Segments in this Video

American Global Influence (01:41)


Moderator John Donvan reflects on American power in 1989 and today's geopolitical environment. Is America retreating from global leadership?

Debate "Housekeeping" (02:03)

Donvan instructs viewers to vote, provides the framework for the debate on American global leadership, and introduces panelists.

Opening Statements For: Bill Kristol (04:07)

Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and "The Weekly Standard" Founder, Kristol states that America has been retreating from global leadership for some time. Putin is more of a threat, Xi has consolidated power, and American foreign objectives have not been met.

Opening Statements Against: Vikram Singh (04:03)

Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Singh states that American leadership is pivoting to recovery and consolidation. Challenges are not evidence of a lack of leadership. Despite difficulties, allies stand with America; the U.S. continues to be an inspiration.

Opening Statements For: Mary Beth Long (03:35)

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, The world sees America as stumbling and no longer willing and able to project power. America's ability to implement foreign policy abroad has significantly declined, emboldening adversaries.

Opening Statements Against: Kori Schake (03:47)

International Institute for Strategic Studies Deputy Director-General, Schake agrees the world is more dangerous and the U.S. has made bad policy choices, but that does not mean America is not leading the international order. The Biden Administration is increasingly prioritizing American diplomacy and increasing resources to manage China.

America's Ability to Persuade and Guide (06:51)

Kristol states the Biden Administration is trying to restore America's persuasive abilities because its leadership has declined. Singh counters that the alliance structure has held together well. Long and Schake disagree about the credibility of the United States.

American Leadership (06:01)

Proponents state that the U.S. is at the core of the basic contours of international liberal order, but it is not a reflection of great leadership; the U.S. has internal issues to address. Schake discusses reasons the U.S. is not losing its will to lead and cites examples.

Errors in Perspective? (06:43)

Opponents are not looking at the trend line of the last 20 years and what will happen if it continues. America is facing multifaceted challenges, not retreating. The international community thinks China will impact lives in the way America once did.

American Foreign Policy (10:10)

Jim Falllow's article suggests that getting things wrong is what motivates America to get things right. Panelists disagree about America's power in respect to authoritarians, leadership presence, and its approach to China.

Leading by Example (07:53)

Many people in democratic institutions say that failure in domestic issues makes their jobs harder. Panelists debate the impact of America's domestic political turmoil on its leadership abilities.

Closing Statements For: Kristol (01:46)

America can recover from mistakes but its leadership over the last 20 years has been wanting. Publicly stating that nation-building begins at home suggests that foreign affairs are not a priority; we must change course.

Closing Statements Against: Singh (01:59)

The fundamentals are with America, and it continues to lead with a global network of allies and partners. American leadership faces challenges, but it is not in retreat.

Closing Statements For: Long (02:28)

The world no longer views America as the unequivocal global leader. The country is retreating in preference of multilateral organizations.

Closing Statements Against: Schake (02:22)

We are living through a time of tumultuous change, causing anxiety about American leadership. America is trying to figure out how to govern over significant diversity.

Debate Voting (02:08)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote, thanks participants, and explains how viewers can support Intelligence Squared.

Credits: America Is Retreating from Global Leadership: A Debate (00:08)

Credits: America Is Retreating from Global Leadership: A Debate

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America Is Retreating from Global Leadership: A Debate

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After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States emerged from the Cold War as both powerful and ascendant. As the world’s only surviving superpower, America boasted a level of military and economic supremacy seldom seen before and a strong desire to lead what President George H. W. Bush (R, 1989–93) called "a new world order." But things have changed enormously in the past 30 years. With China’s rise as an economic powerhouse, an aggressive Russia exercising greater influence across Eastern Europe, and American retrenchment in places like Afghanistan and Syria, the role of U.S. leadership is less clear today. President Donald Trump (R, 2017–21) pursued an “America First” policy that aimed to limit U.S. involvement overseas, but President Joe Biden (D) came into office in 2021 promising to “restore the soul of America.” Many took that to mean he would seek to re-cement the United States as the preeminent global leader. But some argue that those days have passed and that we now live in a multilateral world in which no single nation can dominate international affairs. Three decades after the Cold War, is America retreating from global leadership?

Length: 68 minutes

Item#: BVL278871

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

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