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Webinars

Academic and Higher Education Webinars

The CFR Academic Webinar series for students, formerly Academic Conference Calls now in Zoom webinar format, provides a forum to interact with CFR experts and scholars and join the debate on foreign policy. Hosted as a separate series, CFR Higher Education Webinars offer timely conversations for college and university leaders, administrators, and professors on global issues affecting higher education, featuring CFR fellows and thought leaders.
  • Education

    Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, leads a conversation on the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Tony Allen with us today to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Dr. Allen is president of Delaware State University. Previously, he served as the university’s executive vice president and provost. In 2021, Dr. Allen was appointed by President Biden to chair the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And he also served as CEO of Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to his time at Delaware State University, he worked at the Bank of America for thirteen years, where he developed and led the Corporate Reputation Group. And he is the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, and chair emeritus of the National Urban Fellows. So, Tony, thank you very much for being with us today. I want to just turn it over to you to talk about the role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in higher education in the United States historically and today. ALLEN: Thank you for having me. It’s a real pleasure to be with all of you, certainly with the Council on Foreign Relations. I just want to start—personally, I am a first-generation college student, and my mother was a teenage mom and my father never finished the eleventh grade. So being able to be in this role means a lot to me from a proximity standpoint, and really being able to guide one of the nation’s leading HBCUs is really the professional dream of my life. So I take this very personally, in addition to trying to run a great institution. With respect to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, we are almost at 175 years in existence. I don’t think I need to tell anybody on the phone that we were started for some very specific reasons as it related to higher education access for African American students, but we have really become a powerhouse, a force not only in the African American community but in the broader citizenry at large. There are only 3 percent of Historically Black—excuse me, there are three thousand colleges and universities in the country; only 3 percent are historically Black colleges. Only 3 percent. But even today, we still produce 20 percent of all Black graduates. So just think about that for a moment, the power of our return on investment across many, many disciplines. You may have heard these numbers, but 80 percent of Black judges and lawyers start out in an HBCU. More than 50 percent of all Black doctors started at an HBCU. Forty percent of Black congressmen today started at an HBCU. And the number-one driver for lower-income African American people to get into the American middle class today is still their attendance at a Historically Black College or University. So the real power and frame of our institutions are significant, but our voices over the years have been quieter. We don’t have the same kinds of profile. A lot of it has to do with the fact that many of us are still low-resource institutions, even though we’re providing great value to the students that come here. Since the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others during that summer of 2020, we’ve actually seen our profile grow significantly. We’ve tried to take advantage of that to tell the HBCU story in a much richer way than we had been able to do in the past, and we think that’s had some significant merit. I can tell you when we think about COVID-19 we say that one pandemic—COVID-19 itself—exposed another, which is continuing: race relations in America. And when I thought about it this time around—we’ve had these kinds of experiences as it relates to public safety, interaction with police for a long, long time here—but this felt like the first time that so many folks were watching the same thing. So regardless of where you come from or what you look like, you could not turn your eyes away from some of the tragic incidents we saw in that summer. And I think that has people thinking in a much more deliberate and different way. Couple that with what we’ve seen with respect to the elections that ensued, the political unrest that came after that, we find ourselves in a place where Historically Black Colleges and Universities are becoming a real sign—true sign of opportunity for folks, again regardless of what you look like or where you come from, that are otherwise underserved or locked out of the education system. There are 101 of them. Some of you will know what I’d say are the usual suspects: the Howard Universities of the world, the Morehouse, the Spelman, North Carolina A&T, FAMU. But there are 101 across the country. We spend our time not only providing the type of quality education that our students deserve, but also being engines of social justice and change, and research for that matter. So our ability to look through a lens with respect to research, regardless of discipline, is unique in the space because we’re able to come from a place where we are trying to understand the forces and phenomena of the world, and often how those forces and phenomena disproportionately affect people who don’t have as much as others. We take great pride in that as well. I also would like to talk a little bit about the communities we find ourselves in. You usually find an HBCU adjacent to or very much in a low-resource community. What that means for that community is that they are an economic engine for that community. The 101 HBCUs at last look contributed more than $14 billion collectively to the gross domestic product in the country. So we’re not just educational institutions, but real forces of economic opportunity and growth as well. I like to say I think we are the best return on value in the higher-education landscape because of who we prepare. So many of our students are first-generation college students like me. More than three-quarters of them are Pell Grant-eligible, which I think you know is a low-income standard. And we are changing the trajectory of their lives and their family’s lives. So being able to spend time thinking through what that means not only as it relates to opening economic doors of opportunity for them, but also giving them this notion that it’s not simply enough to graduate, get a great job; you also have to give back as you’ve been given, too, which is a theme I’d say across the HBCU landscape. I think it’s why you find so many African American leaders in this country across disciplines, as I mentioned, having gotten their start at an HBCU, because there is this ethic of service that really threads the needle across the HBCU landscape. Having said that, you heard my role as chair of the Board of Advisors for the president on HBCUs. That board has been around since 1976, really started under President Carter. And there has been an executive order issued each year to make sure that the White House initiative on HBCUs gets its attention and the board helps serve a role of guidance and oversight. Let me give you a sense of the four priorities we are just beginning to outline in that role. As you know, we just named the full council about two weeks ago, and we are thinking about four things that we really want to focus on. First is infrastructure. At HBCUs there’s a systemic disparity between HBCUs and other similarly situated universities who are predominantly white. That has a lot to do with the fact that we were not always able to, and in some cases still don’t, get equitable funding for our living and learning spaces. So while we’re able to provide the quality education, we want the environment to look like the quality education that our students are receiving. That’s particularly important for any number of reasons, most notably our ability to attract and retain our students over the long term as well as some faculty and staff when you think about the learning spaces as it relates to laboratory and research. Being able to have first-class operations there really sends a message about our—how serious we are about creating the right environment. Second is the opportunity for us to access more partnerships and, quite frankly, dollars from the federal government by really being able to engage in a thoughtful way with those institutions. Many of those institutions, as you know, provide research grants and other support to many institutions—higher-education institutions throughout the country. We want to make sure that we’re getting our fair share of that as well. Some of you probably know that there are three research classifications put out by Carnegie: research 1, research 2, and research 3. Research 1 is the highest, and there are no HBCUs that have cracked that threshold of research 1. That’s important, as well. As I said, lots of the research we do crosses any number of disciplines, but when you’re thinking about building capacity for the longer term you do want to have a few, I would say, comprehensive research 1 HBCUs. That’s a bit priority, I know, for the president, and certainly has been and will be for the council. And it’s a growing movement that folks are just beginning to talk about in a real thoughtful and focused way. The third is more support for low-resource students. We’ve had some progress, actually, on that score. There have been some increases in Pell. In the president’s budget, in fact, there’s a $2,100 increase. That has a lot of significance for continuing to retain our students. I can tell you on any number of occasions the number-one factor, particularly for low-resource students, is their ability to continue to pay. And some of that is significantly reduced from a burden perspective by scholarships and the like, but oftentimes even those small dollars—things we might think of as small dollars—are really significant dollars not only to their students, but to their families. So having more opportunities for tuition support in particular is critical. And then the last one is focusing on the smaller HBCUs in our space. So, like I said, you have historically heard of the more notable HBCUs—as I said, Howard University, Morehouse, Spelman, et cetera—but there are a subset of smaller HBCUs that are delivering first-class quality education that need our attention and support. I say that to my HBCU colleagues as much as I do to anybody else. When one of us is uplifted, we all need to figure out a way to uplift everyone else. And that’s important now more than ever because there’s been such an attention on the HBCU community. So I’ve probably talked too much, but—(laughs)—just as an opening salvo just wanted to give you a sense of the scale, the importance, and the ongoing impact of the HBCU community. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Tony. That was really terrific. We’re going to go now to all of you for questions and comments. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome. Q: Thank you very much. HBCUs are very important. I’m from Brooklyn College. I teach political science. But you know, and I think they punch way above their weight, but there’s a persistent underfunding of HBCUs. So what will it take for these institutions to be funded well enough so that they can do the good job that they are doing with less stress and more excellence? ALLEN: Great question. Two responses. First, under the Biden administration, since he took office, HBCUs have received about $5.8 billion in additional incremental support. A lot has to do with COVID for sure. And we, like most colleges and universities, were significantly impacted from a revenue standpoint with respect to COVID. But that historic funding is an important first step. I always say it’s a first step, it’s not the only step, because I think to your question relative to sustainability of our institutions it is critical that we have deeper, more significant, and sustained partnerships, I’d say particularly with the federal government. As I said, there are lots of opportunities for us to do good work there. We’ve made some good progress at Delaware State with the USDA, who has increased their funding significantly this year and in years prior. We just completed a memorandum of understanding with USAID last fall and we expect that to have some meritorious results too. We all have relationships with the likes of NIH and NSF, but not—certainly not enough. So really having a sustained effort that folks can goal against. So if you are in a specific department relative to your engagement with HBCUs, we are making that a priority. The president has already done that himself; just our responsibility to make sure that folks are following through. So that’s first order of business. Second, there are some unique partnerships that have emerged, again, in the wake of summer 2020. So there have been a significant onslaught of support for HBCUs. But what I have tried to do, at least from a Delaware State perspective, is create unique opportunities for that funding to not be one time. Case in point, we’ve gotten a couple million dollars from two major banks in the country. And instead of simply being able to use that for ongoing scholarship support or other needs that we have at the university, we built a career pathways program that is really allowing us to access a number of employers who want to engage with HBCUs but just don’t know how. And that is creating a new pipeline. Not only is it going to help us with respect to placing our students, we actually think it’s a significant benefit to the companies themselves in both the cases. And one was Bank of America and one was JPMorgan Chase. Their funding has actually been catalytic in encouraging more corporate partners to take a look at HBCUs. And we think that is really, really important. FASKIANOS: Great. Next, written question from Robert Ford, who’s retired from Southern University, Dillard, FVSU and Texas Southern University. And he went to Southern University Baton Rouge. He didn’t hear anything about international development, especially Africa. Does your university have an international footprint? And does the HBCU White House initiative have an international program initiative? What progress can be cited? ALLEN: Yeah, before I answer that question, I just want to shoutout every HBCU you mentioned. They’re all terrific—Southern, Dillard, I think you said Fort Valley State, and Texas Southern University. Incredible HBCUs in their own way. With respect to my institution here at Delaware State, we actually have a Center for Global Africa. We started that Center four years ago now, run by a professor named Ezrah Aharone. And the idea is for us to push much of our curriculum and study to not only the African continent, but the African diaspora. So we see there are lots of opportunities for that to emerge. We’ve created some significant partnerships with the African Union and the like on that score. And I can tell you there are—I’m just mentioning the institutions that we’re more close to, but there are a number of HBCUs that are doing similar situations on the continent and in the diaspora. Most notably is Morgan State University led by President David Wilson. And I think, as we continue to gain profile and momentum, I think you’ll see us internationally across the world in a much more clear and concerted effort. At Delaware State we actually have been on mainland China for seven years, having exported three programs there. One in accounting, one in physics, and one in sports management. And the interesting thing about that, in each of those programs, three different universities, 98 percent of those students are first-generation college students. So we have stayed true to our mission as we’ve gone international. We have some similar programs in Jamaica and Costa Rica as well. So we’re building capacity to make sure that we can take the HBCU experience across the continent. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Susan King, who has raised her hand. Q: Let me just ask you—I’m at UNC, so I have a great interest in Howard and the new center at Howard that Nikole Hannah-Jones is doing, partly because she’s not coming with us. How will that benefit all the HBCUs, do you think? ALLEN: That’s so funny. Her team has reached out to me, I think it was just last week, to talk about the Center for Journalism and how she wants to extend opportunities for aspiring Black journalists in particular at HBCUs, but also wants to help tell the HBCU story in a much more comprehensive way. So I can’t wait to spend time with her, and hopefully leverage her tremendous talent in doing that. I have said on many occasions, HBCUs have a great story, but we do not have enough storytellers. So being able to demystify what it has been that has really built a leadership talent pipeline, and the economic opportunity pipeline, for so many low-resource folks who are now leaders in our country, is a story that deserves its time in the sun. And we as presidents, my colleagues and I, have to be much more deliberate about that in our ongoing work. I’m hoping that the board of advisors and things like Professor Jones’ Center, gives us the kind of elevation we need so we can have other partners, like the Council on Foreign Relations, help us sustain that moment where we find ourselves. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. And I’m going to take the prerogative of the moderator. I mean, we here at CFR are very much committed to diversity and looking at the pipeline for—into the foreign policy track. So what are the things that you’re doing, that HBCUs are doing? And what could we be doing at CFR to help the next generation of leaders, graduates from HBCUs, get into diplomacy and State Department and just into this field? ALLEN: So, great, thank you for making that point. Here’s what I would say—and this is not to you, but just to the broader community. First job is to show up. I have been—particularly in the corporate side, I find myself in a lot of corporate circles where CEOs are always saying, hey, we wish we could find more Black talent. We just can’t find them. And normally what I say is, you’re not looking hard enough. As I said, we’re producing over three hundred thousand Black graduates every year. And that’s just HBCUs. I haven’t talked about historically Black Greek letter fraternities and sororities. I have not talked about special associations that find themselves in respective disciplines. We are out here. And in the case of the Council in particular, and my students don’t often think first about international development or diplomacy. And the way to get to have that sense is to be in conversation, regular conversations, with organizations like yours. A great example is we were able to bring the director of USAID, as I said to sign the MOU last fall. She talked about, first of all the largess of that institution, the number of critical opportunities that she would have across the organization. And you could see, our students just lit up because they didn’t know. That wasn’t their—weren’t their first thoughts. The other thing I’d say is the more we’ve been doing this more and more, particularly at Delaware State but at HBCUs across the country, are creating more international opportunities. Remember, because we have so many first-generation college students, oftentimes that means those students are first-generation in many things. So they might not have gotten on a plane, might not have had the same dinner conversations that more well-suited families had when they were sitting down for dinner, and that sort of thing. So it behooves us to make sure that we come to them, and we come to them early. The pipeline program that I talked about with you effectively says: If you want to be with Delaware State over the long term, don’t show up in our—in a student’s rising junior or rising senior year, looking for the best in class in our institution. Show up for the moment they come to the institution. So we’re creating a new kind of mentor network and opportunity so those students can learn what’s available to them, the institutions themselves can get a sense of the quality of our students, and they can have the kind of conversations they might not have their first day on the internship or their first day on the job, having not been in that environment or not been connected to that environment previously. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And there’s a nice note from Laurette Foster at Prairie View A&M University. So she’s at the HBCU Faculty Network. Thank you for your institution coming on board with the HBCU Faculty Development Network. And she says, we’re one of their great supporters. And that’s because of Laurette. So we usually go out to their annual conference in October to—in the fall, to present on CFR resources. And, we are looking for more opportunities like that with different networks to sort of connect, and talk, and sort of make connections so that we can start feeding that pipeline. I’m going to go next to Jill Humphries, who’s raised her hand. You can unmute yourself. Thank you. Q: Hello. Thank you. First of all, I want to say, both of my questions—primary questions were asked—(laughs)—about the institutional pipeline for diplomacy and then also the way in which HBCUs are particularly going to be involved in national development. But so I’ll ask this question. I’ve been an education exchange professor several times in several African countries. And when I’ve interfaced with the embassies there, and they talk about opportunities for, in this particular context, African students coming to study in the U.S., and they give their presentations, they’ve always left off HBCUs. And I’ve had to, in fact, remind them—even though I’m teaching at University of Toledo in the African Studies Department. So I am actually interesting in the way in which you’ve, at an institutional level, addressed this issue of whether it’s just benign oversight of when the public affairs officers at our embassies, wherever they are in the world, talk about exchange—educational exchange opportunities—there are so many under the ECA, Department of State’s ECA Bureau—that they include HBCUs. And then the other part of that is, how do you see the particular way in which HBCUs or, more specifically Black thought—Black political thought—may in fact influence our foreign affairs and diplomacy approach, particularly in Africa. Is there a unique, particular perspective that we bring, as African American or Black diaspora, in these arenas? ALLEN: Well, the short answer is, yes. (Laughs.) To your last question. And I don’t limit that to products of HBCUs, necessarily, but I do think Black political thought generally speaking across the globe is important contextually for a couple of reason. One, the way in which Black Americans, in particular, have had to navigate the landscape here now for hundreds of years is an important lesson in perseverance, context, the framework of what I’d say classism, certainly sometimes racism is systemic in its effort, as well as sexism, which I think shows up particularly for Black women regularly as well. The second part about that is as these things are happening across the world, I think our position relative to being able to influence is critical. This is an American point I’m going to make, but just remember—and this is no commercial for the president—but at the time that President Biden was running and the campaign was suffering mightily, there was a Black man in South Carolina, proud HBCU grad, Congressman Jim Clyburn who said: I know Joe Biden, and Joe Biden knows us. And it changed the state of his election. Talks significantly about our power bloc when we operationalize that. We don’t always do that in the American context, but when we do it’s clear and compelling. And I think I won’t go over the events that happened as a result of that. The other point, I think your first question was just about how folks engage with HBCUs more clearly in the international space. It does really come down to two things. One, we think HBCU leaders like myself have to be much more concerted and thoughtful about where we see the opportunities. When you’re in a low-resource institution, a number of things come up that can take you away from building capacity for your institution. So you have to be deliberate about it. It’s one of the reasons I think the advisory board has had many iterations but this, in particular because of the moment, I think will put us in some positions that we have not seen before. You may know that—I believe it’s in every federal department now—but the president is making it a point to have racial equity as a priority, and a person that’s in charge of that. So I think you’re going to see more opportunities there. I have not talked to as many federal government officials ever in my career as I have during this administration, because there’s a clear priority on it. But that is our job, to make sure that we’re telling that story, as I’ve said before. Then I think the unique programs, particularly as it relates to international exchange, we talk a lot about students. I would make sure that we spend equal time trying to export our intellectual capital in our faculty too. They need the opportunities themselves. Many times have the expertise and more often than not, in my case, have unique partnerships in country because they’re—sometimes they’re from a set country. So being able to give them that support I think will have significant long-term results. But we have to be concerted in how we position all of it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Ambassador June Carter Perry, formerly of the State Department, retired, and former diplomat in residence at Howard University, and currently a board member at American Diplomacy Publishers in Chapel Hill. What is your relationship with national universities’ African American programs, such as the one at Princeton directed by Dr. Eddie Glaude? ALLEN: I don’t have direct contact with Dr. Glaude. I’m aware of his work, but I don’t have direct contact there. I can tell you, and this could be a conversation for us, we have not been as concerted in developing those partnerships with national universities that have African American programs. Some of it has just to do with making sure that we’re elevating our voice in the conversation. And a lot of it is just historic stuff, I’d say. (Laughs.) And I know that’s not an academic word, but I’d say historic stuff between larger predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and HBCUs, particularly those who are in near proximity one to another. Sometimes limits our ability to be more thoughtful about those kinds of partnerships and collaboration. That’s no excuse. I just think that’s the reality. What we do—how we do partner, particularly in the STEM disciplines, I think is more—is becoming more and more significant. For the first time, we got a—I think it’s a $10 million grant several years ago in partnership with the PWI up the street from us, University of Delaware, and it was the first time we were the lead partner in the grant. And that sends a lot of messages to my faculty and the importance of what they can do, and how they can lead really big grants. I think you’re beginning to see some of those partnerships emerge too across the landscape. So doing more on that score in disciplines that are not specific to African American programs I think is important. And certainly, really engaging thoughtfully with those institutions who are serious about the African American studies discipline is certainly important to us, but not near what we should be doing in this space. FASKIANOS: Thanks, Tony. You referenced this a bit in your remarks, but can you talk about how the pandemic affected HBCUs, and how you’re coming out of it? ALLEN: Yeah. I was reluctant to tell this story because I feel like I’ve told it a hundred times, but like other universities we sent our kids home in the March timeframe—all but about two hundred, because those two hundred were otherwise homeless without Delaware State University, literally. We knew that was, one, a proxy for some of the students we actually had sent home who were from very vulnerable situations, but we knew we had to keep at least those two hundred. That was significant for a couple of reasons. And this before any funding came our way—CARES Act, American Rescue Plan. We just used our own coffers to make sure that they were fed, that they were not getting anything, with respect to academic continuity that that was progressing nicely. In some cases we were sending money to them for them to send home. What it was, was an opportunity for us to say—and we knew it deep down, but it was clear—that our students are coming to these institutions not just for the quote/unquote “college experience.” They’re trying to change their—largely, the economic trajectory for themselves, their families, and their communities. And it’s not easy. So our ability to get our students back on campus was the first order of business, and to do that quickly. We were able to develop a program with a place called Testing for America, which helped us develop our protocol, paid for all our tests for about two years, and allowed us to bring our students back right at the fall of 2020, and keep them safe throughout that time. So we’re testing faculty, staff, and students three times a week, at that time. We were doing—aggressively, had really strong protocols, and had a less than 1 percent positivity rate on our campus, which we take great pride—took great pride in then, and take great pride in now. What I’d say for the broader HBCU community, we were fortunate. Some of my other colleagues weren’t as fortunate relative to being able to bring their students back quickly. A lot hangs on the fact that we don’t have major endowments. The resources, let’s say, like I said before, are often low as compared to our predominantly white peers. So it is significant. And the problem is that if you’re not able to keep the academic continuity for many of my students, they will not come back. And we just couldn’t accept that. What I can say though is many in the HBCU community did pretty well based on these notions—that they knew who their students were, that they knew they were going to have to deliver something extra that was not foreign to them—sort of classic wraparound services that we already are known for, but to up that game wherever they found themselves, I think, was important for our own students’ survival. And I think what you’ve seen, you’ve seen this generally at HBCU communities, certainly in Delaware State, our retention rates increased. Our graduation rates were up. And equally important, because of the summer of 2020, in many cases in the world HBCU’s enrollment has gone up, and students have taken a look at HBCUs, what that means for sort of their own cultural identity, and how they want to contribute to the world. And they’re choosing us in a much different way than they had been even five, ten years ago. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go to Jennifer Brinkerhoff. She doesn’t really have a question, but you might want to—if you want to just talk a little bit about your book. Q: Yes. I’m not sure, can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. ALLEN: Yes. Q: Awesome. Thank you so much. So we would be very pleased to engage with folks from HBCUs around a new book that I had the privilege of working on with Aaron Williams and Taylor Jack. Aaron Williams is retired USAID and was a sector leader in international affairs in the nonprofit sector of government and the private sector. And this was his legacy upon retirement, was to engage his peers, his colleagues, all of the giants who went before, to be able to collect advice and guideposts to the next generation of young Black leaders who were interested in international affairs. So we would love to share that material with you, and with support from the Hewlett Foundation we are able to engage in some related events and provide copies of the book. So I can put my email address in the chat, but we’re very much interested in the intergenerational dialogue that this book represents, because we really believe that this is what the next generation needs, is to learn from those of you who went before and have succeeded, and know better than anybody else what the challenges are and how best to navigate them. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this important work, and I hope that we can partner together. Thank you. ALLEN: Hey, Jen, let me—let me just say quickly, I saw this question earlier. I already taped it—I mean, copied it and emailed it to myself before you—(laughs)—before you talked. So I do want to talk to you, one. And then there is our chair of political science, economic development and international affairs, Dr. Donna Patterson, who will be a great point of contact for you. So please put your email in the chat and I’ll send you a note. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And if we could be sure we send it—and Jennifer you’re at George Washington University, correct? Q: Yes, I am at GW, yeah. FASKIANOS: Great. And Pearl Robinson of Tufts has put in the chat, what’s the title of the book? And the title of the book is The Young Black Leader’s Guide to a Successful Career in International Affairs. It’s in the Q&A, so you can get the link there. All right. So if others have questions, please raise your hand. I’m going to call upon President Verret to ask a question. I’m putting him on the spot, but. Q: Thanks for putting me on the spot. I guess the question that I would ask is also about the Americans—the nation's talent needed—from a national security perspective, also from an economic perspective, the talent that is needed to actually drive the American economy, drive America’s leadership position. And as the United States is becoming essentially majority-minority, can the United States—how important is it that we develop the talent that is in our underrepresented populations in order to sustain America’s leadership? ALLEN: Yeah. Well, Mr. President, I’m sure you know the answer to that question. (Laughs.) It’s critical. It’s absolutely critical. And like I said—as you all know, we find ourselves looking at work and the future of work in a much different way than I imagine any of us thought possible at this pace that we’re moving. Effectively, it’s to say that we are training students for jobs that have not yet been invented. So how we do that relative to their ability to analyze critically, write in a way that not only is clear but is compelling with respect to how they tell stories, be creative in the ways in which they want to engage in the world, and how they think about themselves as citizens. It couldn’t be more important. And I’d say, particularly in the African American communities and other communities of color, it’s critical relative to the future of those communities. As I said—and you know this—that the contributions of HBCUs, just as one example from an economic development standpoint, are substantive, but they represent a proxy for much broader contribution from communities of color throughout this country. And, we’ve seen some symbols just recently. If you look at the president’s Cabinet, the most diverse cabinet in the history of the United States. Obviously, I know many of you probably saw the hearings for soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson—and you saw the good and bad of that and what that might portend for our own civility in this country. So I get up every day thinking about the fact that I have a lot of students whose life circumstances are changing because of Delaware State, and in so doing—at least in part—in so doing they have to be a part of the solution for really salvaging our democracy. So that is not just your new engineer or your new political scientist or your new accountant or banker, you have to be really apart of this process if we want to get it right. So I appreciate the question, and I know you all know just how important it is not only in the American context, but around the globe. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m just going to take another question from Xavier University of Louisiana. We just heard from the president, but now from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who’s on the political science and international relations faculty. Q: I’ve taken my role of internationalizing our students very seriously. Many of my department’s graduates have gone on to be Foreign Service Officers thanks to the Rangel and Pickering Fellowships made available to them. Today many have lost interest in international service seeing their service and diplomacy more as tokens than as valued for their intellectual capital. Fewer are interested in pursuing international diplomacy. What encouragement can you give international faculty who recognize the importance of Black students representing the Black story? ALLEN: Well, first of all, it’s a great question, and international development is not the only space where folks check a box on the number of students of color they might have in a program. And that’s problematic for all the reasons you outlined. Some of the things we’re doing, again with our Career Pathways programming, is suggesting that the institutions that we’re working with think of doing business with us in cohorts. So it’s not just the one person that got the one opportunity, and then nothing else happens. But you build capacity for four or five, eight or ten students to get a similar situated opportunity, where they can lean on each other but also see faces that look like them and can be encouraging in that way. That’s one. Second is the institutions themselves have to really look at their own pipelines for senior leadership, which is really challenging. So it’s not just that you can find the young Black or brown—the new young Black or brown talent out there, but does your organization look like the community you serve up and down that organization? And that’s a little bit of—has been my struggle in trying to provide some advice and counsel to institutional leaders who are really serious about this business because it does take some bold leadership—looking in places you had not looked before, opening doors you might not have otherwise seen, and then recognizing that if you do that, your pipeline will grow as a result because those students will see the institution as serious about the issue. So I would say don’t give up. I would say press harder. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So next question from Dr. Todd Barry, professor at Hudson County Community College. How far north geographically do HBCUs go? And he hails from Connecticut. ALLEN: (Laughs.) I’m only laughing because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that question before. But I’m pretty North, actually. Most of the HBCUs are in the Southeast—not all of them, but most of them. The northern most, I guess, would be Cheyney University, the first one. There are two in Pennsylvania—Cheyney University and Lincoln. Lincoln is basically the second—though they will fight over that reputation. (Laughs.) And they are about 20 minutes from each other, and then I am about an hour and ten (minutes) from them, so the northern most are really Cheyney and Lincoln. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next? Any other questions? I want to just say that next week we are hosting an in-person workshop in New York for college and university professors on the 28th and 29th of April, and we have several professors from HBCUs, which we’re really excited about. But if you want to send any more our way—(laughs)—we would welcome it. The other thing that we do every year is we host a Conference on Diversity in International Affairs. So it’s a collaboration that CFR does with the Global Access Pipeline and International Career Advancement Program, and the dates of that are May 20—let’s see, I think 24 and 25. And we have students come for that, and it’s great professional development. So hopefully if those of you on the call want your students to come—sorry, May 25 and 26—I was off by a day—if any of you want your students to come, we would love to have them. That takes place in D.C. OK. So I’m just looking for any other questions? The other thing I would love for you to talk a little bit—you mentioned your emphasis now on partnerships with government and getting more support from the federal government, but your background, you also had a corporate background. ALLEN: Mm-hmm. FASKIANOS: So how have you in your position—how have HBCUs traditionally leveraged corporate and industry partnerships to build awareness and foster engagement? And what are you specifically doing given your background in that space, thirteen years that you’ve spent? ALLEN: That’s actually—I shouldn’t say it this way, but that has not been as challenging. I think the corporate community, and recently in particular, they’ve showed up in a pretty thoughtful way on balance, on balance, d I don’t just mean in Delaware State, but I think at institutions across the country. The one caveat to that is that fourth priority I mentioned, which is sometimes our smaller HBCUs are left out of that equation because folks don’t know the whole story—that there are 101 of them, that they cut across any number of disciplines, that they’re all doing really high-quality work. So being able to, as I said, build the profile of HBCUs is important. With respect to what we’ve been able to do, we’ve had some significant really record-breaking fundraising over the last two years with the corporate community, and the idea has cut across a number of opportunities for us. One is that catalytic engine I just mentioned, without JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America we wouldn’t have forty other corporate partners who really want to be doing business with us in a much different way than they have in the past. And then the emerging opportunities, there’s an organization called Propel [Center] out of Atlanta. If you don’t know that one, you should. It’s largely funded by a Southern Company and Apple, and it’s all a part of their racial, equity and inclusion efforts. And the idea is that you would create a virtual HBCU space for all HBCUs to have their students engage across a number of core disciplines. For us, we’re spending a lot of time being at Beacon School for Agricultural Technology. For others, it’s the arts, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s a way for the HBCU students to connect with each other across these emerging disciplines and older disciplines; and also, for the companies to connect with these students as well and give them some practical experience relative to what’s happening in the new workspace, what the expectation is in those workspaces, what’s coming down the pike that many of us hadn’t seen before. So it is a unique opportunity because more businesses are coming into that space. They’re finding out about HBCUs in a much different way, and that is creating obviously new opportunities for the students themselves, but, as I said, equally important for the companies who are serious about their business of diversity, equity, and inclusion. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. I’ll just note Ambassador Perry has a comment in the Q&A box about—as a co-drafter of the Rangel program and enabling students to enter the Pickering program, there are opportunities at the State Department that offer paid internships so that’s important to mention. So now I’m going to go to Harold Schmitz, a senior scholar at the University of California Davis, who has raised his hand. Q: Hi. Yeah, it’s Harold Schmitz. And thanks for this. So I’m actually serving on a Blue Ribbon Panel at the National Academy of Sciences, and so we’re looking at it from a land grants perspective, you know, across 1862-1890 and 1990s—thinking specifically about food and agriculture research and how to enhance collaboration between the whole land-grant enterprise as opposed to the traditional sort of 1862s. And so I’d really appreciate hearing your views on how would you see the land-grant enterprise from your perspective operating at a much higher and more collaborative sort of speed and nature than it currently is? ALLEN: It’s an interesting question, Harold. I’m glad you asked it. And a couple of observations. For one, I serve on the Council of 1890s, and for the room, there are about eighteen HBCUs that are 1890 land-grant institutions. And the idea is that we would spend and build deeper relationships with some of our 1860 PWI counterparts, but also among each other. I think the one thing that we as HBCUs, generally in 1890s in particular, can do a bit more clearly is find those unique opportunities in our own space and build capacity together. I did mention Cheyney and Lincoln, and I saw that one of our colleagues corrected me. There absolutely are two great HBCUs in Ohio in Central and Wilberforce as well. But what—we do it from time to time, but what we don’t do often enough is find a way to really build collaborative, comprehensive research projects across our spaces, and proposals, and then present them as unique opportunities. We usually—this is unfortunate, but it is a fact—go to the larger PWIs who have bigger capacity, more staff, more opportunity, and then when we do that, we become a sub to that project, which nothing wrong with being a sub but if you’re always a sub then you’re not going to get the kind of capacity to really build your own research protocol and framework. So we’re trying to do a better job of that as we move forward. And then, as I said, because of the profile that we have received here recently, many more opportunities are coming our way, and what I mean by that is many more conversations. We’ll see if those conversations turn into substantive research dollars and the like, but we are having many more conversations with the right people around how we are able—how we can build support and capacity for our own research interests. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Any other questions? We’re coming to the end of our time, so. There are a lot of, sort of, compliments in the Q&A box saying that this has been a very inspiring discussion. Thank you for your important work. And so just noting that. In our final minutes, Tony, it would be great if you could talk about, what are—you mentioned the four areas that you’re going to focus on with President Biden, but what do you want to—what would you say to all of us to be doing in our communities to help with these efforts? ALLEN: Well, just put HBCUs aside for a second. The story of the country is a story of struggle, right? And that’s certainly true in the African American context, but I think that’s true overall. And our ability to be a more thoughtful, civil society that really lifts all boats is the final—in my view, is the final frontier for the country and I think an opportunity for the world if we get it right. So, oftentimes I say it’s a little less difficult for you to find diverse talent pipelines if your proximity is one that has diverse pipelines in it, which is to say, who do you go to church with, who do you eat dinner with? Who do your friends talk to? Those are the opportunities that I’ve had in my life kind of in the reverse, right, that has helped me—helped open doors for me, helped me get connected in the right ways, helped me open doors for other people. But if we are living largely separate, distinct, homogenous lives based on our race, ethnicity, or gender, it’s going to be a much difficult and really more—you’d have to have a much more concerted effort to break the barriers that are largely artificial in our context. They really are largely artificial when you think about them. They have been cemented by, sort of, these systemic concerns, but they are largely artificial. And this—having an opportunity like this in front of the Council I think is actually a pretty important part of the process because you’re going to expose yourself in a way that you might not have thought of. Quite frankly, it’s one of the reasons I said yes to doing this because I’m exposing myself to something I might not have—just might not have crossed my mind in my business. Now I know just why important it is. So I would just have you think about proximity in your own lives, as I certainly do, and where you see the opportunity to make a real difference, do it and do it boldly. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you, and well—this has been really terrific opportunity for us, too, to have this exchange with you. Thank you for your leadership. If nobody else has a question, we will close a couple minutes early because I know that everybody is busy, and we really appreciate you taking the time from your busy schedule to do this. So thank you for that. And thanks to everybody for their comments. We can circulate links after this to the transcript of video as well as some of the resources that have been mentioned. Again, I’m just going to say, if you have a professor that you want to send next week to our College and University Educators Workshop, reach out to me—(laughs)—and of course, we will be sending out information about our diversity conference because this is extremely important to us. We also have paid internships at CFR, which is extremely helpful and important as we look to diversify. So thank you, again, Dr. Allen. Appreciate it. ALLEN: Thank you. FASKIANOS: And to all of you, please continue follow us at @CFR_academic on Twitter, visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com and ThinkGlobalHealth.org. I know this is a busy time for all of you with finals, graduation, and everything else. So good luck with the rest of the semester, and we look forward to your continued participation. ALLEN: Take care. (END)
  • Global

    Anne C. Richard, distinguished fellow and Afghanistan coordination lead at Freedom House, will lead a conversation on refugees and global migration. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to the final session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Anne Richard with us today to talk about refugees and global migration. Ms. Richard is a distinguished fellow and Afghanistan coordination lead at Freedom House. She has taught at several universities including Georgetown, University of Virginia, Hamilton College, and the University of Pennsylvania. From 2012 to 2017, Ms. Richard served as an assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, and before joining the Obama administration she served as vice president of government relations and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. She has also worked at the Peace Corps headquarters and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and is a member of CFR. So, Anne, thank you very much for being with us today. With your background and experience, it would be great if you could talk from your vantage point—give us an overview of the current refugee trends you are—we are seeing around the world, especially vis-à-vis the war in Ukraine, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, et cetera. RICHARD: Thank you so much, Irina, for inviting me today and for always welcoming me back to the Council. And thank you to your team for putting this together. I’m very happy to speak about the global refugee situation, which, unfortunately, has, once again, grown yet larger in a way that is sort of stumping the international community in terms of what can well-meaning governments do, what can foundations and charitable efforts and the United Nations (UN) do to help displaced people. I thought we could start off talking a little bit about definitions and data, and the idea is that I only speak about ten minutes at this beginning part so that we can get to your questions all the more quickly. But for all of us to be on the same wavelength, let’s recall that refugees, as a group, have an organization that is supposed to look out for them. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is the title of the number-one person in the organization, but the entire organization is known by that name, UNHCR, or the UN Refugee Agency. It also has a convention—the 1951 Refugee Convention—that came about after World War II and was very focused on not allowing to happen again what had happened during World War II where victims of the Nazis and, as time went on, people fleeing fascism, people fleeing communism, couldn’t get out of their countries and were persecuted because of this. And there’s a legal definition that comes out of the convention that different countries have, and the U.S. legal definition matches very much the convention’s, which is that refugees have crossed an international border—they’re not in their home country anymore—and once they’ve crossed an international border the sense is that they are depending on the international community to help them and that they’re fleeing for specific purposes—their race, their religion, their ethnicity, their membership in a particular social group such as being LGBTQ, or political thought. And if you think back to the Cold War, these were some of the refugees coming out of the former Soviet Union, coming out of Eastern Europe, were people who had spoken out and were in trouble and so had to flee their home countries. So what are the numbers then? And I’m going to refer you to a very useful page on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees website, which is their “Figures at a Glance” presentation, and we’re going to reference some of the numbers that are up there now. But those numbers change every year. They change on June 20, which is World Refugee Day. And so every year it hits the headlines that the numbers have gone up, unfortunately, and you can anticipate this if you think in terms of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. It’s usually June 20, 21, 22. So June 20, that first possible day, is every year World Refugee Day. So if you’re working on behalf of refugees it’s good sometimes to schedule events or anticipate newspaper articles and conversations about refugees ticking up in—at the end of June. So if you were paying attention last June for World Refugee Day, UNHCR would have unveiled a number of 82.4 million refugees around the world, and so this upcoming June what do we anticipate? Well, we anticipate the numbers will go up again and, in fact, yesterday the high commissioner was in Washington, met with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and they met the press and Filippo Grandi, the current high commissioner, said that he thinks the number is closer to ninety-five to ninety-six million refugees. So, clearly, a couple things have happened since last June. One is that so many people are trying to flee Afghanistan and another is so many people have fled Ukraine. So if we went back to that $82.4 million figure that we know we have details on, we would find that this is the figure of people who are displaced because of conflict or persecution around the world. The ones that count as refugees who have actually crossed an international border is a smaller number. It’s 20.7 million people that UNHCR is concerned about and then another close to six million people who are Palestinians in the Middle East whose displacement goes back to 1948, the creation of the statehood of Israel, and upheaval in the Middle East region as Palestinians were shifted to live elsewhere. And so—and they are provided assistance by a different UN agency, UNRWA—UN Relief Works Administration in the Near East—and so if you see a number or you see two sets of numbers for refugees and they’re off by about five or six million people, the difference is the Palestinian, that number—whether it’s being counted in, which is for worldwide numbers, or out because UNHCR cares for most refugees on Earth but did not have the responsibility for the Palestinians since UNRWA was set up with that specific responsibility. So what’s the big difference then between the eighty-two million, now growing to ninety-five million, and this smaller number of refugees? It’s internally displaced persons (IDPs). These are people who are displaced by conflict or are displaced by persecution, are running for their lives, but they haven’t left their own countries yet. So think of Syrians who, perhaps, are displaced by war and they have crossed their own countries and gone to a safer place within their own country but they haven’t crossed that border yet. Others who have crossed into Lebanon or Turkey or Jordan or Iraq or have gone further afield to Egypt, those would be considered refugees. Who’s responsible for the IDPs then? Well, legally, their own countries are supposed to take care of them. But in my Syria example, the problem is Syria was bombing its own people in certain areas of the country, and so they were not protecting their own people as they should be. People can be displaced by things other than war and conflict and persecution, of course. More and more we talk about climate displacement, and this is a hot issue that we can talk about later. But who’s responsible then when people are displaced by changing climactic conditions and it’s their own governments who are supposed to help them? But more and more questions have been raised about, well, should the international community come together and do more for this group of people—for internally displaced persons—especially when their own governments are unwilling or unable to do so? What about migrants? Who are the migrants? Migrants is a much broader term. Everyone I’ve talked about so far who’s crossed a border counts as a migrant. Migrants are just people on the go, and the International Organization for Migration estimates there’s about 281 million migrants on Earth today—about 3.6 percent of the world population—and one of the big issues I’ve pushed is to not see migrants as a dirty word. Unfortunately, it often is described that way—that migratory flows are bad, when, in fact, lots of people are migrants. Students who travel to the U.S. to take classes are migrants to our country. The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, who was himself for eleven years the high commissioner for refugees, he says, I am a migrant, because he’s a Portuguese person working in New York City. People hired by Silicon Valley from around the world to work in high-paid jobs, legally in the United States, they are migrants. More concerning are vulnerable migrants, people who are displaced and don’t have the wherewithal to, necessarily, protect themselves, take care of themselves, on the march or where they end up, or also if they’re seen as traveling without papers, not welcome in the places where they’re going, that can be a very, very dangerous situation for them. So be aware that migrants is a really broad all-encompassing term that can include travelers, businesspeople, as well as vulnerable and very poor people who are economic migrants. Finally, immigrants are people who set out and migrate because they intend to live somewhere else, and when we were talking about the Trump administration’s policies to reduce the number of refugees coming to the U.S. we also see that immigration to the U.S. also was decreased during that administration as well. So both the refugee program and a lot of the immigration pathways to the U.S. are now being examined and trying to be not just fixed, because a lot of them have needed care for quite some time, but also put back on a growth trajectory. And then asylum seekers are people who get to a country on their own, either they have traveled to a border or they pop up inside a country because they have gotten in legally through some other means such as a visitor visa or business visa, and then they say, I can’t go home again. It’s too dangerous for me to go home again. Please, may I have asylum? May I be allowed to stay here and be protected in your country? So that’s a lot of different terminology. But the more you work on it, the more these terms—you get more familiar using them and understand the differences between them that experts or legal experts use. So ninety-five to ninety-six million people, as we see another eleven million people fleeing Ukraine and of that four million, at least, have crossed the borders into neighboring countries and another seven million are internally displaced, still inside Ukraine but they’ve gone someplace that they feel is safer than where they were before. When we looked at the eighty million refugees and displaced people, we knew that two-thirds of that number came from just five countries, and one of the important points about that is it shows you what could happen, the good that could be done, if we were able to push through peace negotiations or resolutions of conflict and persecution, if we could just convince good governance and protection of people—minorities, people with different political thought, different religious backgrounds—inside countries. So the number-one country still remains Syria that has lost 6.7 million people to neighboring countries, primarily. Secondly was Venezuela, four million. Third was Afghanistan. The old number from before last August was 2.6 million and some hundreds of thousands have fled since. And the only reason there aren’t more fleeing is that they have a really hard time getting out of their country, and we can talk more about that in a moment. The fourth are Rohingya refugees fleeing from Burma, or Myanmar. That’s 1.1 million, and the fifth was Southern Sudanese, 2.2 million, who have fled unrest and violence in that country. So we know that we have not enough peace, not enough solutions, and we have too much poverty, too, and dangers. In addition to the Venezuelans, another group that has approached the U.S. from the southern border that were in the paper, especially around election times, is from the Northern Triangle of Central America, so El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These are people who could be fleeing because of economic situations and could also be fleeing from criminal violence, gangs, warfare, narcotraffickers. And so if they are fleeing for their lives and approaching our southern border, we are supposed to give them a hearing and consider whether they have a case for asylum, and the—unfortunately, that is not well understood, especially not by folks working at our borders. The Customs and Border Protection folks are more and more focused on, since 9/11, ensuring that bad guys don’t come across, that terrorists don’t come across, that criminals don’t come across. And we heard in the Trump administration conversations about Mexicans as rapists, gang warfare being imported into the U.S. from Central America when, in fact, some of it had been originally exported, and this sense that people from the Middle East were terrorists. And so really harsh language about the types of people who were trying to make it to the U.S. and to get in. Some final thoughts so that we can get to the question and answer. The U.S. government has traditionally been the top donor to refugee and humanitarian efforts around the world. The bureau at the State Department I used to run, the Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau, was a major donor to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees—UNRWA—the International Committee of the Red Cross, and also the International Organization for Migration, which used to be an independent organization and is now part of the UN since 2016. We were also the number-one resettlement location, the formal program for bringing refugees to the United States, and when I was assistant secretary we brought seventy thousand refugees per year to the United States, invited them to come through a program that took eighteen months to twenty-four months, on average, to get them in because they had to be vetted for security reasons. They had to pass medical tests. Their backgrounds had to be investigated to see that they were who they said they were. And that number went higher in the last year of the Obama administration to eighty-five thousand refugees and, in fact, the Obama administration proposed some very strong additional measures to help refugees. But the Trump administration threw that all into reverse with a completely different set of policies. So the numbers then became reduced every year—fifty-three thousand in the first year of the Trump administration, 22,500 the next year, thirty thousand in 2019, 11,814 in 2020, a similar number in 2021, and slow numbers coming today, this despite bringing so many Afghans through an evacuation exercise last summer. Many of the people who were evacuated were American citizens or green card holders. Afghans who had worked for the U.S. but did not have their formal paperwork yet were brought in under what’s called humanitarian parole, and the problem with that program is that it’s no guarantee for a longer-term stay in the United States. So there’s a bill in Congress right now to address that. A lot of the people who worked on that, especially within the U.S. government, are proud that they’ve scrambled and brought so many people so quickly—120,000 people brought from Afghanistan. At the same time, those of us who are advocates for refugees would say too many people were left behind and the evacuation should continue, and that’s a real concern. In terms of resettlement in the U.S., it’s a program run—public-private partnership—and we’ve never seen so many volunteers and people helping as there are right now, and initiatives to help welcome people to the United States, which is fantastic. I would say the program should be one of humanity, efficiency, and generosity, and that generosity part has been tough to achieve because the government piece of it is kind of stingy. It’s kind of a tough love welcome to the United States where the refugees are expected to get jobs and the kids to go to school and the families to support themselves. So let me stop there because I’ve been just talking too long, I know, and take questions. FASKIANOS: It’s fantastic, and thank you for really clarifying the definitions and the numbers. Just a quick question. You said the U.S. government is the top donor. What is the percentage of DVP? I mean, it’s pretty— RICHARD: Tiny. Yeah. FASKIANOS: —tiny, right? I think there’s this lack of understanding that it may seem like a big number but in our overall budget it’s minuscule. So if you could just give us a— RICHARD: Yeah. It’s grown in the last few years because of all these crises around the world to ten to twelve million—I mean, ten billion dollars to twelve billion (dollars) between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department, which was bigger. It was around seven or eight billion (dollars) when I was the assistant secretary five, six years ago. But the important part of it was it provided the whole backbone to the international humanitarian system. Governments, some of them, saw Americans sometimes as headaches in terms of we, Americans, telling them what to do or we, Americans, having our own ideas of how to do things or we, Americans, demanding always budget cuts and efficiencies. But the fact is the whole humanitarian enterprise around the world is based on American generosity, especially the big operating agencies like World Food Programme, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Development Program. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So now we’re going to go to all you for your questions. Hands are already up and Q&A written questions. So I’ll try to get to everybody as much as I can. I’m going to go—the first question from Rey Koslowski, and if you can unmute yourself and give us your institution that would be fantastic. RICHARD: Hi, Rey. Q: All right. Rey Koslowski, University at Albany. Hi, Anne. Good to see you. I’d like to pick up on the use of humanitarian parole. So, as I understand it, it’s being utilized for Afghan evacuees, Afghans, who you mentioned, who didn’t—weren’t able to get on the flights and were left behind, but also for Ukrainians. You know, President Biden announced a hundred thousand Ukrainians. I mean, a very—we’re using other channels but we’ve had, I believe, three thousand at the U.S.-Mexican border and, I believe, they’re being paroled for the most part, right. As I understand it, we’re—one DHS letter that I saw said that there were forty-one thousand requests for humanitarian parole for Afghan nationals. But I’m wondering about capacity of the USCIS to handle this, to process this, because, you know, normally, I think, maybe two thousand or so, a couple thousand, are processed, maybe a couple of people who do this, and also in conjunction with the challenges for processing all of the asylum applications. So, as I understand it, back in the fall there was some discussion of hiring a thousand asylum officers—additional asylum officers. I was wondering, what are your thoughts about our capacity to process all of the—the U.S. government’s capacity to process the humanitarian parole applications and the asylum applications, and if you have any insights on new hires and how many— RICHARD: Well, you know, Rey, at Freedom House now I’m working on a project to help Afghan human rights defenders and— Q: Right. RICHARD: —the idea is that they can restart their work if we can find a way for them to be safe inside Afghanistan, which is very hard with the Taliban in charge right now, or if in exile they can restart their work. And so we’re watching to see where Afghans are allowed to go in the world as they seek sanctuary and the answer is they don’t get very far. It’s very hard to get out of the country. If they get to Pakistan or Iran, they don’t feel safe. They have short-term visas to stay there, and the programs that might bring them further along like resettlement of refugees are—take a much longer time to qualify for and then to spring into action, and so they’re stuck. You know, they’re afraid of being pushed back into Afghanistan. They’re afraid of becoming undocumented and running out of money wherever they are, and so they’re in great need of help. The humanitarian parole program sort of—for bringing Afghans into the U.S. sort of understood that our eighteen- to twenty-four-month refugee resettlement program was a life-saving program but it wasn’t an emergency program. It didn’t work on an urgent basis. It didn’t scoop people up and move them overnight, and that’s, really, what was called for last August was getting people—large numbers of people—out of harm’s way. And so when I was assistant secretary, if we knew someone was in imminent danger we might work with another government. I remember that the Scandinavians were seen as people who were more—who were less risk averse and would take people who hadn’t had this vast vetting done but would take small numbers and bring them to safety, whereas the U.S. did things in very large numbers but very slowly. And so this lack of emergency program has really been what’s held us back in providing the kind of assistance, I think, people were looking for the Afghans. I was surprised we even brought them into the United States. I thought after 9/11 we’d never see that kind of program of bringing people in with so little time spent on checking. But what they did was they moved up them to the front of the line and checked them very quickly while they were on the move. So it was safe to do but it was unusual, and I think part of that was because the military—the U.S. military—was so supportive of it and U.S. veterans were so supportive of it and we had, for the first time in a while, both the right and the left of the political spectrum supporting this. So the problem with humanitarian parole is I remember it being used, for example, for Haitians who had been injured in the Haitian earthquake and they needed specialized health care—let’s say, all their bones were crushed in their legs or something. They could be paroled into the U.S., get that health care that they needed, and then sent home again. So we’ve not used it for large numbers of people coming in at once. So what refugee advocates are seeking right now from Congress is the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would give people a more permanent legal status. They would be treated as if they were—had come through the refugee resettlement program and they’d get to stay. So you’re right that the numbers being granted humanitarian parole at one time is just not the normal way of doing things. You’re also right that the—this is a lot of extra work on people who weren’t anticipating it, and more can continue with the hundred thousand Ukrainians who the president has said we will take in. And so the thing is when we have these kind of challenges in the United States one way to deal with it is to spend more money and do a better job, and that seems to be an option for certain challenges we face but not for all challenges we face. With these more humanitarian things, we tend to have tried to do it on the cheap and to also use the charity and partner with charities and churches more than if this were sort of a more business-oriented program. So we need all of the above. We need more government funding for the people who are working the borders and are welcoming people in or are reviewing their backgrounds. We need more assistance from the public, from the private sector, from foundations, because the times demand it. And it’s very interesting to me to see Welcome US created last year with three former U.S. presidents—President Bush, President Clinton, President Obama—speaking up about it, saying, please support this, and people from across the political aisle supporting it. I wish that had existed in 2015 when we were grappling with these issues at the time of candidate Trump. So the needs are greater. Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean we have to just suffer through and struggle through and have long backups like we do right now. We could be trying to put more resources behind it. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the next written question from Haley Manigold, who’s an IR undergrad student at University of North Florida. We know that the war in Ukraine is going to affect grain and food supplies for the MENA countries. Is there any way you would recommend for Europe and other neighboring regions to manage the refugee flows? RICHARD: The first part of that was about the food issue but then you said— FASKIANOS: Correct, and then this is a pivot to manage the refugee flows. So— RICHARD: Well, the Europeans are treating the Ukrainians unlike any other flow of people that we’ve seen lately. It goes a little bit back and reminiscent to people fleeing the Balkans during the 1990s. But we saw that with a million people in 2015 walking into Europe from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan—mix of economic migrants and real refugees—that Europe, at first, under Angela Merkel’s leadership were welcoming to these folks showing up, and then there was a backlash and the walls came up on that route from the Balkans to Germany and to Sweden. And so in the last few years, Europeans have not been seen as champions in allowing—rescuing people who are trying to get to Europe on their own. You know, especially the Mediterranean has been a pretty dismal place where we see Africans from sub-Saharan Africa working their way up to North Africa and trying to get from Libya across the Mediterranean to Europe. These are mostly economic migrants but not solely economic migrants, and they deserve to have a hearing and, instead, they have been terribly mistreated. They get stopped by the Libyan coast guard, the Europeans push boats back, and they are offloaded back into Libya and they are practically imprisoned and mistreated in North Africa. So that’s a terribly inhumane way to treat people who are trying to rescue themselves, their families, and find a better life. And another point to the Europeans has been, couldn’t you use these young people taking initiative trying to have a better life and work hard and get on with their lives, and the answer is yes. Europe has this sort of aging demographic and could definitely use an infusion of younger workers and talented people coming in. But, instead, they have really pushed to keep people out. So what’s happened with Ukrainians? They’re seen as a different category. They’re seen as neighbors. There’s a part of it that is positive, which is a sense that the countries right next door have to help them. Poland, Moldova, other countries, are taking in the Ukrainians. The borders are open. If they get to Poland they can get free train fare to Germany. Germany will take them in, and that’s a beautiful thing. And the upsetting thing is the sense that there is undertones of racism, also anti-Islam, where darker-skinned people were not at all welcome and people who are not Christian were not welcome. And so it’s probably a mix of all the above, the good and the bad, and it’s potentially an opportunity to teach more people about “refugeehood” and why we care and why it affects all of us and what we should do about it and that we should do more. FASKIANOS: Thank you. All right, I’m going to take the next question from Kazi Sazid, who has also raised their hand, so if you could just ask your question yourself and identify yourself. Q: Hello. So I’m Kazi. I’m a student at CUNY Hunter College and I happen to be writing a research paper on Central American and Iraq war refugee crises and how international law hasn’t changed the behavior of a state helping them. So my question is, how does confusion and ignorance of migration and refugee terminology by state leaders and the general populace impact the legally ordained rights of refugees such as having identity documents, having the right to education, refoulement, which is not being sent back to a country where they are danger? One example is like Central Americans are termed as illegal immigrants by the right wing but the reality is they are asylum seekers who are worthy of refugee status because gang violence and corruption has destabilized their country and the judicial systems. I think femicide in El Salvador and Honduras is among the highest and—so yeah. RICHARD: Yeah. Thank you for asking the question, and I have a soft spot in my heart for Hunter College. Only one of my grandparents went to college and it was my mother’s mother who went to Hunter College and graduated in the late 1920s, and as we know, it’s right down the street from the Harold Pratt House, the home of the Council on Foreign Relations. So I think a lot of what you—I agree with a lot of what you’ve said about—for me it’s describing these people who offer so much potential as threats, just because they are trying to help themselves. And instead of feeling that we should support these folks, there’s a sense of—even if we don’t allow them in our country we could still do things to ease their way and help them find better solutions, but they’re described as these waves of people coming this way, headed this way, scary, scary. And if you follow the debates in the United States, I was very alarmed before and during the Trump administration that journalists did not establish that they had a right to make a claim for asylum at the border. Instead, they talked about it as if it were two political policies duking it out, where some people felt we should take more and some people felt we should take less. Well, the issue that was missed, I felt, in a lot of the coverage of the Southern border was the right to asylum, that they had a right to make a claim, that we had signed onto this as the United States and that there was a very good reason that we had signed onto that and it was to make sure people fleeing for their lives get an opportunity to be saved if they’re innocent people and not criminals, but innocent people who are threatened, that we’d give them a place of safety. So I agree with you that the lack of understanding about these basic principles, agreements, conventions is something that is not well understood by our society, and certainly the society was not being informed of that by a lot of the messengers describing the situation over the past few years. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to take the next question from Lindsey McCormack who is an undergrad at Baruch—oh, sorry, a graduate student at Baruch College. My apologies. Do you see any possibility of the U.S. adopting a protocol for vetting and accepting climate refugees? Have other countries moved in that direction? And maybe you can give us the definition of a climate refugee and what we will in fact be seeing as we see climate change affecting all of us. RICHARD: I don’t have a lot to say on this, so I hate to disappoint you, but I will say a couple things because, one, I was on a task force at Refugees International, which is a very good NGO that writes about and reports on refugee situations around the world and shines a light on them. I was part of a task force that came out with a report for the Biden administration on the need to do more for climate migrants, and so that report is available at the Refugees International site and it was being submitted to the Biden administration because the Biden administration had put out an executive order on refugees that included a piece that said we want to do a better job, we want to come up with new, fresh ideas on climate migrants. So I don’t know where that stands right now, but I think the other piece of information that I often give out while doing public speaking, especially to students, about this issue is that I feel not enough work has been done on it, and so if a student is very interested in staying in academia and studying deeper into some of these issues, I think climate migration is a field that is ripe for further work. It’s timely, it’s urgent, and it hasn’t been over-covered in the past. I admire several people, several friends who are working on these issues; one is Professor Beth Ferris at Georgetown University who was, in fact, on the secretary general’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement and she made sure that some of these climate issues are raised in very high-level meetings. She was also part of this task force from Refugees International. Another smart person working on this is Amali Tower, a former International Rescue Committee colleague who started a group called Climate Refugees and she’s also trying to bring more attention to this; she’s kind of very entrepreneurial in trying to do more on that. Not everybody would agree that the term should be climate refugees since “refugees” has so much legal definitions attached to it and the people displaced by climate don’t have those kind of protections or understandings built around them yet. But I think it’s an area that there definitely needs to be more work done. So I think the basic question was, did I think something good was going to happen anytime soon related to this, and I can’t tell because these crazy situations around the world, the war in Ukraine and Taliban in charge in Afghanistan—I mean, that just completely derails the types of exercises that the world needs of thinking through very logically good governance, people coming together making decisions, building something constructive instead of reacting to bad things. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from raised hand Ali Tarokh. And unmute your—thank you. Q: Yes. OK, I am Ali Tarokh from Northeastern University. I came here in the United States ten years ago as a refugee. And I was in Turkey—I flew Iran to Turkey. I stayed there fourteen, sixteen months. So this is part of—my question is part of my lived experience in Turkey. So one part is humanitarian services, helping refugees move into the third country, OK? The one issue I—it’s my personal experience is the UNHCR system, there is many corruptions. This corruption makes lines, OK, produce refugees—because some countries such as Iran and Turkey, they are producing refugees and there is no solution for it, or sometimes they use it as—they use refugees as a weapon. They say, OK, if you don’t work with me—Turkey sent a message to EU: If you don’t work with me, I open the borders. I open the borders and send the flow of refugees to EU. Even some—even Iran’s government. So my question is, how can we in the very base on the ground—the level of the ground—how can we prevent all these corruption or how can we work out with this kind of government, countries that are—I named them the refugee producers. And by the time there is two sides of the refugees—one is just humanitarian services, which is our responsibility, United States playing globally there; and other side it seems refugees issue became like industry. In Turkey, the UNHCR staff, some lawyers/attorneys, they take money from people, they make fake cases for them. Even they ask them: Hey, what country—which country would you like to go, United States, Canada, Scandinavian countries? So what is our strategy? What is our solution to help real refugees or prevent produce refugees? RICHARD: Well, there’s several things that are raised by your question. Turkey and, now we see, Russia have both been countries where we have seen instances where they can turn on the flow of refugees and turn it off. And Turkey was watching people walk through Turkey, cross the Mediterranean is very scary, dangerous trip between Turkey and Greece in these rubber boats in 2015, 2016, and then they would make their way onward, and then, because of this big EU-Turkey deal that involved 3 billion euros at the time, all of a sudden, the flow stopped. And then in further negotiations going on and on, Turkey would say things that seemed like it came right from a Godfather movie, like, gee, I’d hate to see that flow start up again; that would be a real shame. And so it was clear it was sort of a threat that if you didn’t cooperate it could play this very disruptive role on the edges of Europe and deploying people, as you said, which is so cruel not just to the people who are receiving them but to the individuals themselves that they’re not being seen as people who need care but instead as a problem to be deployed in different directions. And we saw that also with Belarus and Poland and now also it may have been part of the thinking of Vladimir Putin that by attacking Ukraine, by going to war with Ukraine that there would be exactly what is happening now, people scattering from Ukraine into Europe and that that would be a way to drive a wedge between European countries and cause a lot of not just heartache but also animosity between these countries. So what the Russians didn’t seem to appreciate this time was that there would be so much solidarity to help the Ukrainians, and that has been a bit of a surprise. So you’ve also talked about corruption, though, and corruption is a problem all over the world for lots of different reasons, in business and it’s embedded in some societies in a way that sometimes people make cultural excuses for, but in reality we know it doesn’t have to be that way. But it is very hard to uproot and get rid of. So I find this work, the anti-corruption work going on around the world, really interesting and groups like Transparency International are just sort of fascinating as they try to really change the standards and the expectations from—the degree to which corruption is part of societies around the world. So UNHCR has to take great care to not hire people who are going to shake down and victimize refugees, and it’s not—there’s never a perfect situation, but I know that a lot of work is done to keep an eye on these kinds of programs so that the aid goes to the people who need it and it’s not sidetracked to go to bad guys. And the way I’ve seen it is, for example, if I travel overseas and I go to someplace where refugees are being resettled to the U.S. or they’re being interviewed for that, or I go to UNHCR office, there will be big signs up that will say the resettlement program does not cost money. If someone asks you for money, don’t pay it; you know, report this. And from time to time, there are mini scandals, but overall, it’s remarkable how much corruption is kept out of some of these programs. But it’s a never-ending fight. I agree with you in your analysis that this is a problem and in some countries more than others. FASKIANOS: So I’m going to take the next question from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who’s the chair of the political science department at Xavier University in New Orleans. There are reports in some news feeds that African refugees from Ukraine are being disallowed entry to some states accepting refugees. I think you did allude to this. Is there evidence of this, and if so, can the UN stop it or alleviate that situation? RICHARD: We saw before the Taliban took over in Afghanistan that some European countries were saying it was time for Afghans to go home again, and the idea that during this war it was safe for Afghans to go back—and especially for Afghans who are discriminated against even in the best of times in Afghanistan, like the Hazara minority. It’s just—I found that sort of unbelievable that some countries thought this was the right time to send people back to Afghanistan. And so at the moment there’s a weird situation in Afghanistan because it’s safer in some ways for the bulk of the people because the active fighting has—in large parts of the country—stopped. But it’s deadly dangerous for human rights defenders, women leaders, LBGTQ folks—anyone who tries to stand up to the Taliban—you know, scholars, thinkers, journalists. And so those are the folks that, in smaller numbers, we need to find some kind of way to rescue them and get them to safety while they are still inside Afghanistan or if that’s outside Afghanistan and in the region. The borders—the border situations change from time to time. For a while they were saying only people with passports could come out, and for most Afghan families, nobody had a passport or, if they did, it was a head of household had a passport for business or trade. But you wouldn’t have had passports for the spouse and the children. And so this has been a real dilemma. We also see a whole series of barriers to people getting out; so first you need a passport, then you need a visa to where you’re going, and then you might need a transit visa for a country that you are crossing. And what has come to pass is that people who are trying to help evacuate people from Afghanistan—a smaller and smaller number as the months go on; people are trying to make this happen because it’s so hard—that they will only take people out of the country if they feel that their onward travel is already figured out and that they have their visas for their final-destination country. So the actual number that’s getting out are tiny. And the people who have gotten out who are in either Pakistan or Iraq are very worried. And they’re afraid to be pushed back. They’re afraid they will run out of money. They are afraid—I think said this during my talk before—they’re afraid that there are people in Pakistan who will turn them in to the Taliban. And so it’s always hard to be a refugee, but right now it’s really frightening for people who are just trying to get to a safe place. FASKIANOS: And in terms of the discrimination that you referenced for refugees leaving the Ukraine, I mean, there have been some reports of EU—discrimination in European countries not accepting— RICHARD: Well, like African students who are studying in Ukraine— FASKIANOS: Yes. RICHARD: —who were not treated as if they were fleeing a country at war— FASKIANOS: Correct. RICHARD: —but instead were put in a different category and said, you know, go back, go home. FASKIANOS: Yes. RICHARD: Yeah, that’s—that is quite blatant— FASKIANOS: And there’s— RICHARD: And that was happening at the borders. FASKIANOS: Is there anything the UN can do about that, or is that really at the discretion of the countries—the accepting countries? RICHARD: Well, the—yeah, the UNHCR has these reception centers that they’ve set up, including between the border of Poland and Ukraine, and I think the other neighboring countries. And so if one can get to the reception center, one could potentially get additional help or be screened into—for special attention for needing some help that maybe a white Christian Ukrainian who spoke more than one language of the region would not need. FASKIANOS: Great. So let’s go to Susan Knott, who also wrote her question, but has raised her hand. So Susan, why don’t you just ask your question? And please unmute and identify yourself. KNOTT: OK, am I unmuted? FASKIANOS: Yes. KNOTT: OK. I am Susan Knott, University of Utah, Educational Policy and Leadership doctoral program. I am also a practicum intern at ASU, and I’m also a refugee services collaborator. And I’m engaged in a research project creating college and university pathways for refugees to resettle. I’m just wondering what your feel is about the current administration efforts in seeking to establish the pathway model similar to ASU’s Education for Humanity Initiative with Bard, and is there helping lead the Refugee Higher Education Access program that serves learners who require additional university-level preparation in order to transition into certificate and degree programs. And I just—I’m not just—and all of this buzz that’s going on since all of terrible crises are occurring, I’m not seeing a whole lot that—based on my own experience working with refugee education and training centers at colleges—on the college level, and learning about the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Ed and Immigration. I’m just wondering—and they’re saying let’s have this be more of a privately funded or partnerships with the university scholarships and private entities. What about a federally-funded university sponsorship program for refugee students given that the numbers or the data is showing that that age group is the largest number of just about every refugee population? RICHARD: That’s a really fascinating set of issues. I’m not the expert on them, so I’m going to disappoint you. but I appreciate that you took a little extra time in how you stated your intervention to add a lot of information for this group, which should very much care about this. I get a lot of questions every week about university programs that Afghan students could take advantage of. I don’t have a good handle on it, and I’m trying to do that with—I’m overdue for a conversation with Scholars at Risk in New York. Robert Quinn is the executive director of that, I believe. And so I’m glad you raised this and I’m not going to have a lot of extra to say about it. FASKIANOS: Anne, are there—is there—there’s a question in the chat in the Q&A about sources for data on U.S. initiatives toward refugees. Where would you direct people to go to get updates on the latest programs, et cetera? RICHARD: Sometimes I’m embarrassed to say the best summaries are done by not-for-profits outside the government than by the government. The best source for data on resettlement of refugees to the U.S. is a website that is funded by the U.S. government called WRAPSNET.org—WRAPS spelled W-R-A-P-S-N-E-T dot-O-R-G. And in double-checking some of the things last summer, I felt that DHS had better descriptions of some of the programs than the State Department did, and that’s my bureau that I used to—run, so—but they are responsible for determining who is in and who is out of these different programs, so maybe that’s why they do. So there’s a lot on the DHS website that’s interesting if you are looking for more information. And one of the things the Council does, it has done a number of these special web presentations: one on refugees that I got to help on a couple of years ago, and I think there’s one up now on Ukrainians. And this is the type of public education function that the Council does so well I think because they fact-check everything, and so it’s very reliable. FASKIANOS: Thank you for that plug. You can find it all on CFR.org—lots of backgrounders, and timelines, and things like that. So we don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to roll up two questions—one in the Q&A box and one because of your vast experience. So what role do NGOs play in refugee crises and migration initiatives, particularly in resettlement? And just from your perspective, Anne, you have been in academia, you’ve worked in the government, you worked at IRC, and now are at Freedom House. And so just—again, what would you share with the group about pursuing a career in this—government, non-government perspectives and, what students should be thinking about as they launch to their next phase in life. RICHARD: Yeah, that we could have a whole ‘nother hour on, right? That’s—(laughs)— FASKIANOS: I know, I know. It’s unfair to, right, do this at the very end, but— RICHARD: NGOs play really important roles in both the delivery of humanitarian assistance overseas and the help for resettlement in the United States. In the U.S. there are nine national networks of different groups; six are faith-based, three are not. They are non-sectarian, and they do amazing work on shoe-string budgets to—everything from meeting refugees at the airport, taking them to an apartment, showing them how the lights work and the toilet flushes, and coming back the next day, making sure they have an appropriate meal to have, and that the kids get in school, that people who need health care get it, and that adults who are able-bodied get jobs so they can support themselves. The other type of NGO are the human rights NGOs that now I’m doing more with, and I guess if you are thinking about careers in these, you have to ask yourself, you know, are you more of a pragmatic person where the most important thing is to save a life, or are you an idealist where you want to put out standards that are very high and push people to live up to them. Both types of organizations definitely help, but they just have very different ways of working. Another question for students is do you want high job security of a career in the U.S. government—say, as a Foreign Service Officer or as a civil servant where maybe you won’t move up very quickly, but you might have great sense of satisfaction that the things you were working on were making a difference because they were being decisively carried out by the U.S. or another government. Or do you prefer the relatively lean, flatter organizations of the NGO world where, as a young person, you can still have a lot of authority, and your views can be seen—can be heard by top layers because you’re not that far away from them. And so, NGOs are seen as more nimble, more fast moving, less job security. Having done both I think it really depends on your personality. Working in the government, you have to figure out a way to keep going even when people tell you no. You have figure out—or that it’s hard, or that it’s too complicated. You have to figure out ways to find the people who are creative, and can make thing happen, and can open doors, and can cut through red tape. In NGOs you can have a lot of influence. I was so surprised first time I was out of the State Department working for the International Rescue Committee one of my colleagues was telling me she just picks up the phone and calls the key guy on Capitol Hill and tells him what the law should be. That would never happen with a junior person in the U.S. government. You have to go through so many layers of bureaucracy, and approvals, and clearances. So, really, it depends on the type of person you are, and how you like to work, and the atmosphere in which you like to work. I can tell you you won’t get rich doing this type of work, unfortunately. But you might be able to make a decent living. I certainly have, and so I encourage students to either do this as a career or find ways to volunteer part-time, even if it’s tutoring a refugee kid down the block and not in some glamorous overseas location. I think you can get real sense of purpose out of doing this type of work. Thank you, Irina. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. And I have to say that your careful definitions of the different categories—and really, I think we all need to be more intentional about how we explain, talk about these issues because they are so complex, and there are so many dimensions, and it’s easy to make gross generalizations. But the way you laid this out was really, really important for deepening the understanding of this really—the challenge and the—what we’re seeing today. So thank you very much. RICHARD: Thank you. Thanks, everybody. FASKIANOS: So thanks to all—yeah, thanks to everybody for your great questions. Again, I apologize; we’re three minutes over. I couldn’t get to all your questions, so we will just have to continue looking at this issue. We will be announcing the fall Academic Webinar lineup in a month or so in our Academic Bulletin, so you can look for it there. Good luck with your end of the year, closing out your semester. And again, I encourage you to go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research analysis on global issues. And you can follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. So again, thank you, Anne Richard. Good luck to you all with finals, and have a good summer. (END)
  • China

