Transatlantic Relations in the Trump Age: Europe Should Go It Alone
DATE: November 29, 2017
SUBJECT: Transatlantic Relations in the Trump Age: Europe Should Go It Alone | NYU Program in International Relations | With additional book signing of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age with author James Kirchick
The modern conception of Europe as unified under the European Union with states that act in cooperation with one another was built in a large part by the United States.
Europe needs the cooperation of the United States in order to be at its most effective; often, the two entities’ cooperation ensures mutual success.
Distinctions in ideologies surrounding the military, internationalism, and identity will likely continue to complicate transatlantic relations.
The event can be viewed at: http://as.nyu.edu/ir/events/fall-2017/transatlantic-relations--le-monde-.html
Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Time: 7:00 p.m- 9:00 p.m., with reception and signing from 9:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.
Location: 19 University Place
Amanda Sloat (against), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State,
Anne-Cécile Robert (for), Director of International Editions of Le Monde diplomatique,
James Kirchick (against), Author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age,
Romauld Sciora (for), Author, Essayist, and Documentary Filmmaker,
Professor Michael J. Williams, Moderator and Program Director of International Relations
The event opened with a short introduction from moderator Professor Michael J. Williams, who then defined Amanda Sloat and James Kirchick as arguing against the assertion that transatlantic relations are declining, and defined Anne-Cécile Robert and Romauld Sciora as arguing that the new world order may cease to exist. Mr. Sciora opened by acknowledging that after the Cold War, there was no rigidly established new world order, leading to the current weak transatlantic partnership. Dr. Sloat retorted that even so, Europe has been incapable of acting alone in terms of major global challenges, and does not have the same diplomatic clout as the US. Following up on Mr. Sciora’s argument, Ms. Robert noted that the conception of Europe was built by the United States in order to counter the Soviet Union, and the current lack of common vision and interests amongst European countries heightens the importance of their continued alignment with the United States, even as populism is on the rise.
However, Kirchik cited the 1990 Charter for a New Europe as an established new world order, that the rise of populism and the election of Trump had little to do with foreign policy and more so domestic affairs, that NATO was becoming obsolete, and that the next Republican president would probably be tough on Russia yet again. He went on to note that not all populist elections are based on economic downfall, as in Poland, and then asserted that French far-left presidential candidate Melenchon was in essence the same as far-right candidate Le Pen “without the racism”, as they both were anti-US and anti-NATO. He then resolved that immigration was the largest issue, and that with tighter borders the populist wave would fade.
The debaters then continued to agree that this would be a moment for Europe to define itself and move forward, and that French President Macron could be a shift in the world order. Romauld then countered Kirchik’s point that Le Pen and Melenchon were essentially similar, as Melenchon was not a nationalist. Ms. Sloat asserted that the new world order was less so a product of immigration, and more so of an identity crisis, as internationalism threatens the security of a strong identity. It was also noted that the Americans are necessary for the use of hard military power, as Europeans spend their money on social programs, and Ms. Sloat noted that the American military is generally respected by its public. She also noted that everyone wants an excuse not to deal with the immigrant problem, and that each country has contextualized the issue in terms of their own domestic problems.
A Q&A session followed, and the first audience member inquired about the similarities between the representation of populist leaders in America and Europe, Kirchik responded that mainstream social democracy appeared to be collapsing to the either extreme left or right. He responded further that the refugee crisis did not spark action, that every actor is attempting to push responsibility onto the other, and that the elites and established parties are doing enough.
The next participant asked about border control and the EU, and Kirchik responded that there should be another “Marshall Plan” for the Middle East and North Africa to stop the problem, while Sloat added that the European attitudes about intelligence sharing changed a lot after the Paris terrorist attack.
The event ended with a signing of James Kirchik’s new book, The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, and reception.