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Cheaper energy also would stimulate economic growth. A bigger American economy means a more powerful America.

Third, make a Group of Eight — Minus 1: The Group of Six was founded in 1975 as a forum of the world’s leading industrialized democracies. When Canada joined the following year, it became the G-7. Russia was added to the club in 1998 despite the fact that it was not then — and is not now — an industrialized democracy.

On the contrary, Russia is an autocracy and relatively underdeveloped, with per-capita wealth about a third that of South Korea. What riches it possesses have not been created through invention, innovation and productivity, but through the exploitation of natural resources controlled by oligarchs.

Let’s return to G-7 and, over time, transform it into an association of free-market, liberal democracies — an alternative to the United Nations, a broken institution beyond any hope of repair.

Fourth, respect the wisdom of “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” That’s Latin for “If you want peace, prepare for war,” a doctrine dating back to Plato. Mr. Obama does not subscribe to it. Instead, he assures us that the “tide of war is receding.”

However, Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, continues to spin centrifuges. Al Qaeda forces are fighting in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and North Africa. China is throwing around its growing military weight — including a 12 percent increase in military spending for 2014. Again, Mr. Putin’s troops have seized Crimea, six years after having taken two big bites out of Georgia.

You don’t have to be Clausewitz to see that this is the wrong moment for the United States to take another “peace dividend,” to shrink the military, reduce capabilities and readiness.

The list above is by no means exhaustive. The point is to adopt policies that will make the United States stronger — economically, militarily and, by extension, diplomatically.

Nothing is more likely to cause Mr. Putin to regret his actions and think hard before repeating them elsewhere. Nothing would send a clearer message to Iran, China and other aspiring empire-builders.

“You don’t just in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the other day. That’s true in the sense that top hats and petticoats are no longer stylish.

Despotism, however, seems to be making a comeback. In consequence, the United States has 21st-century responsibilities. If we’re unwilling or unable to shoulder them, no one else will.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.