Freedom Champions: Stories from the front lines in the war of ideas

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  3. Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the 'Grey Zone'

Fisher died in , just weeks after being honored with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth.

FRONTLINE/World "News War: War of Ideas" - PBS

British MP, Oliver Letwin later commented on the incredible influence of this RAF pilot turned chicken farming entrepreneur turned think tank pioneer: This approach seeks to strengthen the worldwide freedom movement by expanding and energizing the global network of think tank leaders and staff to continually inspire and redefine excellence in advancing the cause of liberty. In its first three decades, Atlas Network has played a role in the work of numerous market-oriented public policy organizations all over the world: Each of these organizations has a remarkable story to tell about changing public opinion on key topics among its target audience.

Today, Atlas Network connects more than think tanks in nearly countries. To win the long-term policy battles that will shape history, we need freedom champions to create credible institutes — well-managed and independent of vested interests — that use sound business practices to advance sound public policy ideas.

Atlas Network is not endowed and it does not accept government funding. It does not support political candidates or parties, or otherwise involve itself in partisan politics. We are grateful to those generous individuals, philanthropies, and businesses that entrust us with financial resources to build a greater public consensus around the ideas of a free society by advancing the Atlas Network mission. To learn more about Atlas Network, watch this short video.


Captive nations like Poland and Hungary showed the way to freedom, to a future of liberty and free markets. A few years later, those nations that had been forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union itself — nations like the Baltic States, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova — achieved their independence as well. The freedom that these nations won came first and foremost as a result of their own effort. In their battle against communism, these nations were supported by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. When their freedom came, it was the result of a very fierce competition, a long struggle for mastery, in which America brought great resources and manpower to bear in defense of freedom.

Today there is a new competition for influence in the world. As outlined by the National Security Strategy, the return of big-power competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time.

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The need to systematically prepare for this competition is the central task of U. That preparation begins at home by rebuilding the foundations of long-term American economic power, strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base, reinvesting in national defense, recapitalizing the U.

Abroad, it means rebalancing burdens with allies and recalibrating international institutions that no longer match strategic reality. Russia is again a military factor in this region, following the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. Well beyond the frontier, in the countries of Central Europe, Russia uses manipulative energy tactics, corruption, and propaganda to weaken Western nations from within and undermine their bonds with the United States.

And for the first time in history, China has become a major player in Central and Eastern Europe. Beijing uses debt-book diplomacy to accumulate infrastructure and force concessions on smaller nations. These tactics mirror Chinese behavior at the international level, where Beijing engages in unfair trade practices including IP theft, economic espionage, and dumping.

Part of the reason that our rivals are gaining ground in Central and Eastern Europe is that for too long the West did not take competition seriously here.


After the Cold War, many in the West came to believe that history had ended and that enduring realities like geography, history, and the nation no longer mattered. Many in the West overlooked the foundational importance of the nation state and national sovereignty as one of the key sources, along with natural law, from which political legitimacy ultimately derives. International institutions came to be seen as ends in themselves rather than instruments that must bring security and relevance to the lives of the citizens they serve.

Meanwhile, the strategic realities upon which post-World War II institutions were built were shifting all around us.

Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the 'Grey Zone'

Even a casual look at the map today should lead us to question the assumptions that animated past policies and turn our attention to the urgent task of strengthening the West to contest the growing influence of our rivals. The dangers to Ukraine and Georgia are direct and existential, comprising both military threats to territorial integrity and sovereignty, and efforts to unravel the democratic institutions that their citizens are attempting to build. In Central Europe proper, the threat is of a degree of political and economic penetration that with time could degrade national independence and splinter NATO.

First, as outlined by the National Security Strategy, America will compete for positive influence abroad. America is a powerful democracy whose example as a beacon of liberty burns bright and continues to draw others to us. Let me share with you the sentiment, which is prominently displayed on our walls at Atlas, of Joaquim Nabuco, a nineteenth century Brazilian writer, diplomat and abolitionist: You will be aware of its worth and have the courage to defend it. Download the full version here. You can also order hard copies on Amazon. Every day, Atlas Network partners are doing amazing work around the globe, being the doers, the shakers and movers, the champions of freedom.