National Security Institute Publishes New Report: “Principled Conservatism in America’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy”

July 2, 2021
Contact: John Poulson

National Security Institute Publishes New Paper:
“Principled Conservatism in America’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy”


Arlington, VA – Today, the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School published its latest paper, “Principled Conservatism in America’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy,” by NSI Distinguished Fellow Christopher Ford.

In the hope of catalyzing policy conversations and drawing out points of potential agreement between policy stakeholders, in this paper, former diplomat and Republican political appointee Dr. Christopher Ford offers his thoughts on what a broad vision for ‘principled conservatism’ in U.S. foreign and national security policy might look like. Topics in the paper include:

  • Great power competition, democracy, and the rule of law;
  • The role of professional expertise in policymaking;
  • International allies and partners, terrorists and rogue regimes;
  • Trade, immigration, and energy; and
  • Political dialogue and Constitutionalism.

“Historically, politicians and political parties have often used time spent out of office as an opportunity to learn from past successes and failures, to recover a shared vision of the direction and objectives of political life, and to formulate the policy agendas that they hope will eventually return them to power with the trust of the country’s voters. American conservatives are out of power today, and have both an opportunity and a need for such soul-searching and vision-recovery,” said NSI Distinguished Fellow Dr. Christopher Ford.  “At a time, moreover, when both of the main U.S. political parties are riven by factional conflict between centrists and radicals, I hope this paper will provide food for thought for anyone interested in the future of U.S. politics and policymaking,” he added.

“The exercise of creating a platform that allows an out-of-power political movement to return to power often begins with considering foundational beliefs that underpin its ideas,” said NSI Director of Strategy Matthew Heiman. “Christopher Ford’s paper lays out a case for what he describes as ‘principled conservatism’ in national security affairs. Covering the waterfront of foreign policy challenges, this paper should be considered by conservatives that are debating U.S. engagement with the world as well as liberals that will need to respond to their opponents’ arguments.”

The paper is available here.

Dr. Christopher Ford’s bio can be found here.


About the National Security Institute
The National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities. NSI draws on the experience of its fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.

About George Mason
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

About the Scalia Law School
The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead). It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.