    Manjari Chatterjee Miller, CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, leads a conversation on why nations rise: China, India, and the narratives of great powers. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s sessions of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Manjari Chatterjee Miller with us to talk about why nations rise. Dr. Miller is CFR’s senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia. She’s currently on leave from Boston University where she is a tenured associate professor of international relations at Boston University’s (BU) Frederick Pardee School of Global Studies. Dr. Miller is also a research associate in the Contemporary South Asian Studies Program at Oxford University’s School of Global and Area Studies, and she’s been a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and several other universities. Dr. Miller is the author of several books, including her most recent one, which is what we’ll be focused on today, Why Nations Rise: Narratives and The Path to Great Power. And it’s a fantastic cover. I love that, Dr. Miller. So thank you for being with us and thank you. Love having you at CFR. I thought we could begin by you talking about some of the strands, the arguments from your book on what constitutes a rising power and why different countries rise and what the narrative is around that. MILLER: Yeah. Thank you so much, Irina. It is an honor to do this, and since I’m on leave from BU, it’s lovely to be talking to academics and students again. So let me just—you know, I’m going to answer your question by going back a little in time, which is that, you know, when I wrote my first book, I was really looking at China and India and why they had these very similar responses to how they saw the world and their foreign policy, and so they often saw themselves as victims of colonialism, and they would essentially take the position that they were being victimized by other countries when it came to certain issues. And doing that—when I finished this book, I would give talks on the book and people would say, but they’re rising powers, these countries are rising powers, so why do they talk about being victims when clearly they vanquished colonialism? And that was a really interesting question, right? So that was just a very interesting question. And I thought that’s true. You know, these countries are rising powers; when do countries forget? So I began looking at Chinese news, and Chinese newspapers were full of these stories about what it meant for China to rise and how it was going to be a great power and what it should do and how should it respond to the United States? And then I looked at Indian newspapers and I didn’t see much of that. I saw a lot of ideas on foreign policy but not really so much on India rising. So I thought, wow, this is really unusual. Is it normal for countries to be also calling themselves rising powers when other countries are, or is it not? So I went back to India and I did some interviews at really high levels of government and what I found really surprised me because it turned out that Indian officials were very uncomfortable with the idea of India as a rising power, they were not quite sure how to handle it, and they weren’t strategizing in a long-term way about what it meant for India to rise. And I thought, wow, that’s really weird. If we talk about rising powers so much, which we do because international relations is our specialty and we talk about rising powers a lot, as an important category of actors, what does it mean if one country talks about its rise and strategizes and another doesn’t? Is this normal? And so I started going back in time and I thought, OK, let me look at the one other country which is a rising power and that was the United States, and wow, I found the United States talked about its rise and then I found that Meiji Japan talked about its rise, but then you had other countries that had opportunities to, you know—where they were increasing their military and economic power but didn’t talk about their rise. India was one of them, but so was Cold War Japan, so was the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century, which was a very, very rich country. And so that’s really the crux of the book is that, we talk about rising powers, whether it’s us in the policy community or in the academic community—we talk about rising powers as this one category of actors, right, but that all rising powers are not created the same; there are different kinds of rising powers, and some of them behave exactly as we expect them to do, so they rise to become great powers, but then other rising powers seem stymied. And so what I argue in the book is that whether a country rises to become a great power or not is definitely dependent on its economic and military power, of course; you need that. But it is also dependent on what I call idea advocacy or, rather, the stories that these countries either tell or do not tell about their rise. And so the book really looks at two kinds of rising powers: one is active rising powers. So they rise to become great powers, they get military and economic power, but they also do what I call globalize their authority. So they basically start behaving as we would expect great powers to behave. And what’s really interesting here is that what—how we would expect great powers to behave is not always the same, so in the nineteenth century, what we expected a great power to do is different from what we expect a great power to do today. So these active rising powers in the beginning of their rise, what they are is they’re very accommodational of these great-power narratives, so that means they say, OK, hey, this is how a great power behaves, this is how we should behave, and so we’re going to try and behave like them. And this is actually counterintuitive to how we normally think about rising powers because we think about them as revisionist, but active rising powers in the beginning are accommodational. And then you have this other kind of rising powers that are reticent rising powers, and reticent rising powers don’t do that. So they don’t have these narratives. They have military and economic power, they have opportunities, often to take advantage of that military and economic power, but they don’t try and behave like the great power of the day; they don’t try and get recognition of the fact that they’re rising. They also lack narratives about becoming a great power. And so, I think the two big takeaways that I have is that when we talk about rising power, it’s a process, so you become a rising power through this whole process that involves this material power, but then it also involves these narratives about becoming a great power. And the reason this is really important is because coming back to this China-India story, what I argue is that if you look at this idea advocacy that India is lacking and China has, what we find is that this can explain the differences in behavior between them, so they’re not the same as rising powers. And this difference existed—I mean, of course, today we can say, look, China is just so much, you know, has just so much more in terms of military capability and economic power than India does and that would be correct. But in fact, we can see this even in the 1990s, right, so a period when their material power was comparable, we see that they developed very, very different narratives, so China had these narratives about becoming a great power, even at that time, and India did not. And so what we can really argue is that when we want to manage a rising power, these active rising powers that are the powers that we need to manage, we need to manage them when they’re active, not when they suddenly become revisionist. And on the other hand, reticent rising powers like India often don’t meet expectations, so because they have narratives that are not about becoming like the great power of the day, they have much more limited engagement with the international order and they can end up frustrating their allies and partners. And so in the book I essentially look at these six cases, right, so I look at three cases of active rising powers and three cases of reticent rising powers, and what I find is that across time and across culture and across regime type, you had these very particular kinds of beliefs about becoming a great power that the United States had, Meiji Japan had, 1990s China had, but then when you look at the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century or you look at Cold War Japan or you look at India in the 1990s, all periods for these countries, when they had some amount of military and economic power and the opportunity to take advantage of them, they didn’t have these narratives; they had very different kinds of narratives. And the way they behaved was significantly different from how these active rising powers behave. And so that’s really the basis of the book, is these six cases and the idea that we need to stop talking about rising powers as this one category of actors. And I’ll leave you with just one note. So, one of the things that we often talk about as rising powers is BRICS, right, so Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and people rarely realize that BRICS was something that was just made up; it was made up in 2005 by an analyst at Goldman Sachs who clumped these countries together based on the fact that they were emerging-markets economies, but then if you look at what each of these countries have or don’t have, the picture is much more muddied. I mean, Brazil does not have nuclear weapons. Can you be a rising power without nuclear weapons? Can you become a great power without nuclear weapons? Russia—you know, especially with the Ukraine crisis—are we really thinking of Russia as an emerging country or is it a declining country, right? South Africa is a country that in the past has seen its life expectancy drop. Is that a rising power? So we use the term very loosely and we clump countries together and we need to understand that there’s variation in between. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. That was a great overview. And let’s turn to all of you now for your questions and comments. You know how to do this. (Gives queuing instructions.) So we already have a couple written questions and I’m going to see—first hand, raised hand is from Ahmya Cheatham. Q: Yes. First and foremost I would just like to say that thank you so much for introducing this panel. I am an international studies major with an emphasis on foreign language, and I just really wanted to emphasize on the key point that you pointed out between the different kinds of powers and there isn’t much taught historically, at least throughout the Western world or the United States where I’m from, about what you called reticent powers, which are people who—they had the military prowess or they had the opportunity to move in a more imperialist kind of way for power but didn’t necessarily choose so. So I wanted to ask, why do you think those type of high powers aren’t as recognized or taught about in Western culture? FASKIANOS: And Ahmya, what university are you with, college or university? Q: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you. MILLER: I have a fondness for Wisconsin. My husband’s from Madison, Wisconsin, so go Badgers. Yeah, so I’m heading—that’s a great question. So your question is, why is it that the Western world has not recognized these categories of rising powers and I think it has as a lot to do with—well, first of all, in international relations theory in general—I mean, this is changing, but in the past, essentially, theorists focused on countries that had enough military or economic power to matter and what mattered was set by the West, right? So that’s, obviously, one way in which you are clearly narrowing down right away which countries matter and which countries don’t and that excluded a lot of Asia and Africa. But I think there’s another way it matters which is that, if you look at the literature in rising powers, in academic theory—and as somebody in policy, I will say that IR theory is really important because it helps you understand policy better, OK, so do not dismiss it. But in academic theory, in IR theory, there’s an entire body of work that’s called power transition theory, OK, and power transition theory is about essentially—well, it’s kind of set our expectations about why we fear rising powers. So what does power transition theory say? It says that there is a cycle in world politics, there’s a recurring cycle, so you have a great power who’s the status quo power, and then eventually there is always a challenger, and that challenger is a challenger because this country is dissatisfied with how goods are distributed in the international system, right, and because they’re dissatisfied, they eventually challenge the status quo power for control of the international system so they can access those goods. Now, you see here—so when they challenge the status quo—how a war occurs, and so therefore you have this recurring cycle of conflict. And so that’s why rising powers are considered such an important category in international relations because they have the power to affect war and peace. But then there’s the other part of it, which is—and this is where my work comes in because when you are talking about a challenger’s dissatisfaction with the distribution of goods, you’re not really talking about how goods are actually distributed, right? You’re really talking about their belief about how goods are distributed. And so, narratives, which come very strongly from what a country believes or does not believe about its role, then derives from those beliefs. If you ignore their perception, then you’re ignoring a fundamental characteristic that should be intrinsic to rising powers, but we don’t look at that. But power transition theory kind of has set our bar for how and why we think of rising powers, which is that they’re always challengers, they always have military and economic power that matters, and they’re always going to challenge the status quo. And I think everything else in rising powers has flown from power transition theory. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. Terron Adlam has a raised hand, also wrote the question, but why don’t you just ask it yourself and give your affiliation? Q: Hi there. My name is Terron Adlam. I’m from Delaware State University. My question is, knowing how the olden times old powers are based on military and economic, knowing today’s global society, do you think we have a new definition of global powers? MILLER: OK, so I think you actually have a two-part question here, right, so one part is, is the military and economic power the only thing that matters, and the second part is, do societal factors matter? So let me take the first one. So military and economic power do always matter, OK? I emphasize the importance of ideas and narratives in my book but I would in no way say that military and economic power does not matter for a country to become a great power. That would be nonsensical, right? What I’m saying is it is necessary but it’s not sufficient, and that’s where this book comes in because it helps you plug the gap and say, well, what else do you need, because clearly military and economic power, by themselves, cannot propel a country towards rising-power status. So that’s the first part of it. The second part of it is about societal—what matters societally? And I think this is really interesting because this gets to the heart of how we think about great powers, and how we think about great powers is very different depending on the era that we’re in, right? So what matters societally is different depending on the era that we are in. So let’s look at the late nineteenth world. So the late nineteenth century world—what did it mean if you were going to be this great power and this great country? What did it mean if you wanted to become like that? And what it really meant was owning colonies. It meant not just being a great power but being a colonial great power. So in order to be a great power and to be like, let’s say, Great Britain, you actually had to own colonies; you had to have sway over the lives and deaths of millions of citizens who you did not accept as equal citizens of your empire, right? That’s what it meant to be a great power. So when you went out and gained territory, you weren’t just gaining territory, you were gaining territory specifically for the purpose of what economists have called extractive colonialism, where you’re extracting resources from the territory and then sending them back to the mother country. So when you look at the United States and Meiji Japan rise in this time, they engage in expansionism. That we know, right? But what’s really interesting is that it’s a very particular kind of expansionism. It’s colonial expansionism. So all of the narratives that exist in Meiji Japan and in the United States, they’re different in subtle ways, but in many ways they’re similar, that they recognize that the path to great power is through colonies. So the question the United States has, well, should we acquire colonies, should we become a great power and acquire colonial great power? That’s what they debate because the notion of great power is dependent on colonies. Now, if you fast forward to the 1990s, that’s not what great power is anymore. I mean, nobody would—no country—even Russia does not say that we are out to colonize and this is our colony and it’s perfectly OK to do that. That is not what being a great power means. Being a great power means controlling, directing, and shaping the process of globalization, particularly through international institutions. So the narratives of great power in the 1990s in India and China are not about becoming colonial great powers. So it’s not about saying we’re going to go out and acquire colonies, we’re going to be like Meiji Japan and show how we’re administering the colonies in really benevolent, beautiful ways, and how we’re extracting resources efficiently. That would not be OK. That would not be socially acceptable. What they say is we’re going to enter international institutions—particularly China says this, is that the path to great power lies through international institutions. And you can kind of, even in the 1990s, see the seeds of BRI in this, because that it is what BRI is; it’s really about using institutions and the rules that were laid down after World War II by the United States and the liberal international order to see how China could actually end up controlling and impacting and eventually shaping those rules. So that’s what great power is. So it is absolutely societal, because how we think of great power changes depending on the era that we’re in. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Pamela Waldron-Moore, who is the chair of the political science department and professor at Xavier University of Louisiana: Is there a perception among states of internal global efficacy versus external global political efficacy, where internal efficacy reflects how India, for example, perceives itself versus how the globe was perceived to view the state’s rise, and in this case example of China? MILLER: I’m sorry, Irina. I’m not sure I follow that question. Does she define political efficacy? FASKIANOS: She did not. But Pamela, do you want to unmute and give your definition? There we go. Pamela, great. You just have to unmute yourself. There we go. Q: OK. Yes. What I was referring to is the fact that internal efficacy is usually how you perceive yourself as a state and your rise, your power, your movement, versus the external efficacy where you understand who you are by the perceptions externally of others. So if the world sees you as a rising state, they will promote you and you start to think of yourself, perhaps in the case of India, as oh, yes, we are rising because we’ve done all these—we’ve established all of these links, these blocs. But if you are simply looking at yourself and saying, well, we’re not, we don’t have military might, we don’t have X, Y, and Z, therefore we cannot see ourselves as efficacious, we can’t call ourselves a rising state. So it’s a question about perception. Is the perception of China, where everybody thinks, OK, you’re moving fast and you’re promoting yourself, different from the perception of India which, in the context of Asia and the Commonwealth and so forth, still see themselves as lesser than a rising state. I hope that is a little clearer. MILLER: Yes. It is. So that’s actually really interesting because—I mean, there’s certainly a difference, but here’s the thing is that China’s what you call internal efficacy aligns with external efficacy, so in that both China and external perceptions, China’s external perceptions of China are aligned in the 1990s about China as a rising power, right? There’s no dichotomy there. In India there’s a dichotomy. So there’s also external perceptions of India as a rising power, as evidenced by news media or reference or—I look at, like, different kinds of newspapers that refer to these countries. But the internal efficacy doesn’t keep pace with the external efficacy. Now, actually—and I haven’t heard that term before so thank you for bringing it to my attention; that’s a really interesting way to put it—the question is why. I think the question is why is it that in China it’s different and in India it’s different? And this—and I think that, to be honest, like, there could be a whole volume on this, which is this question of where do narratives come from, and why is it that some countries develop this narrative, this internal perception of themselves that is concurrent with the external perception of themselves, but other countries don’t? And you know—so when I was looking at—so, I mean, this book—six cases and huge and so I wasn’t going to look at narratives as—and you’re a political science professor so I’m just going to say it as a dependent variable; there was not the dependent variable. It was not what I was examining. I was examining it more as a cause. But if you did—I mean, I talk about this in the conclusion. It was interesting how many people had different ideas about where these narratives come from and why they were different in China and India. I mean, Indians and Chinese had different perceptions of this as well. Some of it was really institutional, about how the institutions were constructed and which institutions mattered when it came to foreign policy, and so therefore, Chinese institutions were set up in a way to be more diffused to these narratives, whereas Indian institutions were not. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to the raised hand, Teresita Schaffer. Q: Thank you. And thank you for this really interesting introduction to your work. I am retired Foreign Service and I teach at Georgetown, of course on diplomacy. I spent much of my Foreign Service career working on India so that’s where my examples come from. But you have a situation where India at independence saw itself as, to use the vernacular, punching above its actual weight, and it conducted its diplomacy, to a large extent, on that basis. It built up its military for the needs that it perceived already. And it was the economy which was the most out of step with this impending great-power status, and not until the Indian economy started growing fast did you see people in the so-called chattering classes talking about India as coming close to realizing the greatness of its five-thousand-year-old civilization. Do other countries that you studied display similar disconnects between the different elements of the things that make you more readily seen as a great power, or is the disconnect itself something that matters to this transition? MILLER: So, first of all, Ambassador, thank you for attending the talk. I’m honored. So let me restate your question. So you’re asking, is it about civilizational greatness, that India had this perception that it needed to punch above its weight after independence and so that’s why it began investing in its military and, eventually, of course, it did economic reforms. And so are you asking whether this notion of civilizational greatness is necessary? Could you clarify? Q: Not really, because—(inaudible, technical difficulties)—I’m asking whether it matters to your idea of rising powers but whether the different elements of—(inaudible, technical difficulties)—with one another or not. FASKIANOS: I don’t know if that was just for me that was garbled. For some reason, your audio is now on the fritz, so we did not hear that at all. It was a bit garbled. Q: I could try again, briefly. FASKIANOS: There we go. Perfect. Go ahead. MILLER: And if it gets garbled again, perhaps you could put it in the chat because it sounded like a really interesting question. Q: There were reasons why India pushed the civilizational narrative. It fit in so beautifully with the way Nehru thought, and he was the foreign policy. But the economic and the military elements that you agreed were necessary elements were out of sync. The military element had to get built up earlier, largely because India’s independent years started with a war. The economic was always viewed as a liability, until the point where India’s economy started growing a whole lot faster in the 1990s. Question: Does the fact that the different elements are out of sync, does that figure in the way you think about the different kinds of rising powers? MILLER: Yes, it does because—and I’ll tell you why. So—and I’m going to be—I’m going to state this very carefully. So in India’s case—so there are a couple of different elements in what you’re saying. So India has this idea of civilizational greatness even in the 1990s, so it’s not that the idea of civilizational greatness went away, right? I mean, you see that even today in Prime Minister Modi’s speeches or his talk with his harkening back to—I mean, of course, he talks about it as a Hindu civilization, but in the 1990s that wasn’t what the talk was, although it was coming up. It was still about India as just a great civilization with secular nationalism being the predominant idea. So it wasn’t about civilizational greatness. That never went away. This was about India’s status changing, so it was specifically about being a rising power, which is that a country that is changing its status, not one that has always been a great power and has civilizational greatness to hark back upon, but rather its status was changing vis-a-vis the great power of the day, which is the United States. So that consciousness existed in China because China also had ideas of civilizational greatness but that wasn’t the only thing that China was talking about in the 1990s. It was really talking about well, how do we take this—we are becoming a rising power and we are rising in the international system, our military and economic power is changing vis-a-vis other countries, particularly the status quo power; how, then, do we respond to that? And that response was lacking in India, although the notion of civilizational greatness did not go away. And the question I think you’re particularly asking is what happens if you have narratives about being great, and you don’t have the military power and you don’t have the economic power? And that is a really interesting case because there was one case that historians told me about and I nod to it in my conclusion, and I don’t explore it so I definitely do not want to go into it, and state with authority that this is the case. But Weimar Germany—I learned from a lot of historians that Weimar Germany was a country that lacked the military and economic power but had these narratives, that—of changing status, had these narratives that it was going to become great again. And because it did, these narratives actually propelled a lot of military and economic reforms that may not have otherwise resulted, and I’m saying that very carefully because I nod to this in my conclusion, but that is my understanding of the literature that I’ve read. So if that is true, if that is true that you can have narratives of great power but not have the military and economic power to back that up, do the narratives then propel you to aggressively acquire that military and economic power? And I think that’s a really interesting and open question about whether that’s the case. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Natalie Holley, who is an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. How has social media shaped these two categories of rising powers? What have been the advantages and consequences of social media use as countries construct their narratives? MILLER: Wow. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: Good question. MILLER: That’s a really—yeah, that’s a really hard question to answer. So I will say that in the 1990s—I’m old enough to remember—there was no social media. (Laughs.) It did not exist in the 1990s so it certainly did not affect the narratives then. Would it affect the narratives now? So this is actually a bigger question and it’s interesting because we talk about information and disinformation a lot, but to my knowledge, and this is—I actually have colleagues at Boston University who are working on this. The question is, to what extent does that disinformation then result in behavior. It’s one thing to have disinformation and fake news, and we know that that exists in abundant ways. But then to actually show the link that when you get that disinformation, that in turn leads to a behavioral change among people who consume it, as opposed to just talking about it, that has not—that link has not been clearly shown yet, and people are working on it. So the colleague whom I was referencing is actually in the computer science department at Boston University and that’s part of his research—does that change behavior? So that’s the question you’re asking is if you have social media and you see these narratives reflected and re-reflected in social media, does that then change behavior? And that’s a—in some ways that’s a chicken and egg situation. So let’s take the narratives of Hindu nationalism that exist today in India or wolf warrior diplomacy that exists in China. Is that amplified on social media by Indian officials and Chinese officials? Absolutely. Hugely. And then it’s picked up. So does that then intensify and then lead to behavioral change in what the government does? That’s not always so clear, right? Even when it comes to wolf warrior diplomacy, I think it’s Huang at Seton Hall University, I think, has a book that’s going to come out soon which is really interesting because it shows how a lot of this is about, when Chinese officials talk about wolf warrior diplomacy or take these narratives up, it’s not so much about changing China’s behavior as posturing to the Chinese leadership that that is what you’re doing. It’s posturing to the Chinese leadership and saying we are doing what Xi Jinping wants us to do and we’re reflecting all of these narratives. Does that then lead to a behavioral shift? That’s not as clear. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We have several questions in the chat. Let’s go to Maya Chadda with the raised hand. You need to unmute yourself, Maya. There we go. Q: OK, I just want to say it was wonderful introduction, very thought-provoking. A number of questions that Ambassador Schaffer—asked one of the—the key question I wanted to ask. The only thing I wanted to sort of comment/question on that I’d like to hear from you about is this gap we talked about, the gap between self-perception of the country, China or India, and its material basis, what it has achieved in terms of economic and political stability. There is an intervening factor there and that goes back to their historical experience in terms of the immediate issues, so while India and China were at a similar stage and saw themselves as victims of colonialism, they processed under colonialism very differently. In case of China, the Opium Wars, the unequal treaties, the Japanese invasion, everything that the civil war, rise of—it was a very, totally different experience of the country, which I think acts as an intervening factor. It sort of explains just how it sees itself as a great civilization and what it must do. You mentioned—you sort of remarked that China is much more pragmatic, India is much more ideological in building images—pragmatic in the sense what it should do internally in order to get there, to become a great power, while India sort of talks a lot and there is a greater gap between material power and image. So the question is this: Doesn’t India’s historical experience of independence, the perceptions, the narratives, as you call it, it built—I like to call it stories about themselves—they build. And China—doesn’t that explain to a large extent the way in which they process the world today? MILLER: OK, so first of all, I did not say that China was pragmatic and India was ideological. I want to be crystal clear about that. I said that China had narratives and India did not. The deduction from that is not that China is pragmatic about it. It has these narratives about becoming a great power, or it did in the 1990s. Is it about—did they have very different experiences of colonialism? Yes and no. So they do have very different experiences of colonialism. India had two hundred years of extractive colonialism under the British Empire, so the Raj, and China had what’s been called piecemeal colonialism. So you had the colonial—the Opium Wars but then you had the colonialism by Japan. And so what was interesting to me in my first book was that both the countries treated colonialism the same way. So they responded to colonialism as historical trauma, and they teach it as historical trauma. So in China it is taught as one hundred years of national humiliation. And then you have two hundred years of British colonialism, and this is really important to remember. And even though, in China’s case, not only is—does China say that it was colonized for a hundred years, but China accepts the Qing, for example, which is not a Han dynasty, it’s a Manchu dynasty, not as colonizers, as some historians have dubbed them, but as Chinese. So you have those contradictions. So the point is that they treat it the same way. They perceive colonialism the same way. Now, the reason this is—and this is particularly also evocative because I remember when I was doing the research for my first book, I came across these diplomatic negotiations between Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, which were the last negotiations in 1960 before the border war of 1962, and there’s this really interesting conversation—these are like verbatim negotiations, transcripts of these negotiations, and what’s really interesting in them is that there’s this squabble between the Indian and Chinese delegates about who has been colonized more. So, Zhou Enlai says, no, no, you don’t understand, we’ve been colonized, and I think it was Morarji Desai says, no, no, not as much as us; we have been colonized more. And so this idea of who’s been colonized more in factual life doesn’t matter so much as how they treat them. So no, I don’t think that the absence or presence of narratives has to do with piecemeal colonialism in China and two hundred years of solidified colonial rule in India. What I do think it may have to do with is with institutions and I can—I mean, I want to be mindful of time, but I can talk a little bit about this very briefly. So it’s really interesting because in India, what you find is in the foreign policy decision-making establishment, as you see ideas percolate in the establishment, that establishment is very, very—what’s the word I’m trying to use?—it’s very strong bulwark against ideas from outside. So there’s a resistance to ideas from outside. So think tanks, for example, don’t operate in the same way in India as they did in China in the 1990s and early 2000s. Everything is a little bit different now, now that Xi Jinping has taken over and the censorship and the authoritarianism have increased. But in the 1990s and early 2000s, in China you did not have independent opinions but you had a lot of autonomy among these think tanks. You had a lot of ideas that used to come up, ground up and affect how foreign policy officials thought about issues, and so it was really interesting because you’d see a back and forth in China between government and university think tanks and senior foreign policy officials that simply did not exist in India. And it exists in the U.S. today and it’s somewhat—somewhat; I’m saying this very carefully—somewhat exists in China today because there’s just so much more censorship. But let’s say you had something like, Xi Jinping coming to the United States and saying, OK, we’re going to talk about a new type of great-power relations. Well, before his visit, think tanks would be asked to convene a conference on new type of great-power relations and they would sit around and talk about what that meant, what it could mean, how could it be framed, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would come and they would sit and attend these conferences. They wouldn't say a word, they would just take notes. Now, how those ideas actually made their way up to President Xi and then impacted his speeches or his foreign policy initiatives, I can’t tell you. Nobody can. I mean, if I did, I’d be a billionaire. I wouldn’t—(laughs)—be sitting here. But the fact is that there was that give and take. That give and take does not exist in India—did not exist in India and does not exist in India even today. So that kind of diffusion of ideas is different. Now, I’m not saying that that’s exactly why those narratives exist in China and that’s why they did not exist in India, but it gives you an idea of how institutions are very different, right, and institutions do matter when it comes to percolating ideas up and institutions do matter when it comes to impacting and institutionalizing and ensuring that narratives continue. So that could be a difference. So no, I don’t think it’s a difference in colonialism, and yes, I do think it can be an institutional difference. FASKIANOS: Great. So Kazi Sazid has written a question but also has a raised hand, so why don’t you just ask it and if you could limit it to one question, that would be great. That way I don’t have to choose when you get to more questions. Q: OK, so I’ll say my first question is—I’m a student at Hunter College. So my question is, the Cold War demonstrated the dangers of two military hegemonic powers establishing a duopoly over global politics, which is the U.S. and the Soviet Union. How does the rise of India and China and let’s add Nigeria as rising regional and global powers be seen as a positive thing to help balance the power structure by not allowing a single or two countries to completely control the global political rhetoric? Sorry if that’s a loaded question. MILLER: That is a loaded question. (Laughs.) That’s a very loaded question. I am not in the business of assigning value judgments to, just a country is a rising power per se. I will tell you that if you take India’s perspective, India sees a multipolar world as better than a bipolar world. And so when it comes, even today, to the United States and Russia and China, what India wants is multipolarity. It does not want this bipolarity like the Cold War where it’s forced to choose between one or the other. And of course it didn’t; it was non-aligned. So are rising powers a positive or negative thing? So that depends really on who you read. If you look at power transition theorists, they would say no because a rising a power is always a challenger; it inevitably leads to war. Now, what I show in my book is that of course you don’t always have challenging rising powers; you have different kinds of rising powers. So the question is—the question that you’re really asking is that is revisionism a bad thing? It can be, right? I mean, World War II was an indication that revisionism was a bad thing. And so if you talk to China today and the Chinese, even they would say that revisionism is a bad thing and they would say that we’re not trying to revise the international system, we’re playing by the rules. And when the United States talks about a rule-based order, Chinese officials would say, but wait, we were sticking by the rules-based order and you changed the rules on us. That would be their take. So revisionism is a very, very loaded word, and so traditionally, yes, rising powers have been seen as challengers, but as I show, not all rising powers are the same. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Brian Chao who’s at the U.S. Naval War College. What are the differences, if any, in narratives and behaviors between rising powers that simply see themselves as returning to their rightful place among the great powers—example, China—a status they perhaps feel they never should have lost, and second, rising powers that may not have histories to draw upon and for whom great-power status is really something unprecedented? MILLER: I don’t think rising powers see themselves as returning to their rightful place. China does, but that’s not how Meiji Japan thought of itself. It wasn’t about reattaining civilizational greatness. It was really about becoming a great power, and in Meiji Japan it was very much about becoming a great power like the Western great powers. That is what the narratives were. They were about becoming a colonial great power and showing the Western powers that Japan could administer its colonies just as efficiently, just as extractively, and just as well as them, and so Meiji Japan was very careful to abide by the laws and rules of the international order, and the narratives were not at all about civilizational greatness. And so—and again, the example here, again, is of India, which does have narratives about civilizational greatness but didn’t have narratives about becoming—or didn’t have narratives about rising-power status. So the two are not always the same. There’s a subtle difference between them. But just because China also happens to have civilizational greatness narratives alongside its rising-power-status narratives doesn’t mean that the two can be conflated. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Isis Roopnarine from Howard University. How do you feel the global push toward environmental sustainability will affect current world powers and rising powers? Do you feel this will heavily impact India’s ability to rise, or do you feel world powers like China may be limited heavily by carbon taxes, regulations, and maybe start to decline? MILLER: I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m just going to totally punt on that because that—that’s about environmental sustainability and whether that has long-term economic effects on countries. I assume it does, but a lot of it will depend on how much the—how countries buy into it. So I’m going to punt on that question. FASKIANOS: So we’ll have to do a call or a webinar specifically focused on environmental concerns. MILLER: Which is a really important one, by the way, and we should. FASKIANOS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I am surprised to see that nobody’s asked—so I’m going to take the moderator prerogative just to ask you to talk a little bit about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and vis-a-vis China and India and their response and how you feel that they are playing and thinking about their narrative, vis-a-vis their response to that conflict? MILLER: Yeah, so on the surface of it, it seems similar because they’re both trying not to take a position and they’re being careful about it, but it’s also very—it’s also different. So in India’s case, India is really worried about the Ukraine crisis because India worries that it has this historical relationship with Russia and if it is publicly seen to condemn Russia with whom it has historical relationship, with whom it has had a very long defense relationship, with almost 70 percent of its military hardware today being Russian, it will drive Russia into the arms of China, which is India’s number one enemy, so it is very clear about who its number one enemy is and it is China, and so India definitely does not want to publicly take a position that would essentially push Russia closer to China. At the same time, India also wants a multipolar world so it wants Russia and China and—well, particularly Russia—to be a factor in countering the rise of China and in balancing China and the United States. At the same time, India has a very deep strategic partnership with the United States and the relationship with the United States is not the same as it was twenty years ago so India also is very careful that it does not want to push the United States away from it, because this relationship has now broadened to include many, many sectors. So that’s where you see India’s position, where it’s playing a very careful game; it hasn’t come out and condemned Russia, but, at the same time, it has talked about—it’s talked about humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, it has talked about the importance of there being a cease to the violence in Ukraine without actually coming out and taking a strong position on its side. Now, in China’s case, it’s gone back and forth. It’s very interesting because—particularly I was struck by Ambassador Qin Gang’s op-ed in the Washington Post recently, which kind of laid out China’s clearly approved position on Russia. And so, in the West we think that—we’ve particularly seen these newspaper reports of China perhaps helping Russia, perhaps giving military supplies, will it help Russia evade sanctions, but what was really interesting to me in Ambassador Qin Gang’s op-ed was the dilemma that it posed in those pages, and I’ll tell you what I mean. So China in that op-ed, Ambassador Qin clearly says Ukraine is a sovereign state. Now that statement I have not seen from any Indian official. I have not actually seen any Indian official say Ukraine is a sovereign state. I have not seen that statement. It was there in Ambassador Qin’s statement that Ukraine is a sovereign state. Then he said—and China does not support violation of sovereignty. And then he said, Ukraine is not like Taiwan because Taiwan is an internal affair, which means that Ukraine is not an internal affair, which is what Russia has been saying. So you kind of see this dilemma here that China poses where China has a relationship with Europe; China—(laughs)—a great relationship with Ukraine, right, and so what it sees is Russia jeopardizing all of that, and yet it cannot come out and condemn Russia very strongly either because it has this, the rapprochement that’s been happening with Russia, and of course, the statement that President Putin and Xi Jinping laid out. So you see the countries with dilemmas in both respects, and even though the surface they look the same, the dilemmas are different. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to raise Ray Bromley’s question, the University of Albany at SUNY: Would it be fair to say that India’s reticence is based on a strong South Asian and British Commonwealth focus and an obsession with Pakistan? In other words, the Indian news media and educational system don’t give enough attention to the world as a whole and to global issues; it focuses on reporting and discussing relations with Pakistan, so if you could comment on that. MILLER: Yes, and I have one quote that I’m going to give you that a very senior Indian Foreign Service official once said to me, which I think is exactly emblematic of India’s relationship. This person said Pakistan is just an enemy; China is the adversary. And the reason—this is really important—is because India is not obsessed with Pakistan. India’s obsessed with China, like really obsessed with China. And so India’s focus is all about China. I mean, there’s a huge power imbalance now with Pakistan, even with Pakistan with nukes. So what India’s most worried about is a two-front war. If you have a war with Pakistan on the border and then a war with China on the border, and so what India would like is to do something that would forestall that, and that’s really important. And so for India the focus is very much on China, and if you think that India’s focus is on China, as a rising power that’s going to become a great power, you would think that then the narratives would follow from that about India’s status and how to manage China and India’s own changing status, but they don’t. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the last question from Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. Q: Thank you very much. I’m just wondering about how you rank these two rising powers. So which one has the most capabilities in terms of the military and economic power? And then, the tendency to be reticent and to swagger and be confidently stating that you are a rising power and you are challenging the hegemon—can this be attributed to cultural differences in terms of how one is supposed to move around in the world? OK, so where I come from it’s like if your hand is not on the hilt of the sword, you don’t challenge the people who killed your father. So if you’re not really, really sure that you’re going to win, you shouldn’t start swaggering all over the place. So is that sort of influencing the dynamics of what’s going on? MILLER: I have not heard that quote before. That’s such an interesting proverb. Thank you for sharing that. So I would say no—(laughs)—because the narrative’s about rising-power status and not about challenging international order. I think that’s the point that I make very clearly in the book, which is that active rising powers, which are the countries that do have these narratives about rising-power status are countries that are essentially talking about how they will become a great power just like the great power that exists then. So far from being challenging, these are accommodational narratives. Now, that does not mean that these countries will not challenge later, but that’s not what the narratives are, so it’s hard to then argue that they stem from military and economic power. But also what’s interesting is that particularly to forestall this, I looked at India and China in the 1990s, which is a time when their military and economic power are very comparable, which is really not the case today. Now, if I were to say, can you compare them militarily? No, you cannot; you cannot them militarily or economically. But you could in the 1990s. And so if it were true that these narratives derive from the sword, as you put it, then they should have derived in both cases, and they didn’t. You had narratives, the presence of narratives in China but the absence of these narratives in India. And I should be very clear: It’s not that India doesn’t have foreign policy narratives. There’s plenty of narratives on foreign policy. It was really these ideas about becoming a great power, about being a rising power, about responding to this changing status and these expectations that the globe seemed to have of both countries at the time. FASKIANOS: We are almost at the end of time and I just wonder, having looked back as you’ve done this research, do you want to project—or you may not want to do this—of where you see China and India’s power spheres developing over the next decade? MILLER: (Laughs.) Wow. I don’t want to project. I will say—I will say this: I think in China’s case what happens domestically will be really important. I think domestic politics is something—I think there are two things about China that we tend to ignore in the United States. I think one is we tend to ignore the domestic politics of the Chinese Communist Party, which I think is crucially important for how China’s power’s going to play out in the next few decades. The other thing that we tend to ignore is we tend to ignore the fact that even in China, even with censorship, even with Xi Jinping being the most powerful Chinese president since Mao Zedong, you have a plethora of different interests and ideas in China and that doesn’t make its way out of China. We tend to think of China as like this one single actor and it’s not one single actor. There are different interests, there are different competing interests, there are different competing narratives, there are different competing ideas, and how all of those play out I think will be very, very important. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. With that, Manjari Miller, thank you very much for being with us. We really appreciate it. And I apologize for not getting to everybody’s questions and comments but we had a very rich discussion and we’ll have to have you back. We have put a link to Dr. Miller’s book in the chat. We will be sending out the audio, video, and transcript link after the fact, but I do commend her book to all of you. And our last Academic Webinar of the semester will be on Wednesday, April 13, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Anne Richard, who is a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, will talk about refugees and global migration. Very timely given the flows we are seeing from Ukraine as that war is happening. So I hope you all will join us for that. In the meantime, please follow us at @ CFR_academic. Visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all again. Thank you, Manjari. MILLER: Thank you so much, Irina. This was really fun. Really great questions, very stimulating discussion. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Have a great day, everybody. (END)
  • Russia

