Brookings, Koch Institute scholars debate foreign affairs, future policies
Washington University hosted an internationally streamed debate about the future of American foreign policy, in partnership with the Brookings Institution and the Charles Koch Institute, this past Monday, Nov. 6.
The debate, moderated by former CNN Correspondent Candy Crowley, featured top scholars from a variety of institutional and ideological backgrounds: senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence Dr. Michael O’Hanlon; vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute Dr. Chris Preble; vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute Dr. Will Ruger; and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe Dr. Constanze Stelzenmuller. The panel addressed questions from the moderator, audience members and Twitter.
The debate was centered on the United States’ evolving role in foreign affairs, with a particular focus on defense strategies and the future of its international political and economic ties.
Preble emphasized the necessity of a shift in the United States’ global role.
“We need to be transitioning to something that’s more about sharing the burden,” Preble said. “It’s just becoming too difficult for one country to manage this big, complicated planet.”
Ruger focused on encouraging policies that prioritize America’s well-being.
“We need to think about having a foreign policy that’s much more focused on Americans’ safety and prosperity and much more realistic about what we can achieve in the world,” Ruger said.
Despite their varying ideological leanings, panelists agreed that it’s time to expand the discussion about America’s future in world.
“We need to have a broader conversation about foreign policy,” Ruger said. “That’s one of the reasons why we did this tonight.”
Preble agreed that the foreign policy conversation needs to evolve.
“We need to start thinking more creatively about the future,” Preble said.
The panelists, moderator and audience members, alike, were satisfied with the civil nature of the debate. Ruger remarked that the winner of the debate was “free speech and civil discourse.”
“It wasn’t meant to be a negative sum game where some people won and some people lost—it was meant to be that the community benefits,” Ruger said.