If improving the United States' standing in the world is one of the biggest challenges the next president must address, then students at Occidental College in Southern California have some ideas on how to get started.
Professor Derek Shearer, an ambassador during the Clinton administration, tasked his students with figuring out how "the world ought to be run." They came up with a comprehensive plan for dealing with Iraq, terrorism and the environment — among other issues — and published the recommendations under the title Rebranding America.
Shearer submitted the report to both Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign advisers. Since then, Shearer says he's received inquiries about the report from across the world.
"Some foreign policy experts have come back to me," Shearer says, "And said, 'Your students have shown it isn't rocket science. Smart undergraduates can figure out solutions maybe better than experts."
Some recommendations from the report:
Iraq: The best strategy is a measured withdrawal with a firm end-date and points based on strategic goals.
Oil: The first step towards a better environmental policy is to mandate that all U.S. political envoys worldwide use hybrid vehicles for transportation to send a signal.
Terrorism: In the State of the Union address, the new president should immediately renounce the term "War on Terror" and reframe terrorism as a violation of international norms.