    The conversation on Geopolitical Implications of Russias Invasion of Ukraine during the International Studies Association 2022 Annual Convention featured Audrey Kurth Cronin, distinguished professor in the School of International Service and director of the Center for Security, Innovation, and New Technology at American University; Charles A. Kupchan, CFR senior fellow and professor of international affairs in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and Department of Government at Georgetown University; and Kori Schake, senior fellow and director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. James M. Lindsay, senior vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at CFR, moderated the discussion. LINDSAY: Good afternoon everyone. I am Jim Lindsay, senior vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to today’s on-the-record CFR luncheon discussion on the geopolitical implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is also my great pleasure to introduce a stellar set of panelists: Audrey Cronin, Charles Kupchan, and Kori Schake. I am going to keep my introductory remarks short even though I could talk at great length about each of them and the wonderful work they have done. Immediately to my left—at least geographically; not necessarily politically—(laughter)—is Audrey Cronin. She is distinguished professor in the School of International Service and director of the Center for Security, Innovation and New Technology at American University. She is the author of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns. Her most recent book, Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists was short-listed for the Lionel Gelber Prize and won the 2020 Airey Neave Prize. So congratulations on that, Audrey. CRONIN: Thanks, Jim. LINDSAY: In the center of the stage—not necessarily politically—(laughter)—is Charlie Kupchan. Charlie is a senior fellow at the Council, and a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University. From 2014 to 2017, Charlie served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the staff of the National Security Council under President Barack Obama. Charlie’s most recent book is Isolationism: A History of America’s Efforts to Shield Itself from the World. Finally, to my far left—again, geographically; not necessarily politically—is Kori Schake. Kori is senior fellow and director of foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute. She has held policy positions across government including on the staff of the National Security Council, and at the U.S. State Department where she was deputy head of policy planning. Her most recent book is America vs. the West: Can the Liberal World Order be Preserved? So Audrey, Charlie, Kori, thank you very much for joining me. We have agreed that we will engage in a conversation for about twenty-five minutes. At that point we’re going to open it up to everyone else in the room. Given that the title of our session is Geopolitical Implications of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, I’d like to focus our conversation more on what the invasion means or doesn’t mean for global order rather than focus on why Russia invaded or why Putin didn’t get the quick victory that he anticipated. So where I’m going to start is a question for all of you. Vladimir Lenin once remarked that there are decades where nothing happens and weeks where decades happen. Now it certainly feels like we are in the latter situation right now, but is this really an inflection point in the global order, and if it is, is the best historical analogy for the current moment 1815? 1857? 1905? 1914? 1939? Pick whatever you want. Since I introduced you last, Kori, you get the first crack at the question. SCHAKE: No, I decline. I give Charlie the first crack at the question. (Laughs.) KUPCHAN: I was—you were going to buy time for me to think, so—(laughter). The era that most resembles—I’m going to— LINDSAY: I’m going to ask you the first question. Is this an inflection point? KUPCHAN: It’s definitely an inflection point, and I guess the decade that most immediately comes to mind would be the 1890s, and that’s because I think it’s in the 1890s that a series of developments took place that enabled us to actually see the changes in the global balance of power that were taking place slowly, but it brought them to the surface. And that’s because during that—it was during that decade the United States came online as a power with geopolitical ambition outside its neighborhood, picked a fight with the Spanish, turned into a colonizer of the Philippines and other places. Germany embarked on its High Seas Fleet in 1898. And so there was a kind of consolidation of a multi-polar setting that I think looked similar to today. And there was also a lot of domestic change and political fluidity that was the product of industrialization in Germany, in the United States. This was the progressive era dealing with large corporations, trusts, how do we tame them. This resonates with our age, both in terms of what’s happening in other places, but also in here. There’s a lot of economic or socio-economic dislocation that is taking place because of globalization. So that’s—I think I’d say 1890s. SCHAKE: So can I now confess that I was actually reading the ISA tribute to the Trail of Tears so I had to punt to Charlie because I actually didn’t know what question you were asking. I wasn’t listening, Jim—(laughter)—and now that I know it’s is this an inflection point—thank you, Charlie for stepping forward when I was unprepared—I don’t actually think it’s an inflection point. LINDSAY: Why not? SCHAKE: I think we are still litigating the end of the Cold War, that we assumed that the end was 1991 and 1992 with the unification of Germany, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the expansion of freedom, but in fact, Russia is more continuous with the Soviet Union than it is different from the Soviet Union under Vladimir Putin. And so, I think what we are seeing is a resurgent effort by the countries of the West to restrict Russian power when it is used for the suppression of the sovereignty and freedom of others. So I think we are still litigating the end of the Cold War. I hope it will be an inflection point because we succeed and we will end up with a Russia that either lives within the existing rules of the Western order or changes. LINDSAY: OK, Audrey, so we have a vote for an inflection point. We have a vote for no inflection point. Where do you weigh in? CRONIN: Well, I think that whenever we talk about historical analogies, I get really nervous because Ernest May’s book had a huge impact on me early in my career—Thinking in Time—and I think personally I’m going to split the difference, and we can choose from different analogies. So I think we do have a lot of what Charlie has talked about; certainly at the end of the nineteenth century you had globalization, you had inequality at tremendous levels. You had a huge monopolization of major companies that were controlling more and more. You had the maturation of fossil-fuel-based economies, which is quite similar to the maturation of digitally based economies, and also the equivalent to oil, I would say, is—many have said—the equivalent to oil and coal is data. The data economy is becoming quite mature. And so I think the broader context is more the way that Charlie laid it out. But I also agree with you, Kori, because I think that, you know, 1947 is a period where I would look back and say we were—I mean, I did write my first book on the negotiations over Austria, so I see that as being very comparable to what we’re thinking about in some ways with respect to Ukraine—or what the Ukrainians are thinking about. So I can certainly see the continuation with respect to the Soviet Union and Russia there, too. So I think we—you know, we have to pick and choose a little bit. LINDSAY: OK. Kori, I want to come back to you, and you can throw this question to Charlie or Audrey if you want— SCHAKE: (Laughs)—I’m listening now, I promise. LINDSAY: OK. You know, you have written a book asking about whether the liberal world order can be preserved, and you have mentioned that we have seen a remarkable show of unity and action in the West. I think the West as a term has sort of gotten a new lease on life. But the fact that there is unity at the start of the crisis doesn’t mean there will be unity at the end of the crisis. How do you assess the chances for Western cooperation to continue to be sustained? Do you think it’s temporary? Or is there an opportunity here for it to be long lasting? SCHAKE: That’s a really good question, and the honest answer is I don’t know. But I do see—and things are about to get a lot more painful for the countries of the West economically and possibly even politically to sustain the very hard line we have taken, and not just because it looks like Russia is going to turn off the gas pumps unless Western countries will pay in rubles to get Russia around some of the creative economic sanctions that the West has put forward, but also the inability to export wheat from Ukraine and natural resources from Russia. This is going to be a huge humanitarian crisis. We are going to have a food crisis, most particularly in the developing world. And that, too, will put pressure on Western governments. The good news is the amazing creativity of the treasury departments of the Western countries to come up new tools to try and impose economic costs on Russia. The bad news is it’s not yet clear what the second-order effects of those tools are going to be, and who they’re going to hurt, and who they’re going to help as they—as they sink their roots. So we have set sail in very choppy waters. We did it for very good reasons, and I think, though, that two things will help Western countries hold together. The first is Russia is so obviously in the wrong here, and in a way, that’s dangerous—not just to Ukraine; it’s dangerous to this system of rules that have made the West safe and prosperous; namely borders only changed by consent, and sovereignty is inherent in any state—large, small, weak, powerful. So having the German SPD chancellor almost triple German defense spending this year, to commit to the NATO 2 percent next year as opposed to 2035, which was Germany’s opening position, to start sending arms to Ukraine, and to agree to wean Germany off of Russian oil and gas by the end of this year—I don’t see how you walk that back. He planted his sword, and I think that will hold—since Germany is one of the weakest links in Western unity on the sanctions that have been taken against Russia, it will be very hard for others to walk back if Germany holds the line. And the second thing is the war in Ukraine is taking on the trappings of a moral crusade, right? There are good guys in this and there are bad guys in this. And it will be very hard for a country of the West to—after all they have already said, look in the face what Russia is doing—you know, kidnapping mayors from towns they have occupied, shelling apartment buildings, and it was easier for us to look away in Afghanistan, in Syria, and in other places. It will be harder for them to look away in a neighboring country as it takes on this overtly moralistic overtone. LINDSAY: Let me ask you, Audrey, since you have written about Austria, do you see the potential for a negotiated deal that could stick, particularly in light of the point that Kori just made that this is starting—at least in the United States—to turn into a moral crusade, and it’s very difficult to compromise when you are supposedly fighting over good versus evil? CRONIN: Yes, well, neutrality is not necessarily good versus evil. I mean, it’s a different plane altogether, right? So you’re talking geopolitics. You can have good or evil regimes that are neutral. So I don’t really see the question of whether Ukraine could be neutral in those kind of crusade terms. I think it’s all up to the Ukrainians and whether or not they can negotiate a deal that serves their interests. And there’s a bunch of key things that I’m really worried about. One of them is they are talking about not joining any kind of foreign alliances. So the details on that are very, very important. So if that’s part of an agreement, who decides what a foreign alliance is, is going to be very important. The second thing is that security guarantees—they want security guarantees, and they’re saying from the United States, France, and Britain, and that’s essentially an Article 5 commitment. That is quite potentially dangerous to NATO, so it could be quite destabilizing depending upon the details. What if the security guarantor were China, as well? What if Russia were insisting upon that as the agreement. So the devil is in the details in this agreement and to what degree are the Russians going to insist that there be demilitarization? I think that if the Ukrainians become neutral, it’s going to have to be very important that they maintain robust defenses. And then the last thing I’m really worried about is what’s it going to look like. What is the territory going to be? Because there is going to be partition, probably. They are going to have to give something up, and it would be the Donbas and Crimea probably—I’m guessing—and this is up to the Ukrainians, not us. But, where is that line going to be? Some people think that it could be along the Dnieper River. Some people think it could only be the Donbas region in Ukraine as I’ve just said. But exactly what it is that they’re neutralizing is crucial. We could have actually a divided Ukraine that begins to look a little bit like the divided Germany after the Second World War. LINDSAY: Charlie, you have written in the pages of Foreign Affairs just last year, that there is a need for a great power concert. But given what we’ve just talked about and Kori’s notion that we’re really sort of moralizing this conflict, what are the prospects for a concert of great powers, and what would they cooperate on in this current context? KUPCHAN: Let me tie that question back to Kori’s comment because you all—you clearly want us to disagree to get some friction here. LINDSAY: I want you to disagree nicely. (Laughter.) KUPCHAN: I will be very nice, but I—you know, I think there are some differences that should be delineated. Is this a moment of Western rejuvenation? Yes, on some level. But I also think it is a wake-up moment that will force us to confront the prospect of liberal overreach that we, at the end of the Cold War, thought that the order that we built was going to be universalized, and to some extent I think we are seeing blowback from that assumption, and may need to take a more conservative approach to the expansion of the liberal rules-based system that is more focused on us than it is on bringing others in. And I would point out that there is a big liberal democracy out there called India that has not decided to stand with the liberal democracies of the world in this conflict. Second point: I’m more worried than you are, Kori, that this kind of resurgence of moralism and Western strength will last, and that’s because all the problems that we were concerned about before February 24 are still there, and in fact, they’re getting worse. Gas prices are going up, egg prices are going up, grain and bread is going up. What—four million or close to four million refugees have arrived in Europe, and not too far off the Europeans are going to wake up and say, holy crap, most of these aren’t going to go home. Where are we going to put them? How are we going to deal with this? And immigration has been really one of the toughest issues for Europe. So I do worry that as this clock moves forward, as we head into the midterms here in the United States, this kind of burst of bipartisanship will be just a burst, and that the Republicans are going to get their knives out—I’ll defer to you on the Republican Party—but I don’t think the America First crowd is gone; it’s just quiet for now because it doesn’t play well. I expect it to come back vocally as we get closer to the midterms. Final comment: I think the impulse, Jim, is to say forget a global concert; it’s over. And to some extent I agree with that because Richard and I wrote a global concert depends upon the absence of an aggressor state. We have an aggressor state. It’s called Russia. It has invaded its neighbor. But I would also point out that we cannot afford to go back to a world that looks like the Cold War. We are in the boat together on pandemics, on climate change, on proliferation, on global economic interdependence. So I do think we need to talk about either a post-Putin Russia or even a Putin Russia, and what can be done after the dust settles in Ukraine to figure out how to make sure that the broader global agenda that we face doesn’t go by the wayside. LINDSAY: Kori, I want to get you to respond to Charlie’s point that India has not joined in the effort to sanction. And I should note it’s not just India; it’s Brazil, it’s South Africa. Indeed most of the countries of the global south have not rallied behind Western sanctions and in fact have criticized them. So what does that mean for the future of the rules-based order that you have spoken about? SCHAKE: I think it’s a fabulous challenge. So I have a couple of reactions to it. The first is I would be doing exactly what they are doing if I were a developing country, an emergent economy because Germans can have the luxury of paying double gas prices. It’s an incredibly wealthy country. The government can float bonds and pay for things in the future because there is a lot of confidence in the dynamism of the German economy. That’s not the case for most emergent economies, and they have more pressing problems than the problems we are worried about. And so I think the first thing is we need to not be so judgmental about the fact that they are solving other harder problems than what we are trying to recruit them to help us with. Second, I also think that’s good alliance management because allies very often disagree. They even disagree on really important things, so it’s reasonable that people who are not tied as tightly into the benefits of the liberal international order are questioned more what they’re going to offer for its continuation. So that’s the second thing. The third thing is I think there’s a difference between not wanting to be counted on something and opposing it. And India is an interesting case in this point—example in this case, sorry—because on the one hand they get a lot of their military equipment from Russia, and they have a budding, burgeoning relationship with the United States, Australia, and Japan; not because of Russia but because of China, and trying to figure out how to synchronize the gas pedal and the clutch on their series of concerns is actually genuinely difficult. And so, again, I don’t think we should be too judgmental about this. But we should work hard to win the argument and explain to them why it is in their interest that countries cannot change borders by force. That’s what Pakistan has attempted to do to India. That’s what China is attempting to do to India. And they have a stake in a system in which all of us work together to prevent that. LINDSAY: Do you want to jump in here, Audrey? CRONIN: Yes, I was—so jumping off of that point, actually, Kori, isn’t it interesting that China, the great defender of sovereignty, does not seem to be interested in defending Ukraine’s sovereignty, and is quite interested in supporting the aggressor in this case. But getting back to India, I think the fact that only within the last two years the Indians have been fighting the Chinese in the Himalayas. You know, they have a lot of other things to worry about. And the other thing I would say is that, what major power war can you think of where what is essentially the non-aligned movement in the world has ever aligned with those who are currently defending the global order. And then the last thing that I’ll say—to disagree a little bit since I think that’s what you want—disagree a little bit with Charlie is that I don’t think we could have a concert of Europe right now or a concert of great powers because we have a lot of new actors that are as powerful as great powers are in certain dimensions, including the major tech companies who are having a massive influence geopolitically on this crisis. So, we are not in 1815. We are in a different situation with a lot of new stakeholders and a different economic situation than the one that existed then. LINDSAY: Audrey, can I draw you out on that point about technology companies and the role they are playing? Can you just sort of spell it out for me—how you see them influencing or being influenced by the conflict? CRONIN: Yeah, so in some respects the tech companies have been—have sort of been bunged by reality because they have been very poor at dealing with situations of war. So you’ve got Meta that has been—you know, Facebook, and Instagram, and WhatsApp have all been shut down in Russia, and now Meta is being criminalized by the Putin administration—Putin regime—and so, because Meta claimed that they would go to an exception of their moderation rules and allow the Ukrainians to cry for blood against the Russians, this made them seem hypocritical and gave the Russians the excuse to criminalize them within Russia. So this whole concept of neutrality where—neutrality in terms of communications that they have sort of tied their whole identity to for many decades is proving to be extremely frayed. Meta is now being, you know, as I said, criminalized, and it’s giving the Russians a greater argument for why it is that, you know, they can clamp down within Russia. And so, as a result, the Russian people are getting less information. For the first time that I can remember, the New York Times has pulled its people from Moscow. All of the major bureaus have either closed down or pulled people. You’ve got a, you know, crackdown that started to occur before this crisis where Google and Apple representatives were being harassed and, you know, very, very severely. There is kind of a hostage-taking approach to making sure that there were people there that the Putin administration could control. So I don’t see Meta as having been very successful. However, then you’ve also got Elon Musk and Starlink. Look at the role that Starlink has played in Ukraine. I mean, he’s the one who in many respects are keeping the Ukrainians connected, and that’s not unrelated to how this crisis is going. Starlink, with its two thousand individual-sized satellites which are very difficult to shoot down—this has been a huge boon and a support for Ukraine. So I think that major tech companies are an important stakeholder in the international geopolitical realm that we don’t put enough emphasis upon. LINDSAY: Kori, did you have a two-finger? SCHAKE: Yeah, I wanted to tag along on Dr. Cronin’s very good—Dr. Cronin’s very good point and say that it’s not just— CRONIN: Kori, call me Audrey. We’ve known each other for decades. (Laughter.) SCHAKE: Thank you, my friend. It’s not just the big tech companies. What we are looking at is a war in which civil society—business, private charities—all these different dimensions are playing extraordinary roles, right? Chef José Andrés is not only buffeting Poland and other countries that are taking in enormous numbers of refugees, he is also running aid convoys to Odessa. We could be in a point before this war is over where you have private charities breaking sieges of Ukrainian cities and the Russians trying to hold the sieges. You see the hackers group, Anonymous, going after the Russians something fierce, and that’s where the values, the moral crusade part of this matters because civil society in free societies are taking it upon themselves—often beyond the control of the government and without the government’s blessing—to do things that they think will help the people they think are good guys in the war. LINDSAY: I see you’ve done a two-finger, Charlie. I’ll let you do that, but I’m going to ask one last question of you before we bring the rest of the room in. And it is what do you make of President Xi’s decision to back Russia rather than to stand up for the principle of sovereignty? Are Russia and China now joined at the hip? How should U.S. statecraft respond to that? But I know you wanted to get a two-finger first. KUPCHAN: Yes. One quick two-finger to Dr. Professor Cronin. CRONIN: Oh, please. (Laughter.) KUPCHAN: And that is that—and this will just be in defense of the concert system, and I just came from a roundtable—I see Chet Crocker and others who were there—on concerts, one of their assets being the flexibility to put at the table Google, and Meta, and International Rescue Committee, and other groups precisely because they are not formal U.N. Security Council bodies. But you seem skeptical— CRONIN: You are—you are redefining the terms. KUPCHAN: —so let’s not let you talk. (Laughter.) To your question, Jim, I think that the Chinese were a little bit uncertain at first, and they said some things that suggested that they were going to back Russia and some things that said they weren’t so comfortable with the disruption that’s being caused. My sense is that they have now coalesced around standing fairly firmly behind Putin. And I think that’s because this is a war that, on balance, is probably good for China. And that’s because it pushes Russia more fully into China’s embrace and turns Russia irretrievably into the junior partner. It distracts the United States and Europe from the Asia-Pacific. We’re going to be focused on the new central front for the foreseeable future, and I think the Chinese like that, just like they like the fact that we were spinning our wheels for twenty years in Afghanistan and Iraq. The big question mark in my mind is will they go the next step. Will they provide economic assistance and military assistance? Will they bail out a Russian economy that could be collapsing? And I don’t know the answer to that. My guess is they’re going to be careful not to see secondary sanctions get imposed. But one issue that I do worry about—and then I’ll throw this out for discussion—is, are the Chinese going to look at what’s happening here, and are we going to look at what’s happening here, and say globalization and interdependence has become too dangerous, and as a consequence, we’re moving into what could become an era of deglobalization? That’s scary in a world in which two-thirds of the countries in the world already trade more with China than with us. So deglobalization may be unstoppable, but it’s not necessarily good for the U.S. LINDSAY: OK, fair enough. On that note, I’m going to bring the rest of the room into our conversation. I want to remind everybody that this meeting is on the record. If you would like to ask a question, raise a hand, and please stand. Wait for the microphone to arrive, then state your name and affiliation before asking your question. And I do ask that you ask a question. Right here in the front—right here. CRONIN: (Laughs.) The race is on. Q: Thank you. Victoria Hui at University of Notre Dame. These days people talk about today it’s Ukraine, tomorrow it’s Taiwan. So do you think— LINDSAY: Can you hold it a little closer? Q: Oh. LINDSAY: Thank you. Q: People say today it’s Ukraine; tomorrow it’s Taiwan. So do you think that today it’s Ukraine means— tomorrow it’s Taiwan means that there is a bigger chance that there will be a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, or Ukraine—the experiences that we are seeing is actually going to make Taiwan safer? Thank you. LINDSAY: So have the chances of an invasion of Taiwan gone up or gone down? SCHAKE: So I honestly don’t know. Let me tell you the two arguments. The first argument would be what the Chinese could learn from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is it’s shocking that the Western world actually can pull together when it’s serious. Second, the diabolical creativity of Western financial institutions to develop new tools in market—to affect markets, again, should be scary to them. Third, the only way to tell whether a military is any good at what it’s doing is to fight it, and I—like a whole bunch of other people thought the Russian military was an awful lot better than it is. And China hasn’t fought in a long time, and so whether they would have the grit for this fight or the ability to do the orchestration of logistics and air power, getting across a hundred miles of choppy water in an amphibious operation on Taiwan—that’s a pretty sophisticated military task. So lots of reasons they should take caution from that. Not at all clear to me that Xi Jinping will take caution from that—that he may very well be arrogant enough to think, well, of course the Russians are terrible at this, but my military is great at this. And of course the Ukrainians feel Western. The Taiwanese are starting to feel Western; we’d better shut this down before it goes much further. Like I could see arguments where he would think the West would never have the stomach to impose on China the kind of economic restrictions they are imposing. So it’s touch and go I think. KUPCHAN: Two quick thoughts: the first is that I think on balance it makes a Chinese attack less likely, and that’s simply because the Chinese are watching what’s happening to Russia, and they’re probably going to calculate we don’t want to go down that rabbit hole; that does not look good to us. My second observation is that I think it probably makes sense for the United States to end strategic ambiguity—not to change the One China policy, but to say we’re going to defend Taiwan because I think part of what happened in Ukraine is we were ambiguous, and the Russians called our bluff. So if we intend to defend Taiwan, let’s say so. If we don’t intend to, let’s say so. But living with this ambiguity, it seems to me, invites trouble. We just learned that in Ukraine. LINDSAY: Charlie, how do you square that with your observation earlier that you worry that the America First movement is just sort of in abeyance right now and will come back with great force? Because that would seem to be the kind of commitment that they would oppose. KUPCHAN: You know, it is a huge and interesting question, and if Trump is reelected, I don’t know what the future of NATO and U.S. alliances in Asia will be. I do think, though, that the impetus for the America First movement came out of the forever wars, and that if you look at the Trump administration, they were actually pretty tough on China and supportive of Taiwan. LINDSAY: The administration was; the president wasn’t necessarily— KUPCHAN: President not so, but the Republicans are—you know, they’re pretty gung-ho on China, and so I think that this geopolitical realignment that we have been undertaking: out of wars of choice in the Middle East let’s focus on meat-and-potatoes issues in Eurasia is good because I think that’s the sweet spot in American politics. LINDSAY: Audrey, do you want to jump in here? CRONIN: Just two things on the Taiwan question and also the relationship between Russia and China—I think firstly that China is going to find that it has developed a kind of a vassal state now and, you know, the Russians are going to be depending upon China for weapons, for buying their oil, for technology, for evading sanctions, and I’m not sure that China, over time, is going to find that this is a good deal for them, so I think that may—in theory—change the desire that they might have had to take aggressive action against Taiwan. I think you can see it both ways, though. I agree with Kori. I’m not sure that it’s possible to say definitively that way. But the second thing I would say is that Taiwan has a lot to learn from what Ukraine has done. So, you know, urban warfare; using easily accessible and cheap technologies; engaging in, you know, skirmishes; fighting forward; not depending upon huge legacy systems—instead using the kinds of tactics that we associate with insurgents. I think that Taiwan would be extremely good at that, and they’re going to learn from Ukraine. LINDSAY: I think it’s a really important point that both sides can learn from the events in Ukraine. If you want to ask a question in the back of the room, you’re really going to have to stand up and wave because I’m not sure I can see that far back. But we have a question right here. Q: Hi. Jim Morrow, University of Michigan. LINDSAY: Go blue! Q: It’s clear that the Europeans are going to come close to meeting their commitments to increase their military spending. My question is do you also think that they’ll go further to create something like a really unified European military, and also to take the political changes to have a coherent European foreign policy? And then the other part of the question is should the United States encourage this because it seems to me there’s two sides to this. One is greater burden sharing—the Europeans can carry more, but at the same time, it will decrease U.S. influence on security and defense issues. SCHAKE: Those are great questions. So I think the result of Russia’s aggression is going to be Europeans clinging more tightly to the United States because when we are scared, we like to hold hands with each other. And even watching how awful the Russian military is at the profession of arms doesn’t appear to be making our European friends and allies any less desirous of having the United States in the mix of it. So I don’t anticipate that the increased spending is going to be external to NATO or to build European capabilities autonomous of the United States. I do think, however, we should be encouraging closer political and even military cooperation among the Europeans for exactly the reason you said, which is after watching the performance of this Russian military, the Poles could defeat the Russians pretty easily. And once you start mixing all the NATO countries in, our opposition to greater European autonomy has actually encouraged the Europeans to think of themselves as weak, and they are not. And we should want allies that feel their strength and are confident in their strength as a way of better balancing the risks all of us run together. KUPCHAN: I would just add, Jim, that I think what’s going on in Germany is an inflection point because if there were to be a development on the European side that changed, in a consequential way, Europe’s defense capability, it had to happen in Germany. And Germany was the laggard. I mean, its military has atrophied, deteriorated in a way that’s hard to overstate. And if there is to be a kind of European pillar, it has to start with Germany, and it looks like they are starting. But I agree with Kori that this is not the beginning of Macron’s strategic autonomy, and that’s because France is alone in having a view of Europe as standing apart from the United States and flexing its muscles on the global stage. Just about every other EU member state wants a stronger Europe that’s tethered to the United States; not that goes off on its own. That’s good for them, and I think it’s good for us. CRONIN: Yeah, the only thing I would add is let’s look at what the non-NATO members have done to get a sense of how important this shift is. I mean, if you look at the tremendous increase in spending—defense spending in Sweden, increase in defense spending in Finland; the fact that Switzerland, which is not a member of NATO or the EU is now abiding by the sanctions—you know, this is an inflection point if only from that perspective. The Europeans are drawing together in anger and frustration, and it is unprecedented. LINDSAY: We’ll go over here to the right side of the room. Q: Hi, deRaismes Combes from American University. Thank you so much for an interesting conversation. I’m still thinking about this notion of historical analogies that you started with, and I’m wondering if you think Ukraine is teaching us anything about 21st century geopolitics in the digital age that we just haven’t really grasped before in terms of where this is heading, both specifically with Ukraine, but also with Taiwan and with the broader geopolitical system and the liberal world order. So thank you. LINDSAY: Do you want to take first crack at that, Audrey? CRONIN: Yes, I mean, that’s a huge question, and the answer is yes—(laughs)—it’s teaching us a lot about geopolitics in the digital age. Some of this I’ve already talked about. I think that major digital actors need to be parts of this Concert of Europe that we’re talking about, the concert of the great powers, because I think they play an enormous role in affecting the future and how things are evolving. You know, I think that we see a lot with respect specifically to Ukraine, which is that the fact that Ukraine had a pretty advanced technology element to their economy; they are very advanced in aeronautics; they had their own drone industry, and their use of drones has come very naturally to Ukrainian citizens—you know, those who are volunteering. You know, this shows you that—again, getting back to the question on Taiwan—countries that are advanced in terms of their digital capabilities, and their populations are able to use digital technologies effectively, are going to be, I think, more successful as we move into the 21st century. LINDSAY: Kori, you want to jump in here? SCHAKE: Yeah, two quick, additional points. One is that one of the surprises of this war was that we all expected it was going to start with a cyber Armageddon, right, that power stations were—power systems were going to go down all over Ukraine, that the government wouldn’t be able to communicate. All of these fancy cyber things were supposed to happen, and they didn’t. And it looks like they didn’t happen for three reasons: first, is the Russians gave us so much lead time of what they were potentially doing that NSA and CYBERCOM were able to forward deploy to Ukraine and other places teams to assist in the defense of the architectures. Second, the Russians—for reasons I don’t understand—were evidently more restrained than anybody anticipated. Maybe it’s the nature of cyber tools that once you unleash them your adversaries can use them back against you. Maybe we are seeing an assured destruction leveling. And the third thing is it’s just easier to blow stuff up—(laughter)—and so the Russians blew stuff up. And so one big thing we expected was going to happen actually turns out not to be as significant in modern warfare. But Audrey’s point about the technological sophistication—I mean, the Ukrainian government dispensing an app so that people can identify Russian troops as they come. That gave them country-wide situational awareness. A couple hundred thousand people are actively using the app, so you get societal resilience and you also get better information. It is really extraordinary. LINDSAY: Did you want to— KUPCHAN: Just one quick sentence on the—how important the information space has been. You know, the Biden administration I think deserves credit for stealing the march from the Russians, right? The Russians have spent the last five, ten years cleaning our clocks in the information space. I think that the Biden people reversed it. They got out ahead. They released intel that they probably shouldn’t have released, but they did it anyway, and I really think it has made a difference. LINDSAY: Going to go all the way to the back of the room. Q: Thank you. I’m Chandler Rosenberger from Brandeis University. And I wanted to follow up on this point about resilience because I think we’ve talked a lot about tactics. We’ve talked a lot about specific things that the Ukrainians have done. But I think the most impressive thing about them is how resilient they have been militarily and as a society. And I wonder if that tells us something about the advantages of a kind of, you know, liberal, democratic, civic order in which people feel deeply invested and its ability to survive an assault from an authoritarian states where the soldiers seem not to know what they are fighting for, that there’s—maybe we can have more faith in that kind of democratic social resilience than we might have had otherwise. LINDSAY: Who wants to take first crack at the question? CRONIN: I will. LINDSAY: OK, Audrey, you’re closest, got your finger up first. CRONIN: All right, well, so yes, I think that we are going to learn a lot about societal resilience, but I think we have to wait. I think we have to wait and find out how this plays out because Kori’s point about it being a lot easier to just blow things up, that is also still true. So if all you want to do is crush a country and, you know, occupy that country by killing a lot of civilians and, you know, targeting corridors of humanitarian fleeing civilians, if all you want to do is kill a lot of people, I think the Russians are capable of doing that. And I don’t think we can yet come to full conclusions about how strong that resilience is going to be to stand up to that. We’re still pretty early in this fight. I hope from my heart that what you are saying is what we learn from this conflict. But we’re only, what, about a month and a half into it—five weeks into it, so I hope that resilience is what we get out of it. SCHAKE: So it clearly makes a difference in the willingness of soldiers to run risks in a fight, right? We see the comparative difference in Russia and Ukraine, and I do think that that’s partly about societal resilience. In better militaries than the Russians there’s also the professionalism that gives resilience, right? They’re not fighting for me; they are fighting for the guy standing next to them kind of resilience. Temperamentally I want so much to believe it’s true, and yet, I think there are a couple of factors that make Ukraine uniquely resilient against a Russian invasion. First, the terrors of Soviet occupation. There are still Ukrainians alive who experienced the Holodomor that Russia—the Soviet Union imposed on Ukraine. They feel like they are fighting for survival. They don’t feel like they are fighting for a particular kind of government—in addition to a particular kind of government. The second thing is that I think it matters that the World War II generation is still alive in our countries because I think they have a slightly different perspective. But let me add one hopeful note. When Jim Mattis and I did the surveys of American public attitudes about military issues for our book, Warriors and Citizens several years ago, the weirdest anomaly in the data was that the attitudes of people under twenty-five most closely approximated the attitudes of people who had lived through the Great Depression and World War II: that the world feels fundamentally uncertain and unsafe to them, and that does give a kind of resilience that I think the intervening generations might not have to the same extent. LINDSAY: Charlie? KUPCHAN: Yeah, what I’m sort of ruminating on, vis-à-vis this question, is how did Putin get it so wrong, right? Because we will look back at this crisis and say Putin made Ukraine great again. The Ukraine that he envisaged did exist, but it was—it was pre-2014 and probably all the way going back to the Orange Revolution. You know, you used to go to Mariupol, or Donetsk, or Lugansk, and it was full of Russians, and they felt like Russians, and they affiliated with Russia. That’s gone, right? They have come together around a strong Ukrainian national identity, including the president, who grew up speaking Russian, right? How did he get elected? He got elected by, you know, pro-Russian and Russian speakers in eastern and southern Ukraine. That’s gone, right? He’s now a rock star because he’s giving his middle finger to Putin. And so the country has really come together as a consequence of Russian aggression. It’s a kind of blowback that the Russians are going to have to live with forever. LINDSAY: This gentleman here with the dark jacket. Q: Fen Hampson from north of the border. The panel—I’ve forgotten who it was—raised the interesting question about Russia with Putin and Russia without Putin. And I’d like to ask you, if and when this crisis ends, what sort of relationship do we have with Russia if Putin is still around? Do we walk back sanctions? Do we take oligarchs off Magnitsky? Do we stop proceedings in the International Criminal Court? Do we welcome them back to the various organizations they’ve been thrown out of, and that includes the G-20? And if he leaves—for whatever reason—you know, is Russian going to be easier to deal with or more difficult to deal with? And I would say, you know, be careful what you wish for because he has provided stability—and I’m not defending him—but one can envisage a scenario where the security vacuum extends now to Russia as others see weakness in Moscow. LINDSAY: Charlie, do you want to take a first crack at that? KUPCHAN: A lot depends, Fen, on how this ends, and my best guess is that it will not end cleanly, and it will not end well. Audrey already mentioned some of the provisions that are tentatively on the table. I have a hard time imagining them seeing the light of day. Who is going to guarantee Ukraine’s security? Is Zelenskyy going to get the support of the Rada to change the constitution? Is he going to have the domestic support to recognize Crimea, Mariupol, and Donetsk, and Lugansk as Russian? So I’m guessing that what will end up here is another frozen conflict in which Russia takes a big bite out of eastern Ukraine, probably doesn’t go into Kyiv because it’s not going very well, and then we sort of have to say, well, the fighting is over. They did more, they took more; now what? And I guess I’m enough of a realist to say that, you know, we’re going to have to go back to something that looks more like the Cold War which mixes containment and engagement. And that’s because there is simply too much at stake to put Russia in the penalty box and throw the key away. And so I would say that even in a post-war Putin Russia as opposed to a post-Putin Russia, we’re going to have to find ways of getting some difficult hedging cooperation on arms control, on the question of energy issues—I mean, there’s a lot of stuff here that we can’t just throw away. LINDSAY: I want to get in one last question because we’re nearing the end of our time, so we’ll go to that young lady over there, if we can, and then I’ll have to ask the panelists to be short in the response. Q: Hi, I hope this won’t be too long. My name is Eve Clark-Benevides. I’m from SUNY Oswego. And I—there was an editorial in the New York Times yesterday that infuriated me, but it has been really coming up during this whole talk. Bret Stephens argues maybe we’re being a little bit too premature, kind of celebrating that Putin has miscalculated. Maybe actually Putin really only wanted eastern Ukraine all along. He never really thought—and that a lot of the goals that Putin has wanted over time—getting rid of the free press, getting the moderates to move out, and really having full power over the Russian society—is really coming to pass. So this is kind of a piggyback off the last question that, really, are we going to see sort of these steps to disengage economically and politically with Russia—you know, Britain realizing that maybe having Russian money completely floating their economy—we’re trying to divest. Do you think that maybe in this new Cold War—whatever occurs—that we’re going to continue to really try to get away from oligarch money in the political systems in the West? LINDSAY: OK, Audrey, you had your hand up first so— CRONIN: Yes, so when it comes to our analyses of Putin, I think it’s a mistake for us to personalize this as much as we are. You know, put aside this unfortunate comment about potentially regime change in the way that it was interpreted. I think that the Russians have always, throughout their history, gone back and forth between kind of a Slavophile approach and a Westernizer approach, and Putin is a Slavophile. So what we’re seeing right now is a reawakening of Russian nationalism, a move back exactly along the lines that you just suggested to having greater control over their domestic population, getting rid of some of the threats that Putin personally feels are quite dangerous; you know, domestic movements within Russia. I hate to see all of this happen, but yes, it does feel quite familiar. I mean, I spend my—some of my teenage years living in Moscow in the American embassy. I remember the Cold War; I’m old enough to remember all of that. And I think we are going to have to move back to that kind of relationship where sometimes we can deal on certain things and at other times we can’t deal on those things, we deal on other things. But the worst thing that we could do would be to make Russia a complete pariah because, if you understand European history, you also know that anytime you have a complete pariah that is aside from the whole system, you are more likely to end up in a major war. LINDSAY: Charlie or Kori? SCHAKE: So Putin—I don’t buy the argument that Putin is a grand strategic genius and invaded Ukraine in order to crackdown domestically for two reasons: first because he is already cracking down. It was just a slow strangulation—CREF, Nemtsov, and Navalny—and so he didn’t need the Ukraine invasion to be more repressive domestically. But the second thing is I think the failure of Russian force and arms in Ukraine is actually making his domestic position much more tenuous in ways that I think are unpredictable from the outside to understand. My answer to—just quickly, my answer to the what do we—how do we deal with Putin still in power, I think it would be a good thing for us to find ways for a strategically smaller, weaker, and humiliated Russia to have a U.S. counterparty on some things that are important to them and to us. It will make Ukraine’s longer-term future and Russia’s longer-term future easier to handle if we, who have had so little invested in this fight, step forward and help integrate Russia in ways that we can. KUPCHAN: To the question of was Putin a grand master and he intended this from the beginning, I don’t see it, and that’s because he could have done the eastern bit at any time, and he wouldn’t have needed to put almost two hundred thousand troops all around Ukraine, including in Belarus. He could have just gone into the separatist territories, turned south, gone to Mariupol and connected to Crimea, and called it a day. I think what’s happening here is he’s changing the goalposts because his original goal of regime change and the occupation of the country, it does not look feasible anymore, although I agree with my colleagues that he might just keep bombing for another few months. Who knows what will happen? But the key question in my mind is whatever that ultimate disposition is, can he portray it as a victory? Can he sell it—not just to the Russian people, but to the Russia elite system, which is showing more discontent than I think we’ve ever seen in modern Russia. I don’t think Putin is about to go, but I do think that this is a war that is going to loosen his grip on power, and anything could come of that. It could mean he goes and we get a worse outcome. After all, a lot of the people around him share his views. It could also be that we get a more benign outcome. We don’t know, and as a consequence, I think we just have to hedge our bets. LINDSAY: Well, that brings us to the end of our time here. I want to thank everyone in the room for joining us for this conversation on the geopolitical implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I want to do a shout-out to Irina Faskianos and her team— AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yay, Irina! (Applause.) LINDSAY: —for arranging today’s thing. And I want to say thank you to our three guests: Kori Schake, Charlie Kupchan, and Audrey Cronin for their expertise. (Applause.) (END
  • Climate Change

    Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox professor of law and director of the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard University, leads the conversation on global climate policy. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Jody Freeman with us to talk about global climate policy. Professor Freeman is the Archibald Cox professor of law, founding director of the Environmental and Energy Law Program, and a leading scholar of administrative and environmental law at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2010, Professor Freeman served as counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama administration. She is a fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of CFR. She also serves as an independent director on the board of ConocoPhillips, which is an oil and gas producer. Professor Freeman has been recognized as the second most-cited scholar in public law in the nation and has written extensively on climate change, environmental regulation, and executive power. So, Professor Freeman, thanks very much for being with us today. We just saw the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, Sixth Assessment Report, that was quite pessimistic about the outlook on the future. Can you talk a little bit about that report and connect it to what we are going to see the effects on climate policy and what we need to be doing to really remediate what’s happening in the world? FREEMAN: Well, thank you very much for having me. It couldn’t be a more important or interesting moment to be having this conversation, and mostly I look forward to you, students, posing some questions and us having some back and forth. So, Irina, I will be as brief as I can in trying to really encapsulate what’s going on now to set the stage for the discussion that I hope we will have. First, as you noted, the IPCC, which of course is the UN-established organization that since 1988 has put out periodic assessments of the science of climate change and their consensus-based assessments written by about six—about two hundred scientists from about sixty countries, so to give you a sense of the authority of the documents they’ve put out. This assessment was quite bleak, and really—I can read a couple of the top line conclusions to you, but the essential message is that climate change is accelerating. It has already been wreaking havoc and doing significant damage to human health, environment, and ecosystems. It is already causing and will cause increasingly devastating wildfires, historic droughts, landslides, floods, and more intense hurricanes. The long list of things that you all are witnessing around the world—think of the Australian fires, the California fires, the historic flooding we’ve seen here in the United States. The report basically says this will get worse if we continue without significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions soon, beginning immediately, and cutting them quite drastically. There are many conclusions here about the need to accelerate the pace of our efforts, the need for the governments of the world to do more than they have pledged to do under the Paris Agreement, which we can talk about, which is the international climate agreement that the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries have pledged, have made commitments to. And the U.S. has renewed its commitment to the Paris Agreement under the Biden administration saying that it will achieve 50 to 52 percent of emissions reductions here in the United States below 2005-levels by 2030. So a very significant upping of the U.S. commitment recently at the Conference of the Parties last year in Glasgow, Scotland. That agreement is the prevailing international agreement, but this report says it’s not enough. Even if the countries of the world were to meet their pledges—and that’s an open question—what the report essentially says is we need to do more, and so there’s a consensus on the science. I don’t think there can be reasonable disagreement about the science of climate change at this point. There is significant evidence that it is already happening, already changing the world’s—the patterns that we have seen in, again, weather patterns, storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, and it is already threatening communities. The question now is, how do we close this gap between what the report—what the IPCC report is telling us is happening, the risks that the report is warning us about—how do we close the gap between that and what the governments of the world have agreed to do under the Paris Agreement? And I want to note just two other contextual developments here that make this problem even more challenging. One is what I think you’re all very conscious of now, as we all think about daily, the war in Ukraine, and the fact that that is scrambling in the geopolitics of energy. Russia, as one of the world’s top three suppliers of oil and gas, produces about 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas, and now there are sanctions that the U.S. has imposed, and that other countries have announced they will gradually phase in, against Russian oil and gas supplies. The price of gas, as you may all have noticed the United States, is sky high. That’s not just because of the war in Ukraine, but it hasn’t helped. And attention has moved to what this war means not just for the devastating human consequences, but also what is it doing to the—how to encapsulate this—to the power relationships among the world’s nations that are anchored in oil and gas, and how is it shifting the relative power of the oil-producing countries vis-à-vis each other. That conversation about how we’re going to produce enough oil and gas to meet Europe’s needs in the absence of or in the presence of sanctions against Russia, where are we going to get the extra supply from? In some sense, that conversation about the short-term need for what is admittedly fossil energy has edged out, has moved out of the main frame of the climate policy discussion temporarily. And the concern among communities, institutions, organizations, people who care deeply about climate change at the moment is, that edging to the side of the climate discussion is the wrong direction to go, is an unhelpful event. And especially in the United States where we now are looking at the dynamics in Congress to see if major climate investments will be part of a legislative package that the Biden administration has been advancing— the Build Back Better package—as the discussion is focused on Ukraine, the short-term need for oil and gas, who will produce and meet the extra demand, that conversation, the worry is it’s not helping climate policy move forward in the United States. And as you all know, the Build Back Better bill has essentially been shelved, and there are ongoing discussions about which pieces of it might move forward. As time passes and we get to the United States’ midterm elections, which are upon us very soon in the fall, the question is, will anything significant in terms of additional climate investments and climate policy come from the United States Congress? Or are they essentially done with the pieces they put into the big infrastructure bill that, as you know, was passed this past fall? The bipartisan infrastructure bill contained significant investments in things like electric vehicle infrastructure, grid investments, and other things that are beneficial for our climate policy. But as you all know, this is not nearly enough, and nothing regulatory went into the Infrastructure Act, and just to be clear about that, there was nothing in the bill that passed Congress in November that operated—that went through a process called budget reconciliation. This really was passed as a budgeting mechanism. Nothing in there regulates industry greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s because regulation can’t go in a budget bill. And what this means is, in the United States we are challenged now to put in place the policies necessary for us to meet our commitment to Paris, and the main vehicle left right now, if Congress remains fairly inactive, is using existing law like the Clean Air Act by which the Obama—listen to me, the Obama administration. I’m remembering my time in the Obama—the Biden administration can use existing law to regulate sector by sector by sector the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the power sector, that come from the transportation sector, that come from the oil and gas sector. That’s what the Biden administration is right now doing. They’re issuing regulations through agencies like the EPA to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy on a sectoral and piecemeal basis. And what this all means is that a war is raging in the Ukraine that is refocusing attention on the need for short-term fossil fuels, while a longer-term discussion is happening about how to wean the world off fossil energy, and this dynamic is a very challenging, complicated dynamic in which to have both of those conversations simultaneously. The only thing I’d mention, before now turning to your questions, in addition, is that there is no small irony in the fact that this report that Irina cited, the new installment of the IPCC scientific assessment was issued essentially the day before the Supreme Court of the United States heard argument in a really important climate case in which what’s at stake is the EPA—the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to set far-reaching standards to reduce our emissions from the power sector. And by all indications, the Supreme Court is poised to restrict the EPA’s ability to set standards that would really force quite forward-leaning change, quite aggressive, ambitious change—speedier, deeper reductions from the electric power sector. It looks like the Court may well constrain the agency, and I can talk more about that for those who are legal eagles and want to know more. But the fact that that argument was heard the day after this report as sort of the juxtaposition of those two things was quite striking. So let me leave it there with these sort of broad observations about what’s happening and turn to you all and see if we can dive deeper into some of these dynamics. FASKIANOS: Thanks a lot for that overview. You can all either raise your hand to ask your question, or you can write it in the Q&A box. So I'm going to first go to Babak Salimitari. Q: I had a question regarding the Paris climate accord. This is a non-binding agreement in which it seems like the United States is the only country going above and beyond to limit emissions and pollution and whatnot, but we’re also the ones suffering the most. You have, like Germany building coal plants. China and India are extremely dirty, filthy countries, to put it bluntly. They admit they destroy environmental places, not just in their own country, but all over the world. But we’re the one paying six bucks for gas. Oil is like a hundred dollars a barrel. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: Things are getting very expensive and very annoying. So what’s the point of this agreement if we’re not reaping any benefits from it? FREEMAN: Yeah, I hear the question and—but let me add some perspective here. First of all, the ones suffering the most, it’s not us. There are really serious consequences from warming temperatures for countries around the world that are already being inundated because their low-lying coastal populations are at risk. And they’re much more vulnerable because we can afford adaptation measures, we can afford to respond to disasters, and we can afford to invest in resilience or adaptation, whereas many parts of the developing world cannot. They will be swamped. There will be massive migrations. There will be flooding, heat wave and tremendous suffering, and there already are some of these effects around the world. So I just add that perspective because I’m not sure it’s quite right that we’re the only ones or the ones who are suffering the most currently or that we will be in the future. We’re actually, in the United States, fairly well-positioned, even if some of the worst risks we anticipate befall us. We’re just a rich country compared to the rest of the world. I also would just comment that prices for gasoline are sky high here, and I understand that this is, as you say, annoying and quite difficult for folks who, you know, must purchase gas to get to work or must purchase gas in order to move around, they don’t have an option. But I will say that in many parts of the world gas prices are much higher, and they’re much higher in places like Europe and Canada and elsewhere because the governments have chosen to reflect in the price of gasoline more of the harms caused by burning fuel. In other words, they’re internalizing the cost that otherwise people have to bear in terms of health consequences from burning gas, climate consequences, et cetera. So this is all me just saying gas may seem really high and I understand it, but actually many countries choose to impose high gas prices really as a signal to populations about the cost of being dependent on these fuels. But the point of your question, I think, is what’s the value of the Paris Agreement? It’s not binding, and why are we bothering to commit to do so much? And I will say we’re not the only country to make a significant commitment. The EU countries have made significant commitments, even China. To put it in perspective, China’s commitment to level off emissions by a deadline is important. There are very significant pledges that have gone toward this agreement, and the fact that they’re nonbinding, I just want to shed a little light on that. You can say, well, it doesn’t matter because nobody can force these countries to deliver on their pledges, and there is some truth to that. There’s no grand international body presiding over this that comes knocking on the door of the world governments to say, you know, you said you’d pledge to reduce your emissions by X and you’re not even close, so we’re going to penalize you. There’s no such international enforcement system. But it turns out that the format of the Paris Agreement—which is to make a pledge and then to periodically every five years have to do what’s called a “stock take,” where the world countries come together and take stock of where they are in the progress—there are mechanisms to hold each other to account, that’s the theory of the agreement; and that there are regular meetings of the parties called Conferences of the Parties that are meant to be the vehicle for forcing a kind of truing-up and disclosure of how far countries have come. Now that’s an imperfect system, I will concede to you, but it is a big improvement over prior international climate regimes, which purported to be binding. But, for example, the Kyoto Protocol, the prior agreement to the Paris Agreement, only bound the world’s developed nations, meaning the rich countries of the world, and the developing world, which was fast overtaking the developed world in the amount of emissions being produced—so think of China, think of India, Brazil, et cetera—they weren’t part of the agreement. They had no obligation. So, while Kyoto was binding, it was binding on not the entire world, and it’s not the even—who were soon to be the largest emitters, including China. So Paris is an inclusive agreement. China’s in it. India’s in it. Brazil’s in it. Every country that’s a significant share of the world’s emissions is committed, so the inclusiveness of it is thought to be an important advance. Your question is still important. The proof is in the pudding. Are these countries going to come anywhere close to delivering on their pledges? But I guess what I would suggest is, we need an international vehicle in order to continue to press forward. And if the U.S. is in a leadership position in that international agreement, that’s better for our chances than if the U.S. is not. The strongest position to be in is the U.S. and China together. When the Paris Agreement was signed, Obama and Xi combined forces and both supported it. China has now backed off. President Xi did not show up in Glasgow for the meeting personally, whereas the Biden—President Biden did. So now we’re seeing a bit of a different approach. It’s a very long answer, but that’s because how these agreements work—their value, why they’re an improvement or not over the prior—is actually quite complicated. FASKIANOS: Now the war in Ukraine and how China’s going to align with Putin. FREEMAN: Yeah, I mean, this is really interesting—and I don’t know if any of the students have a question about that—but everything is speculative right now. For example—I mean, in terms of how this will come out for China and China’s relationship with the other powers of the world. China’s in a very delicate position, and it may turn out that its alliance with Russia, depending on how that plays out, will leave it in a position of trying to look for opportunities build back relationships with the rest of the world, and it might turn out that climate policy is an opportunity to re-establish itself. And so we can’t see how this will evolve, but a situation that looks at the moment like China’s aligned with the bad actor—Russia in this case—may actually open up opportunities in the future for it to readjust its behavior, and climate may be one of those opportunities. Historically, the United States and China, even when tense relationships existed over trade policy and other things, cooperated on climate. It became an opportunity, especially in the Obama years when I was in the White House. We had a lot of good agreements with China around climate policy, both bilaterally and multilaterally. It was sort of an area—it was a bright spot of relations. That may turn back around and come back following this conflict. FASKIANOS: A written question from, let’s see, Jackie Vazquez, who’s in undergraduate school at Lewis University in Illinois, asking: Is there any possibility for all countries to come together to make a global movement to combat climate change? Would that even make a difference? FREEMAN: I think that the Paris Agreement is meant to be at least an instrument of a global movement to address climate change. But I think if you’re talking about a political movement, that is people, not negotiators, representing governments, but populations and communities—I think we’re seeing some of that. I mean, I think this generation, your generation, has really given voice to a real need for climate action faster. And I give a lot of credit to young people. I say this—it makes me feel 150 years old when I say this—but I think this generation, at least in the United States, it’s taken the form of something called the Sunrise Movement and other youth movements. Of course, Greta Thunberg is the most famous young person putting a face on climate change, insisting that the older generations have let you all down, and I think there’s something to that. I can understand your frustration, and I would feel the same way if I were younger that the people with the power have not taken the steps necessary when they should have taken the steps to mitigate a global problem. And I think that we’re seeing movements all around the world; youth action all around the world. The problem comes in translating that political enthusiasm and political energy into policy, into laws and rules and requirements and incentives and subsidies and investments and inducements to change the trajectory to require over time—and quicker than—than many in industry want—require reductions faster, to translate it into investments from the private sector, because we need trillions of dollars of investments in low carbon technologies, in innovation. Translating that energy into real political action is the challenge. And I guess the one thing I’d say to you all is you have to vote. You have to put into power the people who support these policies, and you know, the youth vote is tremendously and increasingly important. So, in addition to activism, which is—which is critical, you want to vote in state, local, national elections at every opportunity. FASKIANOS: Earlier on, you talked about how the Supreme Court case is going to restrict the EPA trying to regulate. So there’s a question from Nathaniel Lowell, who’s at Skidmore College: Could you talk a little bit more about that Supreme Court decision, what that means for the Biden administration efforts to push forward within an act of Congress? You know, and what can be done? Because that’s pretty significant, and certainly just putting in executive orders, the next administration could just roll back on those—roll those executive orders back. FREEMAN: Yeah. So here’s what I’d say. First of all, I’m speculating a bit when I say the Court seems poised to restrict EPA’s authority. I think most observers think that’s what we got from oral argument. You know, we watched the oral argument, which is when the counsel for both sides—in this case, it was the government represented by the Solicitor General of the United States—that’s how the government is represented in the Supreme Court—and the challengers from the state of West Virginia and about seventeen other states, Republican-led states, along with the coal and mining industry on the other side, arguing this case to the justices. And you know, you can listen to these arguments, by the way. You can go to SupremeCourt.gov and click on the audio portion of these oral arguments. It’s fascinating. So I highly recommend and you can read the transcripts. And what we heard from the argument were the questions of the justices, the back and forth as the advocates were stating their positions, and basically, the petitioners in this case—that is, the mining industry, coal industry and the Republican-led states, including West Virginia—are basically saying the Environmental Protection Agency is overreaching. It’s stretching its authority under the Clean Air Act too far, and the courts should read the language of the Clean Air Act narrowly and limit what they can do. And the government, the Biden administration, and the power sector petitioners—sorry, the power sector respondents—these are legal terms of art, but this describes who’s on what side in the case—the power sector itself, this is the industry being regulated by these standards; this is the coal and natural gas plants across the country. The owners of the utilities that own these plants, they’re the ones who are going to be regulated and required to cut their carbon pollution, and yet they are on the side of the Biden administration because they want to preserve EPA’s power to set standards. They don’t want this to be a free for all in which they get sued in a bunch of different lawsuits. They want a coherent, consistent, implementable, realistic, cost-effective set of standards, and they’re prepared to make reductions. They want this done in an orderly fashion, and they don’t want the Supreme Court making a mess of things by, for example, restricting the EPA so much that the agency won’t take into account the reality of the power sector and how it works and allow them to average emissions—cut average emissions across their fleets; trade where it makes economic sense to trade emissions allowances. The industry wants all these flexibilities, and they’re worried that the Court will be on too much of a mission to cut the agency’s power, which will make the rules less economically sensible for the industry. So I hope that was an understandable explanation of what’s at stake and how unusual it is that the industry being regulated is on the side of the government in this case, supporting the idea that the EPA has the authority to do this, and the consequences of the case here are quite significant. Because if the Court limits EPA, the bottom line is the standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal and natural gas plants won’t be as stringent as they could have been. They won’t move as quickly as they could have moved, and the cuts won’t be as deep as they could have been. And that’s a loss—that’s a loss of a tool we would have in our toolbox to cut emissions from the sector in our economy that is the second largest sector in terms of its emissions. So we want a robust program to control those, and Congress didn’t pass one. And Congress doesn’t look like it’s passing one, so this is our second-best strategy. And if the Court crimps EPA so much that it limits the stringency, it’s like losing some ability that you thought you had to constrain your domestic emissions, which means it’s harder to fulfill our Paris pledge. That’s the bottom line. The last thing I’ll say—again, kind of a nerdy point, but for those of you who think about law and are interested in law—the Court should never have taken this case. You know, when—when people are unhappy with the decision in a lower court they can appeal to the Supreme Court. They ask the Court to grant review. Our Constitution requires that the Court only take cases where there is demonstrable harm or injury. You can’t go to the Supreme Court and say, you know, I’m not injured, but I really care about this, can you—can you help me out? You have to be injured. In this case there is, actually, currently no rule regulating anybody in the power sector, no federal rule, because the prior administration’s rule way back in the Obama days never went into effect. It was caught in litigation, and it was challenged in court. It never went into effect. And the Trump administration came in and repealed that and put out its own rule, which was a very minimal rule that did almost nothing to reduce emissions, and that got challenged and struck down by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. So, as a result, the bottom line people, there is no current federal rule regulating the power sector. Why would the Supreme Court take a case from West Virginia and other states and the coal industry complaining about something when nobody is being asked to do anything? There’s no harm. So it’s very unusual that the Court granted review in a case like that, and that is why many of us think they’re eager to do something that will constrain the EPA’s authority. I hope that made sense to folks. FASKIANOS: That was really helpful to clarify and give context to what’s going on. Thank you for that. So Terron Adlam has written a question, but also has a hand up. So just ask it yourself and give us your university. FREEMAN: You know, I see my former chancellor, Chancellor Carnesale from UCLA where I started my career. I'm just thrilled to see his name there. That’s great. Q: Hi there. FREEMAN: Hi. Q: Hi. So my question is, do you see any possibility of change of behavior of humans, especially during the global warfare/pandemic? I mean, ice caps are melting. Greenhouse gases are rising so much that—can we go past the differences, you think? FREEMAN: Yeah, I mean it’s very interesting you say that Terron. I do think we talk an awful lot about how we need to require industry to do things and that’s, of course, terribly important—you know, the auto makers and the oil and gas companies and the power plants and steel companies and how we do agriculture around the world. But in the end, there’s demand for energy and we are the demand. I’m sitting here on Zoom consuming a bunch of electricity. I got professional lights that you can’t see that are consuming a bunch of electricity. My phone is charging next to me consuming a bunch of electricity. And you know, I'm probably going to—well, I drive a Tesla—I’m lucky enough to have a Tesla, so I won’t be consuming gas later. But my point is just we all pull on energy, and you know, no one of us can transform the situation. We can’t accomplish the energy transition all by ourselves. But we can start thinking about the decisions we make, and we can start thinking about those implications and consequences. Your generation—I mean, I have a niece and nephew in their twenties, and I hear a lot about how nobody really wants a car anymore, apparently. I’m shocked at this, but there are generational shifts in how people think about consumption. Do you need your own vehicle or can you do ridesharing? Are we going to see ourselves in a world in the next fifteen, twenty years with autonomous vehicles that are electric vehicles, that we essentially share, at least in concentrated urban settings? These kinds of transformations, I think, are in part being driven by the demand from your generation. Likewise, I think as you build wealth—you guys will build wealth over time, right? You’re getting an education, right, and that education is directly connected to your earning power. You will build wealth over time as a result of becoming educated, and when you build wealth, you’ll have a decision about where to invest that wealth. And we see increasingly, social action investors, social commitments being made through people’s investment decisions, and they say we want to put our wealth into these kinds of stocks, these kinds of companies, these kinds of enterprises and not over here in these other ones. And I think that is another kind of behavior—where you put your capital is going to be another kind of decision that can help spark change. So, from the lowest level, most local decision about what you consume and how you consume it to bigger decisions later in life about where you put your money, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for you to make really consequential decisions. But I’m not somebody who believes that all of this will be fine if people just stop consuming energy because we all depend on energy, and we can’t stop consuming energy. For some of us, we can make decisions about where we want to get it from. Some of us live in jurisdictions where we can choose, quote/unquote, “to pay a little more” to be assured of getting more renewable energy as the provider. Not all of us can do that, and so, really, you need your governments to act. This is the kind of problem at the kind of scale where all of our individual activity can’t possibly be enough. I would say we have to do all of it. FASKIANOS: Well, I am going to go to Al Carnesale, your— FREEMAN: Oh! FASKIANOS: —your former chancellor. FREEMAN: My former chancellor! FASKIANOS: Your former chancellor and a CFR member. So, Al, over to you. Q: So we—since we traded places, I left Harvard to come to UCLA, you left UCLA to come to Harvard. FREEMAN: Yes! Q: Congratulations. So here’s my question is about nuclear power. For a number of years environmental groups have been opposed to nuclear power largely because of the waste problem. And then they—in light of climate change, they sort of changed their view and became reluctant supporters. And then came Fukushima and they again opposed nuclear power. Now, as we look ahead with the additional problems you’ve been talking about that may stymie some of our plans to deal with climate change, where do you think we might be headed on the nuclear problem? FREEMAN: You know, it’s interesting—well thank you and it’s just delightful to hear from you and see your—see you again. Here’s what I’d say. There’s a domestic conversation about nuclear and there’s a global conversation about nuclear. And of course, as you know, many countries in the world have made a big bet on nuclear. France has always been dependent on nuclear power, for example. China is investing heavily in nuclear power along with every other kind of energy because of their tremendous need as the population grows, and as they, you know, grow into the middle class. So there’s a lot of opportunity for nuclear to be built, especially updated sort of smaller more modular reactors, the next generation of reactors all around the world, and I think we’re going to see a lot of nuclear deployment. I don’t expect to see it in the United States, and the reason I don’t think we’re going to see it is the legacy you’ve cited, which is this historical discomfort with nuclear, and the ambivalence that is felt in this country about nuclear and the sort of unwillingness to tolerate the risks that are perceived from nuclear. We haven’t solved our long range—our long-term radioactive waste problem. You know, we never decided on Yucca Mountain or anywhere else to put the radioactive waste, so it’s being stored on site for—in large measure. And I think there’s still kind of a very local NIMBYism, a bad reaction to the idea of nuclear power. The challenge for us in the U.S. is right now nuclear provides about 20 percent of our electricity, and as these facilities are retired, where are we going to get that share of our electricity from? Will it be more renewable energy supported by natural gas for baseload? These are the questions if we lose even this relatively small share of nuclear that we have. The only other comment I’d make—and you may well know far more about this than me—but from my understanding of the cost comparison now, nuclear power, at least in the United States, is just far too expensive to build and not cost-competitive with the alternatives. Natural gas has been cheap because of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. There’s sort of abundant natural gas reserves released from shale. It outcompetes coal, and renewables have dropped so much in cost that they are extremely cost-competitive, so I don’t think nuclear competes in the American market, at least, this is what the experts have said to me. FASKIANOS: Al, given your expertise in this field, do you want to add anything? Q: It’s not to add anything, it’s to agree, largely. I think the catch is, how caught up are you in climate change? Because natural gas may be better than coal, but it’s not better than nuclear. But it would have to be government-subsidized, which basically in France it’s a national security consideration. So it would have to be subsidized as we subsidize many other things. FREEMAN: Right. Q: But I don’t see it happening. I think—I was actually on the President’s blue-ribbon commission, who tried to come up with a strategy for what to do about the waste. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: And the strategy said it had to go someplace where the people agreed to take it. FREEMAN: Yeah. Q: And that’s not—that’s not happening. So I think your conclusion is right, but it is a tension for those of us who are concerned about climate change. FREEMAN: Yeah, it is a tension. And I think you rightly point out the evolution in thinking in the environmental community about this that initially opposed then, sort of, wait a minute, this is a zero-carbon source of energy and we should be for it. And you know, I—this is—for the students, you know, I always say to my students you can’t be against everything. You have to be for something. You can’t say, well, fossil energy, a disaster; nuclear energy, we’re not interested in that, that’s too risky et cetera, and all we want is wind and sun, when, at least currently without storage capacity, wind and sun alone without some support—this is in the electricity sector—wind and sun alone without some baseload support to regularly supply the energy when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, you need something else. And that’s what Chancellor Carnesale and I are talking about. What is that baseload? Is it going to be natural gas? Is going to be nuclear, et cetera? So you have to be for something, people, is the upshot of this exchange. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to go next—there are two written questions from Kai Corpuz and Natalie Simonian, and they’re both undergrads at Lewis University. I think they must either—must be focused at Lewis University or both taking the same course. Really talking about wealthy nations helping developing countries. Developing countries are not equipped with the funds to push for a green future. How are they supposed to participate in this? And you know, what is—what are the wealthy nations’ obligation to help assist developing economies in dealing with climate change? FREEMAN: Yes, I mean it’s a really good question. And of course, the developed world has an obligation to assist the developing world through technology transfer, with financial support. If the developed world wants other countries that have not had a chance to get as far in developing their economies yet, if they want their cooperation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they’re going to have to make a contribution to support these countries in all these ways—financing, tech transfer, help with adaptation and resilience. And that commitment is part of the Paris Agreement, but it is true that the pledges that governments have made so far to produce annually billions of dollars for the developing world have not materialized to the level that was promised. So we are behind on that, and this is a significant problem. There is a very legitimate equity claim being made here, which is that the developed world has enjoyed economic growth. GDP has risen. We’ve all achieved a level of wealth and middle class. I mean, I’m talking on average for the developed world, obviously not everyone. We have tremendous income inequality in this country and around the world, but relatively speaking, our societies have evolved and become richer because of industrialization. We’ve already produced all our greenhouse gas emissions to achieve this level of prosperity, and the notion that now countries that haven’t gotten there yet should just reduce their emissions to their own economic disbenefit, I think everyone agrees that is not a legitimate position to take without offering assistance and support. So I think the leading countries of the world understand this and agree to this. The question is, how do you operationalize this? How do you best support and help the developing world? Where are the investments best made? How do we make sure the governments of the world are held to their commitments and produce the money they promised to produce? And that is an integral part of the Paris Agreement process. So, you know, I don’t want to suggest this is an easy problem, but I do agree the question is absolutely the correct way to think about this, which is we do have to help the countries of the world if we expect for us to achieve our climate mitigation and adaptation goals. FASKIANOS: Thank you, I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Sally Eun Ji Son, I believe at Columbia. Q: Oh, yeah. Hello. My name is Sally. I’m currently at Stanford engineering and an incoming PhD student at Columbia in the Political Science Department. And sort of relevant—related to, like, how different countries are in different stages, what I’ve noticed, as someone between Gen Z and Millennial—what I’ve noticed is that I, as an individual, like to take environmentally-conscious decisions. Yet, there’s some—there’s sort of this, like—a debate going on, like your action will not do anything to the Earth, your action will not do anything to climate change. And when I sort of encounter those debates, how should I navigate myself? Like, should I say it’s maybe not a direct environmental effect, but it could be a symbolic effect, political effect? Sort of, like, how do I navigate that individuals could also have power or, like, have a stance or position in shaping climate policy around the world? FREEMAN: Well, first of all, I applaud you for engaging in those debates, and you know, sometimes when we come up against viewpoints that we don’t agree with, we run away because we’re not interested in engaging. And I would just encourage you all to engage, and I mean in the most respectful way. I’ll get to the heart of your question, but it just gives me this opportunity to make this one pitch to you. So allow me—indulge me in making this one pitch to you about engaging in the way you’re suggesting. You know, my law students what I ask them to do is in the classroom if they hear something they disagree with, sometimes very strongly, I ask them to put it at its highest—in other words, make it the best version of that argument before you criticize it. So, if somebody didn’t make the best version of their argument and it’s easy to take them down, actually elevate it and say, I think—I think what you’re saying is this, and then what I’m hearing is this and give it the best, most legitimate form you can, and then engage with it on the merits, not them as a person. You don’t attack them as a person, but say here’s where I think differently. Here’s my perspective on these issues. So just the idea that you’re prepared to go back and forth on this, I think, is very laudable, and I encourage you to do it in that very respectful way. And you may not convince people of your point of view, but you may give them something to think about. And so what I’d say is—a little bit following on my earlier comment—that individual action can be impactful cumulatively, of course it can. If an entire community makes a decision to compete in their consumption of energy—you know there are these competitions among neighborhoods to be more energy-efficient. You know, you get this little notice in the mail that says your home is good compared to your neighbors, and your home is—in some communities this works. It actually promotes competition. In other communities it annoys them. It really depends on the politics of the community. But the point of this is just to say, communities are just—it’s just a cumulative set of individual actions, right? So I do think there’s something to changing individual behavior, and if lots of people do that, that makes a difference. So I don’t accept the idea that nothing you do matters, so don’t do anything. I mean, that argument is a recipe for never doing anything about anything. That is a large problem—because your share is necessarily small, so why should you change, and that, to me, is an excuse for inaction and apathy so that can’t be the right argument. But you can accept that individuals alone, even aggregated behavior alone, can’t change the world’s energy systems, that the scope and scale of that challenge—that’s a hundred-year challenge that requires the governments of the world to lead. So you can talk about the individual difference you can make, but that’s not enough, right? And all of these things have to be done at the same time, and they fit together. You know, local, national—state level, national, global, this all must be done at the same time. That’s the scope and scale of this problem. It’s a really—climate is a really hard problem because the world’s energy system is important for everything from our economic prosperity to our national security, and you can’t transform the world’s energy system overnight without affecting—first of all, you can’t transform it overnight no matter what you do. But even as we transition, we have to think about national security implications, which is what the Ukraine war makes us do. There are geopolitical implications to how energy moves around the world, and who has energy power around the world. And as we shift to a different energy profile, those the power dynamics will shift, and we need to think about that. You know, we need to make sure that the United States has an energy policy that is strategically in our interest, and you can’t think about climate without thinking about that. Likewise, you can’t think about climate change without thinking about economic development and—and the flourishing—the ability of societies to flourish. So—and you can’t think about it without thinking about equality and equity and justice. So it’s a really hard problem, but that’s why it’s so fascinating to learn about. FASKIANOS: Thank you, the next question is from Chaney Howard, who is a senior honors international business major at Howard University. Going back to the war on Ukraine, how do you feel the argument for infrastructure development can be introduced into this conversation as new strategies and allegiance pledges are emerging? FREEMAN: I’m not sure I fully understand that. Can we have a little bit of clarification? FASIKANOS: All right, Chaney, are you able to unmute yourself to clarify, because I can’t divine from the written question. Q: Can you hear me now? FREEMAN: Yes, excellent. Q: OK, perfect. So my question is really surrounding ways that the conversation can be a little bit more direct. So you mentioned how there needs to be a development of infrastructure for overall environmental, like, sustainability, and you were talking about electric cars— FREEMAN: Right. Q: —and just kind of having that conversation with global powers. And so I’m curious how you think—now that we’re in this transitional period and some of the nations that are supporting Ukraine are working to develop new strategies and new partnerships, what are ways that we can encourage the government and then the global commerce centers to kind of establish those new strategies for environmental sustainability? FREEMAN: So I’m not a 100 percent sure how Ukraine fits there. But let me talk more generally about this idea of infrastructure and investment because I think what the IPCC report that we were talking about that’s projecting climate-related risks and saying what’s necessary to do in order to avoid them and what the Paris Agreement represents and what I think the current conversation around what’s necessary tells us—the strong message from all of these vehicles and processes and meetings, the strong message is we need massive investment from the private sector and government combined in partnership into what the new energy system of the globe has to look like. Meaning, you have to build the power plants of the future. You have to support commercial-scale renewable power. You have to build the charging infrastructure to electrify the transportation fleet to the extent possible. You have to build a modern grid, not just in this country but all around the world, that is capable of supporting the level of electrification that we need. Because to move sectors like transportation off oil and gas, you’re going to need—off oil, rather—transportation is mostly dependent on oil—you’re going to need to power them differently, and right now we’re thinking of mostly powering cars and many trucks from electricity, which means fortifying the nation’s and the globe’s grids. All of that is infrastructure. All of that requires investment. And there are massive R&D investments, you can imagine, necessary in the low carbon technology of the future. Hydrogen—eventually producing green hydrogen as a fuel source. There are techniques for removing carbon from—direct air capture. Carbon from the atmosphere, things like direct air capture. Or, you know, other carbon removal technologies, they’re controversial but they may be necessary. Carbon capture and sequestration, putting it underground, carbon dioxide underground—again, controversial. But if any of these future low-carbon technologies or remediation techniques are going to succeed, they will require trillions of dollars of investments. So, the kind of level of investment that people are talking about—I’ll just give you an example. At the latest COP meeting, the Conference of the Parties, meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, which is—these meetings are part of the international process of updating and checking in on the Paris Agreement. The world’s biggest companies and financial institutions came together, and 5,200 businesses pledged to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and 450 banks, insurers and investors representing $130 trillion in assets. Those are the assets they invest, which is 40 percent of the world’s private capital. And I’m giving you all these numbers because I want to impress you with the scale of the commitments you’re seeing from the private sector, from banks and lenders, investors and businesses. They committed to making their portfolios climate neutral by 2050. My point is there is a lot of activity in the private sector, both committing to net-zero goals themselves and also committing to investing capital, big money, trillions of dollars—up to $9 trillion annually is what is projected to be needed, that’s $105 trillion over thirty years. That’s how much money we need to put into the infrastructure you’re talking about, the new—next generation energy infrastructure. All of the things I’ve discussed—the future of power plants, the future of transportation, new breakthrough technologies, new remediation techniques, new resilience—all of this requires massive investment. And the governments of the world and the private sector are nowhere near what they need to do combined to pull off what amounts to a moon-shot kind of level of investment. So this is a long answer, but it’s a way of saying the infrastructure we’re talking about in a really concrete way is the energy system of the future, and it’s going to require a massive level of investment. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We’re going to go next to William Naeger, who is a law student at Washburn University. Q: Hi. Yeah, like she said, I’m at Washburn Law School. I’m wondering if your impression is that these kinds of issues will continue to mainly be governed internationally by COP or the Paris Agreement? Or, if over time, as it becomes more and more extreme, whether it will just become one factor in, like, national security and trade agreements and migration issues and kind of just run through everything else that we do already? FREEMAN: Well, I think this is very astute of you, because, in fact, I think climate change as a global challenge has actually come into the mainstream of all of these other fields. I do think that it is part of the discussion around national security. I do think that climate is part of the discussion around trade and that it will become more embedded and more central to these other domains over time. And I think that—people talk a lot about how we could pair climate commitments of countries with trade measures that countries— the trade relationships that countries have with each other. And people talk, for example, about eventually having countries pledge to reduce their emissions, and if they don’t reduce them, they may suffer a border tariff on goods that are produced in countries that don’t have climate policies, that impose costs for greenhouse gas emissions. So they’ll have to—there’ll be a tariff or a border tax on goods that are basically being produced and sold cheaper because they’re not subject to carbon constraints. That’s a merging of climate and trade policy that we may well see over time. Likewise, I think we’re learning to talk. We’re not there yet entirely, but we’re learning to talk about national security and climate together. Climate is really a national security issue. And you saw the Department of Defense and its reports and testimony to Congress from members of the military who are frequently called on to testify about the impact of climate change on the—they will acknowledge that climate change is a threat multiplier for the military and it’s a national security issue. Likewise, when we talk about the Ukraine conflict, the war, and we talk about the need to supply the world with oil and gas in times like this when one of the largest suppliers is engaged in very bad action and being sanctioned for it, how do we meet those short-term energy needs but stay on path with our climate goals? That’s a very hard thing to do. You have to be able to talk about the short-term, the medium-term, the long-term all at the same time. So I think your question is very smart in the sense that you understand that climate has to become embedded in all of these other fields and conversations, and I think that’s already happening. The Biden administration, I think, to its credit has announced what it calls a whole of government approach to climate, and I think it’s trying to do basically what you’re talking about, which is say the entire federal government that the Biden administration runs, right, say to all the agencies across federal government—from financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, which makes sure that markets are open and transparent and investors have the right information—even the financial regulators are saying, listen, companies, if you want to trade on this exchange, you better disclose your climate-related risks so investors can make decisions that are appropriate. That’s bringing climate into financial regulation. And so the Biden administration has basically said this issue should appear and be relevant to all the things we do. And so I think we’re seeing what you’re talking about happening to a greater extent, more and more. FASKIANOS: So, Jody, we’re at the end of our time. There are a lot of questions that we could not get to, and I apologize for that. Just to sum up, what do you think we all should be doing at the individual level to do our part to affect change and to help with the climate change crisis? FREEMAN: Well, like anybody who’s had media training I’m going to not answer your question and say what I want to say anyway, which is— FASKIANOS: Perfect. (Laughs.) FREEMAN: —yeah—because I actually think I’ve talked a little bit about what we can all do and why it makes sense to take individual action. But what I think I would say, rather, is just I know that there is a lot of reason for pessimism, and I really understand it. And I certainly sometimes feel it myself. I mean, you know, you guys have been through a very, very tough time—a global pandemic, which has been just an awful experience, scary, and disorienting. And you’re doing it while you’re trying to go to school and live young lives, and that’s been hugely disruptive. You now see this war in Ukraine, which is deeply, deeply upsetting, a horrific assault on the Ukrainian population, and you’re living at a time when you think climate change is a major challenge that, perhaps, the governments of the world aren’t up to. And you see a divided country and, in fact, divisions all around the world and threats to democracy, and restrictions on voting rights. I see what you see, and I can see why you would be upset and worried. But I also want to suggest to you that things are also changing, and there are lots of opportunities for good things to happen. And there’s a tremendous amount of innovation and creativity on all kinds of low carbon technologies. There are innovations all the time that open up possibilities. Just look at what’s happened with solar power and wind power, renewable power over time. The costs have dropped. The potential for wind and solar has increased exponentially. That’s a very hopeful thing. So technology change is very promising. There’s a possibility to affect politics in a positive direction. I encourage you to affect politics—this sort of answers your question, Irina. So affect politics in a positive direction, be active, be engaged, because you can effect change by—through activism and through voting. And I also encourage you to pursue professions where you can make a mark. I mean, you can make a difference by engaging with these issues from whatever professional occupation you choose. You can engage with one or another aspect of these challenges of climate, energy, national security. So I have reason for optimism. I think, as frustrating as it is to say, well, the Paris Agreement isn’t enough, there’s another way to look at it, which is there is an international agreement on climate change. It does have a level of ambition that is an initial step and can be built upon, if we can keep the structure together, if the U.S. continues to lead and look for partners in leading along with the EU. Maybe China will come back to the fold eventually. In other words, things change. Stay tuned, be engaged, and stay optimistic because I, frankly, think there is tremendous opportunity for your generation to engage with these issues in a really constructive and transformative way. And that is where I would leave it. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much, and I’m glad you left it there. It was a perfect way to end this webinar, and thanks to everybody for joining. You should follow Jody Freeman on Twitter at @JodyFreemanHLS, so go there to see what she continues to say. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, April 6, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We’ll focus on China, India, and the narratives of great powers. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_academic and, of course, go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you again, and thank you, Professor Freeman. (END)
  • Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

