Has Obama Made the World a More Dangerous Place?
Written by Bret Stephens
Series Title: Munk Debates
- POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
- POLITICAL SCIENCE
Publication Date February 14, 2015
The fourteenth semi-annual Munk Debate, which will be held in Toronto on November 5, 2014, pits Bret Stephens and Robert Kagan against Fareed Zakaria and Anne-Marie Slaughter to debate the legacy of President Obama.
From Ukraine to the Middle East to China, the United States is redefining its role in international affairs. Alliance building, public diplomacy, and eschewing traditional warfare in favour of the focused use of hard power such as drones and special forces are all hallmarks of the so-called Obama Doctrine. Is this a farsighted foreign policy for the United States and the world in the twenty-first century — one that acknowledges and embraces the increasing diffusion of power among states and non-state actors? Or, is an America “leading from behind” a boon for the nations and blocs who want to roll back economic globalization, international law, and the spread of democracy and human rights?
In this edition of the Munk Debates, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bret Stephens and famed historian and foreign policy commentator Robert Kagan square off against CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and noted academic and political commentator Anne-Marie Slaughter to debate the legacy of President Obama. With ISIS looking to reshape the Middle East, Russia increasingly at odds with the rest of the West, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a standstill, the Munk Debate on Foreign Policy asks: Has Obama’s foreign policy taken the U.S. in the right direction?
Bret Stephens is a foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor responsible for the international opinion pages at the Wall Street Journal. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary for his writing on U.S. foreign policy and been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He was previously editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post and is a regular panelist on the Journalist Editorial Report, a weekly political talk show on Fox News.
Fareed Zakaria is host of CNN's flagship international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS, which won the 2012 Peabody Award. He is also the editor-at-large of Time, contributing editor at The Atlantic, a Washington Post columnist, and a former editor of Newsweek International. He is the author of the international bestsellers, The Future of Freedom and The Post-American World: Release 2.0. He was described by Esquire as “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation” and was included on Foreign Policy’s list of “Top 100 global thinkers.”
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow of foreign policy at the Brooking Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe and transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund. Foreign Policy and Prospect listed him as one of the world’s “Top 100 Intellectuals.” Kagan served in the U.S State Department as a deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, and was a principal speechwriter to the U.S. secretary of state. He is also the author of several bestselling books on foreign policy, including Dangerous Nation, which won the Lepgold Book Prize and was a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of the New America Foundation, one of America’s largest international affairs think tanks. She is the past dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and served as director of policy planning for the U.S. State Department from 2009–2011. She has been named one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” and is the author and editor of six books, including A New World Order and The Idea That Is America.