I'm thrilled to announce that American Umpire, a documentary I recently had the pleasure of scoring, will be airing on PBS stations this month and next! Air dates are listed here.
AMERICAN UMPIRE, directed by Jim Shelley, co-produced with Elizabeth Cobbs
Since the end of World War II, the United States has played a unique security role in the world. During that time, democratic nation states have proliferated, combat deaths have plunged, and global trade has boomed. The security umbrella of the United States enabled war ravaged nations to rebuild and the Cold War came to a peaceful conclusion. War did not disappear. Suffering and poverty were not eliminated. But when compared to any other period over the last several centuries, the last half of the 20th century was a period of historic prosperity and relative peace. Most countries in the world have benefited from what many economists call the golden age.
The United States has benefited as well. But it has come at a cost. U.S. defense spending represents about 20% of the federal budget and spends more on defense than the next 28 countries combined. In 1947, the U.S. represented roughly half of the world's manufacturing capacity. Today it is less than 20%. Yet allies fail to meet their minimal commitments on defense spending confident that the U.S. will defend them. In fact, 95% of all military personnel around the world who are stationed outside their home counties are American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Their job is difficult, unpredictable, and often thankless. The question is, are we over doing it?
American Umpire explores how the United States got into this role in the first place. Then, through a series of outstanding interviews with prominent policy makers, scholars, military leaders, and journalists, it explores possible policy options for the future. American Umpire offers a balanced view and is an alternative to partisan hyperbole of the 24-hour news cycles and social media that paints foreign policy choices in black and while as either irresponsible isolationism or war-mongering engagement.
American Umpire seeks to open up a national discussion about the foreign policy of the United States in an important election year. More than anyone, presidents decide foreign policy and define our national vision.