    Rose Gottemoeller, the Steven C. Házy lecturer at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and research fellow at the Hoover Institution, leads a conversation on international security and cooperation. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website at CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted and honored to have Rose Gottemoeller with us today to talk about international security and cooperation. Rose Gottemoeller is the Steve C. Házy lecturer at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and its Center for International Security and Cooperation. She is also a fellow at the Hoover Institution. From 2016 to 2019, she served as the deputy secretary-general (DSG) of NATO, where she advanced NATO’s adaptation to the new security challenges in Europe and the fight against terrorism. And before that, she served as the undersecretary for arms control and international security at the State Department. In 2009 and 2010, she was the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification, and compliance, during which time she served as chief U.S. negotiator of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russian Federation. So, Rose Gottemoeller, thank you very much for being with us. I can’t think of anybody better to have this conversation with us than you. When we planned this webinar, we knew it was the sixtieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but what we did not know was Russia would invade Ukraine and that there would be a war going on. So perhaps you can put this in context, talk about the lessons learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis, and where we are now, given what’s going on in Ukraine. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you so much, Irina. And it’s wonderful to be with you, and with everyone who was able to join us today from across the country. I know there are many impressive institutions who are dialing in, and I really appreciate the chance to have a conversation with you and look forward to talking with the students and hearing what your questions are as well. Let me indeed begin talking today about the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened sixty years ago this coming October. It was a time—I was a fourth grader at the time. And I remember, I was going to a Catholic school in Dearborn, Michigan. And the nuns said to us: You really must get home quickly tonight, children, there might be a nuclear war. You need to be with your parents. None of us knew exactly what was going on, but we knew that nuclear war was a really bad thing. We’d been through many drills, hiding under our desks or out in the hallway with our head between our knees. I have to tell you, even as a third grader, during one of those drills I thought to myself: If we get hit by a nuclear weapon, putting my head between my knees is not going to help one bit. So even as a third grader, I knew that nuclear weapons were weapons of mass destruction. So, we did manage to solve that crisis, with a secret deal, as it turned out. President Kennedy agreed quietly to withdraw intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Turkey. Never made public, until much later. And Khrushchev agreed to withdraw what were equivalent missiles from Cuba. And we got back to the negotiating table. In fact, the Cuban Missile Crisis dealt not only the United States and the Soviet Union, but other countries around the world, what I call a short, sharp shock. We recognized how devastating would be the effect of nuclear war, and we decided we really did need to talk together about how we were going to control and limit those risks. So, it led to a blossoming of negotiations on all kinds of limitations and controls. First, the Limited Test Ban Treaty. It was a test ban on nuclear testing in the atmosphere that was very quickly agreed after the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy gave an important speech at American University in June of 1963, when he said we really must control this most dangerous of weapons. And he proposed at that time a test ban treaty limiting testing in the atmosphere. And that was agreed rather quickly. It’s amazing to me, as an arms control negotiator, that that treaty was then agreed by August of that very year. So record time. The U.K. also joined in those negotiations. But one thing that’s very interesting, the Limited Test Ban was the first, I would say also, environmental arms control treaty. It was inspired by the fact that countries around the world and publics around the world were recognizing that testing in the atmosphere was producing a lot of strontium-90 and other radioactive pollutants that were getting into the food supply. Again, I remember from that period my own mother saying, “We’ve got to be worried about the milk we’re drinking because it’s got strontium-90 in it from testing in the atmosphere.” So even then, there were some environmental pushes that led to, I think, in part the quick negotiation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty. After that, we went to the step of controlling tests also under the sea and underground, starting with the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, that did not enter into force until the early 1990s. It was a long negotiation, but it was negotiated through that period of the 1960s into the 1970s. We also negotiated what has been the foundational document of the nonproliferation regime: the [Nuclear] Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). That was negotiated through the late 1960s and entered into force in 1972. It did basically designate five nuclear weapon states. These days they are U.S., U.K., France, China, and Russia. But at that time, those nuclear weapon states were the only states that would be permitted to possess nuclear weapons. All other states around the world would give up their right to nuclear weapons. But there was a grand bargain there. The nuclear weapon states agreed to proceed with total nuclear disarmament, under Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and in return for which the non-nuclear weapon states under the NPT would, again, not build their own weapons. They would prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. And everyone would work to promote peaceful uses of the atom, whether in nuclear energy, or agriculture, manufacturing, mining industry, et cetera, promoting—or medical uses as well—promoting peaceful uses of the atom. So those are what are called the three pillars of the NPT: disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses. So that was agreed in 1972. And working in that multilateral way was important, but there was also an impetus given in this commitment to disarmament for the United States and the Soviet Union to get together and to begin to negotiate bilaterally the two together on limiting their nuclear weapons. We built up a tremendous nuclear arsenal during the Cold War years. At the time that we were beginning to talk to the Soviets about limiting nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon delivery systems, missiles and bombers, submarines—at that time, in the late 1960s, we had about 32,000 nuclear warheads, if you can imagine that. And the Soviets built up their stockpile to be about 40,000 nuclear warheads. So there were tremendous numbers of nuclear weapons being held in storage, but there were also tremendous numbers that were deployed. So we worked steadily from that period, the 1970s into the 1980s, to try to limit nuclear weapons. Didn’t work so well. There are various reasons why. Most specifically, I think, we were just driving harder and harder with more effective missiles to deploy more warheads on those missiles. And so, by the time we got into the 1980s, we had about 12,000 warheads deployed on missiles and deployed or designated for deployment on bombers. The Soviets the same, about 12,000. Now, remember those numbers I gave you, 32,000 total, 40,000 total in the USSR. We held a lot of weapons in storage, not on top of missiles, not on top of delivery vehicles, as we called them. They were just held in storage. But we also then had 12,000 deployed on missiles and pointed at each other in a very high-readiness state. So we had got through the 1970s and 1980s not blowing each other up, but we also didn’t have much success limiting those systems because there was this technological jump ahead, being able to put more warheads on individual missile systems. So, that’s when Reagan and Gorbachev entered the scene. In the mid-1980s they got together. Reagan had not been very easy on the USSR when he came into office. He declared the USSR the “evil empire.” And he drove hard military modernization that included some nuclear modernization as well. The sclerotic Soviet leadership at that time, they were dying off one by one. First it was Brezhnev, then it was Andropov, then there was a third fellow. They all went very, very quickly. And Gorbachev took over in the mid-1980s. And he and Reagan actually then got together and began to talk about how they might reduce—not try to limit, because limit wasn’t good enough. The technology was always pushing ahead. But how could we actually begin to reduce nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, and the missiles we put them on? So that was the negotiations that began in the 1980s for the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and also the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which finally entered into force in 1994. And that treaty, once again, took the number of deployed warheads on both sides down from 12,000 deployed warheads on each side to 6,000 deployed warheads on each side. If you think about one of these warheads, a single warhead is enough to destroy a city. It’s nothing like what we’re seeing in Ukraine today. Sadly, such horrible destruction and the really barbaric attacks on civilian targets like this maternity hospital yesterday. I’m just heartbroken about this, as I’m sure many of you are. But that was a big bomb that was really directed at a single facility and was very destructive. But if you can imagine a nuclear weapon, that could really pulverize—pulverize—the center of a city. And that’s what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, when the United States was the only country to use nuclear weapons in wartime. And that is what has led to this nuclear taboo that has been pretty clear, because it was recognized these are weapons of mass destruction. They completely pulverize, and many, many lives lost. And those who are left living, as it was said at the time of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, would envy the dead because of the severity of their injuries. So, people were recognizing that we had too many deployed warheads. We had 12,000 pointed at each other on a high state of alert. So getting them down to 6,000 on each side was important. That was the goal of the START treaty. Then in the early 2000s, in 2002, President Bush and President—believe it or not—Putin at that time decided in the Moscow Treaty on a further reduction. That took us down to 2,200 deployed warheads on both sides. And then the treaty that I worked on negotiating, the New START treaty in 2009 and 2010, took us down to 1,550 deployed warheads on both the U.S. and Russian sides. So 12,000 down to 1,550. That’s a pretty good disarmament record. And it all sprang from that short, sharp shock of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, sixty years later, it’s a tragedy, but we seem to be facing another crisis on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Vladimir Putin has been rattling the nuclear saber. We are very concerned, not necessarily about a big nuclear exchange between the United States and the Russian Federation, but about some smaller strike, perhaps use of a nuclear weapon on Ukrainian territory, perhaps a so-called demonstration strike, where Russia would launch a nuclear explosion over the Black Sea, for example, just to prove that they’re willing to do it. And so, at the moment, we are facing these nuclear threats out of the Kremlin with a lot of concern, but also very serious attitude about how we sustain and maintain nuclear deterrence at this moment of supreme crisis in Ukraine, and ensure that we continue to deter Russia from taking these disastrous actions with weapons of mass destruction. But also think about ways—how can we go forward from here to preserve what we have achieved in these sixty years since the Cuban Missile Crisis. This great foundation of big nuclear international regimes that we have been able to put in place—such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that means the only country that has tested nuclear weapons in this century is North Korea. There is a taboo against nuclear testing that is strongly held, the taboo against nuclear use has held since Hiroshima and Nagasaki over seventy-five years ago. And now, we are looking at ensuring that we sustain and maintain the Nonproliferation Treaty regime so that we do not see a lot of new nuclear weapon states emerging across the globe. Just one thing I forgot to mention—President Kennedy spoke quite a bit about these things. I think the Cuban Missile Crisis really for him personally was a big shock, and really provoked his thinking quite a bit—but he said, “We need this Nonproliferation Treaty because otherwise we’re going to end up with twenty, twenty-five nuclear weapon states around the world. And that will be hugely destabilizing.” So the Nonproliferation Treaty regime, although we pay attention to the rogue states, the DPRKs [Democratic People’s Republic of Koreas], the Irans, of course. It looks like we may be now returning to the Iran nuclear deal. I certainly hope so. We also need Iranian oil at this moment, which is another matter. But we have a couple of nuclear rogues out there. But, in general, we have prevented the proliferation of nuclear weapons, thanks to the Nonproliferation Treaty regime. We need to do everything we can at this moment to preserve and protect these important big regimes. And that goes not only for nuclear, but also the so-called other weapons of mass destruction. The Chemical Weapons Convention bans the use of chemicals in wartime. Not only chemical weapons, that is chemical designed to be used as weapons, but also what we’ve been seeing in Syria, the use of chlorine gas in wartime. That is forbidden by the Chemical Weapons Convention as well. So we need these big regimes to continue—the Biological Weapons Convention, the same. So I really wanted to stress this point as we get to our discussion period, because it’s going to take a lot of attention and effort if Russia is now turning its back on playing a responsible role in the international community. If Russia is turning into a very big pariah state, as I argued yesterday in a piece in Foreign Affairs, we need to figure out what we are going to do, losing Russia as a partner. Because Russia has actually been a great player in negotiating all these treaties and agreements. But if Russia is turning its back on a responsible role in the international community, then the United States has to look for other partners. I would argue that we should be really approaching Beijing. They are, after all, a nuclear weapon state under the Nonproliferation Treaty. And historically they have been a rather responsible nuclear weapon state under the Nonproliferation Treaty, joining in efforts to advance the goals of nuclear disarmament. So it’s hard, because at the moment, as you know, Beijing and Washington have been at great odds over any number of issues—Taiwan, trade and investment, human rights with the Uyghurs. So many issues we’ve been at odds over. But I think the moment has come where we need to think about how we are going to preserve these weapons of mass destruction regimes, the nuclear regimes, the testing—the ban against nuclear testing. How are we going to preserve it in the face of Russia as a pariah state? And that means, I think, we must partner with China. So those are my remarks to begin with. I see we have a few questions already. And I’m really looking forward to our discussion. Irina, back over to you. FASKIANOS: Rose, thank you very much. So let’s start with a raised hand from Babak Salimitari. And please state your institution and unmute yourself. Q: Good morning. My name is Babak Salimitari. I’m a third-year economics major at University of California, Irvine. And my question really pertains with NATO as a force for international security. I was looking at the list of countries that were not paying the 2 percent of their necessary GDP for defense. And these are some rich countries, like Norway, and the Netherlands, and Germany. These aren’t poor, third-world countries. I don’t understand why they don’t pay their fair share. So when you were in NATO, what did you tell these people? GOTTEMOELLER: That’s a very good question, Babak. And, honestly, it’s been great for me to watch now with this otherwise terrible crisis in Ukraine—it’s been great for me to watch that countries who were very resistant of paying their 2 percent of GDP are now stepping forward and saying they are ready to do so. And Germany is the prime example. President Trump was very insistent on this matter, and very much threatening dire action by the United States, including that the United States would fail to honor its so-called Article 5 commitments to NATO, which that is—under the founding document of NATO, the so-called Washington Treaty of 1949, Article 5 states that if a single country in the NATO alliance is attacked, then all countries must—and it asks for help, there’s that important point too—if it asks for help then other NATO countries are obliged to come to its assistance in defending it. So President Trump was threatening that the United States would not fulfill its Article 5 commitments. He was very tough on this matter. I was the deputy secretary-general at NATO during the years of the Trump presidency. My boss and I, Jens Stoltenberg and I, always welcomed President Trump’s pressure on these matters, because every single U.S. president, again, since Jack Kennedy—I’ll go back to him. There’s a great—now in the public domain—a great report of a National Security Council meeting where John Kennedy says, “I am tired of these NATO European freeloaders. We spend all the money on defense; they take our defenses and don’t build up their own. And they’re freeloading, they’re freeriding on us.” So every single U.S. president has raised this issue with the allies. But it was Donald Trump who got them to really sit up and take notice in the first instance. So President—I’m sorry—Secretary-General Stoltenberg and I always supported his efforts, although we were not supportive of his drawing any question about U.S. obligations with regard to Article 5. But we supported his efforts to push the allies on paying 2 percent of GDP. A number of them did step up during the Trump years, and so more were paying 2 percent of GDP now with this crisis. Unfortunately, again, it’s taken a dire crisis in Ukraine. But we see even Germany stepping up. Just one final word on Germany. At the time, when I was DSG, they kept saying, well 2 percent of our GDP, we are the most enormous economy in Europe. And if we spend 2 percent of GDP, then other countries are going to start worrying about casting back to the past and remembering Nazi Germany, and thinking about the big military buildup in the 1930s. So we don’t want that to happen. So that was very deeply ingrained in the political elites in Berlin. But now, we’re seeing that 180-degree switch just in the last ten days. I think it’s remarkable. But I welcome it, for one, that they are now willing to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question, a written question, from Caleb Kahila, undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. One issue that I don’t hear much about is the actions of individuals involved in nuclear weapons. An example is Abdul Qadeer Khan, who leads the Pakistani nuclear program but is also believed to have given nuclear information to Iran, North Korea, among others. With examples like Khan, should the international community take the issue of individual nuclear proliferation more seriously? GOTTEMOELLER: That is a great question. And indeed, certain individuals have had a profoundly malignant effect on nuclear nonproliferation. It is worthwhile to note that the Nonproliferation Treaty—the membership is very wide, but there are a few outliers. And India and Pakistan are both outliers. And I think for some weird reason, Khan felt justified in being an outlier to share nuclear weapons information with a number of countries, including also Libya, as I understand. So there was this notion I think that he had, almost an ideological notion—he’s dead now—but an ideological notion of producing an Islamic bomb to counter both the Indians, their mortal enemies, but also to ensure that the rest of the world did not mess with Pakistan, and also did not mess with the rest of the Muslim world, the Islamic world. So it was, I think, very clear that this one malignant individual had an enormous deleterious effect on the nonproliferation regime. We have been able to, I think, place constraints and dial back in many ways from some of his export activities, including when the Libyans were willing to give up their weapons of mass destruction programs. But you’re absolutely right that it necessary to pay attention to individuals—powerful individuals, they have to be—who have that kind of access. And luckily, they are fairly rare. But we have to pay attention to the individuals who could make a very big problem for the nonproliferation regime. I do worry nowadays about the North Koreans, about the DPRK. The trouble is, they are themselves bent on acquiring nuclear bombs. And if they give away their fissile material, for example. One of the big barriers to getting a bomb is you need a significant amount of either highly enriched uranium or plutonium. And it’s rather difficult to acquire. So if the DPRK were going to get into this business of giving away their expertise, the next question would be, well, how about some fissile material to back that up? And I dare say, they’d rather keep all their fissile material for themselves. But that’s a very good question, Caleb. Thank you for that. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome at Brooklyn College. Q: Thank you very much. Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. And I teach political science at Brooklyn College. And I have two issues that are kind of bothering me. One is, what are the chances that Russia will turn its back on the NPT in totality, and on other weapons regimes in this war? And then, besides an alliance with China, what are the other options for the U.S.? The second thing is, would Russia have been so bold to invade Ukraine if Ukraine hadn’t destroyed its weapons—it’s nuclear weapons and joined the NPT? I remember a Mearsheimer article in Foreign Affairs, I think, where he was giving a very unpopular view at that time that nuclear—destroying nuclear weapons in the Ukraine was a bad idea, because there was a need to kind of have a defense against Russia’s potential invasion of the Ukraine. This was in the 1990s. And now it seems like he was right. So I’m just wondering what you think of these two issues. GOTTEMOELLER: Very good questions, Dr. Okome. And very difficult ones. But let me start on your first question. I argued yesterday in my Foreign Affairs article that I don’t think it’s so much that Russia would actually leave the regimes. I don’t believe that they would turn their backs on the regimes by leaving them. What I believe, though, is that they will just prove to be not the good partner they have been historically. Historically they have really been, as I put it in the article, a giant of the nonproliferation regime, always looking for solutions for problems. Helping to drive forward top priorities, not only in the Nonproliferation Treaty but in what I call the wider regime, which includes these other treaties and agreements, including our bilateral treaties, the New START treaty is currently still in force, thank God. So I do worry that now they would instead turn to a more negative role, perhaps a wrecker role, in trying to stymie decision making in the regime implementation bodies, and trying to be mischievous in the way they interact with the rest of the regime members. And for that reason, I think we will need to have strong leadership. And the United States will need allies. And so that is why I have been emphasizing looking to China as a possible ally in what will be a very difficult, very difficult time going forward. But I do feel very sure that we must have as a top objective, a top priority preserving these regimes and agreements. Your second question, let me say a few words about the so-called Budapest Memorandum. I was involved in negotiating it. I worked for President Clinton in the 1990s. I was convinced at the time, I remain convinced, that what the Budapest Memorandum bought Ukraine was thirty years of peace and stability to build itself up as an independent and sovereign nation. We, in the Clinton administration, argued to Ukraine at the time that if they tried to hang on to the nuclear weapons that were left on their territory after the breakup of the Soviet Union, that they would end up in an immediate conflict with Russia that would be destabilizing and would not allow their fragile, young democracy to take root. And I still believe that very strongly. For those of you who don’t remember those years, when the Soviet Union broke apart, over a thousand warheads were left on Ukrainian territory, over a thousand warheads were left on Kazakh territory, Kazakhstan, and approximately a hundred warheads were left in Belarus. So there—and there were strategic delivery vehicles. There were intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) deployed in all three countries, and there were bombers deployed in Ukraine. So there were weapon systems that needed to be destroyed and eliminated. And in this case, we got the Ukrainians to agree to join the Nonproliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Their warheads were returned to Russia for down-blending to low-enriched uranium, which was then used in—(laughs)—it’s ironic—but it was used for power plant fuel for the nuclear power plants in Ukraine. I do want to stress that at that time there was a very cooperative negotiation going on. And our assumption working—it was with the Russians and the Ukrainians and the Americans together. We were all working on this problem together in good faith. And it was a very, very positive effort overall. I still believe that Ukraine would have been caught immediately in the maelstrom of conflict with Russia if they had tried somehow to hang onto those weapons. And technically, it would not have been easy, because the command and control of all those missiles was in Moscow. It was not in Ukraine. They would have had to try to guillotine themselves from the command-and-control system in Moscow and build up a command-and-control system in Ukraine for these nuclear weapon systems. And it was our judgment, it remains my judgment, that it would have been very destructive for the young Ukrainian state, the young Ukrainian democracy to try to hang on to them. And I do think that they have taken shape as an independent power, not entirely healthy economically but, before this terrible crisis, their economy was growing. And so I do think that what we are seeing today, with the brave—very brave defense of Ukraine by the Ukrainian public, and its armed forces, and first and foremost its president—that was all born out of the thirty years that the Ukrainians got to build up their country as an independent and sovereign state. And, again, they would not have had that if they had insisted in the 1990s on holding onto nuclear weapons. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take a written question from Michael Strmiska, who is associate professor of world history at Orange County Community College in New York State. I’m going to shorten it. In essence, the Biden administration has said they will not impose a no-fly zone, as have other nations. And then we recently saw the Polish fighter jets via the U.S. to Ukraine. They have declined on that. So at what point do you think—there’s been a lot of talk that either one of those will trigger a nuclear war. And in his question he says: Putin says “nuke” and we run and hide. If the death toll in Ukraine approaches the levels of the Holocaust, do you think the calculus will change? And do you think that this—that would trigger nuclear war? GOTTEMOELLER: Well, it’s a complex question, Dr. Strmiska. Let me—let me try to give you my point of view on it. I’ll just say, first of all, that I don’t think we’re running and hiding at all. We have sustained—and when I say “we” I’m still talking as if I’m NATO DSG. (Laughs.) But what I mean is the United States and its NATO allies have been providing a steady stream of military assistance to Ukraine, and a steady stream of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, and also to the countries bordering Ukraine—Moldova, Hungary, Poland—that are—that are sheltering refugees from Ukraine. So we are really, I think, continuing to support them in, so far, pretty amazing ways. I have been talking to some military experts this morning, retired military officers here in the United States. And they think Putin and the Russians may be running out of ammo. We’ll see to it that the Ukrainians do not run out of ammo. And so we are doing a lot to help them. And in terms of the deterrence messaging that’s gone on, I’ve actually been rather admiring of the way that the administration has been clear about, and firm, about the dangers of rattling the nuclear saber, but also has been very clear that we are not taking steps ourselves to up the readiness of our nuclear forces, nor will we do so. They, the White House and the Department of Defense (DOD), basically postponed an ICBM test this week to ensure that there was no hint of a message that we, ourselves, are escalating. But we’ve been very firm and clear that nuclear use of any kind would be crossing, for us, a redline that is significant. So now let me get to your question about the no-fly zone, because I think this is—this is a complex question. It’s turned into this kind of cause célèbre in the media, the press. You’re watching the twenty-four-hour news cycle. All of us are, like, glued to our televisions right now, it’s so horrible what is unfolding before us in Ukraine. So everybody’s saying, no-fly zone, no-fly zone, no-fly zone. But when you look at it, the Russians aren’t actually flying aircraft very much in Ukraine. These missiles are being delivered from Russian territory, from Belarusian territory, from ships in the Black Sea, and some now from Ukrainian territory in Donetsk and Luhansk in the eastern part of the country. But the vast majority—yesterday, the count was over 670 missiles. The vast majority of them have come from Russia. The Ukrainians don’t need a no-fly zone right now. They need missile defenses. And so some of the actions that have been taken, for example, by the—by the U.K. government, for example, to get into their hands some handheld capability—now, these are not going to go after those big missiles, like the terrible explosion at the maternity hospital yesterday. That was caused by a very big missile. But some—they can be useful to defend their skies against some smaller—some smaller projectiles. And I think that’s going to be important, those kinds of steps. I wish there were a way to get the Ukrainians the Israeli Iron Dome system. That’s the best missile defense system around for short- to medium-range missiles. But I have my doubts that—(laughs)—the Israelis are going to want to get involved in this thing. But that’s the point. This is not an air superiority problem at the moment. It is a problem of missile attacks. And so we need to do, I think, what we can to, again, get some help to the—to the Ukrainians. But we’ve got to be clear in our own mind what kind of help they really need. We’ll see. This could change. And the Russians are upping their activity, so it may turn into more of an air battle than it has been up to this point. But I think it’s really good to think harder about what the actual threat to Ukraine is today, rather than just being so fixated on a no-fly zone. FASKIANOS: Thank you. That’s an important clarification. Let’s go now to Kazi Sazid, who has raised his hand. Q: Hello. So I’m a political science student at CUNY Hunter College, just right next to CFR, actually. So my question is, we’ve seen in the past in how geopolitics and geopolitical biases obscures if not manipulates the reality of certain threats to international security and cooperation. One example is Nixon destabilizing the Allende government because there’s a fear that socialism triumphed the narrative that socialism can only happen through dictatorships basically falls flat. So my question is, what avenues and mechanisms are available to ensure that security situations are not sensationalized to the point where people believe it is a bigger threat than it truly is? Sorry if that’s a loaded question. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, it’s a good question because it points to the information/misinformation space. And I think we’ve all been thinking about that a lot right now. And the United States and its NATO allies I think in the run up to the invasion actually were doing a pretty good job controlling the information space by, for example, undoing these false-flag operations that the Russians were trying to launch in the run-up to the invasion. They were actually apparently on the cusp of trying to replace the Zelenskyy government with their own puppet government. All of this was outed by some very astute use of intelligence by, again, the U.S. and the U.K., and getting it out into the information space. So in the run-up to the invasion, we were actually winning the misinformation war. Nowadays, I’m a little concerned about a couple of things. First, I’m concerned—well, there’s so much to talk about here, but let me—let me just give it a shot, Kazi. We have to be concerned about the fact that Vladimir Putin is closed up in his bubble with his small cohort and is not getting sources of information that may cause him to think twice about what he’s doing. And that is of concern when you’re trying to deter the man, when you’re trying to ensure that he knows that there will be a firm response. I don’t think he had any idea—and maybe even today doesn’t have any idea—at the strong pushback and the very capable pushback he’s getting from the Ukrainian armed forces. They are defending their country well. And the Ukrainian public is joining in on that effort. Putin, in his bubble, just did not realize that. And now I’m not sure he’s getting the information that would really help him to understand the situation that his armed forces are in right now. If, as my military experts conveyed this morning, they’re beginning to run low on missiles, they’re beginning to run low on ammunition, it’s going to be a problem. They’re going to start doing worse, rather than being able to pick up the pace, as we were talking about a moment ago, and as many people expect. So that’s number one problem, is how is that deterrence messaging thing working with the Kremlin right now? The second thing I’d point to, though, is how do we reach the Russian people? Everybody takes note of the fact that all the—the internet backbone is closing down now in Ukraine. Harder and harder for Russians who are interested to get independent news that is not the product of state TV and state radio, state propaganda outlets. So how to get that message across is one that is really, really important. But I note at the same time, there was a poll that came out yesterday that was so interesting to me. It said, 58 percent of Russians support the war. And they say, well, that’s pretty good. 58 percent of Russians support the war? But then when you think about it, there were a lot of “I don’t knows” in that—in that poll as well. And when people don’t want to say publicly what they really think they may say “I don’t know,” or “I don’t have an opinion on this matter.” Fifty-eight percent, when you juxtapose it against the support for the invasion of Crimea in 2014, is extraordinarily low. There was over 90 percent support for the invasion of Crimea in 2014. And now we’re looking at 58 percent against the war—no, I’m sorry—it’s 58 percent support the war. Sorry about that. And then a bunch of “I don’t knows” in there, or “I don’t want to comment” in there. So I think that there is an issue here about trying to talk directly to the Russian people. And the president has discussed that already in public. And I think we need to do better about figuring out how to reach the Russian people, especially now that social media’s being shut down, other, I would say, more open forms of internet communications are being—are being shut down. We need to figure out how to message the Russian people as well. And finally, I’m not sure I’m actually answering your question, but I think—I think it’s time that we start pivoting. We, the United States and NATO, to a more positive overall message of global leadership. That this is about our values and this is about what we want the world to be like in the years going forward. Let’s talk about what we would need to support an independent Ukraine, no matter what. And let’s talk about how we see the necessity of democratic principles and the rule of law being reenergized, restrengthened by this terrible crisis. I think we need to get a message out there about how we have a positive agenda, and we will push to pursue it, come what may. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Our next question is from Susie Risk, a first-year economics student at West Virginia University. Do you believe economic sanctions from the West on Russia is a viable way to slow Russia’s advance on Ukraine? From my understanding they are mostly affecting civilians in the country, not those attacking Ukraine. And what are the other ways states like the U.S. could affect Russia in a nonviolent way? GOTTEMOELLER: I actually think the coherence of these sanctions across the board have turned them into a powerful instrument to both convey to the Kremlin, to the Russian government, and to the Russian people that they are on the wrong course. The coherence of them—there aren’t any workarounds left. And in fact, even in the case of the Europeans, for example, saying that they can only cut back partially on their purchases of Russian oil because they cannot—they can’t do without Russian oil and gas at the moment, but they say they’re going to cut by 65 percent by the end of the year. OK, that’s great, but what I’m hearing is, again, this status of the Russian Federation now as being the invader, being the country that has taken these wrong steps and is so deserving of these coherent sanctions across the board, that it is leading—like, the insurance industry—to think twice about insuring tankers that are picking up Russian oil. And so it’s leading to ports messaging that they will not offload Russian oil. So despite the fact that they are still selling oil, the overall behavior of the Russian Federation and the way it is now wrapped in this coherent sanctions regime, is leading, I think, to a situation where, yeah, sure, they’re going to continue to put some oil through—gas and oil through the pipelines into Europe. And they, I think, may be more likely to continue pushing that, rather than trying to turn the tap on and off, as they’ve done historically to try to pressure the Europeans. I think they’ll be wanting to sell their gas and oil. But I think increasingly, on the stock market and in other settings, they are going to have a harder and harder time pushing oil sales, gas and oil sales. So you see this coherent sanctions regime as having knock-on effects that I think will have an even greater effect on the Russian economy, even on the Russian oil economy. FASKIANOS: It’s been pretty amazing to watch the sanctions both from governments and from private—as you said—private companies and social media companies pulling out. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and all of that, to try to—and the ruble has devalued. I think it is pretty much devalued to the very bottom. GOTTEMOELLER: Well, that’s a great—that’s a great point too, Irina. And particularly mentioning the sanctions against the central bank have had a profound effect. Russian rating has gone to junk—it’s gone below junk bond status now, and so they’re not rated anymore by the big rating companies. So it’s had a profound effect on the Russian economy overall. And so, I’m wondering about—they’ve got very good technocrats running their banking system. That was always, I think, one of the things Putin was very proud about in coming out of the 2014 invasion of Crimea with a lot of sanctions slapped on him. He basically turned his country inward and said we are going to be more self-sufficient now and you, the bankers, you do what you can to ensure that we have lots of reserves, a rainy-day fund, that we are protected from shocks in future. Well, what happened in sanctioning the central bank is 70 percent of that rainy-day fund is held in Western financial institutions, and those now have placed blocks on the Russians getting their hands on their—on their financial reserves. So I think those steps have been coherent and very strong and have led to this really tanking of the Russian economy. FASKIANOS: Right. And with the sanctions now affecting the oligarchs and the well-to-do in Russia, that also could bring pressure on Putin—assuming they can get close enough to him—because, as you said, he is very much in a bubble that probably has been exacerbated by the two-year pandemic that we all have been living through. I’m going to go next to Nancy Gallagher, with a raised hand. Nancy, over to you. There we go. Q: I’d love to go back to the history that you started with briefly as a way of thinking about the future. And you’ve spent your entire career, basically, thinking about what mix of toughness and cooperation is appropriate for our relations with Russia or the Soviet Union at any given time. And even during the worst periods that you talked about, there was still some tacit cooperation that was going on to make sure—or to try to reduce the risks of a nuclear war that neither side really wanted. So it’s never been 100 percent confrontation. And I’m just wondering, as you think about our relationship with Russia now, whether you’ve essentially written Russia off for the indefinite future or if you think that we should be continuing to think about ways of simultaneously being as tough as we need to right now, but also not completely closing the door on cooperation either to keep the risks of escalation under control now or to improve the prospects for reengagement with Russia in the future. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you for that question, Nancy, and thank you so much for joining this call. The other half of my Foreign Affairs piece yesterday talked about this and really stressed, as strongly as I could, that we need to do everything we can to keep Russia at the nuclear, both arms control and also nonproliferation regime tables, that we need to do everything—for one thing, Russia, as I mentioned, has been a giant of these regimes. They are really very good diplomats and negotiators who work these issues, and they can help to find solutions. They have helped to find solutions throughout the fifty years since we began seriously negotiating bilaterally in the Strategic Arms Limitation agreement of the 1970s, agreed in 1972. From that time forward to the present day, fifty years we’ve had this great relationship at the negotiating table. We haven’t agreed by any means at every step of the way, and sometimes we’ve been in negative territory, but we’ve always slowly and steadily driven forward on nuclear disarmament objectives. So I think we need to do everything we can to preserve that, and I am hopeful that we can do so. Even in the depths of this horrendous crisis, the Russians have been continuing—although with some issues coming up in recent days over sanctions—but they’ve been continuing to try to resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal. And I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that, in fact, we will resuscitate the Iran nuclear deal. Now, the Russians maybe were reluctant at the moment because I think the United States is seeing the potential for Iranian oil to start to flow again, which would help with this cutoff that we’ve embraced of our purchases of Russian oil and gas. So there’s a whole bunch of issues there. But the point I wanted to make is, despite this severe disagreement and a really dire crisis over Ukraine, in this particular case we’ve been able to continue to work together more or less positively, and that has been the history of this. Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to our survival and to the survival of Russia, clearly, but also to humankind. If we suddenly have a massive nuclear exchange, the effect on humankind overall is going to be dire. So for that reason, that existential threat has continued to place us together at the negotiating table to try to find solutions here. So I do hope that we can work our way through this and find ourselves back at the table with the Russians before too long to negotiate a replacement for the New START Treaty, which goes out of force in 2026, and to work on other issues, such as a replacement for the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which we withdrew from after Russian violations in 2019. But I think there are actually some good proposals on the table about how we return to constraints on intermediate-range ground-launched missiles. The Russians initiated some of those. Again, they are good diplomats and they are good policymakers in this realm, so I would hate to do without them. But what spurred my concern in the first place and what led to the article was this message that Dmitry Medvedev put out two weeks ago when he said, well, maybe we ought to, just withdraw from the New START Treaty and maybe we ought to just kick the embassies out of Moscow and hang—kick all the diplomats out and hang big padlocks on the embassies. Maybe we don’t need the world was his message, and that’s what alarmed me, so that’s why I was talking about the worst case. But I do hope we can keep the Russians at the table. FASKIANOS: And just to pick up, Doru Tsaganea, an associate professor at the Metropolitan College of New York, has a question about China. And there have been reports that Xi asked Putin to hold off the invasion until after the Olympics in Beijing. There seems to be alliance between China and Russia, and now some—maybe China coming back can be—I mean, the way to bring—to give Putin an off ramp is via China. You just wrote this article in Foreign Affairs about—and you’ve mentioned how we can leverage—really get China in the mix to help give Putin an off ramp. Can you talk a little bit more about that dynamic? GOTTEMOELLER: Yes. Again, I started thinking about this—well, I was thinking about it during their appearance together at the Olympics—at the Olympics opening ceremony. Doesn’t that seem like twenty years ago now? February 4, it was. FASKIANOS: It does. (Laughs.) GOTTEMOELLER: But, clearly, they have a joint agenda. They’ll be working together on some things. But I was actually—at the time, I was actually quite positively impressed that what they did talk about—the one thing they talked about in the arms-control realm was beginning to put in place constraints on ground-launched intermediate-range missiles not only in Europe, but also in Asia. And I thought, wow, now that’s interesting. If there’s going to be, you know, generally Eurasian constraints on ground-launched intermediate range missiles, that’s a really interesting development. And so I came away from February 4, rather positively impressed that we might be able to do something with both Russia and China in that regard. But fast forward to the 24 of February and the invasion of Ukraine, and here in—just a few days after that terrible day, the foreign minister of Ukraine, Mr. Kuleba, phoned his counterpart in Beijing and asked for facilitation again of diplomacy with Russia. And at least from the readouts of that meeting, slightly less forward-leaning on the Chinese side but not contradicting anything Kuleba said, the Chinese seemed to indicate a willingness to facilitate diplomacy. It does—I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. In diplomacy, it’s always better if you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes—(laughs)—if it is quiet diplomacy, if it’s not out in public, if it’s not this—one of the reasons why I was pretty—well, we all hoped against hope regarding no invasion. But, the Russians seemed to be in bad faith from December on because they kept playing at megaphone diplomacy—putting out their proposals to the public and the press, and even leaking U.S. answers in some cases. So they were clearly not playing a proper diplomatic game, which is quiet diplomacy behind the scenes trying to make quiet progress. So I hope that this Chinese facilitation has begun. I have no hint of it at the moment, but I certainly think that it could be—it could be a productive way to begin to develop some new off ramp. We’ve tried a lot off ramps with Putin and it hasn’t worked, but maybe the Chinese can help us develop another way of approaching this matter. Finally, I will just take note of the fact that there are other facilitators in the game. For example, President Erdoğan of Turkey has been very active, and today there is a meeting between the foreign ministers of—again, Kuleba, foreign minister of Ukraine, and Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia in Turkey. I, for one, I haven’t seen any reports of it. You may have seen reports of the outcome, Irina, but I think that that—that kind of facilitation is important, and I hope it will continue. We all want to see diplomacy taking precedence over the bombing of innocent civilians in Ukraine. FASKIANOS: Right. There are a lot more questions, and I—we can’t get to them. I apologize. But I don’t want to—and we are at the end of our time, but I just want to give you an opportunity and give the students to hear your thoughts on public service. You’ve devoted your—mostly your entire career to it. You’re now teaching. You have a lecturer spot at Stanford, so you’re clearly working with students. And what you would say about public service. GOTTEMOELLER: I was so privileged to have the opportunity to serve both President Clinton and President Obama. I think if you can in your career do a stint of public service it will be absolutely a wonderful experience for you. Now, sometimes bureaucracies can be pretty frustrating, but it’s worth—it’s worth the price of admission, I would say, to begin to operate inside that system, to begin to figure out how to make progress, and it is the way you put ideas into action. You know, from the outside I can write all the op-eds I want to, and, yeah, some of them may get picked up by somebody inside the government. But when you’re working inside the government, you can really put ideas into action from the lowest levels, even if you have a chance to be an intern at the State Department or in one of the other agencies of government, you can begin to get a flavor for this. But you might be surprised that they’re asking for your opinion because you all at the, I would say, less-old—(laughs)—end of the spectrum have a lot of good new ideas about how the world should work going forward. And particularly I think this problem I talked about, how to communicate now directly with the Russian people, for example, you’ve got the skills and savvy to help people inside government to understand how to—how to do that effectively. So you’ve got some special skills, I think, that are much needed at the present time. So I would not shy away from some time in government. People often ask me, well, won’t I get trapped there? I think your generation will not get trapped there just because you already think about the world of work differently. You’re not going to be a lifer in any organization. You don’t want to start in the State Department and work there for forty years. You’ll be working, in—maybe in Silicon Valley; and then you go work for Capitol Hill, the Congress; then you may go into government for a little while, the executive branch; and then back to—back to the corporate world. So I know that you’ll be thinking quite differently about how to build your careers, but don’t shy away from public service. It’s a very good experience and it’s where you can make a difference. FASKIANOS: Well, with that, Rose Gottemoeller, thank you very much for being with us today and for sharing your expertise and analysis. We really appreciate it. And giving us a historical context, which is so valuable to understanding where we are today. You can follow Rose on Twitter at @gottemoeller. Our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, March 23, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Jody Freeman at Harvard University will talk about global climate policy. We will send out the link to this discussion—the video, transcript—as well as the link to Rose’s Foreign Affairs article so you can read it if you didn’t have a chance. It was in yesterday’s background. And I encourage you to follow us on Twitter at @CFR_academic, and go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all again and thank you, Rose. GOTTEMOELLER: Thank you. Thanks for a great discussion. (END)
  • Education

