December 1, 2018

CGA Presents Panel on “America First” and the Future of the Liberal International Order

The week following the US Midterm elections last fall, CGA presented a wide-ranging conversation on the contours and impact of President Trump’s Foreign Policy, including a forecast on the international order created by the US and Western Europe following World War II.


The panelists discussed the platform presented by President Trump in 2016: a nationalist “America First” platform, centered on economic protectionism, reduced immigration, de-regulation, and the rollback of civil rights protections. Internationally, this platform, faintly reminiscent of the anti-interventionist America First Committee of the early 1940s, has translated into an aggressive break with the internationalist—and interventionist—foreign policy of his predecessors, a rejection of multilateralism, the weakening of the transatlantic alliance and NATO’s collective security system, and a hardline Iran containment policy in the Middle East. 


Moderator Sylvia Maier, CGA Clinical Associate Professor, brought together a selection of panelists who examined the results of this policy from various angles. Dalia Fahmy, Associate Professor of Political Science at Long Island University discussed the status of democracy in a post-Arab Spring Middle East, including how US Foreign policy towards the Middle East changed under Trump, and whether the Middle East has become generally more authoritarian. Christiane Lemke, Professor of Political Science at Leibniz University in Hannover, Germany; and former Director of the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence, analyzed the trans-Atlantic relationship at this moment. CGA Clinical Professor Michael F. Oppenheimer discussed US foreign policy scenarios and drivers. CGA Clinical Associate Professor Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu talked about the Iran nuclear deal and the Trump Administration’s disagreements  with multilateral platforms for diplomacy. Devin Stewart, Senior Program Director, Senior Fellow, and CNL Staff Adviser at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an East Asia expert who talked about the possibilities for fruitful outcomes for Trump’s diplomacy in North Korea.


The November 2018 panel forms the second in a series of conversations Dr. Maier has hosted. The first, in 2017, examined the impact of the Trump Presidency abroad after one year in office. Dr. Maier plans to hold a third event in November 2020, following the next US Presidential Election.

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