Monday 23 October, 1045 – 1145

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The panel discussed whether, under President Trump, the US appears to be withdrawing from its historical role as the underwriter of the post-war liberal consensus in favour of defining the world as one where the US must and will compete against others, including allies, for national advantage.

It was argued that President Trump is often seen as a "catalyst of change" but the reality is that he is in fact a reflection of what is happening economically, and that there is a growing sense that the US is finished with paying for the security of the global community - now seen as a "burden".

However, the jury is still out on whether US power abroad is actually in decline, and it was noted that the long history of American might is not easy to replicate. No-one - not even Russia or China - are ready to step into those shoes just because there may be a vacancy.

It was noted that any absence of world leadership is worrying and that acting solely in your own national interest to the exclusion of others does not bring the co-operation that is needed. However, it was felt that it is not America's presence globally that is fundamentally under review, more the balance of what it gives to the world in terms of resources.

This potential strategic shift in world order – away from the US as the world’s superpower helping create a ‘global community’ - could result in shared power and shared influence, which may lead to a safer world than one which tries to centralize power. 

But, despite the views of President Trump, there is still continuity in US foreign policy, and the country is still tied to a number of international obligations which are not simply going to disappear.

Speakers

Mary Beth Long

The Hon Mary Beth Long

Co-founder and Principal, Global Alliance Advisors, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, US (2007-09)

Summary

The Honorable Mary Beth Long is Co-founder and Principal of Global Alliance Advisors, an international business consulting firm. She is also Founder of M B Long & Associates, an international legal and advisory firm. From 2007 to 2009 she served as US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as Chair of NATO’s High Level Group, responsible for NATO’s nuclear policy. In her Defense Department roles, she also acted as Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense on the Middle East, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Asia and Southeast Asia; and was the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Counter Narcoterrorism. She also has more than a decade of Central Intelligence Agency operational experience (1986–99) on terrorism and other security issues. She appears regularly in the media, including on Fox News, BBC and CNN, on Middle East issues and the intelligence community. She has a Bachelor’s degree (Hons) from Pennsylvania State University and in 2016 received its Distinguished Alumni Award, and she received her JD from Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Eliza-Manningham-Buller

Baroness Manningham-Buller

Co-President, Chatham House

Summary

Eliza Manningham-Buller is Co-president of Chatham House. She was Director-General of the UK Security Service (MI5) between 2002 and 2007 and became an independent life peer in 2008. She served as Chairman of the Council of Imperial College London from 2011 to 2015. She has extensive knowledge of and experience in international security as well as a deep interest in medical research and global health, having served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust since 2008 and as Chair of the Trust’s Board of Governors since 2015.
Stephen Sackur

Stephen Sackur

Presenter, HARDtalk, BBC

Summary

Stephen Sackur is the presenter of HARDtalk, the BBC World News flagship current affairs interview programme. He has been a journalist with BBC News since 1986 and has interviewed many high-profile guests for BBC World News, BBC News Channel and BBC World Service. Before taking over HARDtalk, he was based in Brussels for three years as the BBC’s Europe Correspondent. Prior to this, he was the BBC’s Washington Correspondent from July 1997. He served as the BBC Middle East Correspondent in both Cairo (from 1992 to 1995) and Jerusalem (from 1995 to 1997). He has contributed countless articles to The Observer, London Review of Books, New Statesman, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. In November 2010, he received the International TV Personality of the Year Award from the Association of International Broadcasters. 
Alan Wolff

Alan Wm. Wolff

Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization

Summary

Alan Wm. Wolff was appointed Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization in June 2017. For the previous six years he served as Chairman of the National Foreign Trade Council. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Trade and Commercial Diplomacy. He has had a long career as a leading international trade lawyer and has been engaged to resolve some of the largest international trade disputes on record. He has also served as a senior trade negotiator in, and advisor to, both Republican and Democratic administrations, including as US Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations in the Carter administration and General Counsel of the Office in the Ford administration. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the Council on Foreign Relations and the E15 Initiative’s Experts Group on Innovation, and a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies. He holds a BA from Harvard and a JD from Columbia University.

"People think Donald Trump is a catalyst of change. He is not. He is reflective of what is happening economically, and if you think the next president is going to be different, you are gravely mistaken."
The Hon Mary Beth Long

"The US has been willing to behave in an altruistic way but it is not willing to carry that burden any longer .... However, reality intervenes and the President is transitional. The facts are going to be more dominant than the theory."
Alan Wm. Wolff

"The jury is out on US power abroad. The US is going through some changes just like the rest of the world is. There is clearly a disgust in the US with traditional bureaucracy but our interests are broad and global. Americans do believe they have an active and important role globally."
The Hon Mary Beth Long

"The US has been happy to take that international burden because it gave it power and influence in the world. If America is now saying 'enough' that does say something about the absence of world leadership which is very concerning."
Baroness Manningham-Buller

"Not every country can prioritise its national interests to the exclusion of others. They will run into each other and there won't be the co-operation that is needed. We are not isolationist in the US. The young are in favour of international engagement, whereas the older white males are not. The young have the new world that the old do not have. They have the internet, not factory jobs."
Alan Wm. Wolff

"There is continuity in US policy. Does Trump want to make significant changes? Yes. But he is not saying 'no agreements' just 'different agreements'."
Alan Wm. Wolff

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