    Natasha Warikoo, professor of sociology at Tufts University and author of The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universitiesleads a conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion in college and university admissions.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be posted on our website at CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Natasha Warikoo with us to talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion in college and university admissions. Dr. Warikoo is professor of sociology at Tufts University and an expert on racial and ethnic inequality in education. She is a former Guggenheim fellow and previously served as associate professor of education at Harvard University. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Warikoo taught in New York City’s public schools and worked at the U.S. Department of Education. She has written several books on race and higher education. Her most recent is entitled The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities. So, Dr. Warikoo, thank you very much for being with us today. We really appreciate it. I thought you could just take us through the current diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies in college and university admissions, and what you’ve seen over the course of your career, and where you see this going. WARIKOO: Great. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for the invitation, Irina. And thank you to all of you for being here. I can see your names, although I can’t see your faces. So what I thought I would do, as I thought about this question about DEI and admissions, is sort of to take us—to zoom out a little bit. So I’ll talk about affirmative action because I think when we think about DEI in the context of admissions that’s sort of what immediately comes to mind. And I’ve written about this. But I want to take us broader and think also just about admissions more broadly. And some of the arguments I want to make are from my forthcoming book with Polity Press, Is Affirmative Action Fair? So I want to start by saying that I think we need to move away from this idea that there is one best, most fair way of admitting students to college. At colleges we tend to see—we tend to treat admissions as a reward for individual achievement, right? You work—the narrative is that you work hard, and you can get—you show your grit, and you show your achievements, and you can get in. And then in that context, affirmative action becomes one small kind of fix to ensure that the system is fair to everyone, along with things like increasing financial aid and recruiting around the country so students are aware of the university. And I found this in my interviews with Ivy League students in Diversity Bargain, I found that students—they thought that admissions worked, and it was because affirmative action kind of corrected underrepresentation. And they were satisfied with how admissions were done, despite the fact that multiple groups, including working-class students, Black students, and Latinx students, continue to be underrepresented. But they felt like it was sort of fixed enough. And I want to argue that, instead, we should think about admissions as something that furthers university goals and not just selects the kind of, quote/unquote, “best of the best.” So let me explain. In a series of lectures in 1963, the president—the then-President of the University of California Clark Kerr, noticed that universities had become what he called multi-universities. They were organizations beholden to multiple purposes and goals. Teaching, research, and the public good. And not much has changed since then. A recent study of college mission statements found that these three goals endure. Most college mission statements express commitments to teaching, as well as the public good, inculcating civic values. And in general, U.S. universities see themselves as much more kind of embedded in the fabric of society compared to expressing the goal of bettering society, making it more equitable, commitments to diversity, much more so than universities in Europe and Britain. And many Americans also imagine higher education to be a kind of engine for social mobility. We think about, you know, since the 1950s the expansion of higher education. We sort of look to higher education as a mechanism for bettering ourselves and our futures. So what colleges do—when they admit students, then, should be in pursuit of these goals, not—again, not an individual certification of merit, or who’s deserving. And, implicitly with who’s deserving comes who’s not deserving. And I think that colleges really need to make this goal to prospective and current students explicit. So rather than talking about, oh, this year we have the best class ever, the lowest admit rate ever. We should be really sort of talking about admissions in the context of what we’re trying to do as a university and embedded in society. So the late Lani Guinier in her book The Tyranny of Merit (sic; The Tyranny of the Meritocracy) argued that we should consider college admissions as a mechanism to a more robust democracy. And when we do that, Guinier argued that it should lead us to discard standardized testing as a part of the application process in favor of broad, inclusive representation. And I want to argue, if we consider the goal of social mobility, it becomes even more unclear why certain kinds of measures of academic achievement in general have become the central focus for college admissions. In fact, one might even make the case that academics should play the opposite role to what it plays. If colleges want to promote social mobility, perhaps admissions should be akin to means-tested social supports, provided to those who need it most whether because of their financial—the financial hardships that their families endure, racial exclusion, or weak academic skills. But of course, this is not what we do. Families of a majority of students at top colleges pay more per year—you know, are not on financial aid, pay more per year than the median household income in the United States. And a 4.0 grade point average, of course, seems increasingly to be a prerequisite to even be considered for admissions at top colleges, especially if you’re not a child of an alum or a donor—a high-profile donor. So, I think it’s hard to shake the belief that selective colleges should foreground achievement in admissions and that there’s one best way to do this. Unlike the labor market, for which we understand that applicants are chosen for jobs on the basis of what a company needs not a reward for the kind of best applicant, you know, we understand that the marketing job would go to a different person than the head of engineering job, and that would be a different person from the head of finance job. But in higher education, we describe admissions as a reward for hard work and dedication. It’s the backbone of our beliefs in equal opportunity and meritocracy. But seeing admissions as a competition to decide who’s the most deserving reinforces ideas about who’s deserving and undeserving. Again, given the outcomes of admissions, it says that people who are economically advantaged, who are White, who are Asian American, are more worthy and deserving, because those groups tend to be who are the ones that are rewarded in the admissions process. So this tension between an individualist, winner-takes-all meritocracy and a process of selection that seeks to fulfill multiple missions of research, teaching, and the public good, and social mobility, is what lies, to me, at the heart of controversies over affirmative action. So let me say a little bit about affirmative action. I see it less as a kind of fix to this individual meritocracy, but rather as a critical policy, an important policy, that promotes four important organizational goals. The first is a diverse learning environment. This is the argument that the U.S. Supreme Court, starting in the 1978 Bakke decision has said is allowable under the law. So Justice Powell in the Bakke decision said: Well, as long as you have a narrowly tailored version of attention to race, then, you know, if you are looking at race in order to fulfill a university mission of having a diverse learning environment in which everyone flourishes, then that is allowed. And since then, there’s been decades of research from social scientists showing all of the benefits from these diverse environments in terms of cognitive capacity, racial attitudes, civic participation in the future. So we know that affirmative action works in this way. Now, I highlight in my book, The Diversity Bargain, the problem with solely talking about this kind of diverse learning environment argument is that it ignores inequality. So we also need to talk about inequality. And colleges, I think, need to do a lot better job of talking about racial inequality, the racial inequality that is really the root of—and the history of affirmative action. And that leads me to my second argument for affirmative action. And when we think about the goal of promoting social mobility and opportunity, we have to take into consideration race in admissions. We have plenty of evidence of racial inequality. I won’t go through all of this, but just to say that, sometimes people say, well, it’s related to class and not race. But even within the same social class, we see racially different opportunities. So working-class Whites tend to live in more advantaged neighborhoods than working-class Blacks. And a recent study found that Black—upper middle-class Black adults—excuse me. Black adults who grew up in upper middle-class families are much more likely to experience downward mobility than are White adults who grew up in upper middle-class families. And so we see this kind of intergenerational differences in terms of the transmission of privilege. Third, reparations. And reparations not just from the harms of slavery, but also from U.S. intervention in foreign wars abroad. And, again, if we think about these organizational goals of playing a civic role, and these universities as wanting to be kind of bastions of racial equity, we know that many elite colleges have benefitted from the slave trade, from slave labor, from—you know, have had faculty who have sort of been part of the foreign policies that led to poverty in other countries. And so reparations is another way that I think—another institutional goal that can be met through affirmative action. And lastly, a diverse, legitimate leadership. We know that affirmative action can lead to diversity in leadership. President Obama talked about how he thinks he benefitted from affirmative action, just as Sotomayor talks about how she was an affirmative action baby. If we think that that symbolic representation matters—and it matters in order for leadership to be seen as legitimate, to be—for people to be seen—to see leadership that looks like them is increasingly important. And so, again, thinking about the contribution to society, this is one small way that higher education—a role that higher education can play. So the last thing I want to say about this is that any way you admit students, there are winners and there are losers. There’s no one best way of defining and measuring merit. It’s always historically and geographically contingent. You know, other countries do admissions very differently. When I talk to British students, they—Britain has a very different way of admitting students, but they think their way is the best. And even within the U.S., we’ve changed the way we define merit and admit students over time as well. And so history suggests that reasonable people and selective colleges will disagree about how to admit students. So overall, I want to—I think we need to change our typical vision for college admissions as an individualist, meritocratic competition. When we consider affirmative action within a broader consideration of the purposes of selective higher education in the U.S., we can see its true worth. College admission is not and should not be an evaluation of the worthiness or deservingness of individuals. And, you know, we need greater representation to make sure our future leaders are exposed to diverse perspectives and lived experiences, that our future leadership is seen as legitimate. Colleges in the United States are embedded in a society plagued by rampant inequality, including racial inequality, and one in which we often turn to education as a mechanism to address that inequality. And so, I think the lack of clarity sometimes on university purposes allowed families to map their own meanings onto selection. And I think that universities need to correct these misunderstandings explicitly. So, of course, affirmative action is enough to fully address the diverse roles of our universities. It’s one small policy. And its impact might be paltry compared to increasing financial aid, increasing funding for state and community colleges, increasing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, social supports for working-class and poor families. The list goes on. But I want to remind everyone that these policies are not zero-sum. It’s not that we need to pursue one or the other. We should pursue all of them, alongside affirmative action, and not as a replacement. And so, supporting affirmative action doesn’t preclude supporting an expansion of all these other provisions to increase equity, either within higher education or beyond. So let me stop here, and I’m really looking forward to the discussion. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much for that overview. We appreciate it. And now we are going to go to all of you for your questions and comments. So I’m going to go first, great, to Beverly Lindsay. Q: Good afternoon, Natasha. It’s good to hear your comments. I have a few comments, but I also then want to raise a question on something that was not covered. As you probably know, Manuel Justiz and I wrote the book in 2001 on The Quest for Equity in Higher Education. And you probably know a number of my colleagues, like Roger Geiger, dealing with historical aspects. For example, of how testing came into place, because there were too many Jewish students at elite universities like Yale and Harvard. I should tell you also that I am still a professor of higher education and international policy studies. But one of the questions or concerns that Manny and I still have, and that is the change from affirmative action to multicultural education to DEI. And what we often see is there’s these changes that occur that don’t necessarily reflect what is done in the actual admissions office. That’s one issue. The second really critical issue, and you’re welcome to read my book that’s just coming out—it actually came out this past month, about three days ago, on higher education policy in developing and Western countries. And that is league tables, ratings. Parents are doing everything to be in that higher education university, whether it’s a public Ivy like Berkeley, or Texas, or Wisconsin, or Virginia. And no one is raising—or, very few people are raising these questions about second-tier. So you have the issue of ratings. And the U.S. News and World Report, of course, is one that many American parents will look at, but internationally it’s the Times Higher Education and QS, for example. So that’s one issue. But the second issue, which I mentioned first, was DEI. Because historically and currently, many of the people who are in DEI are people of color. And they have no faculty rank. So they’re really not involved in the admission process, whether at the undergraduate or the graduate level. So if you could briefly offer some comments about those two key areas. Thank you. WARIKOO: Thank you. Well, I didn’t know that your book was out, so I’m super excited to read it. Thanks for highlighting that. So, yeah, I think these are two really important issues. So I’ll start with the rankings. It’s clear that the rankings are just—have this terrible influence in higher education. I don’t know if you’ve seen that book by Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder, I forgot the title of it, but they basically did this study of—they looked at law schools and how law schools seem to respond to rankings and how it’s sort of changing the organizations. And they highlight very clearly this—first, all of—having a ranking system—and I kind of see a parallel to admissions, right? When you rank people—we’re so obsessed with selection and ranking in the United States that when you have this system people are always looking up. Like, oh, OK, well, if there’s a ranking and I’m number ten, I want to be number nine, and then I want to be number eight. And so they’re always looking up. And then they’re trying to figure out ways to sort of increase their standing. And they’re—doing things that are not always beneficial, certainly not beneficial to students who are kind of nontraditional students, right? And they are doing things like rather than more financial aid for—based on what your family needs, merit-based financial aid, which is their way of bringing in students with higher SAT scores to bump their average SAT score, so that they can get a bump in the rankings. And then, you always have to ask yourself, for what? What does that—what does that ultimately get you? And again, I think we have to go to first principles. What is our purpose, right? What are we trying to do as a university? Do we—can we fulfill that mission with a student body that is increasingly privileged and increasingly does not look like a cross-section of eighteen-year-olds in the United States? And so, to me, the answer is no. (Laughs.) And I think we have a problem in that way. So I totally agree with you that the rankings are a huge problem. And I think the most elite colleges maybe can get away with not participating, but I think the lower-status colleges say, well, if we don’t participate then, they look for the data and then just put us lower than we should be. So they always—they feel compelled. I think it will take an organized effort to sort of move away from those rankings. But I think they are incredibly damaging. And they—ultimately, they hurt students who are—who don’t have the educational opportunities as much as privileged students do. In terms of DEI, I think that this is a problem not just in higher education. I think in the corporate sector, all over we see, on the one hand this promising increase in chief diversity officers, heads of diversity in a lot of different kinds of organizations. Even in school districts we’re seeing this. And on the other hand, the extent to which they have power to impact change varies tremendously. And, if that person being—a solo voice, and it really depends on how much they are backed by the administration, by leadership. In terms of admissions specifically, my experience is that a lot of people go into admissions because they care about diversity and equity, right? And they—I had a lot of former students who were admissions officers when I was teaching students who were getting their master’s degrees in higher education. And they really—they talked about how they thought that being in this role they could help shape the student body of a selective college in a way that would increase opportunity. And then they would—a lot of them talked about then what they would find is that there are all of these things that don’t allow them to really do that to the extent that they would like—and I think even heads of admissions would like—because, you know, they have to—they can only give out a certain number of—amount of financial aid. And even in a place like Harvard, right, with this crazy endowment, is admitting students that almost half of them can pay full price—which is, again, higher than median household income in this country. And so their whole financial model is based on the assumption that you’re not going to be a representative group of students. So I think they come across all kinds of things. Athletic recruiting is a mechanism of privilege. The development office. And so I think—I think it’s going to take a much broader shift in the culture of higher education to expand admissions. And I really think that we need to sort of come back to what are we trying to do here? And does this fit our mission? To me, when you have a student body that is not representative, it’s not—how are you developing the leaders for tomorrow in that case? So. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Jeff Rosensweig. Q: Thank you, Professor. And I’ve learned a lot from you. And I like your zero-sum versus sometimes positive-sum. I’m in Atlanta at Emory University, where we have wonderful schools like Spelman and Morehouse, and a tremendous amount of money is flowing to them now, and ultimately will be better for our society. And that’s an example of positive-sum. But let’s go back to zero-sum. At Emory, I’m very proud because we rank right near the top of the top twenty or top twenty-two universities in terms of social mobility. Having students, for instance, from the bottom fifth. But living in Georgia, we got two Democratic senators, we voted for President Biden, very close margins, as you know, because a lot of White traditional Republicans voted—(laughs)—Democratic. But you sense a backlash as you listen to people whisper that, for instance, it sounds like—you may not use the word—but it sounds like quotas. You know, there’s 14 percent Hispanics persons in the U.S. We want 14 percent of Harvard to be Hispanic. A certain amount of people make over—make enough to pay tuition. Well, we shouldn’t have 50 percent from that group, even if it’s two Black doctors or their parents. So I’m worried about perhaps a lack—I don’t know if you are going to issue a second edition someday of your book—but there’s been a tremendous sea-change in the last two years in college admissions, in a very big concern for DEI. We just searched for a new dean. We asked him to write three essays. An entire essay was what have they done—and done, not just talked about—to enhance DEI, and what will they do, if they become dean? The rankings are now looking at schools and seeing what are they doing for DEI. So I do worry, if you are—if your book just may be two years too late. (Laughs.) Your book maybe pre-George Floyd instead of post. So that is my main concern there. But also my main—my other main concern is with the zero-sum. We all want more diversity, but are we risking—if we use your formulaic approach—going too far and having a backlash? WARIKOO: Yeah. Thanks for your question. You know, I think part of the problem is that we don’t—I don’t think most people, myself included until probably I was in college or maybe even later, understand the reality of racial inequality and the history of racial exclusion in the United States. So, we all learn about slavery, the heinous history of slavery and segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. But I think there’s less attention to, well, how did we get here? Why is there—why do we see these racial differences, even among the upper-middle class, even among working-class families? What— how did that happen? And I think that—I don’t think many people really understand that, because we’re never taught it and we don’t talk about it. And I think—I actually think that is—rather than too much attention to it, I think not enough understanding of that history is part of the problem. So to me, the solution is not to move away from it. In terms of—I’m certainly not advocating quotas. I know that—legally that that wouldn’t work anyway. And I think that to me it’s just sort of canary in the coal mine, right? Just to sort of say, well, when we see these massive differences, it should say—it should make us go, hmm. Something’s off here. What’s going on? We say that this is a fair system. When you talk to most people in the country, they—young people, they want to go to college, they think it’s important. It just gives us pause. And that’s all I meant to highlight. I’m certainly not saying that there should be—that college student bodies should explicitly mirror the population around them. So just to take the examples that you gave, the—the Atlanta elite colleges, like Black colleges and then historically predominantly White colleges like Emory—there’s a great book by Adam Harris called The State Must Provide, which is about the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. And you see—one of the things you see in that history is the way that colleges—like my own college, Tufts University, like Emory, had the—even University of Georgia—have had the benefit of generations of building their endowment, right? And their endowment is built at a time from times when there was legal segregation. And so these donations to these HBCUs is great, but it’s not—it’s not even coming close to making the resources for those colleges comparable to the resources that the historically—the predominantly White universities. And so, I think we have a long way to go to sort of truly equalize those colleges, even though I think there has been more attention. And the zero-sum thing? I think you’re totally right. And one of the things that I have been talking about is the fact that why haven’t our selective colleges expanded enrollment, right? I mean, the population has been steadily growing since—I mean, with fits and starts. But they have not kept up with the increasing population and increasing interest in elite higher education over the last half-century. And so I do think one thing we could do is expand enrollment at these places. I mean, there’s so many amazing young people, these colleges reject so many applicants. There is—you know, they—nothing—their standards would not decrease. I don’t think there’s any real worry that anything would change. But I think that it would provide opportunity to more people. And so—and it would feel less zero-sum, in that sense. I think part of the problem is you have declining admit rates making it feel like you’re kind of constantly in competition with each other. And that’s—we know the research on kind of group threat. That’s when group threat and anxiety about, well, if we have affirmative action then what about my group? That gets heightened through these kinds of processes. So certainly, I think that’s part of the problem as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go to Eric Hoffman next. He has a raised hand and wrote a question. So, Eric, why don’t you just unmute and identify yourself and ask it yourself. Q: Sure. I’d be happy to. Can you hear me? WARIKOO: Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Yes. Thank you, Professor, for all that important and interesting insight. I’m the dean at a community college, and I oversee the honors college. And we—I’m in Miami, Florida. And we’re focused on, in the last two years, on a very strong DEI effort here to increase the number of Black and African American students. We are a Hispanic-serving and minority-serving institute, but our number of Black and African Americans aren’t the numbers we’d like it to be. Understanding implicit bias, institutional memory, and just plain inertia, how do we get those members of admissions committee on—sort of moving forward towards that goal? Because it sounds easy, we put together mandates, put together programs. But at the end of the day, we’re working with people on these admissions committee, and they’re not always—there’s a little reluctance at times to change. That’s just human nature, right? So how do—what kind of evidence, what kind of strategies can we use to kind of move people along the continuum to get—to understand that we really need to examine and admit students, sometimes more holistically. Thank you. WARIKOO: Yeah. Maybe you can answer a question, though. So what are they—what are they saying when they are kind of resisting admitting those students? What’s their worry? Q: Well—(laughs)—not to expose too much—but it seems to be a similar refrain as it relates to let’s really focus on standardized scores as opposed to GPA and other holistic factors, when we know GPA is a five-times better predictor of college success than the standardized scores. But some individuals are so used to using sort of this metric of standardized scores, it’s hard to move them away from that, saying, you know, this isn’t really the best measure, most valid measure, of being successful in college. WARIKOO: Yeah. Well, so I was going to say, one of the things you could do is just present this data, right? So, here’s the data on the predictive power of GPA, here’s the data on the predictive power of standardized test scores, here’s what the standardized test score adds, here’s what the racial difference is that we see in these scores. And I think, I don’t know—I mean, the history of standardized testing is a history of trying to prove the superiority of Whites over all people of color, right? I think when you understand that it’s, like, oh, OK, so this is the history of this. And I also wonder if just observing students who are successful. Like, just profiles of students who maybe didn’t have that high SAT score and did well, and were able to sort of have—your college made a positive impact in their lives. And helping people see that either through someone coming to a meeting, or a profile, so that they—sometimes people need that story of—to sort of have this image in their head. So I think that can be something that can be convincing. Because I think sometimes there are these—there might be this sort of stereotype in their minds of, this is what these students are, they’re not going to be successful or take advantage, or what have you. But if they can see kind of what we call counter-stereotypic examples, that can sort of combat those stereotypes. So those are few things that come to mind for me. So it’s great that you’re doing that. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Let’s go to Jude Jones next. Q: It’s a great presentation. I don’t work in admissions. I’m a faculty member at Fordham University in New York. But I do a lot of things related to DEI work, and I do read applications at the admissions level for our honors program. But admission on the level of admitting for mission, I’m totally on board with that. It makes sense. I believe our universities should look and be more like a cross-section, as you said, of teenagers in our country right now. As a pragmatist—I teach philosophy and American pragmatism is one of my things—I always think in terms of, what an idea leads to as being what it means, right? And so one of the downstream consequences of admitting for mission is that mission is often—I think this relates to the previous question too—mission’s often out ahead of culture where inclusion is concerned. Our institutions change very slowly, because that’s what institutions do, unfortunately. And students are rightly impatient with that, but there it is. And so what I find sometimes is that a disproportionate amount of the emotional labor of institutional change winds up falling to the students who come and then clamor for the reality that their admission would suggests would meet them when they get to schools that are not historically—have not historically been as committed to this as possible. So the problem then becomes an unintended consequence of admitting for diversity as a mission value—which, again, I’m totally on board for—is that that gap between the ideal and the real then exacerbates the sense of exclusion that students come with, because our culture has—we’re still an exclusive culture, not a sufficiently just culture—that the benefit of diversity in admissions was after in the first place. It would exacerbate students’ negative experience. And I don’t want this to be an argument against admitting for this reason or on this model, but just sort of a request for how to think about this. And maybe even in terms of brass tacks, do you think that there should be metrics for levels of support and institutional change that should follow this approach? And if so, what should those be? So I hope that makes sense, what I’m asking. WARIKOO: Yeah. Thanks for your comment. And that’s a really important point. And you can’t—you can’t change admissions alone, right? And so when you—I think absolutely we need institutional supports, right? So, part of my—when people say, well, the—I’m sorry—Eric, when you talk about, well, people are worried about are these students going to be successful, or they’re looking at test scores and maybe they’re thinking are these students going to be successful. And, my response to that is also that if a student—if someone had demonstrated some kind of excellence in their grades—they’re the top of their class, or whatever it is, then we need to be an organization that can serve them, right? And so we need to—the culture needs to shift, right? We need to have those supports, right? We need to make sure there are a quorum of peers who have similar lived experiences. We need—and I think higher education—some colleges have done better than others in these. I mean, for decades there have been kind of Africana centers. Increasingly there are centers for first-generation students. And so having an institutional space I think is one, academic supports for students who haven’t had the same educational opportunities, who may have been a good student but did not have the same rigorous curriculum as some of their peers, I think those are incredibly important and to do those in ways that are not stigmatizing I think is incredibly important., And so absolutely there have to be these simultaneous—if the student body is changing and we’re expanding access, we need to change the culture and change—and the institutions can do this and be very deliberate about how they do it. And because you’re right. And I think the reality is that it will be a harder lift for students who haven’t had those educational experiences. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be there, right, that we need to work hard just to meet their needs and prioritize those as well, so. Q: I’m thinking more in terms of, you know, there is a heavy lift, maybe, but more in terms of students become very involved in diversity-oriented activities, right? And calls for social justice. Students come in with activism experience that’s just extraordinary, you know? But that is emotional labor. And it really is a drain, especially during the pandemic, which just multiplies everything. So that’s part of where I’m worried—not so much the academic lift, but—although those supports are absolutely important. But, they want more of the change for which they were admitted, to highlight that this is a very important value. WARIKOO: Yeah. Yeah. And it shouldn’t be their job, right? Q: Right, exactly. (Laughter.) WARIKOO: They’re there to get an education like everybody else. And it shouldn’t be their job. And it’s unfortunate when it kind of falls in their lap. So I agree with you that this is a problem. Q: Thanks. FASKIANOS: Let’s go next to John Murray. Q: Greetings. Thank you for the presentation. I am director of international admissions at Hesston College. I’m also a member of our diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership team. We are a very high-quality institution, but we would not be considered in an elite. (Laughs.) We are in the unfortunate position of most years receiving fewer applications than we have spaces available. I’m curious what your research would say to us about how we might work at increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion when we’re not kind of selecting between individuals. WARIKOO: OK. So I didn’t hear where you’re teaching and where your college is located. Q: Hesston College is in central Kansas. We’re about thirty miles north of Wichita. So we’re also in a rural setting. WARIKOO: Got it. Got it. So, I would sort of think about—so, two things. One is that I think, DEI is not just for people of color, right? So, what does DEI look like for White students as well, and what kinds of programing or classes or course content are—or, what do our syllabi look like? And are there—is diversity reflected on the syllabi? So I think there’s a lot that is important to think about in terms of DEI for White students as well as students of color. That would be my first thing to think about. And then the second is, if there are populations that—in the state or the geographic area—who aren’t coming to your college, sometimes it takes some creative planning, like a partnership with a particular high school, or, where there’s—where students can take a class, and if they do well in that class then they get admitted, or they get a scholarship, or they can take a class for free when they’re in high school, or, you know, these kinds of kind of linkages that can bring attention to—make a student think, oh, I could go there, and I could do well there, and this is a place for people like me. I think that’s what students need to—we need to find ways for them to think and feel in order for them to see a particular college as a viable option. And I think the other thing is just once you start then hopefully it sort of snowballs, right? Because then there’s a quorum of people, and then they—and then there’s a network, and then it doesn’t feel as exclusive of a place, and students start to sort of see a place differently as well. So I think you’re moving in the right direction. And, the college in Miami, I would say the same thing, right? Once you get that momentum it can be very positive. FASKIANOS: OK. I’m going to go next to Jonathan Aronson, who also wrote his question. But, Jonathan, please do ask it. Q: I’m coming from a different age. But I will just read my question: My concern is with mental health and anxiety in the students once they get here. Elite schools can accept a class of nothing but valedictorians. But 25 percent of them, by the math, are going to be in the bottom quarter of the class. Fifty years ago a then-dean of admissions at Harvard said, well, we deal—you know, this is before all of the equity, all of the diversity. He said, you know, we accept, what he called, “the happy bottom quarter.” Twenty-five percent of the class was taken on non-academic grounds. And that could be dancers and football players. But he said—we wouldn’t do it that way today, but how do admissions people deal with the whole problem of mental health in—when thinking about admissions of the class as a whole? WARIKOO: So, it’s interesting. I mean, I think mental health is a really important issue. I don’t—I don’t know if kind of—there’s not a lot of emphasis on ranking within a college, like once students arrive. Especially on elite colleges, there seems to be a considerable grade inflation. And so I think no one—I mean, students—I think students who aren’t academically prepared may struggle, but for the most part I think that’s become less—I don’t know that that’s the driver of some of the increasing concerns about mental health for college-age students. I think there are other sort of drivers of that, like, social media—obviously, the pandemic is probably number one right now. Even prior to the pandemic, social media, increasing—you know, I think there’s that great book by William Deresiewicz—I’m blanking on the title—but it’s about this sort of lack of—there’s so much focus on achievement and meeting certain—kind of jumping through particular hoops put in front of us, and that sometimes young people can be—get really good at that, doing what they’re told to do, and then when, you know, stop to ask, what do I really want, or what am I really interested in, or who do I want to be? That becomes even harder. Excellent Sheep is the name of that book. That becomes even harder. And I think those are some of the things that I think are driving some of the mental health issues. And I think they’re very real, particularly in this pandemic. And so—but I think that that is not unique to elite colleges. I mean, what drives kind of mental health issues may be slightly different for different young people. But we really see that certainly at the high school level as well across the board, across lines of race and class. FASKIANOS: Great. I don’t know, Beverly, you wrote a comment. I don’t know if you wanted to surface that yourself, Beverly Lindsay? Q: It was just a comment about—that the gentleman made about mental health. And having been a dean at two different types of universities, we can’t really consider a lot of individual-type mental health unless it’s been in the public sphere. However, once the student enters, there is a considerable amount of resources for students to deal with mental health. And I am in the University of California system now. And I know we’re very, very concerned. But I taught a unit, for example, after the very sad situation at VPI, Virginia Polytech, over a decade ago. And unfortunately, that student had mental health issues, but we were not able—not “we”—the university was not able to have access to that. So there are two types of kinds of dimensions to the mental health issues. WARIKOO: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Beverly. Let’s go to Jennifer Brinkerhoff. Q: Hi. Thank you so much for a very interesting conversation. I wanted to go back to the comment that was made earlier from the gentleman from Emory in Georgia about backlash. Because a lot of the DEI programming is significantly hampered by what I would call lawsuit harassment, right? I mean, we know that there are political constituencies out there who really want to fight this. And it makes it extremely difficult for universities to advance these agendas when they know that the cost of lawsuits, even when they’re right—when they’re doing the right thing and they’re doing something that is legal—but the cost of lawsuits becomes prohibitive. So I wondered if you encountered that or you addressed that at all in your research, and what advice you would have related to that. Thanks. WARIKOO: Yeah. I think this is very real. I feel like it’s kind of grown exponentially in the last few years. (Laughs.) So it’s not in my research. But—and it’s K-12 education, as we see with this sort of supposed anti-CRT—critical race theory—stuff. My only response to that is I don’t know what the solution is besides just keep doing what we’re doing. Because you can’t back down in the face of these impending lawsuits because I feel like—I feel like the right is so organized in their attacks on anything related—any acknowledgment of racial inequality in American society that, OK, if we don’t talk about DEI, then there’s talk about admissions. If we don’t talk admissions—if we look at the K-12 level, there’s this new attack on selective high schools, where most recently a judge—there was a lawsuit towards a selective high school in Virginia that went from exam-based admissions to holistic admissions. They’re not talking about race. And there was still a lawsuit, right? (Laughs.) So I think you can sort of back off and you’re still going to get sued. So I think the solution can’t be to back off because we don’t want to be paralyzed. And, I mean, I think it’s very real. I mean, some of the research on affirmative action shows that there seems to be a sort of backing away from affirmative action because of these fears of lawsuits. Not at the very elite places, but the kind of second-tier kinds of colleges. So we have seen that. But, again, I’m not sure—obviously colleges have to protect themselves and are going to be thinking strategically about their finances, the likelihood of being sued. But I don’t think—I’m not sure what to do about that threat besides saying, I don’t think it’s a reason to not do this work. You’ll get attacked anyway. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (Laughs.) Natasha, can you talk a little bit more about college admissions lotteries, and how that methodology is affecting DEI? WARIKOO: Yeah. Well, no one’s doing a lottery, but I have written a little bit about it. So, one of the things that I—as I’ve been talking, I’ve been saying we have to stop thinking of this as an individual certification of merit, is that part of the way to do that is to change the meaning of selection. It’s funny, I’ll tell you a story, my husband was just on jury duty for the first time yesterday, because he’s a naturalized citizen. So he came home and said, “You know, I didn’t really want to be put on this trial because it would mean—they said it was going to be, like, a long trial. But I—you know, but I answered honestly.” And then he got interviewed by the judge and these two lawyers. And then he said, “When they said, OK, you’re dismissed at the end I felt a sense of disappointment. And he was, like, because it felt like I was—I didn’t win, right?” He was like, “But I didn’t want to be on this. I never wanted to be—I mean, obviously if you’re selected, you’re selected. You don’t have a choice.” But I think these systems—and the reason I tell you that story is that these systems of selection kind of do a number on us, right? It’s, like, we get so caught up in them. And I think what a lottery would do is say, you know what? It’s random. (Laughs.) Like, because the reality is it’s kind of random, you know? Did you grow up in a family that has the resources to pay for you to go to private music lessons, and now, this college needs an oboist because the oboist is graduating? Or did you get to sign up for—did your parents pay for you to sign up—in my latest research in a high school, kids are—they have, like, a private pitching coach. And so now you get recruited to be the pitcher on the baseball team. And so it’s—that’s kind of random, you know? And the reality is that—but we act as if this is, like, a selection. So, to me, a lottery—we could say: Let’s put all the potential people, all the names in a hat, and let’s just have a lottery. And, we can think about, like, do we want to have—and then make clear, like, we want to have a quorum of full fee-paying students. And that doesn’t feel very good. But that’s kind of what we’re doing, so let’s call a spade a spade, you know? People who, athletes or whatever it is that that college is sort of looking at. Intended majors. I think that—and we can think about diversity holistic—I think we can’t have kind of set metrics like, you get extra points or anything like that for being underrepresented, but we can think about it holistically, and being put into this lottery. And it would acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of amazing young people in this country who could thrive at most of these selective colleges. And I think it would change the meaning in a way that I think is very productive for society. So that’s sort of why I think that a lottery is a very promising idea. FASKIANOS: Great. I don’t know if anybody has other questions or comments, but I will ask one more. In your research you found that White students and students of color perceive the benefits of diversity differently. What lessons can we learn from this, or have you learned, and how do you think you shift this—the perception differences? WARIKOO: Yeah. I think one of the problems of the way that we talk about affirmative action and diversity only as a sort of, everybody benefits, everybody wins, is that it kind of leads to these expectations on the part of White students of their peers of color, right? Well, if diversity is all about improving my own educational experience, and I can see how I have benefited from those diverse voices in the classroom, then why—like then—and some of them would get annoyed when they saw, like, a table of Black students in the cafeteria. And of course, they didn’t notice all those other tables of White students in the cafeteria, but they would say, well, if they’re here to enlighten me, then they should be kind of integrating into these White spaces. And of course, that student wouldn’t then go and sit at that table of Black students, but they’re expecting the Black students to integrate into these predominantly White spaces. And so I think there are all these unfair expectations on the underrepresented students of color. And of course, they’re all assumed to have benefitted from affirmative action, and we know that’s not the case. And so I think there’s also this sort of assumption that they should always win, right? So I had a student admitted to Harvard say, well, if I hadn’t gotten into Harvard, I would have felt that I experienced racial discrimination, right, if, you know, the student of color at my high school had gotten in and I hadn’t. And so there is this belief that they should always be winners. And even with affirmative action, it’s just there to benefit themselves. And I think we need to get away from that and really focus in on racial equity and, again, the history of racial exclusion in this country. And the way that even these institutions themselves have benefitted from—again, from slave labor, from the slave trade, from building their endowments at a time of racial segregation, at a time where there were very few, if any, students of color on their campuses. And then, legacy benefits that sort of continue that sort of intergenerational racial exclusion. FASKIANOS: Great. And Beverly Lindsay has suggested Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book, Why Do All the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria. Just want to share that resource. We are at the end of time, if you want to just make any final remarks before we close. WARIKOO: Yeah. I mean, I guess I’ll just say that I think it’s important to pay attention to admissions, but I also have started to think much more broadly about DEI and higher education. And I think we need to also look well-beyond these, sort of, selective colleges. Most colleges in the United States are not selective, right? And, you know, we’ve heard from folks from of those colleges. And, we need to—when we look at the endowment per pupil at some of these selective colleges, compared to—and what they’re doing for social mobility compared to, I’m sure, like the college in Miami, community colleges, open access state colleges. I think we just need a lot more supports for those colleges that are engines of social mobility. And, again, if we think about the mission of higher education and how we, as Americans, see how we want to—sort of, what kind of society we want to be, I think it’s incredibly important to look also beyond admissions. So I’ll leave it at that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Thank you, Natasha Warikoo. We appreciate it. We look forward to reading your forthcoming book. And to everybody taking the time to participate and for your great questions and comments. Again, this is a forum to exchange ideas and best practices. So we loved hearing your comments as well. So our next higher education webinar will be on Tuesday, April 19, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University. We’ll talk about the role of HBCUs in the United States. So please look out for that invitation. And in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_academic, visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for more resources. I look forward to communing again. And thank you, Natasha. WARIKOO: Thanks for having me. (END)
  • Economics

    Roger W. Ferguson Jr., Steven A. Tananbaum distinguished fellow for international economics at CFR, leads a conversation on the future of capitalism.  FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Roger Ferguson Jr. with us to talk about the future of capitalism. Roger Ferguson is CFR’s Steven A. Tananbaum distinguished fellow for international economics. Previously, he served as president and CEO of TIAA, and before that he was head of financial services for Swiss Re and chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation. He is the former vice chairman of the board of governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, and he currently serves on the board of several corporations and organizations, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an advisor with various private fintech companies. So, Dr. Ferguson, thank you very much for being with us today to talk about the future of capitalism, and it is kind of astonishing that we are talking about the future of capitalism. Can you talk about this area and what you see the strengths are and weaknesses as well? FERGUSON: So thank you very much, and I’m going to actually start with a quote. I think this is a quote from 1938 that roughly captures why we are talking about the future of capitalism. So this was from FDR, a famous U.S. president. In 1938, he said, “Democracy has disappeared in several other great nations, not because the people of those nations disliked democracy”—or you might say capitalism—“but because they had grown tired of unemployment and insecurity, of seeing their children hungry while they sat helpless in the face of government confusion and government weakness through lack of leadership in government.” Now, that is a strong statement. It is not exactly where we are today. But there are a few points here that are relevant and resonant with where we are today. So the reason that we’re looking at and talking about this question of the future of capitalism is that there are many surveys that suggest that young people, in particular, are not sure that capitalism is the system that they want to use to organize their economic life. We know that capitalism has been very successful in many ways. It has brought, literally, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people around the world out of abject poverty. It has created some of the most iconic and successful companies that the world has ever known. We’ve seen dramatic transformations in our lives in terms of our ability to do everyday tasks using smart phones, and they’ve only been around twenty years or so. All these things are the outcome of a capitalist system that is very robust, that has created new entities, that has allowed other things to grow—business, et cetera. Having said that, for many people, capitalism is still a bit of an enigma. They look around and they observe, at least here in the United States, that income has been gradually rising and inequality, starting, roughly, in the mid-1970s. They’ve seen very unexpected crises here in the U.S. and in other countries emanating from mysterious and misunderstood financial tools such as subprime mortgages. They see longer-term challenges for many people around health inequities, which became very clear during the COVID-19 crisis that is still with us in some ways. And, obviously, there are for many people, the ongoing challenge of climate change with very extreme weather, and we’ve experienced that as well. And so while capitalism is, I think, really recognized as the organizing force that has brought many people out of poverty, allowed new tools, new capabilities, a very comfortable lifestyle for many, it’s also seen as, perhaps, not doing everything it’s supposed to if you have increasing income inequality, increasing wealth inequality, and you look and see health inequalities and different outcomes, that they guess maybe the system should be somewhat better. The second point I’d make is, for me, it’s really quite ironic because I grew up at a time when there was conflict between capitalism and communism, and then in late 1980s, early 1990s, communism disappeared. The Soviet Union fell apart. And since that time, capitalism is the way that almost all societies have organized themselves. In the United States, we have capitalism that is regulated market capitalism, and Europe tends to be the kind of capitalism that leans a bit more towards social democratic norms. In Japan, there’s a kind of collective capitalism. Even China, sometimes called communist China—when I was growing up called Red China—under Deng Xiaoping. He had this famous phrase, “It doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white as long as it catches a mouse,” and people took that to be a dramatic move towards a capitalist kind of system, even in communist China. And so capitalism, for a period of time, was and still is the dominant way of organizing all—almost all of the major economies of the world. There are a few outliers. But the major economies have different versions of capitalism. There are five or six versions of capitalism. And now, suddenly, here we are in 2020, 2021, 2022, and we had an election in the United States when some of the candidates were talking about socialism. We see in China a reversion back to some skepticism about the kind of capitalism they had and the great wealth inequality that resulted. We see other surveys that suggest people around the world are less enamored of capitalism. So it would seem to me a very important topic to say, well, what is the future capitalism? The system that was the dominant system in the world for, roughly, thirty years is under question in almost every location and why is that? And so, that is what we’re looking at. Now, I know that we sent out some readings to the individuals who are joining us here—the academics, the students from around the country—and if you look at those readings you’ll see that we don’t really know the answers yet. And so one of those discussions was a discussion I led with Glenn Hubbard, the former dean of the Columbia Business School. And Glenn’s solution was to go back to the very early days of capitalists, to go back to Adam Smith and to adopt, as Glenn would say, the little “l” liberal view of capitalism, which is, basically, one in which he used the phrase, we should be building bridges and not walls, driving, I believe, for a kind of empathetic opening where we understood each other better and saw that we had our futures all intertwined. And so that’s, certainly, a view of, perhaps, how the future of capitalism might evolve, where it looks very much like a small “l” liberal view, going back to Adam Smith and the book that he wrote on so-called moral philosophy. If you look at some of the other readings, you’ll see that some people are saying, gee, one of the challenges that we have now is businesses are being allowed to sort of drive much of the agenda. And this discussion in businesses about the purpose of business and should it be so-called stakeholder value and stakeholder—so-called stakeholder primacy, thinking not just about the shareholders, but employees and the communities and the supply chain, et cetera. And so, that article suggested, well, maybe we really need stronger government influence as opposed to leaving the fixing of the system to the private sector, with maybe stronger antitrust regulation, perhaps, more progressive taxes. And so we have that as a question.  One of the articles looked at the most recent G-7—Group of Seven—discussion that seemed to move from the notion of free trade being best to maybe thinking about different metrics to make sure that the wealth of capitalism is distributed more evenly. I wrote another piece that said, in this period of inflation let’s make sure that we don’t go back to wage and price controls. So what the Council has been doing through these roundtables, through publications in Foreign Affairs, through posts on CFR.org, is, really, looking at and mixing up lots of different ideas, bringing many different views on what is it going to take to return to a position where everyone, both in the U.S. and more broadly, still believes that capitalism, for all of its flaws, is still the best way to organize our economic activity. At the end of the day, I think everyone would agree capitalism has done a really good job of getting us out of poverty. But the challenges now are how to think about the inequality that seems to have emerged in almost every country, and is the answer to that sort of more regulation or less regulation—more taxes, different taxes. Here in the United States, we’ve seen under President Biden a number of proposals that, while they are described as being fiscal stimulus, are really about social policy that, in many ways, are meant to fix some of the challenges of capitalism. For example, the question of should we have early childhood education as free for all—would that help to drive better outcomes in terms of income and wealth inequality. Obviously, the notion of investing more in infrastructure, particularly twenty-first century infrastructure as well as the older infrastructure is allowing us to knit the society together a bit better and maybe in a more equitable way. So it’s not just think-tank individuals and academics and business leaders, but government leaders as well are really coming to ask this question of what systems—what could we change in the system of capitalism to make it more resilient, to make it more robust, and to solve some of the issues and challenges that we’ve seen emerging only gradually over the last several years. And so those are some of the things that we’re focused on when it comes to the so-called future of capitalism. But let me emphasize that while I’m talking about this in terms of the future of capitalism and capitalism has been adopted in many different kinds of political environments—democracy, presidential democracy in the U.S., parliamentary democracy in the U.K., obviously, state-controlled in China—one of the reasons that I think, at least in the United States, we should be focused on the future of capitalism, going back to that Roosevelt quote that I started with, is that it may well be that capitalism and democracy are intertwined, and I believe that it is really very difficult, challenging, maybe impossible, to have a representative democracy where individuals go to the polling place and trust their government and trust their government leaders and trust the outcomes of democratic systems themselves if they don’t think that the economic system works well for them. Back to the point that Roosevelt was making, in societies where it looks as though the economic system isn’t working well, where unemployment lingers, where income and wealth inequality become major problems, where the individuals think that their children will not have better lives than they did, perhaps they’ll say, hmm, this is not just a problem of capitalism, this may be a problem in our political leaders. And maybe we might need a very, very different political system. And so I think, without panicking or creating hyperbole, the linkage between capitalism and democracy, I believe, is a fairly tight nexus, and some of the challenges that we’ve had, perhaps, around trusting elected outcomes, et cetera, may well be due to the fact that people feel that the economic system has worked well for a few but not for most, and they may see in many ways their lives are improved because they have new technologies and they can use Zoom and other things to communicate. But they may also think they’re stuck in a job where they are a so-called essential worker and confronting health crises and health challenges on a daily basis, and maybe that’s not the outcome that they’re looking for. And so we should recognize that this question of the future of capitalism is important unto itself. We don’t know yet the answers. But it may be tied a little bit to the question of future democratic institutions, at least in the United States. And the final point I’d make by way of opening is to say this is not the first time that we’ve seen questions of capitalism on the table. If one thinks about the economic history of the United States, there are many times when we’ve had rollercoaster rides in the economy. If we think about the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with child labor and individuals forced to work in very, very unsanitary conditions and, indeed, not being sure of the quality of food, and we had novels written about those kinds of challenges, yet, we came through that. We rebuilt capitalism in a different way. We added a social safety net. We created government agencies to think about food and drug safety. We thought about and developed laws around occupational safety and health. We created antitrust mechanisms to make sure that—in Teddy Roosevelt’s era, we had the so-called trust busting that institutions didn’t get too large. We had antitrust regulations about price fixing, for example, and rules about the hours that individuals could be made to work. And we’ve had—so we see that, at least in the United States, the capitalist system has historically righted itself when it seems to get a little bit out of kilter. So I close these opening remarks by saying while there may be some issues and questions that people have, while a number of us are even studying the future of capitalism, I, at least come at that with a sense of optimism, knowing that in the history of America, during some of the challenges when capitalism was at its roughest and most unfair and even dangerous to people, our leaders and our society stepped forward and created a kind of capitalism that was fair, more equitable, and smoothed out some of the rougher edges. So count me optimistic that the younger people listening to this and my own children will continue to live in a capitalist system. It might be a little different from what we have today. But I have every great confidence that with the goodwill of the people that we’re working with and millions of others we’ll end up with a modern capitalism that is suitable and fit for purpose for generations to come. So with that, let me stop and see if there are any questions, comments, from the audience. FASKIANOS: Great. Thanks so much, Roger. And now we’re going to go to all of you for your questions and comments. We already have a couple or several written questions in the Q&A box and raised hands. So if you are typing a question in the Q&A box, if you could also include your affiliation, that would be great. The first raised hand goes to Joseph Bower, and just be sure to unmute yourself and say who you are. Q: I’m Joe Bower. I’ve been teaching at Harvard for a long, long time. And around our centennial, which was 2008, in the run up we talked to business leaders all over the world about this problem and they identified major factors which they thought would disrupt the system. First of all, by the way, they did not talk about capitalism. They talked about the market system and—because China, basically, has a state market system. We have a private market system, which has something to do with ownership.  You’ve done a very good job of pointing out that, in fact, our government has played, historically, a very important role in influencing that system. We started dismantling that. We did not have a financial crisis in the United States until something like 2000 since the 1930s. But we dismantled that apparatus that, in fact, protected the market system and we’ve done that in a—I mean, when you and I went to school we were taught about countervailing power. That was dismantled. In a whole series of areas we have, in fact, undermined the infrastructure of law, of public health, and a whole series of pieces that made—enabled the market system. The market system doesn’t work by itself. So I would think that it’s a very hard problem and our—I have grandchildren who feel the way you described, that our system is—capitalism is problematic, but they think—they’re talking about the state arrangements. They’re not really talking about the value of markets. And I wonder if you can help us—can you talk about where your group has gotten to about that distinction? FERGUSON: Well, first—and Joe Bower is being modest. He’s—(laughs)—one of the most distinguished professors at Harvard Business School and, Professor Bower, it’s an honor and pleasure to have you here. And so, our group, I think, fully recognizes that the kind of capitalism we have here, as I think I said, is regulated capitalism and regulated free—a regulated market, so to speak, as opposed to state-driven markets or other things. I think the challenge for all of us—and you know this, Professor Bower—is in the history of America the pendulum swings back and forth, you know, on regulation. So I identified, that Teddy Roosevelt-, FDR-aligned regulation that came in and sort of saved capitalism and saved the markets at the very beginning of the nineteenth century—of the 1900s—the twentieth century. And then you fully understand that there have been periods of time here in the U.S., starting recently in the 1980s, when both parties, Democrats and Republicans, agreed that to some degree large government was the problem—that we needed to be deregulatory, and that is not—that was not one party or the other. It was a bipartisan consensus starting in the 1970s that, perhaps, regulation had become too much. And I think where you may be right and it may be part of the solution to this question of well-regulated capitalism is maybe the pendulum needs to swing back a little bit. Perhaps we do need to have—and there are folks who, certainly, think we need to have—a more progressive tax system to redistribute income. We had an election where there was debating about wealth taxes. They don’t work very well in other countries but it’s an important debate. We also, clearly, are right now having a conversation about it in the Congress under the president’s proposals about spending more on a social safety net, early childhood education. So I think you’re pointing out something that’s real important: In the swinging of the pendulum in democracy here in the United States, where that pendulum often swings around the question of how big should the state be versus private citizen initiative? How much should we have redistribution versus not? How much should we have government regulation versus not? And it may well be that is where it feels that’s part of where the debate is. And we can look back over history and say, all right, is it time for that pendulum to swing back—have we gone a little too far in the deregulatory mode and getting away from the well-regulated markets that have allowed us to be the envy of the world. So a good question, and it will be one of the things that I know we’ll continue to debate as a society and in the groups that we’re working. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So we’re going to take the next question from Willem DeVries, who got five up-votes. He’s a professor of philosophy at University of New Hampshire. You say capitalism has done a good job of getting us out of poverty. But who is the us here? Colonialism, a form of capitalism, certainly, did not help get the colonies and the colonized out of poverty. FERGUSON: Very good question. And so, to be fair, when I say global capitalism has done a good job getting us out of poverty, you point out something that’s real important, which is when economists say that they’re often thinking about a dramatically larger middle class in China. There is an intellectual class in India that is tied to global capitalism. We see in some of the Eastern European states, again, technology-driven jobs that are more middle income. And so one of the points that you’re making, and it’s one of the points that one of the articles made, is this free trade environment created by the WTO may have helped some people get out of poverty if they could get themselves linked to the U.S. economy and the U.S. engine, but not everybody. And one of the points that some of the articles made is free trade and the WTO process may have been very good in some places but there were costs paid, perhaps, here in the United States and other places in terms of jobs—manufacturing jobs, in many cases—that had existed here in the United States and then were moved overseas or moved to other countries. So you’re right to say be cautious. A global statement that millions and maybe billions have been lifted out of poverty is not the same as saying that everybody is made better off and there, certainly, are individuals here in the U.S. and we’ve had these discussions, obviously, in our process around bringing manufacturing jobs back, increasing tariffs on goods from other countries. And so, a very, very good point. And, finally, let’s be quite clear. Some of the joys that we have here in capitalism come, as you point out, from other countries that, perhaps, where they’re giving up their natural resources, where the nature of agriculture has changed, and all that to support our habits, and it may well be that there are places where individuals’ lives have been disrupted, not just in the U.S. but in other places, in a way that aren’t good. And so I think that is one of the things that drives some people to question what’s the future of capitalism when you look at global inequality and when you look at those who are feeling left behind here. So all of that is very much on the table. Thanks for raising it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Horace Bartilow, who has raised—a raised hand, from the University of Kentucky. Q: I’m no longer at the University of Kentucky. I’m at the American University School of International Service. FASKIANOS: Great. Q: I’m an international political economist, but I am—my question today—and thank you, Mr. Ferguson. Excellent opening. Is—capitalism came from—it evolved out of a feudal era. It came from somewhere, right? FERGUSON: Mmm hmm. Q: My concern is, and don’t take my question as if I’m against capitalism. I live in a home that is, technically, owned by a bank. I’m paying a mortgage and my retirement is wrapped up in the stock market. But my concern and my question is, is that the very fact that we’re asking the question about capitalism’s future is that we are worried that it might have a future, and the question is it might not have a future and that the next stage of human evolution could be developing a system that doesn’t look like capitalism. I don’t know what that system is. But it just seems to me that from your exposition over the period of capitalism’s life there have been different attempts to make it compatible, make it more legitimate, make it more egalitarian, and then the question is what happens when we run out of options to make it more egalitarian, to make it more legitimate. Then what? Because it just seems to me that we’re dealing with a system that we are trying to tame against its own self, that if we let it be itself it could destroy itself, right. It’s almost as if you’re trying to stop an addict that needs to be fed. (Laughs.) And so what happens when we run out of options? FERGUSON: So I think to put it in historical context, you’re, certainly, true that capitalism came from someplace. As you say, it came from feudalism. That was a system that had even more brutal inequality than anything you can imagine. And knowledge evolved. Ideas evolved. You know, Adam Smith, various things, emerged, and there was a whole intellectual ferment around how the system should be or the economic system should be organized in a way that it was perceived to at least overcome some of the obvious limitations of feudalism. To be very honest and transparent, it may well be, to your point, that out of what we currently have will be a gradual evolution towards something else whose name we haven’t even imagined yet. You know, it could well be that someone’s going to write the book that’s the functional equivalent of The Wealth of Nations that Adam Smith wrote to help drive a view of the way markets should be organized or that there should even be markets. And so I think that’s—the reason we’re having this conversation is that many people, some of whom have already spoken, are looking at the current way we organize the economy kind of globally and say maybe there is a better way. And so, the process of talking about the future of capitalism is to start with what we understand and, in your word, taming the beast. So we’ve seen this beast in operation for, roughly, three hundred years. We’ve tamed it many, many different times—creating new institutions, central banks, creating new laws, creating progressivism, all of which has tamed capitalism, so to speak, to use your analogy. And so I think we’re in the process of seeing how that we can continue to do that. You may be right that someone, an Adam Smith type person or whoever she may be, may come along, imagining a brand new world and all of us will rally around that or our children will. But right now, perhaps because of the lack of creativity or imagination, I think we are attempting to do what our forefathers and predecessors did, to your point, continuing to sort of manage and tame this beast as best we can. The reason I think that’s important is we also know that there were—there was a different view of how to organize economic activity called communism. That, obviously, didn’t work very well. And the point that I made, and I think Joe Bower jumped in as well, even in so-called communist China they adopted a market system allowing elements of capitalism to flourish. So the other reason, I think, to continue this discussion is we did have an experiment with a different system and the folks under that system, clearly, didn’t like it and it eventually fell on its own weight. So, right now, having had that experience, the absence of, that author who is going to imagine the new future, I think it behooves us to see, to your language, if we can continue to evolve this one to hold on to some of the strengths and ameliorate some of the obvious problems. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Kate Landino, who is an undergrad in—majoring in political science at Skidmore College. One of the main reasons capitalism is under fire is that it’s benefiting some and oppressing most. How would you suggest that within the U.S. we can address the wealth gap and redistribution of wealth within the capitalist system? FERGUSON: Well, look, we know how to do that is through taxes, and the challenge is always—and it’s been challenging us forever—how much should we tax the rich and redistribute and is there a point at which individuals say, oh, gee, I know I don’t want to work because that last hundred dollars, thousand dollars, whatever, is mainly going to the government and not staying with me. And to be quite clear, we had a point in this country when we didn’t have an income tax and that required a constitutional amendment to drive it. We’ve had periods when the marginal tax rate—the tax rate on the last $100,000 whatever the number would have been at the margin—was well over 50 percent, in some cases 70 percent, and that was true in the late 1950s and the early 1960s. So, John Kennedy and his team came in and reduced the marginal tax rate and that drove quite a bit of growth. We’ve had more recent tax cuts where some people felt you’ve gone too far. And so I think we know how to deal with this question of income inequality, at least, and redistribution, and the main way that we do it is through the tax system. Now, having said that, you could also look overseas because people have talked about taxes on wealth, and it turns out that many countries have tried that. Right now, I think, only two other major developed countries are using it. Many tried it and reject it—rejected it. So, we can also learn something about tax structures that, perhaps, didn’t work as well as their creators had hoped. And the final point I’d make is, even at our marginal tax rates one can look to Europe—when I say our I mean in the U.S.—one could look to Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries to see countries that have a much higher tax rate and they seem to do all right with that, and maybe we can learn and understand how that works as well. So the answer to your question is it all runs through the taxes. It’s a big debate here in the United States and has been going back to should we even have an income tax, and I expect that, and we saw it in this most recent election, we’ll continue to debate what’s the right level of taxes to do what we want to do when many of us, I think, want to maintain the capitalist system, but to your point, smooth out the edges so that it doesn’t feel as though a few of us benefit at the expense of others. FASKIANOS: Terrific. I’m going to go next to Ken Mayers, who is a senior adjunct professor at St. Francis College. You mentioned different forms of capitalism in your introduction and Professor Bower mentioned different market systems. One can argue that all systems are mixed and that systems in many places around the world today involve mixtures that include elements of oligarchic capitalism. Can you point us to people within your group who are taking the role of oligarchic capitalism in the emerging future of capitalism globally into account? FERGUSON: Well, so this project started with a paper that I wrote with my research associate, Upamanyu Lahiri, and we identified six types of capitalism in the world and they may be market systems, to pick up on Professor Bower. So, in the U.S. we describe that as a regulated market system. In Western Europe—we’ve heard her talk a little bit about it—it has more of a social democratic nature to it but very much capitalism, not too much state ownership; a bit more than what we have. I would describe Russia as, to your point, an oligarchic capitalism. You know, some people would say that. We looked at Japan, and I think I would describe that as being a collective kind of capitalism. Obviously, China, to Professor Bower’s point, I think, is very state-directed capitalism, and we have in other countries a bit more of a bureaucratically-driven capitalism. So that is where we’re thinking about it. We’ll have someone talking on each one of those. I would say most of us don’t believe that an oligarchic capitalism where a small number will get the wealth of the society, an even smaller number than we have here—that doesn’t look like it works. It, certainly, doesn’t feel—if we’re worried about the inequality of the current system we have in the United States imagine if we had a system where even a smaller number of people controlled the major industries and were not paying taxes. So we will take a look at all of these. I don’t think we’re going to look to an oligarchic capitalism system as the way that we want to go because the evidence suggests that that probably is not the best for the vast majority of people. But we will, certainly, look at all of them and figure out if there is, to your point, an admixture that works better for more people than what appears to be the case now for many. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Next one is Valerie Luzadis, who is at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse in New York. One might easily understand that climate change is a direct result of the dominance of capitalism in which homogenization requires additional use of energy to homogenized globalization. When considering this, huge questions arise about the ability of the offending system to, truly, address the problem, especially when the power distribution is not adequately addressed. Comments? FERGUSON: Well, I find that very interesting because it feels to me, after some fits and starts, that there’s a consensus that’s emerged that we have to confront climate change. Some folks may still debate is it man—is it caused by human interaction, what it may be. I think, in general, the consensus is we must figure out numerous ways to attack this problem. To put it another way insofar as climate change or climate degradation is due to a market that doesn’t work very well, we’re finding people say we need to create a new market. We’re finding investors saying we must invest in—in mitigation processes. We find shareholders saying to companies, what are you doing about this topic? It feels to me as though a consensus is strongly emerging that this is an existential threat, and what I find fascinating is some of the answers are regulation, but some of the answers are also markets. And, how that’s going to work I’m not sure. But, there’s a great deal of talk about putting an adequate and accurate price on carbon, which would drive up the price that we all pay for, a number of commodities and services that are driven by, the use of carbon for energy. There is an ongoing effort to create a better market for what’s called carbon offsets—using different ways to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and paying people to do that. So I actually find it fascinating that this big existential issue is being confronted more directly now than ever and that some of the answers are around regulation but some of the tools of capitalism are being called in to help drive solutions here. And so this feels to me as though to some people, many of us, it took too long to get there. It feels to me very much as though this is a place where insofar as climate change is being driven by poor markets, there’s an effort to make better markets as well as better regulation to drive as quickly as we possibly can a solution to this really daunting and, potentially, existential challenge. FASKIANOS: Great. The next question comes from Steven Jones, who’s at Georgia Gwinnett College. How would you respond to critics of capitalism such as Piketty, who advocated transition from capitalism to socialism? FERGUSON: Well, look, I think we start by saying, as Piketty did, what is the thing that seems to be the fundamental Achilles’ heel of capitalism, and I think all of us agree—and it’s come up a few times and Piketty and his co-authors have identified it as well—which is the tendency in capitalist systems for income and wealth to become increasingly unequal. Now, we know how to deal with that. As I said, it’s through tax arrangements, different kinds of tax arrangements, and all of them don’t work equally well, and so we can create an overlay that ameliorates those effects. Now, is that still capitalism? I would argue it’s, certainly, still capitalism. Just as we have more progressive taxes in Scandinavia and other places, they still have, fundamentally, a capitalist system where it’s still primarily individuals who control the means of production, if I were to use that phrase. And so I think we should be cautious here that just looking around the world there are already different types of capitalism and we’ll probably end up picking and choosing—every country will probably pick and choose. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to sort of coalesce globally around a kind of capitalism that meets some of the challenges of inequality as best we can without creating so many disincentives in the private sector that we also don’t have the opportunity to have the kind of really creative growth and development of new ideas and new technologies that we’ve had. So that’s sort of the way I think about it, and when I read Piketty’s work it feels to me as though what he’s looking at is something that’s a more European-style capitalism with more progressive taxes and I don’t know if one wants to call that socialism. I think that’s a little strong. Socialism involves state ownership of many of the means of production. But it may be what he’s talking about is something that looks like a social democratic kind of capitalism, which major societies have found quite comfortable and quite amenable. FASKIANOS: I’ll take the next question from Gabriela Rivera, who’s an undergrad at the University of Notre Dame majoring in economics and global affairs. To what extent do businesses influence environmental and social change? Is a massive change needed to create equity and reduce carbon emissions possible through corporate responsibility without extreme government regulation? I think you did touch upon this. But— FERGUSON: Yeah. So one of the articles talked very much about that, and I guess I believe it’s a both/and. So I think we need governments to set regulations, as we’ve had in the past. One of the best government regulations that we had was around sulfur dioxide emission when we had a big concern about acid rain, and so we’ve seen the government can set regulatory constraints. We’ve seen governments setting—creating markets that deal with some of these problems, and we also need, as we do now, as we have now, to have companies that are also voluntarily thinking about how to reduce their carbon footprint. So I think the answer is a both/and. We still need government regulation. We’re going to need markets to be created to give prices to carbon that all of us will have to pay to consume less of it. But we also need—and we need businesses that understand they’ve got a responsibility to manage their carbon footprint and they’re doing that—these businesses—in part because their investors are asking for it, their consumers might be asking for it, and, certainly, in many cases, their employees are asking for it as well. And so, I think one of the good things about the current system is pressure, internal and external, can get businesses to think about these big long-term issues as well as having government regulation and having new markets come into existence. FASKIANOS: Great, and I—that does segue nicely into Dick Cavanagh’s question from Harvard. How does stakeholder capitalism address economic inequality? FERGUSON: We’re very lucky today because we have distinguished Harvard professors and I—total transparency, I’ve known Dick Cavanagh for decades. So, I think it’s very interesting to me to think about economic history, that there is a great deal of talk about that famous Milton Friedman article that said the purpose of businesses is to make a profit and that drove this notion of shareholder capitalism was always the dominant capitalism. Well, the truth of the matter is—and you know this—there were always people that said, oh, wait a minute, businesses have other responsibilities as well. And I think, for sure one cannot create a long-term viable business without thinking about impact on the environment, impact on communities, impact on employees, and all that is wrapped up in this new concept of stakeholder capitalism. But there’s always been that discussion, as you well know. And so I believe fully that the resurgence of the question stakeholder versus shareholder is a good thing and my view is that businesses have always been forced to think about their environment, think about their shareholders, thinking about their stakeholders, as it’s now called, in order to be successful. And, ironically and most importantly, you know and all of us know the story of Henry Ford, who raised the wages of his workers so they could afford to be good consumers and wanted to buy his automobiles. And so this notion of stakeholder capitalism goes back in the history of America and I think it’s one that’s been resurfaced and I think it’s an important way to think about the future of capitalism. FASKIANOS: So this goes to the next question from Deborah Burand, a professor at NYU Law. We’re in proxy season now. Do you see the market increase in shareholder proposals in 2021 related to ESG and the support many of those proposals garnered as another way that markets are moving to fill gaps or augment shifts in corporate purpose? FERGUSON: Absolutely. Again, as a person who believes that capitalism will continue to right itself, that is one of the examples. So, shareholders, particularly, our large institutional shareholders, fought to get proxy access, fought to get say on pay. We’re now finding that they are voting around some of these social issues quite a bit more. We’ve also seen a case of a small fund—I think it’s called Engine No. 1—getting access to the proxy at ExxonMobil and, I think, replacing two or three of their directors. And so, through capitalist mechanisms and through the ownership of shares, which is an essence of private market and private capitalism, we’re finding individuals, institutional shareholders, and others really forcing change even to some of our largest, most important, and historically iconic companies. So I do think that you put your finger on one of the ways that capitalism is righting itself, which is using a capitalist tool, the proxy. FASKIANOS: Great. The next question from Skyler Ruderman, who’s an undergraduate student at University of California Santa Cruz. You mentioned earlier the linkage between capitalism and democracy as almost being inherent, yet we see that the United States is propping up or supporting dictatorships like Pinochet, Suharto, and kingdoms like Saudi Arabia, protects or advances financial interests of the state and its major corporations. Given this direct link between authoritarianism and capitalism, along with the drive within the U.S. to inhibit voting and with historic regulations around restricting voting and participation in democracy, can we say capitalism can be conflated with democracy? FERGUSON: So I think what I said was it’s hard for me to imagine that we’re going to continue to have sort of a well-functioning representative democracy if people think that the system doesn’t work for them economically. That is back to that 1938 quote from Roosevelt and I agree with that. So one of the reasons that it’s important to drive an improvement in capitalism is that people have got to believe that the system, broadly written, is fair for them, and in a democracy, if you don’t believe the system is fair, what do you do? You go to the ballot box. You may end up listening to the most extreme voices and that, potentially, could lead to an unraveling of capitalism and democracy, and that was sort of the point that Roosevelt was making. I want to associate myself with that point, that there’s a certain amount of determinism that comes from economic outcomes that in a representative democracy spills over into, frankly, the democratic system. Having said that, I’m not in a position to defend every foreign policy decision that was made back in the 1970s about supporting dictatorships in different places. And, to the point around the hydrocarbon economy, there, obviously, are decisions that people make and the markets make around supporting different governments, different regimes, in part to get hold of raw materials that are necessary. I can’t defend or attack any structure of government any place. But you, certainly, make a point to observe that in the history of the United States we’ve had various different kind of alliances that maybe to the modern eye don’t look—isn’t that consistent with who we are and what we stand for. On the question of voting, I’ve said publicly and signed letters that say that literally, 1.3 million Americans, I think, have died in various wars defending democracy and the right to vote, and I continue to believe that that’s a sacred element of our democracy, to have everyone have access to the ballot. I grew up in the civil rights era when people, literally, were killed, if not beaten, around this question of access to the ballot. So, count me fully committed to having the largest possible legitimate vote that we possibly can. And I emphasize legitimate vote and as large as we possibly can, because I think that’s one of the hallmarks of democracy and because, as I said, more than a million Americans have died so that all of us had the right to vote. FASKIANOS: Thank you. There are many more questions but we only have time for one because we have a hard stop to let you prepare for your 2:00 p.m. So I’m going to give the last one over to Laila Bishara, who is an assistant professor at SUNY Farmingdale, teaching international business. Your thoughts on the role of educational institutions to lead on ESG issues and, hopefully, its impact on industries. I think this is a good way for us to close. FERGUSON: Absolutely. So I have said many times that education in general is the great leveler. It brings all of us up. I, personally, have benefited from that, and I fully understand that education institutions are often where some of the rough and tumble as we move forward goes forward. So I’m not at all surprised to see that on educational campuses, educational institutions are driving some of the heaviest debates around ESG. That was true when I was a student back in the late 1960s through the 1970s. One of the great joys of universities is that is where ideas are felt most passionately and people sort of drive to make change from the academy, both the students and faculty. So, I fully expect to see more of that because that’s simply one of the great benefits of having the kind of robust higher education systems, the state schools such as SUNY and with private schools as well, driving all of us to think more critically about what we do. And, by the way, I also think that a functioning democracy depends on individuals capable of thinking critically for themselves, based on having a solid foundation of a liberal arts education with the right degree of science and technology and math and engineering as well. FASKIANOS: Great. Any last words before we close, Roger? FERGUSON: Three things. One is I really want to thank all of you. I know we didn’t get to all the questions but, clearly, a very, very thoughtful group with wonderful questions. Two, this is really an important topic for all of us to engage in, not something that the elite can establish but all of us need to have a point of view about our system. And three, I continue to be optimistic, knowing that there are weaknesses and failures.  We’ve tried other solutions. None of them would seem at this stage better than capitalism. Something better may come along. But until that happens, I, at least, will continue to try to think through how we can improve the capitalist system that we have. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you, Dr. Roger Ferguson. We really appreciate your taking the time to be with us today. Again, my apologies to all of you for—who had your hands raised and we couldn’t get to them. But we will have to invite him back to talk about how his project is going. So, as I mentioned at the outset, we will be posting the video and transcript to this so you can revisit it or share it with your colleagues who are unable to join.  Our next Academic Webinar will be on Thursday, March 10, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time with Rose Gottemoeller, who is at Stanford University, talking about international security and cooperation. Please continue to follow us at @CFR_academic and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. Again, thank you all for being with us, thank you to Dr. Ferguson, and we hope you have a good rest of the day. (END
  • Latin America

