experienced democracies as a basis for more effective US engagement in world affairs. It builds on transatlantic and other inter-democracy institutions, supporting their treaty commitments to grow wider and deeper. In an increasingly interdependent system, where solutions to international challenges require the cooperation of many parties, governmental and nongovernmental, the Streit Council facilitates the emergence of viable answers. As a body that combines academic research with policy work to identify practical solutions, the Streit Council is uniquely designed as a forum where policymakers and scholars explore new approaches to better cooperation among the democracies. Combined, the long-established democracies have overwhelming power and influence in the world. This gives them great responsibilities to provide coherent global leadership. Working together consistently is the key.
What We Are: We are an independent, non-partisan, non-profit incorporated 501(c)(3) organization, and our mission is based upon the principles and policies of Federal Union, the Atlantic Union Committee, and the Association to Unite the Democracies.
As we carry their mission into the twenty-first century, we build on the transatlantic organizations established partly on the basis of our ideas and on the new enthusiasm of Eastern European countries for joining these institutions since the fall of Communism in Europe in 1989-91.
Since Clarence K. Streit wrote Union Now, the established democracies have indeed developed substantial institutions for managing their common affairs and meeting their responsibilities in the world at large. The postwar US strategy of integrating an initial group of democratic countries led to the institutionalization of the Atlantic Alliance through NATO and its Parliamentary Assembly, and to support for other emerging inter-democracy institutions, such as the OECD, EU, International Energy Agency, G8, and others. These institutions, in keeping with the Union Now concept, worked as a magnet, attracting other countries to democratize and eventually join.
In its early years, the Federal Union movement helped to create a powerful sense of Atlantic identity, which became embedded in the new institutions. While this identity often seems to be fading away, its impact on diplomacy and on our lives still endures through the institutions it spawned. Each round of EU and NATO enlargement is an implementation, perhaps unconscious, of our movement's original programmatic documents.
As a citizens' organization, we continue to promote the goal of a Union of Democracies primarily through research and education, fostering public discourse and awareness.
What We Do: We foster education, research, and policy initiatives on Euro-Atlantic integration, with particular emphasis on NATO and the European Union. We sponsor conferences, workshops, research projects, policy-networks, and reports to explore:
- Widening and deepening the EU, NATO, G-7/8, IEA, and OECD.
- Efficient decision-making and voting processes in inter-democracy institutions.
- Ways for the core democracies to foster broader democratization and integration.
- Role of transatlantic institutions as an open nucleus of world order, built initially around long-standing democracies and gradually expanding to newer democracies.
What We Work For: Through the collaborative work of a diverse and intergenerational group of leaders, the Streit Council's work promotes a Union of Democracies, built around an initial core of long-standing North Atlantic democracies and expanding to newer democracies.
We are working toward a future of enhanced freedom, extended beyond current borders through a union of free peoples. We believe that any qualitative step forward in political evolution needs to be based upon the interlocking principles of freedom and union at both the national and the international levels. Our work is based upon the belief that the optimal way to deal with unfinished business in political evolution is a federal union of the established democracies, acting as a nucleus open to other countries to join as they modernize and democratize.
Of the institutions built upon the idea of a union of democracies, most still lack democratic accountability and - with the exception of the EU - have only started the process toward joint decision-making commensurate with their joint needs and adequate to their joint responsibilities.
The world's established democracies still have - as when Union Now was published - the greatest power and influence in the world when working together. As citizens of these democracies, we continue to bear great responsibilities: to strengthen our joint institutions and thus stabilize the international system, to promote common human concerns more effectively and consistently, at both regional and global levels.
- to promote closer, better-organized cooperation among the experienced democracies as the key to more effective US engagement in world affairs;
- to support the goals of deeper integration and ever-wider membership for the Euro-Atlantic institutions;
- to encourage steps toward democratic voting processes in inter-democracy institutions, as a step beyond veto-ridden procedures; and
- to enhance freedom, security, and peace through union of democracies and cooperation with all countries whenever feasible.