Post-Atlantic Europe? Diplomacy and Statecraft under President Trump

Date: January 19, 2017

Speakers: Kati Marton, Jan Techau, Vali Nasr, Thomas Bagger, moderated by Alison Smale

Location: American Academy in Berlin

Europe’s historically unstable political terrain has enjoyed three generations of stability and peace as part of Pax Americana. But with the weakening of classic Atlanticism, both external pressures and internal instabilities have returned to the Old World. The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has made the vulnerabilities of Europe – and those of America – most visible also to those who chose to ignore them. On the eve of the Trump presidency, the Richard C. Holbrooke Forum assessed the changes in Europe’s strategic landscape and look at the challenges to statecraft and diplomacy in a new era. A panel discussion with Jan Techau, director of the Forum; Vali Nasr, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University; Thomas Bagger, head of policy planning at the German Federal Foreign Office; moderated by Alison Smale, Berlin bureau chief of the New York Times, with welcoming words by author and journalist Kati Marton.

The Global Migration Crisis

Dates: February 3–6, 2016

Chairs: Harold Hongju Koh, Michael Ignatieff, Nader Mousavizadeh

Location: The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.

Across the globe, government officials, human rights and humanitarian groups are confronting a migration crisis of the first magnitude. The disarray following the Arab Awakening has unleashed boatloads of Near Eastern and African migrants heading toward Europe. Central American migration has overwhelmed the United States’ immigration system and become a major issue in both the courts and the upcoming presidential election. The same holds true with respect to flotillas of boat people making their way to developed parts of East Asia and Australia. Yet as the crisis mounts, a common problem has become the tendency of governments to treat the symptom—the refugees and migrants—as the problem, rather than tackling root causes of the migration outflows. The global legal framework, particularly the U.N. Refugee Convention, was developed after World War II and has been revealed to be badly obsolescent to deal with modern crises involving refugees, migrants, and internally displaced persons.

Richard Holbrooke helped address both the symptoms and the causes of refugee crises during his career as a diplomat in Asia and the Balkans, and around the world as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Chairman of Refugees International. This session of the Holbrooke Forum, the first to be held in Washington, D.C., asks: “What concrete political and legal steps should government and nongovernment officials in the world’s leading democracies, particularly Germany and the United States, be taking to address this looming crisis, and in doing so, how should they be educated by the past episodes that Holbrooke experienced and influenced?”

Download the rapporteur’s report from the workshop.

(Photo copyright and courtesy of Barbara Klemm)