    Patrick Dennis Duddy, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and senior visiting scholar at Duke University, leads a conversation on democracy in Latin America. This meeting is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Patrick Dennis Duddy with us today to talk about democracy in Latin America. Ambassador Patrick Duddy is the director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and teaches in both Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Prior to his assignment to Venezuela, Ambassador Duddy served as deputy assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, and he’s also held positions at embassies in Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Panama, and has worked closely with Haiti. So it is my pleasure to have him with us today. He has served nearly three decades in the Foreign Service. He’s taught at the National War College, lectured at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, and is a member of CFR. So, Ambassador Duddy, you bring all of your experience to this conversation to talk about this very small question of the state of democracy in Latin America and what U.S. policy should be. It’s a broad topic, but I’m going to turn it over to you to give us your insight and analysis. DUDDY: Well, good afternoon, or morning, to all of those who have tuned in, and, Irina, thank you to you and the other folks at the Council for giving me this opportunity. I thought I would begin with a brief introduction, partially rooted in my own experience in the region, and then leave as much time as possible for questions. To start with, let us remember that President Biden held a Democracy Summit in early December, and in opening that summit he emphasized that for the current American administration, in particular, the defense of democracy is, I believe he said, a defining challenge, going ahead. Now, I, certainly, subscribe to that assertion, and I’d also like to start by reminding folks how far the region has come in recent decades. I flew down to Chile during the Pinochet regime to join the embassy in the very early 1980s, and I recall that the Braniff Airlines flight that took me to Santiago, essentially, stopped in every burg and dorf with an airport from Miami to Santiago. It used to be called the milk run. And in virtually every country in which we landed there was a military dictatorship and human rights were honored more in the breach than in fact. Things have really changed quite substantially since then, and during much of the ’80s we saw a pretty constant move in the direction of democracy and somewhat later in the ’80s also, in many parts of Latin America, an embrace of a market-oriented economic policy. There was some slippage even in the early part of the new millennium. But, nevertheless, the millennium opened on 9-11-2001 with the signature in Lima, Peru, of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Secretary Powell was, in fact, in Lima for the signing of that agreement, which was endorsed by every country in the region except Cuba. This was a major step forward for a region that had been synonymous with strongman politics, military government, and repression. The slippage since then has been significant and, indeed, as recently as a year or two ago during the pandemic the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Management or Electoral Administration—I believe it’s called IDEA—noted that across much of the region, publics were losing faith in democracy as the preferred form of government. I would say, rather more pointedly, of real significance in recent years has been the deterioration of democracy in a series of countries and the inability of the rest of the hemisphere to do anything about it, notwithstanding the fact that the hemisphere as a whole had indicated that full participation in the inter-American system required democratic governance and respect for human rights. Venezuela now is pretty unapologetically an authoritarian government. So is Nicaragua, and there has been real slippage in a number of other countries in the region as well. I think it would be appropriate to ask, given the progress made from, say, the early ’80s through the year 2000, what accounts for this, and I would say there are a number of key factors. By and large, I would note, the factors are internal. That is to say they derive from circumstances within the region and are not necessarily a consequence of external subversion. Poverty, inequality, crony capitalism in some cases, criminality, drug trafficking—these things continue to bedevil a range of countries within the region. Endemic corruption is something that individual countries have struggled with and, by and large, been unsuccessful in significantly reducing. In effect, governability, as a general heading, probably explains or is the heading under which we should investigate just why it is that some publics have lost faith in democracy. You know, we’ve had several really interesting elections lately. Let’s set aside just for the moment the reality that, particularly since 2013, Venezuela has deteriorated dramatically in virtually every respect—politically, economically—in terms of, you know, quality of life indicators, et cetera, as has Nicaragua, and look, for instance, at Peru. Peru has held a free, fair—recently held a free, fair election, one that brought a significant change to the government in that the new president, a teacher, is a figure on the left. Now, I don’t think we, collectively or hemisphere, there’s, certainly, no problem with that. But what accounts for the fact that a place like Peru has seen wild swings between figures of the left and of the right, and has most recently, notwithstanding a decade of mostly sustained significant macroeconomic growth, why have they embraced a figure who so—at least in his campaign so profoundly challenged the existing system? I would argue it’s because macroeconomic growth was not accompanied by microeconomic change—that, basically, the poor remained poor and the gap between rich and poor was, largely, undiminished. Arguably, much the same thing has happened recently in Chile, the country which was for decades the yardstick by which the quality of democracy everywhere else in the hemisphere was frequently judged. The new president or the president—I guess he’s just taken office here—president-elect in Chile is a young political activist of the left who has, in the past, articulated an enthusiasm for figures like Hugo Chavez or even Fidel Castro, and now, as the elected president, has begun to use a more moderate rhetoric. But, again, the country which, arguably, has had the greatest success in reducing poverty has, nevertheless, seen a dramatic swing away from a more conventional political figure to someone who is advocating radical change and the country is on the verge of—and in the process of revising its constitution. How do we explain that? I think in both cases it has to do with frustration of the electorate with the ability of the conventional systemic parties, we might say, to deliver significant improvement to the quality of life and a significant reduction of both poverty and income inequality, and I note that income inequality persists even when at times poverty has been reduced and is a particularly difficult problem to resolve. Now, we’ve also seen, just to cite a third example, just recently this past weekend an election in Costa Rica, which was well administered and the results of which have been accepted unquestionably by virtually all of the political figures, and I point to Costa Rica, in part, because I’ve spent a good deal of time there. I’ve witnessed elections on the ground. But what is the reality? The reality is over decades, indeed, certainly, beginning in the late ’40s during the administration of the first “Pepe” Figueres, the country has been successful in delivering quality services to the public. As a result, though, notwithstanding the fact that there have been changes, there’s been no serious deterioration in the country’s embrace of democracy or its enthusiasm for its own political institutions. This makes it not entirely unique but very closely unique in the Central American context. A number of other things that I’d like to just leave with you or suggest that we should consider today. So we—throughout much of Latin America we’re seeing sort of plausibly well-administered elections but we are seeing often sort of dramatic challenges, sometimes to political institutions but often to economic policy, and those challenges have resulted in tremendous pendulum swings in terms of public policy from one administration to the next, which, at times, has undermined stability and limited the attractiveness of the region for foreign direct investment. Beyond that, though, we’re also seeing a kind of fracturing of the region. In 2001, when the Inter-American Democratic Charter was embraced—was signed in Lima—an event that would have, perhaps, attracted a good deal more attention had other things not happened on that very same day—much of the region, I think, we would understand, was, largely, on the same page politically and even to some degree economically, and much of the region embraced the idea of—I’m sorry, I’m losing my signal here—much of the region embraced a deeper and productive relationship with the United States. The situation in Venezuela, which has generated over—right around 6 million refugees—it’s the largest refugee problem in the world after Syria—has, to some degree, highlighted some of the changes with respect to democracy. The first—and I’m going to end very shortly, Irina, and give folks an opportunity to ask questions—the first is the frustration and the inability of the region to enforce, you know, its own mandates, its own requirement that democracy be—and democratic governance and respect for human rights be a condition for participation in the inter-American system. And further to that, what we’ve seen is a breakup of the one larger group of countries in the region which had been attempting to encourage the return to democracy in Venezuela, known as the Lima Group. So what we’ve seen is that the commitment to democracy as a hemispheric reality has, to some degree, eroded. At the same time, we are increasingly seeing the region as a theater for big power competition. You know, it was only within the last few days that President Fernández, for instance, of Argentina traveled to meet with both the Russian leadership and the Chinese. This is not inherently problematical but it probably does underscore the degree to which the United States is not the only major power active in the region. We may still have the largest investment stock in the region, but China is now the largest trading partner for Brazil, for Chile, for Peru, the largest creditor for Venezuela. I haven’t yet touched on Central America and that’s a particularly difficult set of problems. But what I would note is while we, in the United States, are wrestling with a range of issues, from refugees to drug trafficking, we are also simultaneously trying to deepen our trade relationships with the region, relationships which are already very important to the United States. And, unfortunately, our political influence in the region, I believe, has become diluted over time by inattention at certain moments and because of the rise or the introduction of new and different players, players who are frequently not particularly interested in local political systems much less democracy, per se. So, if I may, I’ll stop there. As Irina has pointed out, I served extensively around the region for thirty years and I’d be happy to try and answer questions on virtually any of the countries, certainly, those in which I have served. FASKIANOS: So I’m going to go first to Babak Salimitari. If you could unmute yourself and give us your affiliation, Babak. Q: Good morning, Ambassador. My name is Babak. I am a third-year student at UCI and my question—you mentioned the far-left leaders who have gained a lot of traction and power in different parts of Latin America. Another guy that comes to mind is the socialist in Honduras. But, simultaneously, you’ve also seen a drift to the far right with presidents like President AMLO—you have President Bolsonaro—all who are, basically, the opposite of the people in Honduras and, I’d say, Chile. So what is—these are countries that—I know they’re very different from one another, but the problems that they face like poverty, income inequality, I guess, drug trafficking, they exist there and they also exist there. Why have these two different sort of polarities—political polarities arose—arisen, arose— DUDDY: Risen. (Laughs.) Q: —in these countries? DUDDY: That’s a great question. I would note, first of all, I don’t see President Lόpez Obrador of Mexico as a leader of the right. He is, certainly—he, largely, comes from the left, in many respects, and is, essentially, a populist, and I would say populism rather than sort of a right/left orientation is often a key consideration. Returning to my earlier comment in that what I see is popular frustration with governments around the region, often, President Bolsonaro was elected in the—in a period in which public support for government institutions in Brazil, particularly, the traditional political parties, was at an especially low level, right. There had been a number of major corruption scandals and his candidacy appeared to be—to some, at least—to offer a kind of tonic to the problems which had beset the earlier governments from the Workers’ Party. He, clearly, is a figure of the right but I think the key thing is he represented change. I think, you know, my own experience is that while some leaders in Latin America draw their policy prescriptions from a particular ideology, the voters, essentially, are looking at very practical considerations. Has the government in power been able to deliver on its promises? Has life gotten better or worse? President Piñera in Chile was a figure of the right, widely viewed as a conservative pro-market figure. The PT in Brazil—the Workers’ Party—came from the left. Both were succeeded by figures from the other end of the political spectrum and I think it was more a matter of frustration than ideology. I hope that answers your question. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the next written question from Terron Adlam, who’s an undergraduate student at Delaware State University. Essentially, can you discuss the relationship between climate change and the future of democracy in Latin America? DUDDY: Well, that’s just a small matter but it’s an important one, actually. The fact is that especially in certain places climate change appears to be spurring migration and poverty, and there are people here at Duke—some of my colleagues—and elsewhere around the country looking very specifically at the links between, especially, drought and other forms of climate change, the, you know, recovery from hurricanes, et cetera, and instability, unemployment, decline in the quality of services. Overburdened countries, for instance, in Central America have sometimes not recovered from one hurricane before another one hits, and this has effects internally but it has also tended to complicate and possibly accelerate the movement of populations from affected areas to other areas. Sometimes that migration is internal and sometimes it’s cross-border. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to a raised hand, Arnold Vela. If you—there you go. Q: Good afternoon, Ambassador Duddy. DUDDY: Good afternoon. Q: I’m Arnold Vela. I served in the Foreign Service for a couple of years and I’m now retired teaching government at Northwest Vista College. I think you put your finger on a very important point, which is that of the economic inequality and poverty that exists in Latin America, and, you know, with that being the case, I think Shannon O’Neil makes a good case about focusing on economic policy. And I was wondering what your thoughts were on ways in which we could do that in terms of, for example, foreign development investment, which may be decreasing because of a tendency to look inward for economic development in the United States. But are there other mechanisms, such as through the U.S. Treasury Department, financial ways to cut corruption? And also what about the Inter-American Development Bank? Should it be expanded in its role for not just infrastructure development but for such things as microeconomic development that you mentioned? Thank you. DUDDY: You know, as deputy assistant secretary, I, actually had the economic portfolio for the Western Hemisphere for a couple of years within the State Department. Clearly, trade is important. Foreign direct investment is, I think, critical. One of the things that we need to remember when we talk about foreign direct investment is that, typically, it’s private money, right—it’s private money—and that means governments and communities need to understand that in order to attract private money they need to establish conditions in which investors can see a reasonable return and in which they can enjoy a reasonable measure of security. That can be very, very difficult in the—Arnold, as you probably will recall, in much of Latin America, for instance, in the energy sector—and Latin America has immense energy resources—but the energy resources are frequently subject to a kind of resource nationalism. And so my experience is that in some parts of Latin America it’s difficult to attract the kind of investment that could make a very substantial difference in part because local politics, largely, preclude extending either ownership or profit participation in the development of some resources. The fact that those things were not initially permitted in Mexico led to a constitutional change in order to permit both profit sharing and foreign ownership to some degree of certain resources. Investors need a certain measure of security and that involves, among other things, making sure that there is a reasonable expectation of equal treatment under the law, right. So legal provisions as well as a determination to attract foreign investment. Places like—little places, if you will, like Costa Rica have been very, very successful at attracting foreign investment, in part because they’ve worked hard to create the conditions necessary to attract private money. I would note—let me just add one further thought, and that is part of the problem in—I think, in some places has been something that we in the United States have often called crony capitalism. We need to make sure that competition for contracts, et cetera, is, in fact, transparent and fair. As for international institutions, there are many in the United States that are sometimes with which the region is unfamiliar like, for instance, the Trade and Development Agency, which promotes, among other things, feasibility studies, and the only condition for assistance from the TDA is that subsequent contracts be fairly and openly competed and that American companies be allowed to compete. So there are resources out there and I, certainly, would endorse a greater concentration on Latin America and I think it can have a real impact. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question—a written question—from Chaney Howard, who is a business major at Howard University. You spoke about the erosion of democratic push in Latin America growth, specifically with the Lima Group. What do you feel would need to happen for a new power to be established or encouraged to help nations band together and improve democratic growth? DUDDY: Well, the Lima Group was—which was organized in 2017 for the express purpose of advocating for the restoration of democracy in Venezuela, fell apart, essentially, as countries began to look more internally, struggling, in particular, with the early economic consequences of the pandemic. Some of you will remember that, particularly, early on, for instance, cruise ships in the Caribbean, essentially, stopped sailing. Well, much of the Caribbean depends absolutely on tourism, right. So the pandemic, effectively, turned people’s attention to their own internal challenges. I think that we have good institutions still. But I think that we need to find ways other than just sanctions to encourage support for democracy. The U.S. has been particularly inclined in recent years not to interventionism but to sanctioning other countries. While sometimes—and I’ve sometimes advocated for sanctions myself, including to the Congress, in very limited circumstances—my sense is that we need to not only be prepared to sanction but also to encourage. We need to have a policy that offers as many carrots as sticks, and we need to be prepared to engage more actively than we have in the last fifteen years on this. Some of these problems date back some time. Now, one particularly important source of development assistance has always been the Millennium Challenge account, and there is a key issue there, which, I think, largely, limits the degree to which the Millennium Challenge Corporation can engage and that is middle income countries aren’t eligible for their large assistance programs. I think we should revisit that because while some countries qualify as middle income, when you only calculate per capita income using GDP, countries with serious problems of income inequality as well as poverty are not eligible and I think that we should consider formulae that would allow us to channel more assistance into some of those economies. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Kennedy Himmel, who does not have access to a mic, a student at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. There seems to be surmounting evidence that suggests that U.S. imperialism has waged both covert warfare and regime change itself in Central American countries through the last century and our current one. The most notable cases was Operation Condor, which peaked during Reagan’s administration. You suggested the problems plaguing these countries’ embrace of primarily right-wing dictatorships is a product of crony capitalism, poverty, and corruption, which are all internal problems. Do you think some of these problems of these countries are a byproduct of U.S. and Western meddling, economic warfare, the imposition of Western neoliberalism? DUDDY: Well, that’s a good question. My own experience in the region dates from the early ’80s. I mean, certainly, during the Cold War the United States tended to support virtually any government that we perceived or that insisted that they were resolutely anti-communist. For decades now the U.S. has made support for democracy a pillar of its policies in the region and I think we have, largely, evolved out of the—you know, our earlier, you know, period of either interventionism or, in a sense, sometimes even when we were not entirely—when we were not active we were complicit in that we applied no standard other than anti-communism with the countries we were willing to work with. That was a real problem. I note, by the way, for any who are interested that several years ago—about five years ago now, if I’m not mistaken, Irina—the Foreign Affairs, which is published by the Council on Foreign Relations, ran a series of articles in one issue called “What Really Happened?”, and for those interested in what really happened in Chile during the Allende government, there is a piece in there by a man named Devine, who was actually in the embassy during the coup and was working, as he now acknowledges, for the CIA. So I refer you to that. My sense in recent decades is that the U.S. has, certainly, tried to advance its own interests but has not been in the business of undermining governments, and much of the economic growth which some countries have sustained has derived very directly from the fact that we’ve negotiated free trade agreements with more countries in Latin America than any other part of the world. I remember very distinctly about five years into the agreement with Chile that the volume of trading both directions—and as a consequence, not just employment, but also kind of gross income—hence, had very substantially increased; you know, more than a hundred percent. The same has been true with Mexico. So, you know, we have a history in the region. I think it is, largely, explained by looking at U.S. policy and understanding that it was—almost everything was refracted through the optic of the Cold War. But, you know, it’s now many decades since that was the case. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go to Elizabeth McDowell, who has a raised hand. Q: Hi. I’m Elizabeth McDowell. I’m a graduate student in public policy at Duke University. Ambassador Duddy, thanks for your talk. I want to ask a question about a potential tradeoff between good governance and— DUDDY: I lost your audio. Please repeat. Q: How’s my audio now? OK. My— DUDDY: You’ll have to repeat the question. Q: My question is about critical minerals and metals in the region and, essentially, these metals and minerals, including lithium, cobalt, and nickel, copper, others, are essential for clean energy transition, and there are a lot of countries that have instituted new policies in order to gain financially from the stores since these minerals are very prevalent in the region. And my question is do you think that there’s a tradeoff between sustainable development and having the minerals that we need at low cost and countries being able to benefit economically from their natural resource stores? DUDDY: Yeah. I’m not quite sure how I would characterize the tradeoffs. But, you know, as I mentioned with respect, for instance, to oil and gas but the same applies to lithium, cobalt, et cetera, in much of Latin America the resources that are below the surface of the Earth belong to the nation, right. They belong to the nation. And in some places—I very vividly remember in Bolivia—there was tremendous resistance at a certain point to the building of a pipeline by a foreign entity which would take Bolivian gas out of the country. And that resistance was rooted in Bolivia’s history in the sense that much of the population had—that the country had been exploited for five hundred years and they just didn’t trust the developers to make sure that the country shared appropriately in the exploitation of the country’s gas resources. Just a few years ago, another—a major company, I think, based in—headquartered in India, opened and then closed a major operation that was going to develop—I think it was also lithium mining—in Bolivia because of difficulties imposed by the government. I understand why those difficulties are imposed in countries which have been exploited but note that the exploitation of many of these resources is capital intensive and in many of these countries is going to require capital from outside the country. And so countries have to find a way to both assure a reasonable level of compensation to the companies as well as income to the country. So that’s the challenge, right. That is the challenge. For the time being, in some places the Chinese have been able to not just exploit but have been able to do business, in part, because they have a virtually insatiable appetite for these minerals and as well as for other commodities. But long-term development has to be vertically integrated and that—and I think that’s going to take a lot of external money and, again, certain countries are going to have to figure out how to do that when we’re talking about resources which, to a very large degree, are viewed as patrimony of the nation. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Leah Parrott, who’s a sophomore at NYU. Do you find that globalization itself, the competitive global markets, vying for influence in the region are a cause of the rise in the populist frustration that you have been talking about? DUDDY: Hmm. Interesting question. I suppose it has—you know, there is a connection. Just to give sort of a visceral response, the fact is that there are cultural differences in certain markets and regions of the world. Some countries have—you know, have taken a different approach to the development of their own labor markets as well as trade policy. I would say that, today, the reality is we can’t avoid globalization so—and no one country controls it. So countries that have heretofore been unsuccessful in inserting themselves and seeing the same kind of growth that other countries have experienced are going to have to adapt. What we do know from earlier experiences in Latin America is that high tariff barriers are not the way to go, right—that that resulted in weak domestic industries, endemic corruption, and, ultimately, very, very fragile macroeconomic indicators. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Alberto Najarro, who’s a graduate student at Duke Kunshan University. DUDDY: Well. Q: Hi. Good afternoon. Thank you for your time. My question is about El Salvador. I’m from El Salvador, and I’ll just provide a brief overview. Since assuming the presidency and, particularly, over the last six months, President Bukele and the National Assembly dominated by Bukele’s allies have moved quickly to weaken checks and balances, undermine the rule of law, and co-opt the country’s judiciary, consolidating power in the executive. What do you think should be the United States’ role, if any, in reversing trends of democratic backsliding in El Salvador? Given the recent events like the abrupt exit of the United States interim ambassador Jean Manes from the country, can the United States continue to engage with El Salvador, particularly, as Bukele strengthens relationship with leaders like Xi Jinping and Erdoğan? DUDDY: Well, first, my recollection is that Ambassador Jean Manes, who, by the way, is an old friend of mine, had returned to El Salvador as chargé, and I’m not sure that the Biden administration has, in fact, nominated a new ambassador yet. I tend to think that it’s important to remember that we have embassies in capitals to advance U.S. interests and that when we withdraw those embassies or cease talking to a host government it hurts us as often—as much as it does them. To some degree, what we, I think, collectively, worry about is that Salvador is, essentially, on the path to authoritarianism. I note that Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, none of those three, along with Nicaragua, were invited to President Biden’s Democracy Summit in December, and, you know, it may well be that the U.S. should explore a range of inducements to the government there to restore independence to the judiciary and respect for the separation of powers. I, certainly, think that it is in the interest of the United States but it’s also interest—in the interest of the region. That’s why the whole region came together in 2001 to sign the Inter-American Democratic Charter. How exactly that should be effected—how we should implement the—you know, the will of the region is something that, I think, that governments should work out collectively because it is my sense that collective action is better than unilateral action. Certainly, the U.S. is not going to intervene, and there are many American companies already active in El Salvador. You know, the region has found the restoration of democracy—defense of democracy, restoration of democracy—a very, very difficult job in recent years and that is in no small measure because—it’s not just the United States, it’s the rest of the region—even sanctions are only effective if they are broadly respected by other key players. And I’m not always sure that sanctions are the way to go. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take two written questions together since we have so many. The first is from Molly Todd from Virginia Tech. She’s a PhD candidate there. When thinking of the U.S. role in democracy promotion in Latin America, how do you account for U.S. support of dictators in the region as well? And then William Weeks at Arizona State University—how much does China’s influence encourage authoritarian rule and discourage democracy in Latin America? DUDDY: I’m not sure that—I’ll take the last question first. I’m not sure that China’s activity in the region discourages democracy but it has permitted certain strongmen figures like Nicolás Maduro to survive by serving as an alternative source of sometimes funding markets for locally produced goods and also the source of technology, et cetera, to the United States and the rest of what is euphemistically called the West, right. So China has, effectively, provided a lifeline. The lifeline, in my experience, is not particularly ideological. Now, you know, Russians in the region frequently seem interested in—to be a little bit flip, in sticking their finger in our eye and reminding the United States that they can project power and influence into the Western Hemisphere just as we can into Eastern Europe and Central Asia. But the Chinese are a little bit different. I think their interests are mostly commercial and they are uninterested in Latin American democracy, generally. So being democratic is not a condition for doing business with China. More generally, I think, I would refer to my earlier response. The U.S., basically, has not been supportive of the strongmen figure(s) who have arisen in Latin America in recent decades. But, you know, the tendency to embrace what many in Latin America call caciques, or strongmen figures—men on horseback—was established in Latin America, right—became evident in Latin America even in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, beginning, say, in particular, after World War II, we, definitely, considered things more through the optic of the Cold War, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who recalls that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at a certain moment in, I think it was 1947, commented on Anastasio Somoza that he was an SOB but, oh, well, he was our SOB. I think that approach to Latin America has long since been shelved. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Gary Prevost. Q: Ambassador, I share your skepticism about sanctions and I’ll just ask a very direct question. It’s my belief that the Biden administration is, at the moment, missing real opportunities for dialogue with both Venezuela and Cuba, partly because of this bifurcation of the world into democracy and authoritarianism, something which the Obama administration really avoided and, I think, as a result, gained considerable prestige and understanding in wider Latin America. So I’ve been very concerned that there are opportunities being missed in both of those cases right now. DUDDY: I’ll disagree with you on one part of that, noting that I’ve already—and, actually, I wrote a piece for the Council several years ago in which I talked about the desirability of finding an off ramp for Venezuela. But I note that the—that many of the sanctions that are—sanctions were imposed on Venezuela, in particular, over a period of time by both Republicans and Democrats, and the problem for the U.S., in particular, with Venezuela is that as the country has become less productive, more authoritarian, they have pushed out 6 million refugees and imposed huge burdens on almost all of the other countries in the subregion. I’m not sure that the U.S. is, at the moment, missing an opportunity there and, for that matter, the changes that were brought into Cuba or to Cuba policy by the Obama administration, which I endorsed, were for the most part left in place by the Trump administration, interestingly enough. There were some changes but they were not as dramatic as many who opposed those—the Obama reforms—often hoped and who wanted to reverse them. So these are both tough nuts to crack. I think that it is at least worth noting that the combination of incompetence, corruption, authoritarianism, in particular, in Venezuela, which has transformed what was at one point the most successful democracy in the region into a basket case or a near basket case, I’m not sure, you know, how we get our arms around that at the moment. But I, certainly, endorse the idea of encouraging dialogue and looking for a formula that would promote the return of democracy. And, again, you know, having lived in Venezuela, I have a sense that many—you know, Venezuelans love their country. Most of those who have left did not do so willingly or, you know, with a happy heart, if you will. These are people who found the circumstances on the ground in the country to be unbearable. Now, how we respond to that challenge, I haven’t seen any new thinking on it lately. But, certainly, dialogue is a part of it. Similarly, with Cuba, we have—you know, we saw fifty years of policy that didn’t work. So I would hope to, sometime in the near future, see some fresh thinking on how to proceed on that front, too. You know, the difficult thing to get around is that these are not countries which respect human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of the press. They are, in fact, repressive, which is why we have hundreds of thousands of Cuban Americans living in the United States and why we have now millions of Venezuelans living outside their own national borders. It’s a real dilemma. I wish I had a solution but I don’t. FASKIANOS: We are almost out of time. We have many more written questions and raised hands, and I apologize that we’re not going to be able to get to them. But I am going to use my moderator power to ask you the final one. DUDDY: Uh-oh. FASKIANOS: You have served—oh, it’s a good one. You’ve served for most of your career, over thirty years, in U.S. government and now you’re teaching. What advice or what would you offer to the students on the call about pursuing a career in the Foreign Service, and what do you say to your students now and the professor, or to your colleagues about how to encourage students to pursue? We saw that it’s become less attractive—became less attractive in the Trump administration. It may be up—more on the upswing. But, of course, there is, again, the pay problem and private sector versus public. So what thoughts can you leave us with? DUDDY: Well, first of all, there’s—in my personal experiences, there’s virtually nothing quite like being an American diplomat abroad. My personal experience is—you know, dates from the ’80s. I was actually very briefly an Air Force officer in the early ’70s. I think public service is inherently rewarding in ways that often working in the private sector is not, where you can really have an impact on relations between peoples and nations, and I think that’s very, very exciting. I come from a family, you know, filled with, you know, lawyers, in particular, in my generation, even in the next, and I know that that can be—that kind of work or work in the private sector, the financial community, whatever, can be very exciting as well. But diplomacy is unique, and one also has the sense of doing something that benefits our own country and, one hopes, the world. At the risk of, once again, being flip, I always felt that I was on the side of the angels. You know, I think we’ve made many mistakes but that, by and large, our engagement in the countries in which I was working was positive. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, on that note, Ambassador Patrick Duddy, thank you for your service to this country. Thank you very much for sharing your insights with us. I know this is very broad to cover the whole region and we didn’t do all the countries justice. DUDDY: And we have yet to—and we have yet to mention Haiti, about which I worry all the time. FASKIANOS: I know. There are so many things to cover. Not enough time, not enough hours in a day. And we appreciate everybody for your time, being with us for your great questions and comments. Again, I apologize for not getting to everybody. But we will just have to have you back. So thank you again. For all of you, our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, February 23, at 1:00 p.m. (ET)with Roger Ferguson, who is at CFR, on the future of capitalism. So, as always, please follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. Go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues. We will circulate a link to the Foreign Affairs edition that Ambassador Duddy mentioned so that you can take a look at that. And thank you, again, for your time today. We appreciate it. DUDDY: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you. (END
  • China

