On February 15, the CISG hosted a panel discussion in cooperation with DGAP Forum-NRW on the recently published U.S. National Security Strategy and its possible impacts on international politics and security. After a short introduction by Henry-Kissinger Professor James D. Bindenagel and Jonas Abs, Chairman of the DGAP Forum-NRW, Georgetown Professor Charles Kupchan assessed the significance of the strategy before entering into a discussion with Jan Techau, director of the Europe Program of the German Marshal Fund.
Kupchan’s assessment left no room for misinterpretation: “The new U.S. National Security Strategy just doesn’t matter and it doesn’t tell you anything about how Donald Trump is going to act.” According to Kupchan, it is unlikely to influence Trump’s foreign policy in any meaningful way, but it should serve as a wake-up call, reminding Congress of the need to rethink national security.
Trump is not convinced of the advantages of the multilateral world order for the United States, which, in turn, intensifies the trend towards an archaic system like the one before 1941, Kupchan said.
He furthermore elaborated that the impact of globalisation, economic and immigration issues as well as social media are driving factors regarding the U.S.’ new political direction as the U.S. population is growing increasingly unsatisfied with the current situation in terms of stagnating wages, unemployment and a broken immigration system. The U.S. has always been a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures, yet for the most part with a core of English speaking inhabitants – due to immigration, Kupchan stated, the nation is shifting towards a country of minorities. Trump tries to address these issues by picking up on an element of political culture deeply rooted in the American identity: “Each out for their own welfare” – the core principle of America First.
During the discussion that followed, Jan Techau invoked the concept of a ‘sophisticated state failure’ as another reason for the success of America First, describing a state which is able to perform its basic functions over decades and thus largely maintaining a status quo while neglecting to appropriately identify and deal with arising challenges. In light of Trump’s approach to international politics and weakened European-American-relations, Techau asked whether the era of atlanticism is over. Kupchan stressed that, if atlanticism is to survive, Europe must remain an irreplaceable ally for the U.S. while consolidating European integration and acting as an anchor for European values and ideals. ”Europe needs Germany. Macron needs Germany. Stand up to Hungary, stand up to Poland. Step up and hold your nose. It is in Europe’s interest to do more. Regardless of what the U.S. is going to do”, Kupchan summarized.
This event was supported by: