This much is clear as 2018 screeches toward a close:
President Trump’s foreign policy has shredded the status quo on a range of issues, from global trade and transatlantic relations to Iran and North Korea.
Yet it is the Trump administration’s tough turn on China, captured dramatically by Vice President Mike Pence’s landmark speech at the Hudson Institute in October , that will have the most lasting global consequence, altering the terms of the epochal contest of our times.
US Rep. John Delaney, a Maryland Democratic and 2020 presidential candidate, said he worries about nuclear proliferation, especially in the context of a future leadership transition in Russia and efforts by nonstate and state actors to obtain nuclear weapons; China’s ability to repel the United States militarily from the Asia-Pacific region; and cyber security.
US Rep.-elect Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), a former CIA operative, said the US Congress first needs to put an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in place. Second, she said, Congress must take action to ensure that the United States is “doing the right thing” in terms of trade policy and specifically when it comes to tariffs, on which she said the United States is “antagonizing our friends and allies throughout the world with our aggressive tactics.”
Despite US President Donald J. Trump’s threat to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it will be much harder to kill NAFTA if the US Congress does not approve a revised trade deal, said Jesús Seade, who served as then Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s chief NAFTA negotiator in recently concluded, and often contentious, negotiations.
Trump has threatened action as a way to force members of Congress—Democrats as well as Republicans—to ratify the recently concluded US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The Atlantic Council’s outgoing interim chairman, retired US Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., implored policymakers and citizens to embrace the need for change in a rapidly transitioning world. “You rise and fall based on your ability to change when the environment around you changes,” he said. “If you cannot change. . . you [will] fail.”
Jones was joined by John F.W. Rogers, Chairman-elect of the Atlantic Council and a Goldman Sachs executive and government service veteran, in a discussion with Atlantic Council President and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Kempe at the Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.
Pointing out that “we just spent $716 billion on a defense budget; Russia spends $70 billion; China spends roughly $200 billion,” Warner said: “I fear that we are buying way too much of the best 20th century military stuff in terms of tanks, planes, ships, and guns when most of the conflict in the 21st century will be in the domains of cyber, misinformation, and space.”
“One of the biggest advantages we have is that we have a lot of allies and friends,” US Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said in a wide-ranging discussion on US foreign policy at the Atlantic Council’s Annual Forum in Washington on December 14.
Cotton, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and a US Army veteran, spoke on the need for US leadership around the world to confront serious geopolitical challenges from authoritarian rivals such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
It was December 1, 2008. Atlantic Council president and chief executive officer Frederick Kempe gathered what was then his tiny team into a conference room to watch some breaking news unfolding on the television. US President-elect Barack Obama, fresh off his historic election victory, was introducing his national security team, among them his first national security advisor: retired US Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, Jr.
Natural gas pipeline would connect Russia to Europe
Opposition to Nord Stream 2—a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine—is building on both sides of the Atlantic.
On December 11, the US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution expressing opposition to Nord Stream 2. The nonbinding resolution calls on European governments to reject the pipeline and expresses support for US sanctions on entities involved with the project.
‘People want clean energy, that is a major driver for us,’ says Barbara Humpton
As the pace of technological change continues to quicken, Barbara Humpton, chief executive officer of Siemens USA, believes that companies and manufactures “have to challenge ourselves to use these tools to positively impact people and society.”
Speaking at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center on December 13, Humpton outlined how her company is working to address the “key megatrends” which will impact the world throughout the 21st century, including climate change, rapid urbanization and demographic change, and the need for resilient societies and infrastructure.