    Adam Segal, Ira A. Lipman chair in emerging technologies and national security and director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at CFR, leads a conversation on cyberspace and U.S.-China relations. FASKIANOS: Welcome to the first session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Adam Segal with us to discuss cyberspace and U.S.-China relations. Adam Segal is CFR’s Ira A. Lipman chair in emerging technologies and national security and director of the Council’s Digital and Cyberspace Policy program. Previously, he served as an arms control analyst for the China Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, MIT’s Center for International Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. And he’s taught courses at Vassar College and Columbia University. Dr. Segal currently writes for the CFR blog, Net Politics—you should all sign up for those alerts, if you haven’t already. And he is the author several books, including his latest, The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age. So, Adam, thanks very much for being with us. We can begin with a very broad brush at cyberspace, the role cyberspace plays in U.S.-China relations, and have you make a few comments on the salient points. And then we’ll open it up to the group for questions. SEGAL: Great. Irina, thanks very much. And thanks, everyone, for joining us this afternoon. I’m looking forward to the questions and the discussion. So broadly, I’m going to argue that the U.S. and China have the most far-reaching competition in cyberspace of any countries. And that competition goes all the way from the chip level to the rules of the road. So global governance all the way down the to the chips that we have in all of our phones. Coincidentally, and nicely timed, last week the Washington Post did a survey of their network of cyber experts about who was the greater threat to the United States, China or Russia. And it was actually almost exactly evenly split—forty to thirty-nine. But I, not surprisingly, fell into the China school. And my thinking is caught very nicely by a quote from Rob Joyce, who’s a director at the National Security Agency, that Russia is like a hurricane while China is like climate change. So Russia causes sudden, kind of unpredictable damage. But China represents a long-term strategic threat. When we think about cyberspace, I think it’s good to think about why it matters to both sides. And on the Chinese side, I think there are four primary concerns. The first is domestic stability, right? So China is worried that the outside internet will influence domestic stability and regime legitimacy. And so that’s why it’s built an incredibly sophisticated system for controlling information inside of China that relies both on technology, and intermediate liability, and other types of regulation. China is worried about technological dependence on other players, in particular the U.S., for semiconductors, network equipment, and other technologies. And they see cybersecurity as a way of reducing that technology. China has legitimate cybersecurity concerns like every other country. They’re worried about attacks on their networks. And the Snowden revelations from the—Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor—show that the U.S. has significant cyber capabilities, and it has attacked and exploited vulnerabilities inside of China. And while the Chinese might have used to think that they were less vulnerable to cyberattacks given the shape of the Chinese network in the past, I think that probably changed around 2014-2015, especially as the Chinese economy has become increasingly dependent on ecommerce and digital technology. It’s now—GDP is about a third dependent on digital technology. So they’re worried about the same types of attacks the United States is worried about. And then, fourth and finally, China does not want the United States to be able to kind of define the rules of the road globally on cyber, create containing alliances around digital or cyber issues, and wants to constrain the ability of the U.S. to freely maneuver in cyberspace. Those are China’s views. The U.S. has stated that it’s working for a free, open, global, and interoperable internet, or an interoperable cyberspace. But when it looks at China, it has a number of specific concerns. The first is Chinese cyber operations, in particular Chinese espionage, and in particular from that Chinese industrial espionage, right? So the Chinese are known for being the most prolific operators, stealing intellectual property. But they’re also hacking into political networks, going after think tanks, hacking activists—Uighur activists, Tibetan activists, Taiwanese independence activists. We know they’re entering into networks to prepare the battlefield, right, so to map critical infrastructure in case there is a kinetic conflict with the United States—perhaps in the South China Sea or over the Taiwan Strait—and they want to be able to deter the U.S., or perhaps cause destructive attacks on the U.S. homeland, or U.S. bases in South Korea, or Japan. The U.S. is also extremely concerned about the global expansion of Chinese tech firms and Chinese platforms, for the collection of data, right? The U.S. exploited the globalization of U.S. tech firms. Again, that was something that we learned from the Snowden documents, that the U.S. both had legal and extralegal measures to be able to get data from users all around the world because of their knowledge of and relationship to U.S. tech firms. And there’s no reason to believe that the Chinese will not do the same. Now, we hear a lot about, you know, Huawei and the national intelligence law in China that seems to require Chinese companies to turnover data. But it would be very hard to believe that the Chinese would not want to do the same thing that the U.S. has done, which is exploit these tech platforms. And then finally, there is increasingly a framing of this debate as one over values or ideology, right? That democracies use cybertechnologies or digital technologies in a different way than China does. China’s promoting digital authoritarianism, that has to do about control of information as well as surveillance. And the U.S. has really pushed back and said, you know, democracies have to describe how we’re going to use these technologies. Now, the competition has played itself out both domestically and internationally. The Chinese have been incredibly active domestically. Xi Jinping declared that cybersecurity was national security. He took control of a small leadership group that became a separate commission. The Cyberspace Administration of China was established and given lots of powers on regulating cybersecurity. We had a creation of three important laws—the cybersecurity law, the data security law, and the private—personal information protection law. We see China pushing very hard on specific technologies they think are going to be important for this competition, especially AI and quantum. And we see China pushing diplomatically, partly through the idea of what’s called cyber-sovereignty. So not the idea that internet is free and open and should be somewhat free from government regulation, but instead that cyberspace, like every other space, is going to be regulated, and that states should be free to do it as they see fit, as fits their own political and social characteristics, and they should not be criticized by other states. They promoted this view through U.N. organizations in particular. And they’ve been working with the Russians to have a kind of treaty on information and communication technologies that would include not only cybersecurity, but their concerns about content and the free flow of information. The U.S. right now is essentially continuing a policy that was started under the Trump administration. So part of that is to try and stop the flow of technology to Chinese firms, and in particular to handicap and damage Huawei, the Chinese telecom supplier, to put pressure on friends to not use Huawei. But the most important thing it did was put Huawei on an entity list, which cut it off from semiconductors, most importantly from Taiwan Semiconductor, which has really hurt the Huawei of products. The U.S. tried to come to an agreement about—with China about what types of espionage are considered legitimate. And not surprisingly, the U.S. said there was good hacking and back hacking. And the good hacking is the type of hacking that the U.S. tends to do, and the bad hacking is the type of hacking that the Chinese tend to do. So, basically the argument was, well, all states were going to conduct political and military espionage, but industrial espionage should be beyond the pale. Or if you put it—you can think of it as the way President Obama put it, you can hack into my iPhone to get secrets about what I’m discussing with my Cabinet, but you can’t hack into Apple to get the secrets about how iPhones are made to give to Huawei. There was an agreement formed in 2015, where both sides said they weren’t going to engage in industrial espionage—cyber industrial espionage. For about a year and a half, that agreement seemed to hold. And then it—and then it fell apart. The Chinese are engaged in that activity again. And as a result, the U.S. has once again started indicting Chinese hackers, trying to create—enforce that norm through indictments and naming and shaming. The U.S. probably also—although I have no evidence of it—has engaged in disrupting Chinese hackers. So we know under the Trump administrationm Cyber Command moved to a more forward-leaning posture, called defending forward or persistent engagement. We’ve heard about some of those operations against Russian or Iranian actors. John Bolton, before he left the NSC, suggested they were getting used against Chinese cyberhackers as well. So what comes next? And it’s often hard, if not impossible, to end cyber talks on a positive note, but I will try. So I think from a U.S. perspective, clearly the kind of tech pressure, not only of Huawei but on a broader range of companies, is going to continue. The Biden administration has shown no signal that it is going to roll any of that back. And it’s actually expanded it, to more companies working on quantum and other technologies. The Biden administration has worked much more actively than the Trump administration on building alliances around cybersecurity. So in particular, the tech and trade competition group with the Europeans and the quad, with Australia, India, and Japan all have discussions on cybersecurity norms. So how do you actually start imposing them? Now, where you would hope that the U.S. and China would start talking to each other, again, is where I hope the Biden administration can eventually get to. So there were some very brief discussions in the Obama administration. The Trump administration had one round of talks, but that were not particularly useful. The Chinese were very unwilling to bring people from the People’s Liberation Army to actually kind of talk about operations, and generally were in denial about that they had any cyber forces. But you want both sides really to start talking more about where the threshold for the use of force might be in a cyberattack, right? So if you think about—most of what we’ve seen, as I said, is spying. And so that is kind of the—is below the threshold for use of force or an armed attack, the thing that generally triggers kinetic escalation. But there’s no general understanding of where that threshold might be. And in particular, during a crisis, let’s stay, in the street or in the South China Sea, you want to have some kind of clarity about where that line might be. Now, I don’t think we’re ever going to get a very clear picture, because both sides are going to want to be able to kind of skate as close to it as possible, but we would certainly want to have a conversation with the Chinese about how we might signal that. Can we have hotlines to discuss those kind of thresholds? Also, we want to make sure that both sides aren’t targeting each other’s nuclear command and control systems, right, with cyberattacks, because that would make any crisis even worse. There’s some debate about whether the Chinese command and control systems are integrated with civilian systems. So things that the U.S. might go after could then perhaps spillover into the Chinese nuclear system, which would be very risky. So you want to have some talks about that. And then finally, you probably want to talk—because the Chinese open-source writing seems to suggest that they are not as concerned about escalation in cyber as we are. There’s been a lot of debate in the U.S. about if escalation is a risk in cyber. But the Chinese don’t actually seem to think it’s much of a risk. And so it would be very useful to have some discussions on that point as well. I’ll stop there, Irina, and looking forward to the questions. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Adam. That was great analysis and overview and specifics. So we’re going to go first to Babak Salimitari, an undergrad student at the University of California, Irvine. So please be sure to unmute yourself. Q: I did. Can you guys hear me? SEGAL: Yeah. Q: Thank you for doing this. I had a question on the Beijing Olympics that are coming up. Recently the told the athletes to use, like, burner phones because the health apps are for spying, or they’ve got, like, security concerns. What specific concerns do they have regarding those apps, and what do they do? SEGAL: So I think the concerns are both specific and broad. I think there was a concern that one of the apps that all of the athletes had to download had significant security vulnerabilities. So I think that was a study done by Citizens Lab at the University of Toronto. And it basically said, look, this is a very unsafe app and, as you said, allowed access to health data and other private information, and anyone could probably fairly easily hack that. So, you know, if you’re an athlete or anyone else, you don’t want that private information being exposed to or handled by others. Then there’s, I think, the broader concern is that probably anybody who connects to a network in China, that’s going to be unsafe. And so, you know, because everyone is using wi-fi in the Chinese Olympics, and those systems are going to be monitored, those—your data is not going to be safe. You know, I’m not all that concerned for most athletes. You know, there’s probably not a lot of reason why Chinese intelligence or police are interested in them. But there are probably athletes who are concerned, for example, about Xinjiang and the treatment of the Uighurs, or, you know, maybe Tibetan activists or other things, and maybe have somewhere in the back of their minds some idea about making statements or making statements when they get back to the U.S. or safer places. And for those people, definitely I would be worried about the risk of surveillance and perhaps using that data for other types of harassment. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the written question from Denis Simon, who received two upvotes. And Denis is senior advisor to the president for China affairs and professor of China business and technology. When you say “they” with respect to Chinese cyber activity, who is “they”? To what extent are there rogue groups and ultranationalists as well as criminals involved? SEGAL: Yes, Denis, will send me a nasty email if I don’t mention that Denis was my professor. We’re not going to go how many years ago, but when I was at Fletcher. So, and Denis was one of the first people I took—was the first person I took a class on Chinese technology. So, you know, and then I ended up here. So I think, “they.” So it depends what type of attacks we’re talking about. On the espionage side, cyber espionage side, what we’ve generally seen is that a lot of that was moved from the PLA to the Ministry of State Security. The most recent indictments include some actors that seem to be criminal or at least front organizations. So some technology organizations. We do know that there are, you know, individual hackers in China who will contract their services out. There were in the ’90s a lot of nationalist hacktivist groups, but those have pretty much dissipated except inside of China. So we do see a lot of nationalist trolls and others going after people inside of China, journalists and others, for offending China or other types of violations. So “they” is kind of a whole range of actors depending upon the types of attack we’re talking about. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So our next question we’re going to take from Terron Adlam, who is an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. And if you can unmute yourself. Q: Can you hear me now? FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hi. Good evening. Yes. So I was wondering, do you think there will be a time were we have net neutrality? Like, we have a peace agreement amongst every nation? Because I feel like, honestly, if Russia, U.S., Mexico, any other country out there that have a problem with each other, this would be, like, there’s rules of war. You don’t biohazard attack another country. Do you think—(audio break)—or otherwise? SEGAL: So I think it’s very hard to imagine a world where there’s no cyber activity. So there are discussions about can you limit the types of conflict in cyberspace, though the U.N. primarily. And they have started to define some of the rules of the road that are very similar to other international law applying to armed conflict. So the U.S.’ position is essentially that international law applies in cyberspace, and things like the International Humanitarian Law apply in cyberspace. And you can have things like, you know, neutrality, and proportionality, and distinction. But they’re hard to think about in cyber, but we can—that’s what we should be doing. The Chinese and Russians have often argued we need a different type of treaty, that cyber is different. But given how valuable it seems, at least on the espionage side so far, I don’t think it’s very likely we’ll ever get an agreement where we have no activity in cyberspace. We might get something that says, you know, certain types of targets should be off limits. You shouldn’t go after a hospital, or you shouldn’t go after, you know, health data, things like that. But not a, you know, world peace kind of treaty. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to take the next question from David Woodside at Fordham University. Three upvotes. What role does North Korea play in U.S.-China cyber discussions? Can you China act outside of cybersecurity agreements through its North Korean ally? SEGAL: Yeah. I think, you know, like many things with North Korea, the Chinese probably have a great deal of visibility. They have a few levers that they really don’t like using, but not a huge number. So, in particular, if you remember when North Korea hacked Sony and because of the—you know, the movie from Seth Rogan and Franco about the North Korean leader—those hackers seemed to be located in northern China, in Shenyang. So there was some sense that the Chinese probably could have, you know, controlled that. Since then, we have seen a migration of North Korean operators out of kind of north China. They now operate out of India, and Malaysia, and some other places. Also, Russia helped build another cable to North Korea, so the North Koreans are not as dependent on China. I think it’s very unlikely that the Chinese would kind of use North Korean proxies. I think the trust is very low of North Korean operators that they would, you know, have China’s interest in mind or that they might not overstep, that they would bring a great deal of kind of blowback to China there. So there’s been very little kind of—I would say kind of looking the other way earlier in much of North Korea’s actions. These days, I think probably less. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Joan Kaufman at Harvard University. And if you can unmute yourself. Q: Yes. Thank you very much. I’m also with the Schwarzman Scholars program, the academic director. And I wanted to ask a follow up on your point about internet sovereignty. And, you know, the larger global governance bodies and mechanisms for, you know, internet governance and, you know, China’s role therein. I know China’s taken a much more muscular stance on, you know, the sovereignty issue, and justification for firewalls. So there’s a lot—there are a lot of countries that are sort of in the me too, you know, movement behind that, who do want to restrict the internet. So I just—could you give us a little update on what’s the status of that, versus, like, the Net Mundial people, who call for the total openness of the internet. And where is China in that space? How much influence does it have? And is it really—do you think the rules of the road are going to change in any significant way as a result of that? SEGAL: Yeah. So, you know, I think in some ways actually China has been less vocal about the phrase “cyber sovereignty.” The Wuzhen Internet Conference, which is kind of—China developed as a separate platform for promoting its ideas—you don’t see the phrase used as much, although the Chinese are still interjecting it, as we mentioned, in lots of kind of U.N. documents and other ideas. I think partly they don’t—they don’t promote as much because they don’t have to, because the idea of cyber sovereignty is now pretty widely accepted. And I don’t think it’s because of Chinese actions. I think it’s because there is widespread distrust and dissatisfaction with the internet that, you know, spans all types of regime types, right? Just look at any country, including the United States. We’re having a debate about how free and open the internet should be, what role firms should play in content moderation, should the government be allowed to take things down? You know, we’ve seen lots of countries passing fake news or online content moderation laws. There’s a lot of concern about data localization that countries are doing because of purported economic or law enforcement reasons. So I don’t think the Chinese really have to push cyber sovereignty that much because it is very attractive to lots of countries for specific reasons. Now, there is still, I think, a lot of engagement China has with other countries around what we would call cyber sovereignty, because China—countries know that, you know, China both has the experience with it, and will help pay for it. So certainly around the Belt and Road Initiative and other developing economies we do see, you know, the Chinese doing training of people on media management, or online management. There was this story just last week about, you know, Cambodia’s internet looking more like the Chinese internet. We know Vietnam copied part of their cybersecurity law from the Chinese law. A story maybe two years ago about Huawei helping in Zambia and Zimbabwe, if I remember correctly, in surveilling opposition members. So I think China, you know, still remains a big force around it. I think the idea still is cyber sovereignty. I just don’t think we see the phrase anymore. And I think there’s lots of demand pulls. Not China pushing it on other countries, I think lots of countries have decided, yeah, of course we’re going to regulate the internet. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question, from Ken Mayers, senior adjunct professor of history and political science at St. Francis College. Following up on Denis Simon’s question, to what extent to Chinese state actors and U.S. state actors share concerns about asymmetric threats to cybersecurity? Is there common ground for discussion? And I’m going to—actually, I’ll stop there, because— SEGAL: All right. So I’m going to interpret asymmetric threats meaning kind of cyber threats from other actors, meaning kind of nonstate or terrorist actors, or criminal actors. So I think there could be a shared interest. It’s very hard to operationalize. Probably about six or seven years ago I wrote a piece with a Chinese scholar that said, yes, of course we have a shared interest in preventing the proliferation of these weapons to terrorist actors and nonstate actors. But then it was very hard to figure out how you would share that information without exposing yourself to other types of attacks, or perhaps empowering your potential adversary. On cyber—for example, on ransomware, you would actually expect there could be some shared interest, since the Chinese have been victims of a fair number of Russian ransomware attacks. But given the close relationship between Putin and Xi these days, it’s hard to imagine that the U.S. and China are going to gang up on Russia on ransomware. So, again, I think there could be, it’s just very hard to operationalize. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So just to follow on from Skyler Duggan, who is an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. Likewise, to these questions, how do we differentiate individual criminal groups from the state? And how can we be sure this isn’t China just trying to abdicate—or, one party, he doesn’t specify, trying to abdicate the responsibility? SEGAL: Yeah, I think—because there’s—one of the challenges faced by the U.S. and other liberal democracies is that we tend to primarily keep a fairly tight legal control over the cyber operations. They tend to be, you know, intelligence operations or military operations. So Title 10 or Title 50. There’s kind of a whole set of legal norms around it. The U.S. does not rely on proxy actors. And other, you know, liberal democracies tend to don’t. And U.S. adversaries in this space tend to do so. We know Iran does. We know Russia does. We know China does, although less than the others. Now according to this discussion group that I mentioned before at the U.N., the group of—what’s called the group of government experts, one of the norms that all the actors agreed upon was the norm of state responsibility, which is a common one in international law, that you are responsible for whatever happens in your territory. So using proxies should not, you know, be able to give you an out. You shouldn’t be able to say, well, it’s happening from our territory, we just—you know, we don’t know who they are and we can’t control them. But, you know, in operation that norm is being fairly widely ignored. Now, the other problem, of course, is the—is how do you actually decide who the actor is, the attribution problem, right? So here, you know, a lot of people are basically saying, well, we have to rely on the U.S. or the U.K. or others to say, well, you know, we say it’s these actors, and how do we know—how do we know for sure? Now, attribution is not as hard as we once thought it was going to be. When I first, you know, started doing the research for the book that Irina mentioned, attribution was considered, you know, a pretty big challenge. But now, you know, there’s a fairly high expectation that the U.S. will be able to eventually identify who’s behind an attack. Now, it may take some time. And we may not be able to completely identify who ordered the attack, which is, you know, as you mentioned, the problem with the proxies. But it’s not—it’s also not completely reliant on digital clearances. It’s not just the code or the language of the keyboard. All those things can be manipulated, don’t necessarily give you proof. Lots of time the U.S. is pulling in other intelligence—like, human intelligence, signals intelligence, other types of gathering. So, you know, part of it is how much do we believe the attribution, and then how much of it is—you know, what can you do with it afterwards? And, you know, I don’t think the proxy problem is going to go away. FASKIANOS: Great. So I’m going next to Tim Hofmockel’s question. It’s gotten seven upvotes. He’s a graduate student at Georgetown University. To flip Denis Simon’s question: Who should the “we” be? To what extent should the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense cooperate on offensive cyber operations? And how would we signal our intentions in a crisis given the overlap in authorities between the intelligence community and DOD? SEGAL: Yeah. I mean, so right now NSA and Cyber Command are dual hatted, meaning that one person is in charge of both of them, General Nakasone. So to some extent that could theoretically help deconflict between kind of intelligence gathering, offensive operations, and kind of signaling to the Chinese. But it’s unclear. It’s very—signaling in cyber so far seems to be kind of developing and unknown. That seems to be one of the big theories between the U.S. taking these more kinds of operations and, in fact, kind of bringing the fight to the Chinese is a very kind of sociological understanding of deterrence is that over time both sides will kind of understand where those red lines are by engaging and seeing where they’re acting. You know, others have talked about could you create some kind of watermark on the actual attack or vulnerability, so that the—you know, you might discover some type of malware in your system and there’d be like a little, you know, NFT, maybe, of sorts, that says, you know, the U.S. government was here. We’re warning you not to do this thing. You know, a lot of these have, you know, kind of technical problems. But the question of signaling I think is really hard, and that’s part of the reason why, you know, I think these discussions are so important, that at least we have a sense that we’re talking about the same types of things, and the same general set of tools. But I think probably through cyber signaling is going to be really hard. It’s going to be mostly other types of signaling. FASKIANOS: Next question from Maryalice Mazzara. She’s the director of educational programs at the State University of New York’s Office of Global Affairs. How can people who are working with China and have a very positive relationship with China balance the issues of cybersecurity with the work we are doing? Are there some positive approaches we can take with our Chinese colleagues in addressing these concerns? SEGAL: Good question, Ali. How are you? So I guess it’s very—so I do think there are forward-looking things that we can talk about. You know, several of the questions have asked, are there shared interests here? And I do think there are shared interests. You know, you we mentioned the proliferation one. We mentioned the nonstate actors. You know, there is a lot of language in the most recent statement from the Chinese government about—you know, that the internet should be democratic and open. I don’t think they mean it in the same way that we do, but we can, I think, certainly use that language to have discussions about it and hope push to those sides. But I think it is hard because it is—you know, partly because government choices, right? The U.S. government chooses to attribute lots of attacks to China and be very public about it. Chinese for the most part don’t attribute attacks, and don’t—they talk about the U.S. as being the biggest threat in cyberspace, and call the U.S. The Matrix and the most, you know, damaging force in cyberspace. But for the most part, don’t call out specific actors. So they kind of view it—the Chinese side is often in a kind of defensive crouch, basically saying, you know, who are you to judge us, and you guys are hypocrites, and everything else. So I think there are lots of reasons that make it hard. I think probably the way to do it is to try to look forward to these shared interests and this idea that we all benefitted immensely from a global internet. We now have different views of how open that internet should be. But I think we still want to maintain—the most remarkable thing about it is that we can, you know, still communicate with people around the world, we can still learn from people around the world, we can still draw information, most information, from around the world. And we want to, you know, keep that, which is a—which is—you know, not to use a Chinese phrase—but is a win-win for everybody. FASKIANOS: Great. I see a raised hand from Austin Oaks. And I can’t get my roster up fast enough, so, Austin, if you can unmute and identify yourself. Q: So I’m Austin Oaks. And I come from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. And I used to live in Guangdong province in China. And I used to go visit Hong Kong and Macau, more Hong Kong, very often. And Hong Kong has this very free internet, which China doesn’t particularly like. Macau tends to be more submissive to Beijing rather than Hong Kong does. But Chinese government has kind of started to put in people in the Hong Kong government to kind of sway the government into Beijing’s orbit more. So then how—so what is China doing in the cyberspace world for both of its separate administrative regions? Because one is a lot easier to control than the other. SEGAL: Yeah. So I think the idea of Hong Kong’s internet being independent and free is—it’s pretty much ending, right? So the national security law covers Hong Kong and allows the government to increasingly censor and filter and arrest people for what they are posting. We saw pressure on U.S. companies to handover data of some users. A lot of the U.S. companies say they’re going to move their headquarters or personnel out of Hong Kong because of those concerns. So, you know, it certainly is more open than the mainland is, but I think long-term trends are clearly pretty negative for Hong Kong. I expect Macau is the same direction, but as you mentioned, you know, the politics of Macau is just so much different from Hong Kong that it’s less of a concern for the Chinese. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Robert Harrison, a law student at Washburn University School of Law. My understanding is that there have been significant thefts of American small and medium-size business intellectual property by Chinese-based actors. This theft/transfer of knowledge may reduce the competitive edge from the original property holder. Are there any current efforts to curb IP thefts? Any ongoing analysis of the Belt and Road Initiative to evaluate the use of IP acquired by theft? SEGAL: Yeah. So, you know, as I mentioned, the U.S. tried to reach this agreement with China on the IP theft challenge. China held to it for about a year, and then essentially kind of went back to it. It’s been very hard to quantify the actual impact of what the theft has been. You know, there are numbers thrown around, a certain percent of GDP, or 250 billion (dollars) a year. There is what’s called the IP Commission, which is run out of the National Bureau of Asia Research that has been updating its report. But it’s very hard because, you know, a lot of the knowledge and data that’s stolen is tacit knowledge. Or, you know, is actual blueprints or IP, but they don’t have the tactic knowledge. So you can have the blueprints, but it’s then hard to turn from that to an actual product. And it’s hard in the civilian space to kind of track lots of products that seem stolen from U.S. products, as opposed to—on the military side you can look at, oh, here’s the Chinese stealth jet. It looks a lot like the U.S. stealth jet. Now, this could be physics. It could be intellectual property theft. But it’s harder on the commercial side to kind of put a number on it and see what the impact is. Although clearly, it’s had an impact. We do know that Chinese operators, you know, go after other targets other than the U.S., right? So they certainly go—are active in Europe. We’ve seen them in Southeast Asia. Most of that is probably political espionage, not as much industrial espionage. Although, there has been—has been some. I don’t know of any specific cases where we can point to anything along the Belt and Road Initiative that, you know, seems in and of itself the outcome of IP theft. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take a written question from Caroline Wagner, who is the Milton and Roslyn Wolf chair in international affairs at Ohio State University. Chinese actors seem to have incredibly pervasive links to track online discussions critical of China. Are these mostly bots, or are there human actors behind them? SEGAL: So I’m going to interpret that to me for the net outside of China. So, yes. I think what we’re learning is there’s several things going on. Part of it is bots. So they have, you know, a number of bots that are triggered by certain phrases. Some of it is human, but increasingly probably a lot of it is machine learning. So there was a story maybe last month in the Post, if I remember it correctly, about, you know, Chinese analytical software data companies offering their services to local Ministry of State Security to basically kind of scrape and monitor U.S. platforms. And that is primarily going to be done through, you know, machine learning, and maybe a little human operations as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And this is a bit of a follow-on, and then I’ll go to more. William Weeks, who is an undergraduate at Arizona State University asks: What role does unsupervised machine learning play in China’s cyberspace strategy? SEGAL: Yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t have a lot of details. You know, like everybody else there, they are going to start using it on defense. It is a big push on what’s called military-civil fusion. You know, we know that they are trying to pull in from the private sector on AI, both for the defense and the offense side. But right now, all I can give you is kind of general speculation about how actors think about offense and defense with ML and AI. Not a lot of specifics from the Chinese here. FASKIANOS: Thank you. OK, Morton Holbrook, who’s at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Q: Yes. Following up on your comment about Hong Kong, about U.S. companies reconsidering their presence due to internet controls, what about U.S. companies in China and Beijing and Shanghai? Do you see a similar trend there regarding internet controls, or regarding IPR theft? SEGAL: I think, you know, almost all firms that have been in China, this has been a constant issue for them. So it’s not particularly new. I think almost all of them have, you know, made decisions both about how to protect their intellectual property theft—intellectual property from theft, and how to maintain connections to the outside, to make them harder. You know, VPNs were fairly widely used. Now they’re more tightly regulated. We know that the Chinese actually can attack VPNs. So it think, you know, those issues have been constant irritants. I think, you know, COVID and the lack of travel, the worry about getting kind of caught up in nationalist backlashes online to, you know, Xinjiang issues or if you refer to Taiwan incorrectly, those are probably higher concerns right now than these kind of more constant concerns about cyber and IP. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Anson Wang, who’s an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. We have three upvotes. Is China considered the major threat to the U.S. hegemony because China is actively trying to replace the U.S. as the new global hegemon? Or simply because China is on a trajectory to get there, without or without their active intention in involving other countries’ internal politics, the same way that the U.S. does? SEGAL: Yeah. So I think this is a—you know, a larger question about what China wants in the world. And do we—you know, we do we think it has a plan or ideology of replacing the U.S.? And does it want—or, would it be happen even with regional dominance? Does it just want to block U.S. interest and others? It’s a big debate. You know, lots of people have contrasting views on where they think China is coming. I’ll just use the cyber example. And I think here, you know, the Chinese started with wanting to block the U.S., and prevent the U.S. from criticizing China, and protect itself. I don’t think it had any desire to reshape the global internet. But I think that’s changed. I think under Xi Jinping they really want to change the definitions of what people think the state should do in this space. I think they want to change the shape of the internet. I don’t think they want to spread their model to every country, but if you want to build their model they’re certainly welcome to help you. And they don’t mind pushing, perhaps highlighting, in some cases exploiting the weaknesses they see in the U.S. as well. FASKIANOS: OK. Thank you. I’m going to go to Helen You, who’s a student at NYU. It appears that governments are reluctant to restrict their cyber capabilities because they fundamentally do not want to limit their own freedom to launch cyberattacks. As a result, countries fail to follow voluntary norms on what is permissible in cyberspace. To what extent are industry standards influencing international cybersecurity norms? And what incentives would need to be in place to move these conversations forward? SEGAL: Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t seen a lot of progress, is because states don’t have a lot of reason to stop doing it. The costs are low, and the benefits seem to be high. Now, I understand your question in two separate ways. One, there is a kind of private attempt to push these norms, and basically arguing that states are going too slow. Part of that was promoted by Microsoft, the company, right? So it promoted the idea of what they were calling the Digital Geneva Convention, and then they have been involved in what’s now known as the Paris Accords that define some of these rules, that the U.S. just signed onto, and some other states have signed onto. But again, the norms are pretty vague, and haven’t seemed to have that much effect. There’s a thing called the cybersecurity—Global Cybersecurity Stability Commission that the Dutch government helped fund but was mainly through think tanks and academics. It also has a list of norms. So there is a kind of norm entrepreneurship going on. And those ideas are slowly kind of bubbling out there. But you need to see changes in the state to get there. That’s when we know that norms matter. And that we really haven’t seen. On the—there is a lot of work, of course, going on, on the standards of cybersecurity, and what companies should do, how they should be defined. And that happens both domestically and internationally. And of course, the companies are very involved in that. And, you know, that is much further, right? Because that has to do about regulation inside of markets, although there’s still, you know, a fair amount of difference between the U.S. and EU and other close economies about how those standards should be defined, who should do the defining, how they should be implemented. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take group two questions from Dr. Mursel Dogrul of the Turkish National Defense University. In a most recent article we focused on the blockchain literature expansion of superpowers. In terms of publications and citations, China clearly outperformed the United States and Russia. Do you believe the technological advancement will have an impact on the cybersecurity race? And the Michael Trevett—I don’t have an affiliation—wanted you to speak a little bit more about the cyber triangle with Russia. How are China and Russia coordinating and cooperating? SEGAL: Yeah. So the first question, you know, clearly, as I have briefly mentioned in my opening comments, that the Chinese are pushing very hard on the technologies they think are going to be critical to the—to the future competition in this space—blockchain, quantum, AI. The Chinese have made a lot of advances on quantum communication and quantum key distribution. Probably behind the U.S. on quantum computing, but it’s hard to say for sure. And blockchain is a space the Chinese have developed some usages and are rolling some test cases out on the security side and the internet platforming side. On the China-Russia question, so closer cooperation. Most of it has been around cyber sovereignty, and the ideas of kind of global governance of cyberspace. The Chinese were, you know, pretty helpful at the beginning stages, when Russia started using more technological means to censoring and controlling the Russian internet. So helping kind of build some of the—or, export some of the technologies used in the China great firewall, that the Russians could help develop. Russia is pretty much all-in with Huawei on 5G. And so a lot of cooperation there. Although, the Russians are also worried about, you know, Chinese espionage from Russian technology and other secrets. They did sign a nonaggression cyber pact between the two, but both sides continue to hack each other and steal each other’s secrets. And have not seen any evidence of cooperation on the operations side, on intelligence. with them doing more and more military exercises together, I would suspect we would perhaps start seeing some suggestion that they were coordinating on the military side in cyber. But the last time I looked, I didn’t really see any—I did not see any analysis of that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question from Jeffrey Rosensweig, who is the director of the program for business and public policy at Emory University. Q: Adam, I wonder if you could fit India in here anywhere you would like to? Because it think it’ll be the other great economy of the future. SEGAL: Yeah. So India’s a—you know, a really interesting actor in this space, right? So, you know, India basically think that it has two major cyber threats—Pakistan, and China being the other. China, you know, was reportedly behind some of the blackouts in Mumbai after the border clash. I am somewhat skeptical about reporting, but it’s certainly a possibility, and there’s no reason to doubt the Chinese have been mapping critical infrastructure there. India pushed back on TikTok and ByteDance. You know, also concerns about data control and other things. There is a long history of kind of going back and forth on Huawei. The intelligence agency has not really wanted to use, but others wanting to help, you know, bridge the digital divide and build out pretty quickly. India right now is talking about its own type of 5G. But from a U.S. perspective, you know, I think the most important thing—and this is often how India comes up—is that, you know, we want India to be an amplifier, promoter of a lot of these norms on cyber governance, because it is a, you know, developing, multiethnic, multiparty democracy. And so we want it just not to be the U.S.’ voice. Now, India’s a pretty complicated, difficult messenger for those things these days, right? India leads the world in internet shutdowns, and we’ve seen a lot of harassment of opposition leaders and other people who are opposed to Modi. So it’s not going to be easy. But I think the U.S. for a long time has hoped that we could forge a greater understanding on the cyber side with India. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from Michael O’Hara, who is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College. And I’m going to shorten it. He asks about China’s fourteenth five-year plan, from 2021 to 2025. It includes a section titled “Accelerate digitalization-based development and construct a digital China.” Do you see their five-year plan as a useful way for thinking about Chinese future in cyberspace? SEGAL: Yes. So we’re on the same page, the digital plan came out two or three weeks ago. It was just translated. Yeah, I mean, the plan is useful. Like, all Chinese plans are useful in the sense that it certainly gives us clear thinking about the direction that China wants to go, and the importance it puts on a topic. You know, the implementation and bureaucratic obstacles and all those other things are going to play a role. But as I mentioned, I think, you know, the Chinese economy is becoming increasingly digitalized. And in particular, they want to digitize, you know, more and more of the manufacturing sector and transportation, mining, other sectors that are traditionally not, you know, thought of as being digital, but the Chinese really want to move into that space. Now, from a cybersecurity perspective, that, you know, raises a whole range of new vulnerabilities and security issues. And so I think that’s going to be very high on their thinking. And just today I tweeted a story that they held a meeting on thinking about cybersecurity in the metaverse. So, you know, they’re looking forward, and cybersecurity is going to be a very high concern of people. FASKIANOS: Well, we couldn’t have the Naval Academy without the U.S. Air Force Academy. So, Chris Miller, you wrote your question, but you’ve also raised your hand. So I’m going to ask to have you articulate it yourself. Q: Well, actually, I changed questions, Irina. Adam, thank you. FASKIANOS: Oh, OK. (Laughs.) But still, the Air Force Academy. Q: So two quick questions. I’ll combine them. One is: I’m curious how you see the new cyber director—national cyber director’s role changing this dynamic, if it at all, or changing the parts of it on our side of the Pacific that we care about. And second of all, curious how you see China viewing the Taiwanese infrastructure that they probably desire, whether or not they eventually take it by force or by persuasion. SEGAL: Yeah. So I don’t think the NCD changes the dynamic very much. You know, I think there’s lots of—you know, everyone is watching to see how the NCD and the National Security Council, and CISA, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, work out the responsibilities among the three of them, which will have an impact, you know, of making us more secure. And, you know, Chris Inglis, the head of the NCD has given lots of talks about how they’re going to manage and work together. And I think we’re beginning to see some signs of that. But I think that’s probably the most direct impact it’ll have on the dynamic. Your second question, you know, I think primarily is about, you know, Taiwan Semiconductor. And, you know, do the Chinese eventually decide, well, chips are so important, and the U.S. is working so hard to cut us off, that, you know, for all the other reasons that we might want to see Taiwan, you know, that one is going to get moved up? You know, I think it’s a possibility. I think it’s a very low possibility. I do think we don’t know what the red lines are on the tech war, right? You know, there’s been talk about cutting off SMIC, the Shanghai manufacturer of integrated circuits, are also a very important company to the Chinese. Would that push the Chinese to do more aggressive or assertive things in this space? You know, what is it that we do in that space that eventually pulls them out? But I think it’s very hard—(audio break)—that they could capture TSMC in a shape that would be useful. Am I breaking up? FASKIANOS: Just a little bit, but it was fine. We have you now. SEGAL: Yeah. That you could capture TSMC in a shape that would be useful, right? I mean, there was that piece, I think, that was written by an Army person, maybe in Parameters, that, you know, the U.S. and Taiwan’s plan should be basically just to—you know, to sabotage TSMC in case there’s any invasion, and make that clear that that’s what it’s going to do. But even without that risk, you’re still dealing—you know, any damage and then, flight of people outside of Taiwan, because the Taiwanese engineers are really important. So it would be very high risk, I think, that they could capture it and then use it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Well, I am sorry that we couldn’t get to all the questions, but this has been a great conversation. Adam Segal, thank you very much for being with us. You know, you’re such a great resource. I’m going to task you after this, there was a question from Andrew Moore at the University of Kansas about other resources and books that you would suggest to learn more about China and cybersecurity. So I’m going to get—come to you after this for a few suggestions, which we will send out to the group along with the link to this video and the transcript. So, Andrew, we will get back to you and share with everybody else. And so, again, you can follow Dr. Segal on Twitter at @adschina. Is that correct, Adam? SEGAL: That’s right. FASKIANOS: OK. And also sign up for—to receive blog alerts for Net Politics you can go to CFR.org for that. Our next webinar will be on Wednesday, February 9, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And we’re excited to have Patrick Dennis Duddy, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke, to talk about democracy in Latin America. So thank you for being with us. You can follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. Visit CFR.org, foreignaffairs.com and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on other global issues. And again, Adam, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it. SEGAL: My pleasure. FASKIANOS: Take care. FASKIANOS: Welcome to the first session of the Winter/Spring 2022 CFR Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Adam Segal with us to discuss cyberspace and U.S.-China relations. Adam Segal is CFR’s Ira A. Lipman chair in emerging technologies and national security and director of the Council’s Digital and Cyberspace Policy program. Previously, he served as an arms control analyst for the China Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, MIT’s Center for International Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. And he’s taught courses at Vassar College and Columbia University. Dr. Segal currently writes for the CFR blog, Net Politics—you should all sign up for those alerts, if you haven’t already. And he is the author several books, including his latest, The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age. So, Adam, thanks very much for being with us. We can begin with a very broad brush at cyberspace, the role cyberspace plays in U.S.-China relations, and have you make a few comments on the salient points. And then we’ll open it up to the group for questions. SEGAL: Great. Irina, thanks very much. And thanks, everyone, for joining us this afternoon. I’m looking forward to the questions and the discussion. So broadly, I’m going to argue that the U.S. and China have the most far-reaching competition in cyberspace of any countries. And that competition goes all the way from the chip level to the rules of the road. So global governance all the way down the to the chips that we have in all of our phones. Coincidentally, and nicely timed, last week the Washington Post did a survey of their network of cyber experts about who was the greater threat to the United States, China or Russia. And it was actually almost exactly evenly split—forty to thirty-nine. But I, not surprisingly, fell into the China school. And my thinking is caught very nicely by a quote from Rob Joyce, who’s a director at the National Security Agency, that Russia is like a hurricane while China is like climate change. So Russia causes sudden, kind of unpredictable damage. But China represents a long-term strategic threat. When we think about cyberspace, I think it’s good to think about why it matters to both sides. And on the Chinese side, I think there are four primary concerns. The first is domestic stability, right? So China is worried that the outside internet will influence domestic stability and regime legitimacy. And so that’s why it’s built an incredibly sophisticated system for controlling information inside of China that relies both on technology, and intermediate liability, and other types of regulation. China is worried about technological dependence on other players, in particular the U.S., for semiconductors, network equipment, and other technologies. And they see cybersecurity as a way of reducing that technology. China has legitimate cybersecurity concerns like every other country. They’re worried about attacks on their networks. And the Snowden revelations from the—Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor—show that the U.S. has significant cyber capabilities, and it has attacked and exploited vulnerabilities inside of China. And while the Chinese might have used to think that they were less vulnerable to cyberattacks given the shape of the Chinese network in the past, I think that probably changed around 2014-2015, especially as the Chinese economy has become increasingly dependent on ecommerce and digital technology. It’s now—GDP is about a third dependent on digital technology. So they’re worried about the same types of attacks the United States is worried about. And then, fourth and finally, China does not want the United States to be able to kind of define the rules of the road globally on cyber, create containing alliances around digital or cyber issues, and wants to constrain the ability of the U.S. to freely maneuver in cyberspace. Those are China’s views. The U.S. has stated that it’s working for a free, open, global, and interoperable internet, or an interoperable cyberspace. But when it looks at China, it has a number of specific concerns. The first is Chinese cyber operations, in particular Chinese espionage, and in particular from that Chinese industrial espionage, right? So the Chinese are known for being the most prolific operators, stealing intellectual property. But they’re also hacking into political networks, going after think tanks, hacking activists—Uighur activists, Tibetan activists, Taiwanese independence activists. We know they’re entering into networks to prepare the battlefield, right, so to map critical infrastructure in case there is a kinetic conflict with the United States—perhaps in the South China Sea or over the Taiwan Strait—and they want to be able to deter the U.S., or perhaps cause destructive attacks on the U.S. homeland, or U.S. bases in South Korea, or Japan. The U.S. is also extremely concerned about the global expansion of Chinese tech firms and Chinese platforms, for the collection of data, right? The U.S. exploited the globalization of U.S. tech firms. Again, that was something that we learned from the Snowden documents, that the U.S. both had legal and extralegal measures to be able to get data from users all around the world because of their knowledge of and relationship to U.S. tech firms. And there’s no reason to believe that the Chinese will not do the same. Now, we hear a lot about, you know, Huawei and the national intelligence law in China that seems to require Chinese companies to turnover data. But it would be very hard to believe that the Chinese would not want to do the same thing that the U.S. has done, which is exploit these tech platforms. And then finally, there is increasingly a framing of this debate as one over values or ideology, right? That democracies use cybertechnologies or digital technologies in a different way than China does. China’s promoting digital authoritarianism, that has to do about control of information as well as surveillance. And the U.S. has really pushed back and said, you know, democracies have to describe how we’re going to use these technologies. Now, the competition has played itself out both domestically and internationally. The Chinese have been incredibly active domestically. Xi Jinping declared that cybersecurity was national security. He took control of a small leadership group that became a separate commission. The Cyberspace Administration of China was established and given lots of powers on regulating cybersecurity. We had a creation of three important laws—the cybersecurity law, the data security law, and the private—personal information protection law. We see China pushing very hard on specific technologies they think are going to be important for this competition, especially AI and quantum. And we see China pushing diplomatically, partly through the idea of what’s called cyber-sovereignty. So not the idea that internet is free and open and should be somewhat free from government regulation, but instead that cyberspace, like every other space, is going to be regulated, and that states should be free to do it as they see fit, as fits their own political and social characteristics, and they should not be criticized by other states. They promoted this view through U.N. organizations in particular. And they’ve been working with the Russians to have a kind of treaty on information and communication technologies that would include not only cybersecurity, but their concerns about content and the free flow of information. The U.S. right now is essentially continuing a policy that was started under the Trump administration. So part of that is to try and stop the flow of technology to Chinese firms, and in particular to handicap and damage Huawei, the Chinese telecom supplier, to put pressure on friends to not use Huawei. But the most important thing it did was put Huawei on an entity list, which cut it off from semiconductors, most importantly from Taiwan Semiconductor, which has really hurt the Huawei of products. The U.S. tried to come to an agreement about—with China about what types of espionage are considered legitimate. And not surprisingly, the U.S. said there was good hacking and back hacking. And the good hacking is the type of hacking that the U.S. tends to do, and the bad hacking is the type of hacking that the Chinese tend to do. So, basically the argument was, well, all states were going to conduct political and military espionage, but industrial espionage should be beyond the pale. Or if you put it—you can think of it as the way President Obama put it, you can hack into my iPhone to get secrets about what I’m discussing with my Cabinet, but you can’t hack into Apple to get the secrets about how iPhones are made to give to Huawei. There was an agreement formed in 2015, where both sides said they weren’t going to engage in industrial espionage—cyber industrial espionage. For about a year and a half, that agreement seemed to hold. And then it—and then it fell apart. The Chinese are engaged in that activity again. And as a result, the U.S. has once again started indicting Chinese hackers, trying to create—enforce that norm through indictments and naming and shaming. The U.S. probably also—although I have no evidence of it—has engaged in disrupting Chinese hackers. So we know under the Trump administrationm Cyber Command moved to a more forward-leaning posture, called defending forward or persistent engagement. We’ve heard about some of those operations against Russian or Iranian actors. John Bolton, before he left the NSC, suggested they were getting used against Chinese cyberhackers as well. So what comes next? And it’s often hard, if not impossible, to end cyber talks on a positive note, but I will try. So I think from a U.S. perspective, clearly the kind of tech pressure, not only of Huawei but on a broader range of companies, is going to continue. The Biden administration has shown no signal that it is going to roll any of that back. And it’s actually expanded it, to more companies working on quantum and other technologies. The Biden administration has worked much more actively than the Trump administration on building alliances around cybersecurity. So in particular, the tech and trade competition group with the Europeans and the quad, with Australia, India, and Japan all have discussions on cybersecurity norms. So how do you actually start imposing them? Now, where you would hope that the U.S. and China would start talking to each other, again, is where I hope the Biden administration can eventually get to. So there were some very brief discussions in the Obama administration. The Trump administration had one round of talks, but that were not particularly useful. The Chinese were very unwilling to bring people from the People’s Liberation Army to actually kind of talk about operations, and generally were in denial about that they had any cyber forces. But you want both sides really to start talking more about where the threshold for the use of force might be in a cyberattack, right? So if you think about—most of what we’ve seen, as I said, is spying. And so that is kind of the—is below the threshold for use of force or an armed attack, the thing that generally triggers kinetic escalation. But there’s no general understanding of where that threshold might be. And in particular, during a crisis, let’s stay, in the street or in the South China Sea, you want to have some kind of clarity about where that line might be. Now, I don’t think we’re ever going to get a very clear picture, because both sides are going to want to be able to kind of skate as close to it as possible, but we would certainly want to have a conversation with the Chinese about how we might signal that. Can we have hotlines to discuss those kind of thresholds? Also, we want to make sure that both sides aren’t targeting each other’s nuclear command and control systems, right, with cyberattacks, because that would make any crisis even worse. There’s some debate about whether the Chinese command and control systems are integrated with civilian systems. So things that the U.S. might go after could then perhaps spillover into the Chinese nuclear system, which would be very risky. So you want to have some talks about that. And then finally, you probably want to talk—because the Chinese open-source writing seems to suggest that they are not as concerned about escalation in cyber as we are. There’s been a lot of debate in the U.S. about if escalation is a risk in cyber. But the Chinese don’t actually seem to think it’s much of a risk. And so it would be very useful to have some discussions on that point as well. I’ll stop there, Irina, and looking forward to the questions. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Adam. That was great analysis and overview and specifics. So we’re going to go first to Babak Salimitari, an undergrad student at the University of California, Irvine. So please be sure to unmute yourself. Q: I did. Can you guys hear me? SEGAL: Yeah. Q: Thank you for doing this. I had a question on the Beijing Olympics that are coming up. Recently the told the athletes to use, like, burner phones because the health apps are for spying, or they’ve got, like, security concerns. What specific concerns do they have regarding those apps, and what do they do? SEGAL: So I think the concerns are both specific and broad. I think there was a concern that one of the apps that all of the athletes had to download had significant security vulnerabilities. So I think that was a study done by Citizens Lab at the University of Toronto. And it basically said, look, this is a very unsafe app and, as you said, allowed access to health data and other private information, and anyone could probably fairly easily hack that. So, you know, if you’re an athlete or anyone else, you don’t want that private information being exposed to or handled by others. Then there’s, I think, the broader concern is that probably anybody who connects to a network in China, that’s going to be unsafe. And so, you know, because everyone is using wi-fi in the Chinese Olympics, and those systems are going to be monitored, those—your data is not going to be safe. You know, I’m not all that concerned for most athletes. You know, there’s probably not a lot of reason why Chinese intelligence or police are interested in them. But there are probably athletes who are concerned, for example, about Xinjiang and the treatment of the Uighurs, or, you know, maybe Tibetan activists or other things, and maybe have somewhere in the back of their minds some idea about making statements or making statements when they get back to the U.S. or safer places. And for those people, definitely I would be worried about the risk of surveillance and perhaps using that data for other types of harassment. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the written question from Denis Simon, who received two upvotes. And Denis is senior advisor to the president for China affairs and professor of China business and technology. When you say “they” with respect to Chinese cyber activity, who is “they”? To what extent are there rogue groups and ultranationalists as well as criminals involved? SEGAL: Yes, Denis, will send me a nasty email if I don’t mention that Denis was my professor. We’re not going to go how many years ago, but when I was at Fletcher. So, and Denis was one of the first people I took—was the first person I took a class on Chinese technology. So, you know, and then I ended up here. So I think, “they.” So it depends what type of attacks we’re talking about. On the espionage side, cyber espionage side, what we’ve generally seen is that a lot of that was moved from the PLA to the Ministry of State Security. The most recent indictments include some actors that seem to be criminal or at least front organizations. So some technology organizations. We do know that there are, you know, individual hackers in China who will contract their services out. There were in the ’90s a lot of nationalist hacktivist groups, but those have pretty much dissipated except inside of China. So we do see a lot of nationalist trolls and others going after people inside of China, journalists and others, for offending China or other types of violations. So “they” is kind of a whole range of actors depending upon the types of attack we’re talking about. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So our next question we’re going to take from Terron Adlam, who is an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. And if you can unmute yourself. Q: Can you hear me now? FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hi. Good evening. Yes. So I was wondering, do you think there will be a time were we have net neutrality? Like, we have a peace agreement amongst every nation? Because I feel like, honestly, if Russia, U.S., Mexico, any other country out there that have a problem with each other, this would be, like, there’s rules of war. You don’t biohazard attack another country. Do you think—(audio break)—or otherwise? SEGAL: So I think it’s very hard to imagine a world where there’s no cyber activity. So there are discussions about can you limit the types of conflict in cyberspace, though the U.N. primarily. And they have started to define some of the rules of the road that are very similar to other international law applying to armed conflict. So the U.S.’ position is essentially that international law applies in cyberspace, and things like the International Humanitarian Law apply in cyberspace. And you can have things like, you know, neutrality, and proportionality, and distinction. But they’re hard to think about in cyber, but we can—that’s what we should be doing. The Chinese and Russians have often argued we need a different type of treaty, that cyber is different. But given how valuable it seems, at least on the espionage side so far, I don’t think it’s very likely we’ll ever get an agreement where we have no activity in cyberspace. We might get something that says, you know, certain types of targets should be off limits. You shouldn’t go after a hospital, or you shouldn’t go after, you know, health data, things like that. But not a, you know, world peace kind of treaty. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to take the next question from David Woodside at Fordham University. Three upvotes. What role does North Korea play in U.S.-China cyber discussions? Can you China act outside of cybersecurity agreements through its North Korean ally? SEGAL: Yeah. I think, you know, like many things with North Korea, the Chinese probably have a great deal of visibility. They have a few levers that they really don’t like using, but not a huge number. So, in particular, if you remember when North Korea hacked Sony and because of the—you know, the movie from Seth Rogan and Franco about the North Korean leader—those hackers seemed to be located in northern China, in Shenyang. So there was some sense that the Chinese probably could have, you know, controlled that. Since then, we have seen a migration of North Korean operators out of kind of north China. They now operate out of India, and Malaysia, and some other places. Also, Russia helped build another cable to North Korea, so the North Koreans are not as dependent on China. I think it’s very unlikely that the Chinese would kind of use North Korean proxies. I think the trust is very low of North Korean operators that they would, you know, have China’s interest in mind or that they might not overstep, that they would bring a great deal of kind of blowback to China there. So there’s been very little kind of—I would say kind of looking the other way earlier in much of North Korea’s actions. These days, I think probably less. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Joan Kaufman at Harvard University. And if you can unmute yourself. Q: Yes. Thank you very much. I’m also with the Schwarzman Scholars program, the academic director. And I wanted to ask a follow up on your point about internet sovereignty. And, you know, the larger global governance bodies and mechanisms for, you know, internet governance and, you know, China’s role therein. I know China’s taken a much more muscular stance on, you know, the sovereignty issue, and justification for firewalls. So there’s a lot—there are a lot of countries that are sort of in the me too, you know, movement behind that, who do want to restrict the internet. So I just—could you give us a little update on what’s the status of that, versus, like, the Net Mundial people, who call for the total openness of the internet. And where is China in that space? How much influence does it have? And is it really—do you think the rules of the road are going to change in any significant way as a result of that? SEGAL: Yeah. So, you know, I think in some ways actually China has been less vocal about the phrase “cyber sovereignty.” The Wuzhen Internet Conference, which is kind of—China developed as a separate platform for promoting its ideas—you don’t see the phrase used as much, although the Chinese are still interjecting it, as we mentioned, in lots of kind of U.N. documents and other ideas. I think partly they don’t—they don’t promote as much because they don’t have to, because the idea of cyber sovereignty is now pretty widely accepted. And I don’t think it’s because of Chinese actions. I think it’s because there is widespread distrust and dissatisfaction with the internet that, you know, spans all types of regime types, right? Just look at any country, including the United States. We’re having a debate about how free and open the internet should be, what role firms should play in content moderation, should the government be allowed to take things down? You know, we’ve seen lots of countries passing fake news or online content moderation laws. There’s a lot of concern about data localization that countries are doing because of purported economic or law enforcement reasons. So I don’t think the Chinese really have to push cyber sovereignty that much because it is very attractive to lots of countries for specific reasons. Now, there is still, I think, a lot of engagement China has with other countries around what we would call cyber sovereignty, because China—countries know that, you know, China both has the experience with it, and will help pay for it. So certainly around the Belt and Road Initiative and other developing economies we do see, you know, the Chinese doing training of people on media management, or online management. There was this story just last week about, you know, Cambodia’s internet looking more like the Chinese internet. We know Vietnam copied part of their cybersecurity law from the Chinese law. A story maybe two years ago about Huawei helping in Zambia and Zimbabwe, if I remember correctly, in surveilling opposition members. So I think China, you know, still remains a big force around it. I think the idea still is cyber sovereignty. I just don’t think we see the phrase anymore. And I think there’s lots of demand pulls. Not China pushing it on other countries, I think lots of countries have decided, yeah, of course we’re going to regulate the internet. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question, from Ken Mayers, senior adjunct professor of history and political science at St. Francis College. Following up on Denis Simon’s question, to what extent to Chinese state actors and U.S. state actors share concerns about asymmetric threats to cybersecurity? Is there common ground for discussion? And I’m going to—actually, I’ll stop there, because— SEGAL: All right. So I’m going to interpret asymmetric threats meaning kind of cyber threats from other actors, meaning kind of nonstate or terrorist actors, or criminal actors. So I think there could be a shared interest. It’s very hard to operationalize. Probably about six or seven years ago I wrote a piece with a Chinese scholar that said, yes, of course we have a shared interest in preventing the proliferation of these weapons to terrorist actors and nonstate actors. But then it was very hard to figure out how you would share that information without exposing yourself to other types of attacks, or perhaps empowering your potential adversary. On cyber—for example, on ransomware, you would actually expect there could be some shared interest, since the Chinese have been victims of a fair number of Russian ransomware attacks. But given the close relationship between Putin and Xi these days, it’s hard to imagine that the U.S. and China are going to gang up on Russia on ransomware. So, again, I think there could be, it’s just very hard to operationalize. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So just to follow on from Skyler Duggan, who is an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. Likewise, to these questions, how do we differentiate individual criminal groups from the state? And how can we be sure this isn’t China just trying to abdicate—or, one party, he doesn’t specify, trying to abdicate the responsibility? SEGAL: Yeah, I think—because there’s—one of the challenges faced by the U.S. and other liberal democracies is that we tend to primarily keep a fairly tight legal control over the cyber operations. They tend to be, you know, intelligence operations or military operations. So Title 10 or Title 50. There’s kind of a whole set of legal norms around it. The U.S. does not rely on proxy actors. And other, you know, liberal democracies tend to don’t. And U.S. adversaries in this space tend to do so. We know Iran does. We know Russia does. We know China does, although less than the others. Now according to this discussion group that I mentioned before at the U.N., the group of—what’s called the group of government experts, one of the norms that all the actors agreed upon was the norm of state responsibility, which is a common one in international law, that you are responsible for whatever happens in your territory. So using proxies should not, you know, be able to give you an out. You shouldn’t be able to say, well, it’s happening from our territory, we just—you know, we don’t know who they are and we can’t control them. But, you know, in operation that norm is being fairly widely ignored. Now, the other problem, of course, is the—is how do you actually decide who the actor is, the attribution problem, right? So here, you know, a lot of people are basically saying, well, we have to rely on the U.S. or the U.K. or others to say, well, you know, we say it’s these actors, and how do we know—how do we know for sure? Now, attribution is not as hard as we once thought it was going to be. When I first, you know, started doing the research for the book that Irina mentioned, attribution was considered, you know, a pretty big challenge. But now, you know, there’s a fairly high expectation that the U.S. will be able to eventually identify who’s behind an attack. Now, it may take some time. And we may not be able to completely identify who ordered the attack, which is, you know, as you mentioned, the problem with the proxies. But it’s not—it’s also not completely reliant on digital clearances. It’s not just the code or the language of the keyboard. All those things can be manipulated, don’t necessarily give you proof. Lots of time the U.S. is pulling in other intelligence—like, human intelligence, signals intelligence, other types of gathering. So, you know, part of it is how much do we believe the attribution, and then how much of it is—you know, what can you do with it afterwards? And, you know, I don’t think the proxy problem is going to go away. FASKIANOS: Great. So I’m going next to Tim Hofmockel’s question. It’s gotten seven upvotes. He’s a graduate student at Georgetown University. To flip Denis Simon’s question: Who should the “we” be? To what extent should the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense cooperate on offensive cyber operations? And how would we signal our intentions in a crisis given the overlap in authorities between the intelligence community and DOD? SEGAL: Yeah. I mean, so right now NSA and Cyber Command are dual hatted, meaning that one person is in charge of both of them, General Nakasone. So to some extent that could theoretically help deconflict between kind of intelligence gathering, offensive operations, and kind of signaling to the Chinese. But it’s unclear. It’s very—signaling in cyber so far seems to be kind of developing and unknown. That seems to be one of the big theories between the U.S. taking these more kinds of operations and, in fact, kind of bringing the fight to the Chinese is a very kind of sociological understanding of deterrence is that over time both sides will kind of understand where those red lines are by engaging and seeing where they’re acting. You know, others have talked about could you create some kind of watermark on the actual attack or vulnerability, so that the—you know, you might discover some type of malware in your system and there’d be like a little, you know, NFT, maybe, of sorts, that says, you know, the U.S. government was here. We’re warning you not to do this thing. You know, a lot of these have, you know, kind of technical problems. But the question of signaling I think is really hard, and that’s part of the reason why, you know, I think these discussions are so important, that at least we have a sense that we’re talking about the same types of things, and the same general set of tools. But I think probably through cyber signaling is going to be really hard. It’s going to be mostly other types of signaling. FASKIANOS: Next question from Maryalice Mazzara. She’s the director of educational programs at the State University of New York’s Office of Global Affairs. How can people who are working with China and have a very positive relationship with China balance the issues of cybersecurity with the work we are doing? Are there some positive approaches we can take with our Chinese colleagues in addressing these concerns? SEGAL: Good question, Ali. How are you? So I guess it’s very—so I do think there are forward-looking things that we can talk about. You know, several of the questions have asked, are there shared interests here? And I do think there are shared interests. You know, you we mentioned the proliferation one. We mentioned the nonstate actors. You know, there is a lot of language in the most recent statement from the Chinese government about—you know, that the internet should be democratic and open. I don’t think they mean it in the same way that we do, but we can, I think, certainly use that language to have discussions about it and hope push to those sides. But I think it is hard because it is—you know, partly because government choices, right? The U.S. government chooses to attribute lots of attacks to China and be very public about it. Chinese for the most part don’t attribute attacks, and don’t—they talk about the U.S. as being the biggest threat in cyberspace, and call the U.S. The Matrix and the most, you know, damaging force in cyberspace. But for the most part, don’t call out specific actors. So they kind of view it—the Chinese side is often in a kind of defensive crouch, basically saying, you know, who are you to judge us, and you guys are hypocrites, and everything else. So I think there are lots of reasons that make it hard. I think probably the way to do it is to try to look forward to these shared interests and this idea that we all benefitted immensely from a global internet. We now have different views of how open that internet should be. But I think we still want to maintain—the most remarkable thing about it is that we can, you know, still communicate with people around the world, we can still learn from people around the world, we can still draw information, most information, from around the world. And we want to, you know, keep that, which is a—which is—you know, not to use a Chinese phrase—but is a win-win for everybody. FASKIANOS: Great. I see a raised hand from Austin Oaks. And I can’t get my roster up fast enough, so, Austin, if you can unmute and identify yourself. Q: So I’m Austin Oaks. And I come from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. And I used to live in Guangdong province in China. And I used to go visit Hong Kong and Macau, more Hong Kong, very often. And Hong Kong has this very free internet, which China doesn’t particularly like. Macau tends to be more submissive to Beijing rather than Hong Kong does. But Chinese government has kind of started to put in people in the Hong Kong government to kind of sway the government into Beijing’s orbit more. So then how—so what is China doing in the cyberspace world for both of its separate administrative regions? Because one is a lot easier to control than the other. SEGAL: Yeah. So I think the idea of Hong Kong’s internet being independent and free is—it’s pretty much ending, right? So the national security law covers Hong Kong and allows the government to increasingly censor and filter and arrest people for what they are posting. We saw pressure on U.S. companies to handover data of some users. A lot of the U.S. companies say they’re going to move their headquarters or personnel out of Hong Kong because of those concerns. So, you know, it certainly is more open than the mainland is, but I think long-term trends are clearly pretty negative for Hong Kong. I expect Macau is the same direction, but as you mentioned, you know, the politics of Macau is just so much different from Hong Kong that it’s less of a concern for the Chinese. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Robert Harrison, a law student at Washburn University School of Law. My understanding is that there have been significant thefts of American small and medium-size business intellectual property by Chinese-based actors. This theft/transfer of knowledge may reduce the competitive edge from the original property holder. Are there any current efforts to curb IP thefts? Any ongoing analysis of the Belt and Road Initiative to evaluate the use of IP acquired by theft? SEGAL: Yeah. So, you know, as I mentioned, the U.S. tried to reach this agreement with China on the IP theft challenge. China held to it for about a year, and then essentially kind of went back to it. It’s been very hard to quantify the actual impact of what the theft has been. You know, there are numbers thrown around, a certain percent of GDP, or 250 billion (dollars) a year. There is what’s called the IP Commission, which is run out of the National Bureau of Asia Research that has been updating its report. But it’s very hard because, you know, a lot of the knowledge and data that’s stolen is tacit knowledge. Or, you know, is actual blueprints or IP, but they don’t have the tactic knowledge. So you can have the blueprints, but it’s then hard to turn from that to an actual product. And it’s hard in the civilian space to kind of track lots of products that seem stolen from U.S. products, as opposed to—on the military side you can look at, oh, here’s the Chinese stealth jet. It looks a lot like the U.S. stealth jet. Now, this could be physics. It could be intellectual property theft. But it’s harder on the commercial side to kind of put a number on it and see what the impact is. Although clearly, it’s had an impact. We do know that Chinese operators, you know, go after other targets other than the U.S., right? So they certainly go—are active in Europe. We’ve seen them in Southeast Asia. Most of that is probably political espionage, not as much industrial espionage. Although, there has been—has been some. I don’t know of any specific cases where we can point to anything along the Belt and Road Initiative that, you know, seems in and of itself the outcome of IP theft. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take a written question from Caroline Wagner, who is the Milton and Roslyn Wolf chair in international affairs at Ohio State University. Chinese actors seem to have incredibly pervasive links to track online discussions critical of China. Are these mostly bots, or are there human actors behind them? SEGAL: So I’m going to interpret that to me for the net outside of China. So, yes. I think what we’re learning is there’s several things going on. Part of it is bots. So they have, you know, a number of bots that are triggered by certain phrases. Some of it is human, but increasingly probably a lot of it is machine learning. So there was a story maybe last month in the Post, if I remember it correctly, about, you know, Chinese analytical software data companies offering their services to local Ministry of State Security to basically kind of scrape and monitor U.S. platforms. And that is primarily going to be done through, you know, machine learning, and maybe a little human operations as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And this is a bit of a follow-on, and then I’ll go to more. William Weeks, who is an undergraduate at Arizona State University asks: What role does unsupervised machine learning play in China’s cyberspace strategy? SEGAL: Yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t have a lot of details. You know, like everybody else there, they are going to start using it on defense. It is a big push on what’s called military-civil fusion. You know, we know that they are trying to pull in from the private sector on AI, both for the defense and the offense side. But right now, all I can give you is kind of general speculation about how actors think about offense and defense with ML and AI. Not a lot of specifics from the Chinese here. FASKIANOS: Thank you. OK, Morton Holbrook, who’s at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Q: Yes. Following up on your comment about Hong Kong, about U.S. companies reconsidering their presence due to internet controls, what about U.S. companies in China and Beijing and Shanghai? Do you see a similar trend there regarding internet controls, or regarding IPR theft? SEGAL: I think, you know, almost all firms that have been in China, this has been a constant issue for them. So it’s not particularly new. I think almost all of them have, you know, made decisions both about how to protect their intellectual property theft—intellectual property from theft, and how to maintain connections to the outside, to make them harder. You know, VPNs were fairly widely used. Now they’re more tightly regulated. We know that the Chinese actually can attack VPNs. So it think, you know, those issues have been constant irritants. I think, you know, COVID and the lack of travel, the worry about getting kind of caught up in nationalist backlashes online to, you know, Xinjiang issues or if you refer to Taiwan incorrectly, those are probably higher concerns right now than these kind of more constant concerns about cyber and IP. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Anson Wang, who’s an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo. We have three upvotes. Is China considered the major threat to the U.S. hegemony because China is actively trying to replace the U.S. as the new global hegemon? Or simply because China is on a trajectory to get there, without or without their active intention in involving other countries’ internal politics, the same way that the U.S. does? SEGAL: Yeah. So I think this is a—you know, a larger question about what China wants in the world. And do we—you know, we do we think it has a plan or ideology of replacing the U.S.? And does it want—or, would it be happen even with regional dominance? Does it just want to block U.S. interest and others? It’s a big debate. You know, lots of people have contrasting views on where they think China is coming. I’ll just use the cyber example. And I think here, you know, the Chinese started with wanting to block the U.S., and prevent the U.S. from criticizing China, and protect itself. I don’t think it had any desire to reshape the global internet. But I think that’s changed. I think under Xi Jinping they really want to change the definitions of what people think the state should do in this space. I think they want to change the shape of the internet. I don’t think they want to spread their model to every country, but if you want to build their model they’re certainly welcome to help you. And they don’t mind pushing, perhaps highlighting, in some cases exploiting the weaknesses they see in the U.S. as well. FASKIANOS: OK. Thank you. I’m going to go to Helen You, who’s a student at NYU. It appears that governments are reluctant to restrict their cyber capabilities because they fundamentally do not want to limit their own freedom to launch cyberattacks. As a result, countries fail to follow voluntary norms on what is permissible in cyberspace. To what extent are industry standards influencing international cybersecurity norms? And what incentives would need to be in place to move these conversations forward? SEGAL: Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t seen a lot of progress, is because states don’t have a lot of reason to stop doing it. The costs are low, and the benefits seem to be high. Now, I understand your question in two separate ways. One, there is a kind of private attempt to push these norms, and basically arguing that states are going too slow. Part of that was promoted by Microsoft, the company, right? So it promoted the idea of what they were calling the Digital Geneva Convention, and then they have been involved in what’s now known as the Paris Accords that define some of these rules, that the U.S. just signed onto, and some other states have signed onto. But again, the norms are pretty vague, and haven’t seemed to have that much effect. There’s a thing called the cybersecurity—Global Cybersecurity Stability Commission that the Dutch government helped fund but was mainly through think tanks and academics. It also has a list of norms. So there is a kind of norm entrepreneurship going on. And those ideas are slowly kind of bubbling out there. But you need to see changes in the state to get there. That’s when we know that norms matter. And that we really haven’t seen. On the—there is a lot of work, of course, going on, on the standards of cybersecurity, and what companies should do, how they should be defined. And that happens both domestically and internationally. And of course, the companies are very involved in that. And, you know, that is much further, right? Because that has to do about regulation inside of markets, although there’s still, you know, a fair amount of difference between the U.S. and EU and other close economies about how those standards should be defined, who should do the defining, how they should be implemented. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take group two questions from Dr. Mursel Dogrul of the Turkish National Defense University. In a most recent article we focused on the blockchain literature expansion of superpowers. In terms of publications and citations, China clearly outperformed the United States and Russia. Do you believe the technological advancement will have an impact on the cybersecurity race? And the Michael Trevett—I don’t have an affiliation—wanted you to speak a little bit more about the cyber triangle with Russia. How are China and Russia coordinating and cooperating? SEGAL: Yeah. So the first question, you know, clearly, as I have briefly mentioned in my opening comments, that the Chinese are pushing very hard on the technologies they think are going to be critical to the—to the future competition in this space—blockchain, quantum, AI. The Chinese have made a lot of advances on quantum communication and quantum key distribution. Probably behind the U.S. on quantum computing, but it’s hard to say for sure. And blockchain is a space the Chinese have developed some usages and are rolling some test cases out on the security side and the internet platforming side. On the China-Russia question, so closer cooperation. Most of it has been around cyber sovereignty, and the ideas of kind of global governance of cyberspace. The Chinese were, you know, pretty helpful at the beginning stages, when Russia started using more technological means to censoring and controlling the Russian internet. So helping kind of build some of the—or, export some of the technologies used in the China great firewall, that the Russians could help develop. Russia is pretty much all-in with Huawei on 5G. And so a lot of cooperation there. Although, the Russians are also worried about, you know, Chinese espionage from Russian technology and other secrets. They did sign a nonaggression cyber pact between the two, but both sides continue to hack each other and steal each other’s secrets. And have not seen any evidence of cooperation on the operations side, on intelligence. with them doing more and more military exercises together, I would suspect we would perhaps start seeing some suggestion that they were coordinating on the military side in cyber. But the last time I looked, I didn’t really see any—I did not see any analysis of that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question from Jeffrey Rosensweig, who is the director of the program for business and public policy at Emory University. Q: Adam, I wonder if you could fit India in here anywhere you would like to? Because it think it’ll be the other great economy of the future. SEGAL: Yeah. So India’s a—you know, a really interesting actor in this space, right? So, you know, India basically think that it has two major cyber threats—Pakistan, and China being the other. China, you know, was reportedly behind some of the blackouts in Mumbai after the border clash. I am somewhat skeptical about reporting, but it’s certainly a possibility, and there’s no reason to doubt the Chinese have been mapping critical infrastructure there. India pushed back on TikTok and ByteDance. You know, also concerns about data control and other things. There is a long history of kind of going back and forth on Huawei. The intelligence agency has not really wanted to use, but others wanting to help, you know, bridge the digital divide and build out pretty quickly. India right now is talking about its own type of 5G. But from a U.S. perspective, you know, I think the most important thing—and this is often how India comes up—is that, you know, we want India to be an amplifier, promoter of a lot of these norms on cyber governance, because it is a, you know, developing, multiethnic, multiparty democracy. And so we want it just not to be the U.S.’ voice. Now, India’s a pretty complicated, difficult messenger for those things these days, right? India leads the world in internet shutdowns, and we’ve seen a lot of harassment of opposition leaders and other people who are opposed to Modi. So it’s not going to be easy. But I think the U.S. for a long time has hoped that we could forge a greater understanding on the cyber side with India. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from Michael O’Hara, who is a professor at the U.S. Naval War College. And I’m going to shorten it. He asks about China’s fourteenth five-year plan, from 2021 to 2025. It includes a section titled “Accelerate digitalization-based development and construct a digital China.” Do you see their five-year plan as a useful way for thinking about Chinese future in cyberspace? SEGAL: Yes. So we’re on the same page, the digital plan came out two or three weeks ago. It was just translated. Yeah, I mean, the plan is useful. Like, all Chinese plans are useful in the sense that it certainly gives us clear thinking about the direction that China wants to go, and the importance it puts on a topic. You know, the implementation and bureaucratic obstacles and all those other things are going to play a role. But as I mentioned, I think, you know, the Chinese economy is becoming increasingly digitalized. And in particular, they want to digitize, you know, more and more of the manufacturing sector and transportation, mining, other sectors that are traditionally not, you know, thought of as being digital, but the Chinese really want to move into that space. Now, from a cybersecurity perspective, that, you know, raises a whole range of new vulnerabilities and security issues. And so I think that’s going to be very high on their thinking. And just today I tweeted a story that they held a meeting on thinking about cybersecurity in the metaverse. So, you know, they’re looking forward, and cybersecurity is going to be a very high concern of people. FASKIANOS: Well, we couldn’t have the Naval Academy without the U.S. Air Force Academy. So, Chris Miller, you wrote your question, but you’ve also raised your hand. So I’m going to ask to have you articulate it yourself. Q: Well, actually, I changed questions, Irina. Adam, thank you. FASKIANOS: Oh, OK. (Laughs.) But still, the Air Force Academy. Q: So two quick questions. I’ll combine them. One is: I’m curious how you see the new cyber director—national cyber director’s role changing this dynamic, if it at all, or changing the parts of it on our side of the Pacific that we care about. And second of all, curious how you see China viewing the Taiwanese infrastructure that they probably desire, whether or not they eventually take it by force or by persuasion. SEGAL: Yeah. So I don’t think the NCD changes the dynamic very much. You know, I think there’s lots of—you know, everyone is watching to see how the NCD and the National Security Council, and CISA, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, work out the responsibilities among the three of them, which will have an impact, you know, of making us more secure. And, you know, Chris Inglis, the head of the NCD has given lots of talks about how they’re going to manage and work together. And I think we’re beginning to see some signs of that. But I think that’s probably the most direct impact it’ll have on the dynamic. Your second question, you know, I think primarily is about, you know, Taiwan Semiconductor. And, you know, do the Chinese eventually decide, well, chips are so important, and the U.S. is working so hard to cut us off, that, you know, for all the other reasons that we might want to see Taiwan, you know, that one is going to get moved up? You know, I think it’s a possibility. I think it’s a very low possibility. I do think we don’t know what the red lines are on the tech war, right? You know, there’s been talk about cutting off SMIC, the Shanghai manufacturer of integrated circuits, are also a very important company to the Chinese. Would that push the Chinese to do more aggressive or assertive things in this space? You know, what is it that we do in that space that eventually pulls them out? But I think it’s very hard—(audio break)—that they could capture TSMC in a shape that would be useful. Am I breaking up? FASKIANOS: Just a little bit, but it was fine. We have you now. SEGAL: Yeah. That you could capture TSMC in a shape that would be useful, right? I mean, there was that piece, I think, that was written by an Army person, maybe in Parameters, that, you know, the U.S. and Taiwan’s plan should be basically just to—you know, to sabotage TSMC in case there’s any invasion, and make that clear that that’s what it’s going to do. But even without that risk, you’re still dealing—you know, any damage and then, flight of people outside of Taiwan, because the Taiwanese engineers are really important. So it would be very high risk, I think, that they could capture it and then use it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Well, I am sorry that we couldn’t get to all the questions, but this has been a great conversation. Adam Segal, thank you very much for being with us. You know, you’re such a great resource. I’m going to task you after this, there was a question from Andrew Moore at the University of Kansas about other resources and books that you would suggest to learn more about China and cybersecurity. So I’m going to get—come to you after this for a few suggestions, which we will send out to the group along with the link to this video and the transcript. So, Andrew, we will get back to you and share with everybody else. And so, again, you can follow Dr. Segal on Twitter at @adschina. Is that correct, Adam? SEGAL: That’s right. FASKIANOS: OK. And also sign up for—to receive blog alerts for Net Politics you can go to CFR.org for that. Our next webinar will be on Wednesday, February 9, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And we’re excited to have Patrick Dennis Duddy, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Duke, to talk about democracy in Latin America. So thank you for being with us. You can follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. Visit CFR.org, foreignaffairs.com and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on other global issues. And again, Adam, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it. SEGAL: My pleasure. FASKIANOS: Take care.
  • Education

