Days after the Iranian nuclear pact reinvigorated the national debate over the success of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, AEI, the Center for a New American Security, and the New America Foundation hosted a panel of experts to discuss the challenges the president faces in his second term.
Ambassador Dennis Ross of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy began Tuesday’s discussion by arguing that the US must find areas of consensus with regional partners to protect American interests in the Middle East. The Saudis, he said, are key potential partners in achieving Egyptian stability and in securing a long-term deal with Iran.
On Asia, Stratfor’s Robert Kaplan cautioned that as China, Japan, and other regional powers begin to project military power outside their borders, the western Pacific becomes an increasingly important foreign policy problem for the administration, whose rebalance to the region has so far proven merely aspirational.
Anne-Marie Slaughter of the New America Foundation said the administration must prioritize maintaining America’s status as a “central node” in the international system, emphasizing the importance of America’s transpacific and transatlantic free-trade agreements and of US immigration policy reform. She claimed America is no longer seen as a leader on global issues, including humanitarian crises like that in Syria.
On this, her fellow panelists agreed, concluding that the administration must define an objective for Syria or risk terrorist groups taking hold as they have done in Yemen.
With a politically turbulent Middle East, a financially teetering European Union, and an increasingly technologically competitive Asia-Pacific region, Obama and his administration will face critical foreign policy decisions in the second half of his final term. Join AEI, the New America Foundation, and the Center for a New American Security for an in-depth discussion of these challenges.
This event continues a unique collaboration among these institutions that began during the 2012 presidential campaign season. Past conversations covered the US role in the world, US policy in East Asia, and the US national security budget.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page.
Peter Bergen, New America Foundation
Thomas Donnelly, AEI
Richard Fontaine, Center for New American Security
Robert Kaplan, Stratfor
Ambassador Dennis Ross, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America Foundation
Event Contact Information
For more information, please contact Mark Bennett at [email protected], 202.862.7184.
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
Peter Bergen is the director of the New America Foundation’s National Security Studies Program, where he leads the program’s analysis of terrorism, counterinsurgency, South Asia’s geopolitics, and other national security concerns. He is a CNN national security analyst and a fellow at Fordham University’s Center on National Security. Bergen has written for many publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, and Rolling Stone, among others. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic and has worked as a correspondent for National Geographic Television, Discovery, and CNN. Bergen’s books “Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden” (Free Press, 2001) and “The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda’s Leader” (Free Press, 2006) were named among the best nonfiction books of the year by The Washington Post, and documentaries based on his books were nominated for Emmy awards in 2002 and 2007. His most recent book is “Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad” (Broadway Books, 2013).
Thomas Donnelly is a defense and security policy analyst and codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI. He is the coauthor, with Frederick W. Kagan, of “Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields” (AEI Press, 2010). Among his recent books are “Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power” (AEI Press, 2008), also coauthored with Frederick W. Kagan; “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (AEI Press, 2007), coedited with Gary J. Schmitt; “The Military We Need” (AEI Press, 2005); and “Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Strategic Assessment” (AEI Press, 2004). From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director and a professional staff member for the US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times, and Defense News.
Richard Fontaine is the president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as a senior adviser and senior fellow at CNAS from 2009 to 2012. He previously served as foreign policy adviser to Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for more than five years. He has also worked at the US State Department, the National Security Council (NSC), and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fontaine served as foreign policy adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and, following that election, as the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Before this, he served as associate director for Near Eastern affairs at the NSC from 2003 to 2004. He also worked in the NSC’s Asian affairs directorate, where he covered Southeast Asian issues. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Robert Kaplan is chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor. He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and has been a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic for more than 20 years. In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appointed him to the Defense Policy Board. His writings have been published in the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. He has been a consultant to the US Army’s Special Forces Regiment, the US Air Force, and the US Marines. He has also lectured at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and major universities. His latest book is “The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate” (Random House, 2012).
Ambassador Dennis Ross is an American diplomat and author. He currently serves as counselor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. As a former US State Department and National Security Council official, Ross was a special assistant to President Obama for the Middle East, Afghanistan, and South Asia from 2009 to 2011. He served as the director of policy planning in the State Department under former president George H. W. Bush, was the special Middle East coordinator under former president Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (including Iran) to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. As the Middle East envoy, Ross helped the Israelis and Palestinians reach the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and brokered the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron in 1997. He facilitated the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace and also worked on talks between Israel and Syria. Ross was the recipient of the Truman Peace Prize from the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace in 2008 for his worldwide human rights contributions.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is currently the president and CEO of the New America Foundation. She is also the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009 to 2011, she served as director of policy planning for the US Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Upon leaving the State Department, she received the secretary’s distinguished service award for her work leading the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, as well as meritorious service awards from the US Agency for International Development and the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe. Before her government service, Slaughter was the dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002 to 2009 and the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law at Harvard Law School from 1994 to 2002. Her most recent book is “The Idea That Is America: Keeping Faith With Our Values in a Dangerous World” (Basic Books, 2008).