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Democracy Initiative's Statecraft Lab Event Examines America’s Future in Global Politics

Sep 23, 2020 |
ESB Professional/

Since the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, the United States has claimed the role of the world’s sole superpower. Today, as China’s economic and military influence grows and as Russia advances increasingly aggressive foreign policies, the U.S. role as defender of liberal democracy, free trade and the global military alliances that protect them is no longer clear. In November, American voters will be faced with the task of electing a president who will decide what that future will be.

To help voters understand the choices they face and how those choices could impact the future of the liberal world order, the Democratic Statecraft Lab, part of UVA’s Democracy Initiative, sponsored by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, is hosting “Democracy & Strategy: American Statecraft in the 21st Century,” a webinar that brings together scholars and experts in international affairs to discuss the future of America’s place on the world stage.

“We are at a major crossroads in US foreign policy,” said Todd Sechser, professor of politics, director of the Statecraft Lab and host of the “Democracy & Strategy” event. “The central principle for 75 years of American foreign policy has been active engagement in the world, but that principle is increasingly contested in American politics. The question voters face is how the United States should approach the world in an era of renewed great power competition: to reassert America’s involvement in international institutions or to pull back American commitments. This is the core debate in U.S. foreign policy today.”

The two-hour event will begin as Anne-Marie Slaughter, former State Department official and CEO of the Washington, D.C. think tank New America, and Stephen Walt, Harvard professor of international affairs, debate America’s role in world politics. In the second hour, Mary-Louise Kelly, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” will discuss the challenges Russia poses to American influence with Michael McFaul, a professor of international studies at Stanford University and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.

“Democracy & Strategy: American Statecraft in the 21st Century” will take place online on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The event is one of a series of events hosted by the Statecraft Lab, covering topics such as nuclear weapons policy and the effect of the pandemic on the U.S.-China relationship . The lab is sponsored by the Democracy Initiative, which was created to bring leading scholars and practitioners together to study and advance the prospects of democracy around the world.

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