Washington, DC – Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) Advisory Board member Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State, spoke at the Capitol Hill National Security Forum on June 23 alongside Kristen Silberberg, Charles Kupchan, and Julianne Smith. They came together to discuss ‘Restoring Transatlantic Alliances.’ The group examined the liberal world order, the EU, and the recent decision of President Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement. The panelists often came to agreement, but also expressed many differences in opinions, especially on the Paris Agreement.
Liberal World Order
From the start, the panelists were in consensus that it was not the end of the “post-World War Two world order.” However, they also agreed that this order was indeed being challenged. Dobriansky, specifically, spoke on Russia’s recent aggression, explaining how Putin is challenging liberal values, alliances, institutions, and ideals. On this point, Kupchan argued that external threats have always been present and that the greater threat are new internal weaknesses. The panelists agreed that the system was under a great amount of strain and that the United States should promote dialogue between other states in order to work together on fixing the mounting issues.
The European Union
The panelists all expressed concern over the future of American influence within the European Union, especially due to the instability it is currently facing as a result of Brexit, mass immigration, and terrorism. Brexit was the greatest concern among the panelists, as the United Kingdom had consistently been the biggest champion of American interests. Smith suggested that, following Brexit, the United States should establish trade agreements between the European Union and the United Kingdom. On this point, Silverman expressed the need for trilateral talks until Brexit is officially carried out. Dobriansky acknowledged that the European Union needs reform, pointing to the inflexibility of its regulations as a point of contention between member states.
Dobriansky Disagrees on Paris Climate Agreement
Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement. the panelists were split over the implications of the U.S. withdrawal. Smith expressed concern that the withdrawal of the U.S. from such a popular agreement could cast doubt on our relationship with the European Union. On this point, Kupchan voice his concern over the effect our withdrawal will have on Europe’s willingness to advance the American agenda in the future, since climate change is an area of great concern for the European Union. Dobriansky, however, pointed to the Kyoto Protocol of 1992, which the United States did not accept, explaining that our relationship with Europe was not harmed, especially in matters of security. Despite some disagreement, the panelists agreed that the implications of our withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement remain to be seen.