Presentation: Since 1945, we have all been living – like it or not – in an American world. The USA, which, at the close of World War 2, represented 50% of the world’s GDP, not only rebuilt its former enemies, Japan and Germany, but created the global governance architecture that exists until this day. Over the decades that followed the end of the war, the USA confronted, contained, and ultimately oversaw the demise of the Soviet Union and its network of satellites; its military ensured the stability of the world economy by securing sea lanes and global aviation; and it provided a security umbrella for dozens of allies, spread across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Even at times of tremendous setbacks and controversy – Vietnam being one obvious example – the American people appeared to agree that their country was meant to be the global guarantor of liberal ideas and global security, and they were proud to think of their country as the one exceptional, indispensable state.
But this period could be coming to an end. After what is generally considered to be a period of Middle East overreach, US President Obama has been focused on pulling in America’s lines, and Donald Trump, representing a powerful neo-isolationist urge, captured the Republican Party from its internationalists. What does this profound shift mean for the USA, for its allies, and the world? Is a receding USA a permanent feature of the world scene, or is this a passing phenomenon? Jeffrey Goldberg, author of The Obama Doctrine, will discuss the origins of this new movement, and where it might be taking the USA, and the world.
Jeffrey Goldberg: A National correspondent for The Atlantic, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and one of America’s leading commentators on foreign policy, national security and the Middle East, Goldberg is the recipient of numerous honours, including the National Magazine Award for Reporting, for his coverage of Islamist terrorism; the Daniel Pearl Prize for Reporting; the Abraham Cahan Prize; and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Prize for best investigative reporter.
Goldberg is a former Middle East Correspondent and former Washington Correspondent of The New Yorker, and a former contributing editor at The New York Times Magazine. Earlier, he covered the Mafia for New York Magazine, and he began his career as a police reporter for The Washington Post, for which he covered the crack epidemic of the early 1990s. In his travels, he has interviewed leaders of Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Islamic Jihad. He has been kidnapped twice while reporting on terrorism, and has covered numerous wars, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as civil wars across Africa.
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