02 Aug Airo AV Reports: Aug 16 | America & The World: U.S. Foreign Policy Update
Has America lost its preeminent place in the world?
Emerging from World War II as the first among equals, the United States became the architect and leader of a series of overlapping international alliances and agreements that relied on cooperation to seed the unrivaled progress and prosperity of the post-war era.
But the popular platform of “America First,” which propelled President Trump to victory and symbolized his world view, effectively shattered that bipartisan foreign policy consensus. After Mr. Trump shredded some international pacts and withdrew from others entirely, the U.S.’s dominant role as a global leader is vanishing.
Now three renowned experts on international affairs are gathering August 16 to discuss America’s standing in the world and the impact of President Trumps’ relegation of the country’s traditional allies and alliances. In the face of the country’s most consequential foreign policy election in the post-war era, the trio of preeminent panelists also will debate how to project American power and how to protect the country from foreign threats.
The panel is headlined by Dr Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State in history. A relatively unknown authority on Eastern Europe, Albright, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, rocketed to prominence in 1996 when she became the voice of outrage for the Clinton administration, which was under fierce domestic attack for being too soft on Fidel Castro, after Cuban jet fighters downed two unarmed civilian planes from Miami.
The daughter of Czech immigrants, Dr Albright graduated in 1959 from Wellesley College and earned her PhD from Columbia University in 1975. She served on the National Security Council under Zbigniew Brzezinski but, after President Jimmy Carter left office, returned to academia, joining Georgetown and becoming an advisor to Democratic presidential candidates. She helped staff the National Security Council for President Clinton, who in 1993 appointed her the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Four years later Albright succeeded Warren Christopher as Secretary of State.
A Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Dr Albright is the Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and diplomacy.
Senator Chris Murphy, the torchbearer of a new progressive foreign policy for the country, is the second member of the panel. The junior senator from Connecticut, he gained national fame for his passion in responding to the 2012 slaughter of 26 people, including 20 children, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and now has become a heralded spokesperson for efforts to reorient American foreign policy towards emphasizing a global perspective and cooperation with allies.
Murphy’s proposed redirection–his gospel, as Vox put it earlier this year in a long but gracious profile of the senator–is what he and others call a “progressive foreign policy.” Its tenets are that the country must avoid extended wars, elevate diplomacy over military intervention, invest in anti-corruption programs to weaken autocracies and focus on climate change and pandemics as ongoing global threats.
But underlying all his policies is one basic tenet: fixing and sustaining American democracy is vital to promoting it elsewhere.
The third member of the panel is Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator for the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Originally a social worker who began her career working with battered women and the urban poor, Hillary Clinton in 2011 appointed her Undersecretary of State, the fourth-ranking State Department official with worldwide responsibilities. In that position, she led the American team during the drawn-out negotiations that successfully concluded with Tehran’s agreement to limit sensitive nuclear activities in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
Previously, she was the Clinton administration’s policy coordinator for North Korea, an architect of the 1994 and 2001 agreements under which the authoritarian regime promised to restrict its nuclear weapons and intercontinental missile programs. Although accused of appeasement by many Republicans, including former Secretary of State James Baker and hardliners such as John Bolton, she remained an outspoken advocate of using negotiations to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs.
Moderated by former NBC correspondent and national talk show host Jane Whitney, this interactive symposium will be live-streamed, allowing anyone with an internet-connected device to participate and ask questions. All proceeds benefit local organizations including New Milford Hospital.