Discussion Group August 29, 2022: Global perspectives on current U.S. foreign policy

U.S. foreign policy, which is primarily determined and led by the President in consultation with Congress, is in constant flux due to domestic political considerations as well as developments overseas. The approach of the current administration is “foreign policy for the middle class,” which ties U.S. diplomacy to peace, security and prosperity at home while trying to strengthen the multilateral international order. Recent surveys of international opinion (Pew Research Center, Eurasia Group) show that, while the United States and American democracy continue to be viewed positively in general, the U.S. loses esteem in China and is viewed less favorably in countries which are treaty allies of the United States.

To discuss:

1. What are the fundamental factors driving perceptions of US foreign policy by other countries and their people?

2. Why do the perspectives US foreign policy by other countries and their people matter?

3. In this context, how can the US advance its current foreign policy agenda to address regional and global issues such as the war in Ukraine, shifting alignments in the Middle East, the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of climate change, and the risk of nuclear conflict?

The following resources provide background for our discussion:

A. International Attitudes Toward the U.S., NATO and Russia in a Time of Crisis, Pew Research Center (June 22, 2022) at https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2022/06/22/international-attitudes-toward-the-u-s-nato-and-russia-in-a-time-of-crisis/

B. International opinion of Joe Biden in 6 charts, Pew Research Center (July 25, 2022) at https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/07/25/international-opinion-of-joe-biden-in-6-charts/

C. Democracy’s Promise: International Views of America in the Biden Era, Eurasia Group Foundation (June 2022) at https://egfound.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Modeling-Democracy-2022.pdf

D. Future Foreign Policy: Global perceptions of the United States, A discussion with Caroline Gray of the Eurasia Group Foundation about how foreign publics view the United States and its foreign policy (June 16, 2021, 37 minutes) at https://youtu.be/u8r6ellISLY?t=420

E. The conundrum facing America’s allies is how to cope with a great imperial power in decline that is still a great imperial power. The Atlantic (August 8, 2022) at https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/08/europe-america-military-empire-decline/670960/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

Discussion Group June 6, 2022: Challenges for Germany

We are pleased that Dr. Carolyn Halladay will join us, following on her presentation at the WACMB luncheon of May 26th on The Changing World of German Politics. Dr. Halladay is a Senior Lecturer in the Center for Civil- Military Relations and in the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School. An historian and a lawyer, Dr. Halladay’s academic focus is on contemporary Central Europe.

The following resources give an overview of the current political and economic challenges facing Germany:
A. How has the war in Ukraine changed German politics? May 5, BBC Briefing Room podcast at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0016xw1 (29 minutes)
B. Russia, Energy, and the German Economy, a conversation with Michael Heinz, Chairman and CEO of the BASF Corporation, about the impact of the current crisis on the Germany economy, hosted on May 27 by the American Council on Germany, at https://youtu.be/SAnijq85sKg (58 minutes)
C. ‘Worst crisis since the second world war’: Germany prepares for a Russian gas embargo, April 21, Financial Times at link
D. Gerhard Schröder, The Former Chancellor Who Became Putin’s Man in Germany, April 22, New York Times at link
The following questions are to help guide our discussion:
1. How has the new coalition government affected Germany’s policy options for dealing with the current regional crises?
2. Germany has a complex relationship with the countries of Eastern and Western Europe; how has this affected its past and current economic policies?
3. Germany has made deliberate decisions and investments/disinvestments in energy production and acquisition over the past several decades; where does it go from here given the uncertainty of Russian energy supplies?

Discussion Group May 2, 2022: China, Taiwan and the United States

The following resources give an overview of the topic for discussion – China, Taiwan and the United States:

A. Cross-Strait Relations: How the China-Taiwan conflict could intensify U.S.-China competition, WACMB luncheon talk of March 28 by NPS Professor Christopher Twomey, one hour video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/O0ItEBBM1Tk?t=365 (please do not share link with others).

B. China-Taiwan Tensions: What’s Behind the Divide by Josh Chin, 6 April 2022 in the Wall Street Journal at https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-taiwan-tensions-explained-11646894687?st=67ul94cvfme5y8v&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

C. China Is Not Russia. Taiwan Is Not Ukraine by Andrew Scobell and Lucy Stevenson-Yang, 4 March 2022 at the US Institute for Peace at https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/03/china-not-russia-taiwan-not-ukraine

D. China and Taiwan: A really simple guide to a growing conflict, a BBC fact sheet at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-59900139

The following questions are to help guide our discussion:

1. Why is Taiwan important for China and for the U.S, and how can these competing interests be reconciled, if at all?

2. What are the implications of recent shifts in the U.S. policy of ambiguity toward Taiwan, especially through closer military cooperation?

3. What are the implications of the Russia-Ukraine conflict for China-Taiwan-US relations, and what are the risks of a military conflict over Taiwan?