    Denis F. Simon, senior adviser to the president for China affairs and professor of the practice at Duke University, leads a conversation on the role of joint venture universities in China.   FASKIANOS: Thank you and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/Academic, if you would like to share it with your colleagues. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Denis Simon with us to talk about the role of joint venture universities in China. Dr. Simon is senior advisor to the president for China affairs and professor of the practice at Duke University. From 2015 to 2020, he served as executive vice chancellor at Duke Kunshan University in China. He has more than four decades of experience studying business, competition, innovation, and technology strategy in China, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He served as senior advisor on China and global affairs at Arizona State University, vice provost for international affairs at the University of Oregon, and professor of international affairs at Penn State University. He has extensive leadership experience in management consulting and is the author of several books. Dr. Simon, thanks very much for being with us today. I thought we could begin by having you give us an overview of joint venture universities in China. What has the last two years in U.S.-Sino relations and COVID-19 meant for joint venture universities and their long-term goals? SIMON: Great. Well, thank you, Irina. I really am happy your team was able to arrange this. And I can’t think of a more important subject right now. The president of Duke University, Vincent Price, has called our joint venture a beacon of light in the midst of the turbulence in U.S.-China relations. And so, this is a rather appropriate time for us to take stock at where this venture is and where it may be going. So let me just give an overview, talk a little bit about what joint ventures are, how they operate, and some of the challenges of operating them, and some of the effects of the last, as you said, two years, with the tensions growing in U.S.-China relations. Well, I think the first thing to recognize is that while there are over two thousand joint venture projects and initiatives involving foreign schools and universities, there are really only ten joint venture universities. These are campuses authorized to give two degrees—a Chinese degree and a foreign degree. The last one that was approved is Julliard, from the United States. So there are four U.S. joint ventures, two from the U.K., one from Russia, one from Israel involving the Technion, and the rest from Hong Kong. And so they’re not growing by leaps and bounds. Everyone is taking stock of how they are working. The one from Duke is a liberal arts or a research-oriented university, and I think the same can be said for NYU Shanghai also in the same category. Joint venture universities are legal Chinese entities. This is very important. So, for example, our campus at Duke is not a branch campus. It is a legal Chinese entity. The chancellor must be a Chinese citizen, because they represent the legal authority of the university within the Chinese law, and also the Chinese education system. We are liberal arts oriented. The one involving Russia and Israel are polytechnic. They’re more for engineering. Kean University, which is the State University of New York, has a very big business-oriented program. The U.K. programs also have very big programs. So some are liberal arts, like Duke, but others are also polytechnic. So they span the gamut. And finally, these are in many cases engines for economic development. In the cities in which they occur, these universities are sort of like Stanford in Silicon Valley. They’re designed to act as a magnet to attract talent, and also to train young people, some of whom hopefully will stay in the region and act as a kind of entrepreneurial vanguard in the future as they go forward.   Now, the reality is that they’ve been driven by a number of factors common to both the Chinese side and the foreign side. One is just the whole process of campus internationalization. U.S. universities, for example, over the last five to ten years have wanted to expand their global footprint. And setting up a campus in X country, whether it’s been in the Middle East or been in China in this case, has been an important part of the statement about how they build out a global university. A second driver has been government regulation. So in China in 2003, the government set in place a series of regulations that allowed joint venture universities to be established. And I think we need to give kudos to the Ministry of Education in China because they had the vision to allow these kinds of universities to be set up. And I think the impact so far has been very positive. And then finally, they’re a vehicle for building out what I would call transnational collaborative research. And that is that they’re a vehicle for helping to promote collaboration between, let’s say, the United States and China in areas involving science and technology, and their very, very important role in that. That’s why I said we’re not just a liberal arts university, but we are a research-oriented liberal arts university. And I think that NYU Shanghai, Nigbo and Nottingham, et cetera, they all would claim the same space in that regard. Now, why would a city like Kunshan want to have a joint venture university? After all, Kunshan is rather unique. It’s one of the wealthiest cities in China, the largest site of Taiwan foreign investment, but it never has had its own university. So somebody in the leadership did, in fact, read the book about Silicon Valley and Stanford. And they decided, I think it was a McKinsey study that helped them make that decision, that they needed to have a university. And the opportunity to work with Duke was there. And it’s a little bit a long, complicated story, but we’ve ended up where we are today with a university which now will embark on the second phase of having a new campus. But this clearly, for Kunshan, has been a magnet for talent, and an effort to help Kunshan transition from a factory to the world economy to a new knowledge economy, consistent where—with where Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership wants to take China during the current period, and into the future. It also provides a great bridge for connectivity between the high-tech knowledge communities in North Carolina, and particularly around Research Triangle, and the companies in the Kunshan area. And that bridge at some times or others can be very vibrant, and there are people and activity moving across it. And it’s also a place where internationalization of Kunshan gets promoted through the visibility of Duke. Every year during my five years, we had 2,000-plus visitors come to our university, both from abroad and from within China, to understand: What do these universities mean and what’s going to happen to them? Now, for Duke, a lot of people think it’s about the money. They think that these joint venture campuses make a lot of money. And I can tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. This is not about money. This is about, as I mentioned before, internationalization. But it’s also about the opportunity for pedagogical innovation. You can imagine that in existing universities there’s a lot of baggage, lots of legacy systems. You don’t get virgin territory to do curricular reform and to introduce a lot of edgy ideas. Too many vested interests. But within an opportunity like DKU or NYU Shanghai, you get a white piece of paper and you can develop a very innovative, cutting-edge kind of curriculum. And that’s exactly what has been done. And so you get a kind of two-way technology transfer, obviously from Duke to DKU, but also interestingly from DKU back to Duke. And the same thing again happens with these other universities as well. And I think that’s important. So there’s a great deal of benefit that can accrue to Duke simply by having this campus and watching it go through this kind of evolving development of a new curriculum. Now, we must not forget, these ten joint ventures, and particularly in the context of Sino-U.S. relations, are not all that’s there. Starting with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and its relationship with Nanjing University, the United States has had projects like this going on in China. There are joint colleges. So, for example, the University of Pittsburgh and Sichuan University have one in engineering. And similarly, Michigan and Jiao Tong University also have similar kinds of ventures. And these all seem to be working very nicely. And then there’s a whole array of two-plus-two programs, three-plus-two programs. All of these are part of a broad landscape of educational engagement that exists between the two countries. It is much more extensive than anyone could have imagined in the late 1970s, when the two countries signed the bilateral agreement. Now, what are some of the things that happen when you manage these joint venture universities? First, let me mention the operational issues that come across. So you probably, you know, ask: How do you find your partner? Well, in a joint venture university, you must have an educational partner. So for Duke, it’s Wuhan University. For NYU Shanghai, it’s East China Normal University. And for Kean University it’s Wenzhou University. And you go through these—finding these partners, and the partners hopefully form a collaborative relationship. But I can tell you one of the problems, just like in all joint ventures in China, is the sleeping in the same bed but with two different dreams phenomenon. Duke came to China to bring a liberal arts education and to serve as a platform for knowledge transfer across the Chinese higher education landscape. Kunshan wanted a Stanford that can provide commercializable knowledge that can turn into new products, new services, and hopefully new businesses. And so they kind of exist in parallel with one another, with the hope that somewhere along the future they will—they will come together. Another issue area is the issue of student recruitment. Student recruitment is very complex in China because of the reliance on the gaokao system. And the gaokao system introduces an element of rigidity. And the idea of crafting a class, which is very common in liberal arts colleges, is almost impossible to do because of the rather rigid and almost inflexible approach one must take to evaluating students, scoring them, and dealing with a whole array of provincial quotas that make X numbers of students available to attend your university versus other universities. And don’t forget, these joint venture universities exist in the context of over 2,000 Chinese universities, all of whom are trying to recruit the students. So you get intense involvement not only from the officials in the province level, but also Chinese parents. And the idea of Chinese parents make helicopter parents in the U.S. look like amateur hour. They are very, very involved and very, very active. A third area are home campus issues that we have to think about. And that is that a lot of people have always said to me: Wow, you know, the Chinese side must give you a big headache. And with all due respect to all my dear colleagues and friends, I can say also sometimes I got a headache from the Duke side as well. And I think anyone who sits in these kind of leadership positions must figure out how to balance the interests and the perspectives of the home country campus and the host country campus, and their ability to work together. And there are a lot of issues that come up along the way that make it very, very complex. And in particular, the idea of attracting faculty. Seventy-five percent of our faculty are hired locally. That is, they are in tenure or tenure-track jobs by Duke-Kunshan University. Twenty-five percent must be supplied by Duke. The reason is very simple: The Chinese authorities want to make sure that the quality of the education is no different than what’s offered at Duke. And because we have to give two degrees, a Chinese degree and a Duke degree, that Duke degree is not a Duke-B degree, or a Duke-lite degree. It is the same degree that you get at Duke University, signed by the head of the board of trustees, the president, the provost, et cetera, et cetera. So this is a real Duke degree. It’s not Duke-lite. The fourth thing I want to mention, which I mentioned before slightly, which is money. These are not inexpensive ventures. And they also are a kind of elite education. And the degree to which they can be replicated over and over again in China is something that remains to be—remains to be seen. We’ve had a lot of people coming from Congress who have looked at these joint venture universities and said, ah, you’re selling out American values and academic freedom or religious freedom, in return for a big payday. And as I said, that’s simply just not the case. These joint venture universities are very difficult to run. You must pay faculty according to the global faculty prices. And plus, there are lots of expat benefits that you have to pay to them. The tuition rates that you can charge to Chinese students are set by the provincial authorities. And therefore, in our case, they’re about 50 percent less than what international students have to pay. And so already you’re in a deficit, technically speaking, because Chinese students are getting a, you know, preferential price. Also, the idea of building up a research capability is not inexpensive, particularly if you’re looking at developing a capability in science and engineering. These are, again, very expensive propositions. Now, I don’t want to make it seem like it’s all hardship. There are lots of rewarding moments. I think, as I said, the pedagogical side is one of those. And also the opportunity to really build true cross-cultural understanding among young people has been very important. Now, let me just make a couple of comments about where we are in terms of the last two years in particular. No one—you know, when our joint venture was formed, and similarly for the other ones which were formed before ours—could have envisioned what was going to happen, particularly in terms of the U.S.-China trade war, the onset of the protests in Hong Kong, and the issues—human rights issues that have to do with Xinjiang, Tibet, et cetera. And also, as everyone knows, COVID also presented some amazing challenges to the campus. We had to, by late January/early February 2020, we evacuated the whole campus when COVID came. And for the last two years, all of the international students have been studying either in their home country or if they’ve been able to come to the United States, they’ve been able to study at Duke during this period. And the big question is, when are these international students going to be able to go back? Which of course, that raises the big question about what is the campus like without international students? Our campus has somewhere between 35 to 40 percent international students. NYU Shanghai has 50 percent international students. Those make for very interesting pedagogical challenges, particularly given the fact that the high school experiences of these young people from China versus all countries—you know, we have forty-one different countries represented at DKU—make for a very challenging learning environment and teaching environment. Now, a couple of the issues that really have been exacerbated over the last two years, first of all are visa issues. Delays in being able to get visas or sometimes denial of visas. Another one are the uncertainties about the campus. Many people think that as Sino-U.S. tensions have risen, OK, the Chinese side is going to shut the campus. No, no, no, the U.S. side is going to shut the campus. And there’s been the lack of clarity. And this also not only hurts student recruitment sometimes, but it also can hurt faculty recruitment as well—who are also wondering, you know, what’s going to happen in the future and what kind of security of their jobs. Most recently we’ve also had—particularly because some of the policies adopted during the Trump administration—national security issues. So we want to build a research capability. Let’s say the city of Kunshan says: We’ll support the building of a semiconductor research capability. Duke University has to say no. That technology now is a more tightly controlled technology and it’s not clear what we can and can’t do. And so some of these kind of initiatives get interrupted, can’t go forward. And everyone is very vigilant to make sure that nobody crosses the line in terms of U.S. law. And, of course, watching out for Chinese law as well. So where is this all going? I think these difficulties are going to continue. The most obvious one that everyone talks about is academic freedom, the ability to deal with these complex, controversial issues. I can say very proudly that up until this point, and at least until when I left in June of 2020, we had not had any kind of explicit intervention that stopped us from doing something, per se. We’ve had the national committee for U.S.-China relations, China town halls for several years. They didn’t have one this past year, but we’ve had it for several years. We have courses on China politics. We have courses on U.S.-China relations, et cetera. So we haven’t had that. But we’ve had to be flexible. Instead of having an open forum about Hong Kong, we created a minicourse to talk about Hong Kong. So those issues are out there. Academic freedom is a real issue that is one of those redline issues. And everyone is a little bit nervous all the time about getting into that. The other thing, of course, is the fluidity in the Chinese environment itself. We know that China continues to witness political changes, further economic reforms. And a lot of the commitments that were made, you know, five years ago, ten years ago, the ability to see them through. DKU is covered by a CEA, a cooperative educational accord, that promises academic freedom in the engagement of the university’s work on campus. Now, if you go out and throw a brick through the mayor’s window, well, all bets are off. But while you’re on campus, you should be able to have, you know, academic freedom. And this is not a political issue. This is an accreditation issue. If the pedagogy and the learning environment were to become distinctly different, the Southern States Accreditation, which accredits the Duke degrees, could not accredit the degree that’s coming out of DKU. And so there must not be any kind of significant gap or significant differentiation in order to preserve that issue of academic integrity. Now, finally, I would say—you know, looking now retrospectively, looking back at all of this, I think there’s no more important kind of initiative than these universities. Getting young people from all around the world to sit in the same classroom, engage with one another, even become uncomfortable. It’s great if they can do that when they’re eighteen to twenty-four so hopefully when they’re forty-five to fifty, they sit down and deal with these real issues, they can have some degree of understanding and some perspective of why the other side is thinking the way it does. This doesn’t happen automatically on these campuses. There’s a lot of orchestration and a lot of fostering of activity. But I would just say that he ability and the opportunity to do this makes this, and makes all of these joint ventures, really exciting opportunities that have larger impact than just the campus on which they sit. And let me stop here. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. That was really a terrific overview. And you really brought your experience to the table. Thank you. So let’s go to all of you now for your questions, comments. You can either raise your hand by clicking on the “raise hand” icon, or you can type your question in the Q&A box. Please include your affiliation so I can read it. And when I call on you, please unmute yourself and also say who you are and your academic affiliation, so to put it in context. I’m going to go first, raised hand, to James Cousins. There we go. Q: Hi. Yeah, this is Morton Holbrook at Kentucky Wesleyan College, along with James Cousins. FASKIANOS: Great. (Laughs.) Q: And thanks very much, Dr. Simon. A great explanation. Happy to hear about academic freedom. Could I hear a little bit more about, for example, textbook choice? Do you have to submit—do professors have to submit textbook choices to the party secretary, for example? I assume there’s a party secretary there. Is there self-censorship by professors who would want to skip over Tiananmen massacre or the Taiwan issue or the South China Sea issue? Thank you. SIMON: OK. Great question. So I’m happy to say that each professor creates their own syllabus, as they would in the United States. We have three big required courses, one of which is China in the world. And it is to look at the impact of the West on China, and China’s impact on the West. And in that course, which every student has to take, we discuss very, very sensitive issues, including the Taiwan issue, including Chinese security policy, including South China Sea, et cetera, et cetera. There are some limitations on books that can be imported through the Chinese customs, because those will be controlled at the customs port. But because we have unlimited access through the internet right directly into the Duke library, any book that any instructor would like to have on their syllabus, that book is available to the students. So we do not have to report any of these teaching intentions to the party secretary. In the case of DKU, the party secretary is the chancellor. That just happened when we got a new chancellor a couple years ago. And we also have a deputy party secretary. But for the most part, they do not intervene at all in the academic affairs of the university. And the main reason for this is that the university must remain accredited for giving out both the Duke degree and the Chinese degree. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to a written question from Michael Raisinghani, who is an associate professor at Texas Women’s University. And two parts. What are some things you would have done differently going forward based on your experience over the last five years? And this is also—camps onto what the prior question was—does China censor the minicourse on Hong Kong? SIMON: So let me take the second one first. The minicourse on Hong Kong was a sort of an in-place innovation. We got a directive from the government indicating that we were to have no public forum to discuss the events in Hong Kong. And we had had two students who were in Hong Kong during the summer, witness to the events that were going on. And they came back to the campus after the summer wanting to basically expose everything that went on in Hong Kong. Now, obviously we wanted this to be a learning opportunity. And so we didn’t mind, you know, talking about the media, the press, you know, who’s vantage point, et cetera. So we felt that that could be best done within a minicourse. And so we literally, in real time, created an eight-hour minicourse. We had four of our faculty put together teaching about the society and the issues in contemporary Hong Kong. And each of those classes, you know, they discussed, you know, ongoing issues. I can tell you that there were lots of PRC students attending at the beginning of the session. There were fewer by the end. And we can, you know, extrapolate why they may have pulled out. But nobody pulled out because somehow someone was holding a gun to their head and said: You ought not to be here. So, you know, there’s a lot of peer pressure about academic freedom issues. And there also is some issues about self-censorship that exist. And we try to deal with them. We try to make the academic environment extremely comfortable for everybody. But I can tell you, look, there’s parental pressure. We don’t know who the parents are of some of these kids. They may be even party officials. And so we basically, you know, let the kids determine. But we let the kids say: Look, in the classroom, all—everything goes. And I instituted a policy which I would not have changed, and that is that no cellphones in the classroom. No cellphones at major events, without explicit permission of the participants. And that means that in the class you cannot record by video or by audio what’s going on in the classroom without special permission of the—of the instructor when that’s happening. During my five years, you know, that worked very well. It raised the level of engagement by all students. And I would say people felt much more comfortable. A hundred percent comfortable? No. That wasn’t the case. There is still some uneasiness. What would I have done differently? That’s kind of a very interesting question. It kind of comes up because I’m writing a book about my experiences. I think maybe, you know, I would have tried to build more bridges with Duke earlier on. I think that Duke’s involvement in this was really what the Chinese side bought. And I think that we needed to get more Duke involvement in terms of trying to sell the DKU opportunity to the faculty. I would have become a little bit more proactive in getting them to understand the benefits of spending a semester or two semesters at DKU. I think we—that would have helped to build more political support for the DKU project back on the DKU—back on the Duke campus in the United States. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to raised hand, to Maryalice Mazzara. Q: Hi. Hello to both of you. And, Dr. Simon, great to see you. I’m here at SUNY Office of Global Affairs at SUNY Global Center. And I must say, disclaimer, I had Dr. Simon as a boss, my first boss at SUNY. And he was wonderful. So and I’ve worked a lot with China, as you know, Denis, from when we started, and continuing on. What would you say you would recommend going forward? So you just had a question about, you know, what would you have done differently in the last five years. For those of us, and all of us on the call, who are interested—very interested in U.S.-China positive relations, what would you recommend that we can do at the academic level? SIMON: So one of the things I think we need to realize is that China’s Ministry of Education is extremely committed to not only these joint venture projects, but to international engagement as a whole. During my five years, I had an extensive opportunity to interact with a number of officials from the ministry, not only at the central government level but also at the provincial government level. And despite some of the noise that we hear about China regarding self-reliance and closing the door, I think that understanding that China is open for business. It wants to see more international students come into the country. There are now about close to 500,000 international students. China wants to grow that number. You know, there are about 700,000-plus Chinese students studying abroad, 370,000 of them, or so, in the United States. The ministry is very interested. And I think that we need to basically build bridges that continue to be sustainable over time, so that we continue to engage in the educational sphere with China. And that means that perhaps it’s time for the two countries to sit down and revise, update, and reconfigure the education cooperation agreement that was signed back when Deng Xiaoping visited the United States in ’78, and then formalized in ’79. I think that we need to think about altering the rules of the road going forward so it takes into account that China is no longer a backward, or a higher-education laggard. China how has world-class universities, offering world-class curriculum. Collaboration and research between faculty in the U.S. and faculty in China is extensive. We need to make sure that initiatives, like the China initiative through the Justice Department, doesn’t take hold and basically lead to the demise or the decoupling of the two countries. Basically, the bottom line is: Keep going forward. Keep being honest with your Chinese partners and your Chinese colleagues. Let them know some of the challenges that you face. And make them feel committed to playing by the rules of the game. And we have to do the same on our side. And if we can do that, I think that the basis for collaboration is not only there, but the basis for expanded collaboration is very real and can help, hopefully, over the long term overcome some of the difficulties and the tensions that we face because of lack of understanding and lack of trust that currently plagues the relationship. FASKIANOS: Great. The next question is from Emily Weinstein, who is a research fellow at Georgetown University. Curious about issues associated with intellectual property. Since JV universities are Chinese legal entities, in the case of DKU does Duke maintain the IP or is it the independent DKU entity? SIMON: Well, right now let’s assume that the faculty member is a permanent member of the DKU faculty. Then that faculty member, in conjunction with the Chinese regulatory environment, would own a piece of that IP. The university doesn’t have a technology transfer office, like you would see at Duke in the United States, or Stanford, or NYU, et cetera. And I think that probably no one really can see that there would be, you know, just a lot of new IP coming out of this. But I think that now, given the momentum that’s been built up in some of these areas, I think that that is an issue. And I think that that’s something that will get decided. But right now, it’s a local issue. The only way that would be different is if a faculty member from Duke came over, participated in a research project, and then laid claim. China has a—(inaudible)—kind of law in place. And of course, we know the United States does. That would tend to be the basis for a sharing of the IP. And I think that was the basic notion going forward, that as a joint venture whatever came out of these collaborative research engagements, they would be on a shared IP basis. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Wenchi Yu, who has raised a raised hand. Q: Hi. Thank you. Hi, Denis, good to see you again. A question about—first of all, just a small comment about China still welcoming collaboration internationally at higher ed. I think that’s been the case for a couple years. The question now is not so much about their will, but more how, right? So in order to collaborate in a way that neither side compromises our own values and principles, I think that’s more of the key question. So I think moving forward if you can just maybe go deeper on this point. How can we really collaborate without, you know, feeling that we’re making too much of a compromise? And the second related is, I think what we’re seeing in terms of the change of attitude is not just at higher ed level. You and I have talked about K-12 as well. It’s also been extremely difficult for international schools as well as online education to even, you know, try to connect students with anything international, whether it’s curriculum or, you know, international foreign tutors, educators. So, I mean, do you think, you know, this will impact higher ed? You know, and what is your interpretation of Ministry of Education’s attitude? And, you know, how much is what local officials can actually be flexible when it comes to implementation of those bigger policies? SIMON: So I think one of the—one of the challenges I didn’t get to mention, but I’ll talk about it now, is this issue of homogenization. I think that the Ministry of Education, because of its general approach to curriculum and things of that sort, would like all universities basically to operate very similarly and that there’s not a whole bunch of outliers in the system. The special provisions for these joint venture universities are indeed just that, they’re very special, they’re very unique. And in fact, just like lots of regulation in China, they couldn’t cover the entire waterfront of all the operating, all the administrative, and even all the political issues that might come across. And so many of these, the CEA agreement, or the equivalent of that, was signed, you know, are very unique to those nine or ten joint venture universities. And they—as you know, in China just because you sided with Duke doesn’t mean that if you’re up next you’re going to get the same terms and conditions. And I think that right now because of the tensions in the relationship, it would be difficult to actually replicate exactly what Duke, and NYU, and some of the other universities had, particularly because of the very pronounced way academic freedom issues had been—had been dealt with. But I think that each of our universities is very clear about the red lines that exist regarding issues as sensitive, like academic freedom. In other words, there are very few issues that would invite the kind of deliberation about potential withdrawal, but academic freedom is one of those. Religious freedom, in terms of what goes on on the campus is another issue. Again, the campus is sort of like a protected territory in the way an embassy would be, in many ways. And it’s not exactly the same. It doesn’t have that legal status. But what I’m suggesting here in terms of the operating environment is sort of like that. So up till now, we’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t felt the full brunt, you know, of some of the political tightening that some Chinese universities have experienced. And so we’ve been pretty—the situation has been pretty good for all of us. But I think that part of the problem is that we were dealing with China in a very asymmetrical, hierarchical kind of manner in the past. And that is that the gap between the two countries was very large in capability, particularly in education and higher education. And therefore, it was from the haves—Europe, the United States, et cetera—to the have-no country. That’s no longer the case. And so therefore, that’s why I think that in order to get more accommodation from the Chinese side, we have to bring China much more to the table as a co-equal. And as China sits at that table, then we have to secure commitments to say: Look, we commit to doing this when we’re in China. You have to commit to doing this, whether it’s regarding IP theft, whether it’s regarding the censorship of Chinese students in the United States, whether it’s all other kinds of things that we know are problems. And at the same time, as many U.S. university leaders have done, we promised to protect our Chinese students, that they don’t become the object of attack because we have a kind of anti-China, you know, fervor going through the country, and somehow these students are going to be, you know, experiencing some problems. This is a very difficult period. But I don’t see how we can continue to go forward based on a document, or set of documents, that were signed forty-plus years ago. I think we need to begin to consider, both in education and in science and technology, to sign a new agreement that looks at new rules of the game, reflecting the different status of the countries now versus what it was forty years ago. FASKIANOS: I’m going to ask the next question from Qiang Zha from York University in Toronto, Canada. Two questions: A rise in nationalism and patriotism can be observed among Chinese young generations. How is it going to impact the JVs in China? And whether and now the JVs in China impact the country’s innovation capacity and performance. SIMON: So it seems that there’s two questions there. Let me respond. Professor Cheng Li, who’s at Brookings Institution, has just written a very interesting article about this growing patriotism and even anti-Americanism among young Chinese, that I would recommend. And it’s a very important article, because I think we had assumed in the past that young Chinese are very global, they’re cosmopolitan, they dress the dress, they walk the talk, they listen to the same music. But I think that what’s going on in the country especially over the last ten years is an effort to say, look, you know, stop worshiping Western things and start attaching greater value to things Chinese. And I think that that’s sort of had an impact. And I think when you go and look at a classroom discussion at a place like DKU, where you have students from forty different countries talking about a common issue, Chinese students tend to band together and be very protective of China. I think that’s just a common reaction that they have. Now, in a—as a semester goes on, a few of them will break away a bit from those kind of—you know, that rigidity, and open their minds to alternative ways to thinking about problems and issues, and particularly in terms of Chinese behavior. And I know that I’ve advised a number of students on projects, papers, et cetera. And I’m almost in awe of the fact of the degree to which they in fact have broken away from the old molds and old stereotypes that they had when they entered the program back in 2018. So this is part of a process that occurs over time. And I think it’s something that we have to have some patience about. But I am worried. And I’ll just give you an example. You know, a young Chinese student comes to the United States, has their visa. They get to immigration in the United States, and they’re turned back all of a sudden and they’re forced to go home. No apparent reason, but somebody thinks they’re up to no good, or they don’t—they weren’t from the right, you know, high school, or whatever is the case. We’ve got to really be careful that we don’t start to alienate not only young Chinese—which I think that’s a big problem—but also Chinese American faculty and staff who are at our universities, who now feel that they’re not trusted or they’re under suspicion for doing something wrong. And I know in conversations that I have had with numerous of these people who have talked about should I go back, should I go to a third country? If I’m not in the U.S., should I be in—you know, in Europe? What’s a good place for me to go, because I don’t feel good—nor does my family feel good—now in the United States. We have created a big problem that’s going to have a very negative effect on our talent needs in the 21st century. And that includes young Chinese who would come to the United States for advanced education and hopefully stay here when they get their doctorates, or whatever degree they came for, and Chinese Americans who are here who have been loyal, who have been hardworking, who now feel that somehow they are not trusted any longer. And we’re in a big dilemma right now at this point in time. And I think that my experience at this JV university says, look, as I said, it doesn’t happen naturally that there’s a kumbaya moment that everyone gets together and hugs and is on the same wavelength. There’s a lot of intense discussion among these young people that we must recognize. But hopefully, through the process of being put together and making friends and building trust, they can begin to open their minds for different perspectives and different ideas. And I think that if DKU, or NYU Shanghai, or these other campuses are going to be successful, they must continue to push in that direction. Not to close the door, pull the shades down, and simply hide. But they must be open. And one of the things at DKU, all of our events, open—are open. Our China town halls, we invited officials from Suzhou and Kunshan to come and listen to whether it was Henry Kissinger or somebody else who was—Ray Dalio, who was on, or Fareed Zakaria. They’re all the same thing, we invited people to come to listen and to have an open mind to these kind of events. So I think that we are a beacon of light in the midst of a turbulence. I think President Price’s comment is very apropos to what this represents. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take two written questions. The first is from Peggy Blumenthal, who is senior counselor to the president at the Institute of International Education. Do you see a difference in the kinds of Chinese students who enroll in Duke-Kushan versus those who applied to study in Duke in North Carolina? Are they less from elite political families and less wealthy families? And do you have any students from Taiwan or Hong Kong? And then a second question from GianMario Besana, who’s at DePaul University, the associate provost for global engagement. How is faculty governance handled? Are faculty teaching at the JV tenured as Duke faculty? SIMON: OK. So, yes, we have students from Taiwan. And we don’t always get students from Hong Kong, but we’re open to having students from Hong Kong. So there is no limit. The only thing is, and I’ll mention this, that all Chinese students, PRC students, must have a quote/unquote “political” course. And that course has been revised sharply by our partner at Wuhan University to make it much more of a Chinese history and culture course. The students from Taiwan must take that course. Now, they don’t want to take it and they reject the idea of taking it, but that’s a requirement. And so they do take it. But I can assure you, the one that we have is much softer than some of the things that go on at other Chinese Universities. In terms of the caliber of the students, one thing is very clear. As the reputation of places like DKU and NYU Shanghai, et cetera, have grown, the differentiation between who applies to the U.S. campus and who applies to the DKU campus, that differentiation is getting smaller and smaller. And the reason is very simple: we cannot have a two-track system if we’re giving a Duke degree to the students graduating at DKU, and the same thing for NYU Shanghai. We must have near equivalency. And we have a very strong requirement in terms of English language capability. We don’t trust, frankly, TOEFL. And we don’t trust, you know, some of the other mechanism. We now deploy specialized versions of language testing so we can ensure that the quality of the language is strong enough so at the beginning of the engagement on campus, when they matriculate, they are able to hit the ground running. And that helps a great deal. In terms of faculty governance, the faculty in place, you know, at DKU, as far as I know, are able to—in effect, they meet as a faculty. There’s an academic affairs committee. We have a vice chancellor for academic affairs who oversees the faculty engagement, in effect. And the faculty do have a fairly loud voice when there are certain things that they don’t like. There’s a Chinese tax policy is changing. That’s going to have a big impact on their compensation. They’ve made their concerns well known to the leadership. If they don’t like a curriculum that is being, you know, put in place and they want to change it, they will advocate, you know, to redo some of the curriculum that has been done, and also alter the requirements. So their voice is heard loudly and strongly. But it’s through the vice chancellor for academic affairs to the executive vice chancellor of the campus. It doesn’t necessarily go through the chancellor. And I don’t mean to suggest that there’s full compartmentation of the Chinese side. But there are certain things in which we closely operate together and joint decision making. And then there are things in which basically, at least up to my time, the engagement was a little lighter on the academic side and more intense on the operational side. And I think that that was the model that we had hoped to sustain from the beginning. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from David Moore from Broward College in Florida. Do you know of any issues the Chinese have with required courses at Duke in U.S. history or U.S. government/political science? And just to give context, he writes, Florida has recently imposed a new required test in civic literacy, which has questions related to the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and major Supreme Court cases. Next year students in China will need to take this test in order to graduate. Are you aware of any such requirements imposed by other states? SIMON: So I’m not aware right now that North Carolina, for example, has this kind of requirement. But I can tell you that we do teach courses about American government, American society, American culture. In other words, American studies gets a full, you know, treatment, if that’s what your major is or that’s something that you choose to study. Now, like many places, even on a U.S. campus, except from what you’ve just told me, I mean, you could go through an entire university education without doing American studies whatsoever. But I think from what I’m hearing from you, that’s not going to be the case in Florida now. (Laughs.) We don’t—we haven’t had that problem. The only requirement, as I said, is on the Chinese side, that Chinese students must have this one course on Chinese history and culture, and they also must have military service. They do this short-term summer military training that they must go through. And I’ve gone to the graduation. It’s a—it’s kind of fascinating to watch it. But, you know, it’s something that’s for bonding purposes. And, you know, that makes China different. Remember, this is not an island existing, you know, in the middle of in the entire China. In some ways, the campus and the fact that we’re in China become part of the same reality. It is not the case—you know, we can’t be an island unto ourselves. That’s when I think real problems would occur. I think the more that we can integrate and understand what’s going on in the larger societal context, it’s important for our students, particularly the international students who come. And the international students are such a critical element because they represent an alternative perspective on the world that they bring into the classroom, as does our international faculty bring new ideas into the classroom. And those are what basically can open up the minds of our Chinese students. We’re not here to make Chinese students think like Americans. We’re here to raise global awareness. That’s all we want to do. We want to give them alternatives and options and different perspectives on the world, and then let them make up their mind. Let them decide what’s the right, or wrong, or comfortable way to think about an issue, and then feel that on this campus and then, you know, further on in their lives, they have the power and they have the capacity to think for themselves. And that’s why—just one point I want to make—critical thinking is such an important part of our pedagogy. How to think critically and independently about issues and express yourself in a lucid fashion are part of what we call seven animating features that we want with each of our graduates. And another one is something called rooted globalism. And that is the ability to understand your own roots, but also the ability to understand the roots of others, and bring that to bear as you begin to look at a problem like: Why do these two countries have different views on climate change? Or why do they think different—so differently about handling pandemics, or handling even things like facial recognition and video surveillance? We have one professor who studies this, and he and I have had many numerous conversations about how to involve Chinese students in these discussions, so they don’t feel intimidated, but get exposed to these kinds of debates that are going on. Now issues like what’s the future of AI, in which we’re looking at moral, ethical issues that face societies—all societies, not just American or Chinese society—and how do these get worked out? These are what the opportunities are that we can accomplish in these kind of joint venture environments. FASKIANOS: A next question from Lauren Sinclair. I’m administrator and faculty at NYU Shanghai. I’m very interested in the notion of pedagogical reciprocity and cross-cultural exchange. Do you see any evidence that this is occurring? Do you have qualitative or quantitative measures through institutional or student-level surveys? SIMON: So this occurs—this kind of what I call knowledge transfer occurs because we do have, as I mentioned, 25 percent of the faculty on the campus at any time are Duke or Duke-affiliated faculty. So when we are doing things on the campus at DKU, there are Duke faculty who are exposed to these experiences, they get to hear the students’ presentations, et cetera, et cetera. They’re part of the discussions about the curriculum. And I can tell you that the Duke curriculum and the DKU curriculum are different in many respects, ours being much more highly interdisciplinary, for example. And we have a project called Signature Work. When our students do this, they get a chance to spend—under normal situation, not COVID—but a semester at Duke. And during that semester at Duke, that also serves as a vehicle for the students to bring with them the things that they’ve learned, and the way that they’ve learned them. And we also have vehicles for our faculty in certain cases to spend time at Duke as well. And one best example I have to give you is the COVID experience. DKU was online by March of 2020. With the help of Duke’s educational technology people we started delivering curriculum to our students in March, April, May, so that they could finish their semester. Quickly, by time June rolled around, Duke, as well as all sorts of U.S. universities, were faced with the dilemma of how to go online. The experience of DKU in handling the online delivery to students who were located all over the world, and the Duke need to be prepared to do that, had great benefit to Duke when it tried to implement its own online programs. That experience was very positive. The synergies captured from that were very positive. And I think that this serves as a reminder that knowledge and information can go in both directions. You mentioned cross-cultural. And again, I think the more faculty we can get to come and have an experience in China, and that they bring back with them the learning that’s occurred, we’ve seen that now get transported back to Duke, and delivered in Duke classrooms based on the experience that they’ve had in China. FASKIANOS: Well, this has been a fantastic hour. Thank you very much. We are at the end of our time. It came, alas, too quickly, and I could not get to all the questions. So my apologies. But we will send around the link to this webinar, the transcript, and other resources that Dr. Simon has mentioned. So, Denis, thank you very much for doing this. We really appreciate it. SIMON: My pleasure. And thank you for having me. FASKIANOS: And we will be having our next Higher Education webinar in January 2022. So this is the last one for this year. And we will send an invitation under separate cover. As always, I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for more resources. I’m wishing you all luck with your finals, grading, all of that, wonderful things that you have to do as faulty and as academics. And hope you enjoy the holidays. And of course, stay well and stay safe. And we look forward to reconvening in the new year. (END)
  • Defense and Security

    Michelle Gavin, CFR’s Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, leads a conversation on African politics and security issues.     FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR fall of 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, cfr.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Michelle Gavin with us today to talk about African politics and security issues. Ambassador Gavin is CFR’s Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies. Previously, she was managing director of the Africa Center, a multidisciplinary institution dedicated to increasing understanding of contemporary Africa. From 2011 to 2014, she served as the U.S. ambassador to Botswana and as the U.S. representative to the Southern African Development Community, and prior to that, she was a special assistant to President Obama and the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council. And before going into the Obama administration, she was an international affairs fellow and adjunct fellow for Africa at CFR. So we are so delighted to have her back in our fold. So, Michelle, thank you very much for being with us. We have just seen that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken went on a trip to Africa. Maybe you could begin by talking about the strategic framework that he laid out on that trip, and then we have in just recent days—with a new variant of Omicron—seen the travel ban imposed on several African countries and what that means for the strategic vision that he laid out. GAVIN: Sure. Thank you. Well, thank you so much for inviting me to join you today. And I looked at the roster. There’s so much amazing expertise and knowledge on this Zoom. I really look forward to the exchange and the questions. I know I’ll be learning from all of you. But maybe just to start out to talk a little bit about Secretary Blinken’s trip because I think that, in many ways, his efforts to sort of reframe U.S. engagement on the continent, trying to move away from this sort of binary major power rivalry lens that the Trump administration had been using is useful, but also exposes, really, a lot of the challenges that policymakers focused on Africa are dealing with right now. So he tried to reset the relationship in the context of a partnership, of purely acknowledging African priorities and African agency in determining what kind of development partners Africa is interested in, what kind of security partners. I think that’s a very useful exercise. Then he kind of ticked through, as every official has to do in making these big framing statements as sort of broad areas of engagement and cooperation, and he talked about increasing trade, which, of course, is interesting right now with AGOA sunsetting soon, working together to combat pandemic diseases, particularly COVID, working together on climate change, where, of course, Africa has borne more consequences than many other regions of the world while contributing far less to the problem, working together on the democratic backsliding and authoritarian sort of surge that we’ve seen around the world and, finally, working together on peace and security. So this huge agenda, and I think what’s interesting and what in many ways his trip made clear is that it’s very hard to get to the first four points when the last one, the peace and security element, is in chaos. And, look, obviously, Africa’s a big continent. All of us who ever engage in these conversations about Africa are always—are forever trying to provide the disclaimer, right, that there’s never one African story. There’s never one thing happening in this incredibly diverse continent. But it is the case that the peace and security outlook on the continent is really in bad shape, right. And so the secretary traveled to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal. The headlines from his trip, really, were dominated by the disorder in the Horn of Africa that we’re seeing right now. So you have the civil conflict in Ethiopia, which has been incredibly costly to that country in terms of lives, in terms of their economic outlook, has been characterized by atrocities of war crimes. And, I think right now, most observers are very concerned about the integrity of the Ethiopian state, its capacity to persist. Regardless of today, tomorrow, or next week’s military developments, it’s very hard to see a lasting and sustainable military solution to this conflict and the parties do not appear, really, amenable to a serious political negotiation. But it’s not just Ethiopia, of course. It’s Sudan, where we saw the tenuous military-civilian transitional government kind of fully hijacked by the military side of that equation in a coup that has been, really, rejected by so many Sudanese citizens who are still on the streets even today trying to push back against the notion of military dominance in their transition and beyond, and they are being met with violence and intimidation. And the outlook there is quite worrying. You’ve got border clashes between Ethiopia and Sudan. You have electoral crisis in Somalia. So the Horn, you know, is looking like a very, very tough neighborhood. And, of course, everyone is concerned about the impact on Kenya and East Africa itself, given the insurgency in Mozambique, which has more than once affected neighboring Tanzania, these bombings in Uganda and the sense of instability there. The picture is one of multiple crises, none of which come with easy fixes or purely military solutions. And then you have this kind of metastasizing instability throughout the Sahel, right, and the concern that more and more states will fall victim to extremely worrisome instability and the very costly violence. So there’s a huge security agenda and we’re just—we’re all aware of the basic facts that it’s very hard to make progress on partnerships to support democratic governance in the midst of conflict. It’s very hard to come together on climate change or to fight a pandemic in the midst of these kinds of circumstances. So I think it’s a really challenging picture. And just to pull a couple of these threads, on this issue of democratic backsliding the Biden administration’s desire to build more solidarity among kind of like-minded countries whose democracies may take different forms but who buy into a basic set of democratic values, it’s undeniable that the trend lines in Africa have been worrisome for some time and we do see a lot of these kind of democratic authoritarian states, these states where you get some of the form, some of the theater, of democracy, particularly in the form of elections, but no real capacity for citizens to hold government accountable. It’s not really a kind of a demand-driven democratic process, that the fix is often in on these elections, and there is polling, right, that suggests that this is turning people off of democratic governance in general, right. If what you understand democratic governance to be is a sham election, you know, at regular intervals while you continue to be governed by a set of individuals who are not really beholden to the electorate, right, and are protecting a very small set of interests, then it’s not surprising to see some waning enthusiasm. It’s not that other forms of government are necessarily looking great to African populations, but I think it is notable in some of that Afrobarometer polling in places where you wouldn’t expect it, right, like South Africa, where people sacrificed so much for democracy, and you really do see a real decline in enthusiasm for that form of governance. So there’s a lot of work to be done there. The last thing, just because you brought it up, on the latest news about this new variant, the Omicron variant—I may be saying that wrong. It may be Omicron. Perhaps someone will correct me. And the kind of quick policy choice to institute a travel ban on a number of southern African countries. So I do think that in the context of this pandemic, right, which has been economically devastating to the continent—where the global economic downturn that occurred for Africans, too, but you had governments with very little fiscal space in which to try to offset the pain for their populations. In addition, you have had the issues of vaccine inequity, right, where it’s just taken far too long to get access to vaccines for many African populations—it’s still not adequate in many places—and a sort of sense that the deal initially proposed in the form of COVAX wasn’t really what happened—you know, a feeling of a bait and switch—that looks like—what it looks like is disregard for African lives. And while I am really sympathetic—I used to work in government and it’s crystal clear when you do that your first responsibility is the safety of the American people—these travel bans sort of fit into a narrative, right, about scapegoating, about disregard for African life that, I think, is going to make it awfully hard for this new reframing of respect and partnership, right, to really resonate. And I would just note, as a former U.S. ambassador in Botswana, that the scientists in the lab in Gaborone and the scientists in South Africa who did the sequencing and helped to alert the world to this new variant, right, were doing us all a tremendous favor. It’s not at all clear that this variant started in southern Africa, right. We know that it exists on every continent right now except Antarctica. We know that samples taken in Europe before these discoveries were made in southern Africa—just tested later—showed that the variant was already there. And so it is a bit hard to explain why specifically southern Africans are banned from travel. You know, I think it’s unfortunate. There are other policies that could be pursued around testing, around quarantine requirements. So I’ll leave that there. I’m not a public health expert. But I think it’s—I’m glad you brought it up because I think these things do really resonate and they inform how the United States is understood on the continent. They inform how Africans understand global institutions and kind of global governance to reflect or not reflect their concerns and interests. And if what the Biden administration wants is partners in this notion of democratic solidarity and partners in trying to reconstruct kind of international institutions a sense of global order, a norms-based rules-based approach to multilateral challenges, it’s going to be hard to get the African buy-in that is absolutely necessary to achieve those goals when these kinds of issues continue to give the impression that Africa is an afterthought. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much, Michelle. That was really a great overview for us. So now we want to go to all of you. You can raise your hand—click on the raised hand icon to ask a question—and when I recognize you please unmute yourself and state your affiliation. Otherwise, you can submit a written question in the Q&A box, and if you do write a question please say what institution you’re with so that I can read it and identify you properly and—great. Our first hand raised is from Dr. Sherice Janaye Nelson. And let me just say, the “Zoom user,” can you please rename yourself so we know who you are? So, Dr. Nelson, over to you. Q: Good afternoon, everyone. Dr. Sherice Janaye Nelson from Southern University. I’m a political science professor in the department. And the question, I guess, I have is that we know that the African people have a history of nondemocratic governance, right? And when we look at a place like Tunisia, we know that one of the reasons in the Arab Spring that they were so successful—although often considered an Arab country, they are successful because there had been tenets of democracy that were already broiled in the society. The question I have is that to these places that do not have that institutional understanding or have even—maybe don’t even have the values to align with democracy, are we foolhardy to continue to try to support democratic governance as the full-throated support versus trying to look at more of a hybrid of a sovereign situation that allows for, in many ways, a kingdom, a dictator, and et cetera, with then a democratic arm? Thank you so much. GAVIN: Thanks, Dr. Nelson. It’s an interesting question, and I agree with you insofar as I think that it’s really interesting to think about the kind of governance antecedents in a bunch of African countries, particularly in the pre-colonial era, right, and try to figure out how they find expression afterwards. There’s no question that, you know, colonialism doesn’t set the table well for democracy. There’s no doubt about that. But I would say that, you know, despite the loss of faith in democratic governance that we’ve seen in some of the polling, you know, very consistently for a long time what you’ve seen is that African populations do seem to want democratic governance. They want to be able to hold their leaders accountable. They want everyone to have to abide by the law. They want basic protections for their rights. So, you know, I’m not sure that there’s any society that’s particularly ill-suited to that. But I do think that democracy comes in many forms and it’s always particularly powerful when there is, you know, some historical resonance there. I also—you know, if we take a case like one of the world’s last absolute monarchies in eSwatini right now what you see is a pretty persistent civic movement demanding more accountability and less power for the monarch, more protection for individual rights. And so, you know, I’m not—I think that people are feeling disillusioned and frustrated in many cases and you see this, too, in the enthusiasm with which several of the recent coups in West Africa have been met—you know, people pouring out into the streets to celebrate because they’re frustrated with the status quo. They’re interested in change. But very rarely do you see then persistent support for, say, military dictatorships or military-dominated government. So I’m not sure that the frustration means enthusiasm for some of these other governing models. People want democracy to work a lot better. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Lucy Dunderdale Cate. Q: Hi. Yes. I’m Lucy Dunderdale Cate. I’m with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I wanted to just ask you about kind of the African Union’s role in this, you know, particularly and with the Biden administration, and thinking about, you know, the Horn of Africa security issues that you mentioned. Kind of where do you see that we’re going and what do you see kind of for the future there? Thank you. GAVIN: Sure. Thanks for that question. I think the AU, for all of its flaws—and, you know, find me a multilateral organization that isn’t flawed—is actually incredibly important. You know, for the Biden administration, which has kind of staked out this position that international institutions matter and multilateral institutions matter, they’ve got to work better, we can’t address the threats we all face without these functioning and they may need to be modernized or updated but we need them, then the AU is a really important piece of that puzzle. And I think, you know, right now, for example, in Ethiopia that the—it’s the AU’s negotiator, former Nigerian President Obasanjo, who really is in the lead in trying to find some glimmer of space for a political solution, and this was a little bit late in the day in terms of AU activism on this issue and I think it’s been a particularly difficult crisis for the AU to address in part because of being headquartered in Addis and sort of operating within a media and information environment in Ethiopia that is one that does not create a lot of space for divergence from the federal government’s position. So I think that, in the end, right, the prospect of the collapse of a 110-million-strong country, a place that used to be an exporter of security, a major diplomatic player in the region, right, spurred AU action. But it’s been a little bit—more than a little bit slow. But you have seen some pretty forward-leaning stance at the AU as well. Their response to the military coup in Sudan this fall was pretty robust and clear. Now this sort of new transitional arrangement that appears to be more palatable to much of the international community than to many Sudanese citizens is a—we’re wading into murkier waters there. But I think the AU, you know, it’s the only game in town. It’s essential, and particularly in the Horn where the subregional organization EGAD is so incredibly weak that the AU, as a vehicle for an African expression of rules-based norms-based order, is—you know, actually its success is incredibly important to the success of this major U.S. foreign policy plank. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next written question from Rami Jackson. How much of the democratic backsliding is supported by outside powers? For example, there was a chance for a democratic movement in Chad but the French threw their weight behind Déby’s son after he was shot. GAVIN: That’s a great question. I think that it’s, certainly, not the case that external partners or actors are always positive forces, right, for democratic governance on the continent. There’s no doubt about that, and it can be France and Chad. It can be, you know, Russian machinations in Central African Republic. There’s a lot. It can be some of the Gulf states in Sudan, right, who—or Egypt, who seem very comfortable with the idea of military dominance and maybe some civilian window dressing for this transition. So you’re right that external actors are kind of an important piece of the puzzle. You know, I don’t think that there are many situations where there is a single external actor who is capable of entirely influencing the direction of government. But there are, certainly, situations where one external actor is tremendously powerful. Chad is a great example, again. And it is something that, I think, you know, again, an administration that has staked so much of its credibility on the notion that this is something very important to them, you know, is going to have to deal with. And it’s thorny, right. Foreign policy always is where you have competing priorities. You need to get important work done sometimes with actors who do not share your norms and values, and it’s the messiness of trying to articulate and integrate values in a foreign policy portfolio that runs the gamut, right, from counterterrorism concerns to economic interests. But I think that those are tensions that the administration will continue to have to deal with probably a little more publicly than an administration who didn’t spend much time talking about the importance of democratic governance. FASKIANOS: Great. And I just want to mention that Rami is a graduate student at Syracuse University. So I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome. I know you wrote your question, too. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you very much. Yes. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: I wrote my question because I couldn’t figure out how to name myself on the phone. You know, thank you for your presentation. When I look at democracy in Africa—I mean, this is not the first go-round—and the response by people, by citizens, to the backsliding by governments is not—it looks familiar to me because, you know, in the 1960s—from the 1960s, there were similar responses. People were dissatisfied. They welcomed authoritarian governments again and again because the government they voted for rigged elections, were also authoritarian, and they were kleptocratic. So what’s different now and where’s the continuity and what has changed, really, with democracy? The other thing is about this COVID—the management of the COVID situation. I also kind of see the—I think I agree with you. The way Africa is being treated looks very familiar—you know, with disdain, with disrespect, as if the lives of the people there don’t matter as much. And what is it going to take, really, to change the—because, you know, if a pandemic that cannot be stopped by walls and borders is not instigating change what is it going to take to change the way in which world politics is—world politics and its governance is done? GAVIN: Fantastic questions and ones that, I think we could talk about for, you know, a week-long conference. But so I’ll start from the beginning and just take a stab. I think you’re absolutely right. There have been these interesting cycles when it comes to governance on the continent and I think—when I think about sort of what’s different from what we were seeing in, say, toward the end of the ’60s, I think it’s a couple things. One is geopolitical context, right. So my hope is that what we’re not doing is kind of doing a reprise of this bipolar world where we’re subbing in China’s authoritarian development model for a Soviet Communist model and sitting here on the other side and, you know, trying to manipulate other countries into one camp or another. I don’t think we’re quite there yet and I think the Biden administration is trying very hard not to wade into those waters. So I do think the geopolitical context is a bit different. I also think, you know, that where so many African states are is at—in terms of kind of the scope of their existence as independent entities is an important difference, right. So I think that in the immediate kind of post-colonial era, for an awful lot of governments the fundamental basis for their legitimacy was having—is not being a colonial administrator, not being a puppet of some external power and so the, you know, legitimacy came from liberation, from independence. In places that had terrible conflict sometimes legitimacy came from, you know, delivering some degree of security from a long-standing insecure situation. So, you know, you look at—I think that’s where sort of President Museveni derived a lot of legitimacy in the late ’80s and through the ’90s. And I think that, you know, now, as you have these very significant young populations whose lived experience is not one of ever knowing a time pre-independence, you know, they’re looking for service delivery, right. They’re looking for opportunity. They’re looking for job creation, and I think legitimacy is increasingly going to be derived from the ability to deliver on these priorities. And so I do think that that makes kind of the governance landscape a little bit different, too, sort of different ideas about where governing legitimacy comes from. And, you know, I think that can be manifest in really different ways. But if I had to try and, you know, grab onto that interesting idea about what’s different, that’s what comes to mind. In this, you know, incredibly important question about what’s it going to take to recognize African states as equal players and African lives as—every bit as urgently valuable as any other, you know, I do think that as the world continues to grapple with this pandemic and with other issues that can only be resolved globally, like climate change, it will, over time, kind of force a reckoning and a rethink about what are the important states and what are not. You know, it’s interesting to me, it’s absolutely true that by not moving out robustly to ensure that the whole world has access to vaccines the richest countries have created opportunities for new mutations to emerge. I hesitate to say that, in some ways, in this context because it sounds like I’m positive that these emerged from Africa, and I’m not. But we do know, you know, as a basic matter of science, right, that we’re not safe until everyone’s safe. And so I do think that as these kinds of issues that military might and economic power cannot address alone, where it really does take global solidarity and an awful lot of multilateral cooperation, which is messy and cumbersome, right, and necessary, my hope is that that will start to change perceptions in framing. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So I’m going to go next to a written question from Abbey Reynolds, who’s an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida. What steps do you think that international and regional organizations can take to preempt future attempts to derail democratic governance in the region—coups, circumvention of constitutional term letter—limits, rigged elections, et cetera? GAVIN: OK. I’m sorry. What steps should who take? I’m sorry. FASKIANOS: Multilateral—international and regional organizations. GAVIN: OK. You know, I think that in a number of cases subregional organizations have been taking steps, right—ECOWAS, certainly, in rejecting coups and suspending memberships, et cetera. I think, you know, if you look at the sort of articulated and documented principles of a lot of these organizations they’re pretty good. It’s really about the gulf sometimes between stated principles and practice. So, you know, I think the Southern African Development Community is sometimes guilty of this where there are—you know, there’s a clear commitment in static kind of principle documents and protocols around democratic governance but you also have an absolute monarchy that’s a member state of SADC. You’ve had, you know, significant repression in a number of states—Zimbabwe leaps to mind—that SADC doesn’t have, really, anything to say about. So you can have organizations that have kind of principles and procedures. At the end of the day, organizations are made up of member states, right, who have a set of interests, and I think that, you know, how governments understand their interest in standing up for certain norms, it’s—I think it’s specific in many ways to those governments in those states how they derive their own legitimacy, the degree to which they feel they may be living in a glass house, and, you know, frankly, relative power dynamics. So I’m not sure. Certainly, it’s always—you know, I’m a believer in multilateralism. I think from an African point of—you know, if you imagine African states trying to assert themselves on the international stage, multilateralism is really important, right, to get if it’s possible, where interests align, to have as many African states speaking with one voice. It’s a much more powerful message than just a couple individual states. But there are always going to be intrinsic limits. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Gary Prevost with the College of St. Benedict. And if you can unmute yourself. Q: Speaking today, actually, as honorary professor and research associate from Mandela University in South Africa. I’ve had several students in recent years—doctoral and master’s students—study U.S. and allied counterterrorism strategies both in the Middle East and in Africa, and they’ve come away with a general perspective that those strategies going back several administrations have been almost solely focused on military action and that it has led them in their recommendations sections of their theses to argue that other steps must be taken if these efforts in places like Nigeria or Somalia or Mozambique or even in the Middle East, Syria, and Iraq, are to be successful they must have a changed mindset about counter terror. What’s your perspective on that? GAVIN: Well, thanks for that. I wholeheartedly agree, right, and I think, you know, you’ll even get plenty of military officers, right, who will say there’s no way we can address some—these problems, these, you know, kind of radical violent organizations aligned to global terrorist groups with a purely military approach. It’s frustrating. I’m sure it’s frustrating for your students, too, because it feels like everyone keeps coming to this conclusion, and, certainly, there have been efforts to, you know, counter violent extremism, provide opportunity for young people. But we’re not very good at it, right. We haven’t been very good at it yet. There’s still a mismatch in terms of the resources we pour into these kind of relative—these different streams of effort, right. But I think also while it’s very clear in a situation like Mozambique that if you want to weaken the insurgency you need to be providing more opportunity and building more trust in a community that’s been disenfranchised and alienated from the center for a very, very long time. But the how to do that, how to do that effectively and how to do it in a climate of insecurity I actually think is an incredibly difficult challenge, and there are, you know, brilliant people working on this all the time. You know, some of the best work that I’ve seen suggests that some of this can be done but it’s an incredibly long-term undertaking and that, you know, is sometimes, I think, a difficult thing to sustain support for, particularly in a system like the United States where, you know, our appropriations cycles tend to be very short term. So people are looking for, you know, quick impact, things you can put on a bar graph quickly and say that you’ve done. And I think that, you know, a lot of the kind of peace building research suggests that that’s—that, you know, building community trust, which is a huge part of what needs to happen, operates on a very different kind of timeline. So it’s a really thorny, thorny problem and how to get—you know, how to sustain political and budgetary support for those kinds of efforts. I don’t know the answer yet. I’m sure somebody really smart on—maybe on the Zoom does. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson at Tufts University. Q: Hello, Ambassador Gavin. First of all, I’d like to congratulate you in your new position as Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa, and that’s actually—as I’ve been sitting here listening to this, my thought was I’d like to know if you have thought about ways in which you can use your position at the Council to help actualize forms of partnerships about policy dialogues related to Africa. You began by articulating the U.S.’s new strategic vision for Africa. That was an American statement. I haven’t really heard an African statement that would be engaging with that policy dialogue. These one-on-one trips of the secretary of state and other people going to individual African countries, based on our agenda, and having one-on-one dialogue discussions, in a way, does not get towards that real notion of African agency in policy and partnership. So I’m actually wondering whether you might envision the Council playing a role and creating some kinds of policy dialogue fora that would have American(s) and Africans participating in ways that would be visible to American publics as well as African publics. So I’m suggesting that you might, you know, be uniquely well suited to have the Council play a role in actually making visible and operationalizing this concept. I just thought about this sitting here listening because what I realized was everybody talking is talking from the American side and I’m wondering if—well, my dear colleague, Olufúnké, actually was an African voice. But I think what needs to happen is there needs to be a way for this taking place maybe with African institutions, academics, civil society actors. So I just throw that out for you to think about and I’d like to hear your first response to that idea. GAVIN: So I think it’s exciting and I’d love, actually, to follow up with you. I’m delighted that you’re here. I heard some wonderful things about your work. I think there’s always the hard part of, right, who speaks for Africa, right, because there are so many diverse African perspectives. But I don’t think you’re suggesting there’s necessarily a unitary voice. You’re talking about sort of different actors, and I would agree with you that it’s always incredibly rich to have conversations. You know, I recently did a panel with Professor Ed Vitz, who is working on some—working on a paper, I think, that will eventually be a book about sort of U.S.-Africa policy and particularly interested in the kind of frame of major power rivalry. But it was such a refreshing conversation to examine that and compare notes on what we thought the flaws of that frame might be to hear his perspective on where he thought there might be advantages to be seized from it. It was wonderful, and I agree with you that the more dialogue and the more opportunity not just to sort of talk amongst ourselves in a U.S. community that cares about Africa and about U.S. policy the better. You know, I will be honest with you, I often, in a situation like the one right now, I try hard to stick to—to at least keep circling back to U.S. policy because that’s where my background is and I, you know, have no desire to posit myself as speaking on behalf of Africans. That’s nuts and, you know, not my role. But I do—I have spent a lot of time thinking about how the U.S. engages with the continent. And so I think it’s a really interesting notion. I’d love to follow up with you. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next written question from Krista Johnston, who’s a professor at Howard University. The African Continental Free Trade Area will create the largest consumer market. What are the barriers U.S. businesses investing in Africa and positioning themselves to take advantage of this new trade area and what can the Biden administration do to incentivize this kind of engagement with China? And perhaps I can tack on another question to that because we have a lot of questions—(laughs)—both raised hands—is just to talk a little bit about China’s footprint in Africa as well. GAVIN: Sure. Well, so I absolutely agree that the African Continental Free Trade Area is a really incredibly promising step forward for African economic integration and that is, you know, compelling in any number of ways. I think, for example, about the very hot topic of pharmaceutical production, right. And between the Free Trade Area, the standing up of the African Medicines Agency, right, which should help to harmonize regulatory standards for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment throughout the continent, investments seem a lot more attractive, right, when you’re looking at much bigger markets than any one country, even than a giant like Nigeria, can provide. So I think that there’s tremendous potential here. I will go back to what I said earlier, which is that even with these positive steps, right, it’s going to be really important that the peace and security parts start trending in the right direction because it’s very—you know, I would say this. U.S. investors are already quite bad at assessing risk in Africa and a backdrop of instability is not going to help that situation, right, and it is, in many cases, going to make a given investment opportunity or partnership opportunity too risky for many. So, you know, there’s just no way to jettison those concerns. But wholeheartedly agree it’s an exciting development. If the world hadn’t gotten sort of hijacked by COVID, I think we’d be talking about it a lot more. On China, you know, the Chinese engagement on the continent is a fact of life that’s existed for a very long time and is not going anywhere. It is economic, it is political, it is, increasingly, cultural, and I think, you know, for a state like China that aspires to be a major global power it’s entirely predictable and understandable. Do I think that there are some ways in which Chinese investment and engagement are not always beneficial to African states? I do. I have concerns, certainly, about the way China sometimes uses its influence to secure African support for Chinese positions that appear antithetical to stated values in AU documents and other(s) and I have concerns about the transparency of some of the arrangements. I have concerns as well about some of the tech standards and just sort of play for technical dominance that maybe does not have the cybersecurity interests of Africans as its top priority. All that said, I think it’s really important for the United States to, you know, understand that there’s no—there’s nothing to be gained by constantly vilifying China’s engagement, some of which has been incredibly helpful for African states hungry, particularly, for financing on major infrastructure projects, and, you know, it’s a fact of life we all have to learn to deal with. I do think, you know, there’s some natural tension between the Biden administration’s democracy focus, right, and the very explicit and intentional efforts of China to present a different model, and I don’t think that the U.S. needs to shy away from that or pretend that those differences don’t exist. But I do think it’s incredibly unhelpful to frame up all of U.S. policy as if it’s intended to counter China as opposed to intended to find those areas in the Venn diagram of, you know, those overlaps of African interests and U.S. interests and work together on them. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Anna Ndumbi, who is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi. Please unmute yourself. Q: Thank you very much. I really appreciate the presentation. I have a quick question in regards to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is center of Africa. About three years ago, there was a new president that stepped in by the name of Félix Tshisekedi, and he decided to pass a law saying that all the secondary education should be free because, obviously, in Africa schools aren’t free. And I, personally, think that maybe it wasn’t really—it was something they should have probably considered before passing the law. The result of that is that you have classrooms where there were maybe twenty students and now there’s, like, there could be over a hundred students in one classroom, right. So we spoke about the pandemic. When COVID hit a lot of schools were shut down. They were shut down for a long period of time, and when you look at a lot of schools in Africa they don’t have the ability of giving out maybe laptops or anything like that to assist students to continue school at home. So in result of that, you see a lot of children who are really below what they should be, below the average when it comes to education, and my question with that is where do we see the future going as far as maybe having international organization(s) or United States intervene because the future is not bright when we look at education with the children or the youth. How can United Nation(s) or maybe other international organization(s) assist, especially with what happened during COVID, going forward? What does the future look like for Africa? And I’m speaking more for the Democratic Republic of Congo. How can nonprofit organization(s) or United States intervene and assist in this matter? GAVIN: Well, thank you for that, and I have followed this a little bit because it was an interesting and kind of splashy promise and initiative on the part of President Tshisekedi and it’s been disappointing, I think, to see that some of the, you know, government’s budget that was intended to be allocated for that appears to have found its way into a handful of individuals’ accounts. But I think that, you know, the fundamental point you’re making, which is that in DRC but also throughout the African continent, right, there are these vast populations of young people. It is the youngest region of the world. And if you look at it historically at how other parts of the world have dealt with youth bulges, right, investing in that human capital so that they can be drivers of innovation and economic growth has been a really powerful kind of transformational tool—for example, in Asia. And so I definitely think that you’re onto something really important right now about prioritizing investing in young people and their capacity, and you’re absolutely right that the disruptions of the pandemic have, in many cases, fallen most heavily on children. You know, how to tackle that, I think, is sort of—you know, I can’t design a program in this moment, I’ll be honest with you. But I think that you’re absolutely right, it’s an incredibly important and too often easily overlooked priority. You know, there have been some interesting education innovations on the continent but they’re too often kind of small, not scalable, and the need is so incredibly vast. But here, again, I will be a broken record. We do have to go back to this issue that peace and security matters, right. It’s very, very hard for kids to get a sustained education that’s going to provide them with opportunity in a context of insecurity, which, for a lot of children in eastern Congo, is still the case. FASKIANOS: OK. We have three minutes left. I am going to—and so many questions, and I apologize that we’re not going to be able to get to all of you. So I’m going to give the final question to Caleb Sannar. Q: Hi. Yes. Thank you for joining us today, Ambassador Gavin. As they said, my name is Caleb Sanner. I’m a student from the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater. My question is with the Abraham Accords the Trump administration signed the agreement with Morocco to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. Following that, there was some discrepancies in the southern territory controlled by the U.N., MINURSO, and the Polisario Front, the external Saharawi government, ended up declaring war again on Morocco, resuming the war from nineteen years previously. My question is what is the Biden administration’s policy on that? GAVIN: Great question. Reporters have been asking that question, too, and with great message discipline the administration continues to say is that they’re supporting U.N. efforts. And so whenever they ask, are you are you going to reconsider this decision regarding recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara, they respond not by answering that question but by saying they’re supporting U.N. efforts. So that’s the most I can report to you in—regarding that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Well, we are at the end of our time. So, Ambassador Gavin, thank you very much for being with us and, again, to all of you for your fantastic questions, and I apologize for not being able to get to all of you. But we will have to continue doing webinars on this important topic and on digging in a little bit deeper. So we will be announcing the winter-spring academic lineup next month through our academic bulletin. This is the final webinar of this semester. Good luck with your finals—(laughs)—and grading and taking the exams and all of that. I know it’s a very busy and stressful time with the pandemic layered on top of all of it. If you haven’t already subscribed for the bulletin, please, you can do so by emailing us at [email protected] You can follow us on Twitter at @CFR_Academic. And of course, please go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for new research and analysis on global issues. You can see on CFR.org Michelle’s latest post on Africa—blog posts, so you should follow her there as well. So, again, thank you. Thanks to all of you, and happy holidays, and we look forward to reconvening in 2022.
  • Energy and Climate Policy

    Jason Bordoff, cofounding dean, Columbia Climate School, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, and professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University, leads a conversation on energy policy and efforts to combat climate change.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I am Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record. And the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have with us today Jason Bordoff to talk about energy policy and efforts to combat climate change. Jason Bordoff is cofounding dean of the Columbia Climate School, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, and professor of professional practice in international and public affairs at Columbia University. He previously served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change on the National Security Council, and he has held senior policy positions on the White House’s National Economic Council and Council on Environmental Quality. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine and is often on TV and radio. So, we’re really happy to have him with us today. So, Jason, thank you very much. We are just coming off the COP26 conference that took place in Glasgow that started on October 31, I believe, and concluded last Friday, November 12. Could you talk about what came out of the conference at a high level, if you think that the agreements that were reached went far enough or didn’t go far enough, and what your policy recommendations are to really advance and fight the countdown that we have to the Earth warming? BORDOFF: Yeah. Thanks. Well, first, thanks to you, Irina, and thanks to CFR for the invitation to be with you all today. Really delighted to have the chance to talk about these important issues. I was there for much of the two-week period in Glasgow representing the Energy Center and the Climate School here at Columbia. I think it’s kind of a glass half-full/glass half-empty outlook coming out of Glasgow. So I think the Glasgow conference was notable in several respects. We’ll look back on it, I think, and some of the things we will remember are—some of the things we’ll remember—(dog barking)—sorry—are the role of the private sector and private finance, I think, was much more prominent in Glasgow this year. I think there were commitments around some important things like methane, a very potent greenhouse gas, was much higher on the priority list in this U.N. climate meeting than in prior ones. You had pledges on deforestation and other things that are important. And then the final agreement did have some important elements to it, particularly around Article 6, how you design carbon markets around the world. But the glass half-empty outlook is still we are nowhere close to being on track for the kind of targets that countries and companies are committing to: net zero by 2050 or 1.5 degrees of warming. I think there were—there should be hope and optimism coming out of COP. The role of the youth—at Columbia, we were honored to organize a private roundtable for President Obama with youth climate activists. It’s hard to spend time with young people in COP or on campus here at Columbia or anywhere else and not be inspired by how passionately they take these issues. So the activism you saw in the streets, the sense of urgency among everyone—activists, civil society, governments, the private sector—felt different, I think, at this COP than other COPs that I have attended or probably the ones I haven’t attended. But there was also for some I saw kind of we’re coming out of this and we’re on track for below two degrees. Or, you know, Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, tweeted that when you add up all the pledges we’re on track for 1.8 degrees Celsius warming. He’s talking about all of the pledges meaning every country who’s promised to be net zero by 2050, 2060, 2070, and at least from my standpoint there’s a good reason to take those with a grain of salt. They’re not often backed up by concrete plans or ideas about how you would get anywhere close to achieving those goals. So it’s good that we have elevated ambition, which is kind of one of the core outcomes of the COP in Glasgow. But it is also the case that when you elevate ambition and the reality doesn’t change as fast or maybe faster than the ambition is changing, what you have is a growing gap between ambition and reality. And I think that’s where we are today. Oil use is rising each and every year. Gas use is rising. Coal use is going up this year. I don’t know if it’s going to keep going up, but at a minimum it’s going to plateau. It’s not falling off a cliff. So the reality of the energy world today—which is 75 percent of emissions are energy—is not anything close to net zero by 2050. It is the case that progress is possible. So if you go back to before the Paris agreement, we were on track for something like maybe 3.7 degrees Celsius of warming. If you look at a current outlook, it’s maybe 2.7, 2.8 (degrees), so just below three degrees. So progress is possible. That’s good. If you look at the nationally determined contribution pledges—so the commitments countries made that are more near term, more accountability for them; the commitments they made to reduce emissions by 2030, their NDCs—we would be on track for about 2.4 degrees Celsius warming, assuming all those pledges are fulfilled. But history would suggest a reason to be a little skeptical about that. The U.S. has a pledge to get to a 50 to 52 percent reduction in emissions by 2030, and look at how things are working or not working in Washington and make your own judgment about how likely it is that we’ll put in place the set of policies that would be required to get to that ambitious level of decarbonization by 2030. And I think the same healthy dose of skepticism is warranted when you look elsewhere in the world. But even if we achieve all of those, we’re still falling short of below two degrees, nevertheless 1.5 (degrees). And so, again, I think the outcome from COP for me was optimism that progress is possible—we have made a lot of progress in the last ten years—but acute concern that we’re nowhere close to being on track to take targets like 1.5 degrees Celsius or net zero by 2050 seriously. And we just need to be honest as a climate and energy community—and I live in both of those worlds; there’s a lot of overlap between them, obviously—about how hard it is to achieve the goals we are talking about. Renewables have grown incredibly quickly. Optimistic headlines every day about what is happening in solar and wind. Costs have come down more than 90 percent. Battery costs have come down more than 90 percent in the last decade. But solar and wind create electricity, and electricity is 20 percent of global final energy consumption. The outlook for electric vehicles is much more promising today. Lots of companies like Ford and others are committing to be all-electric by a certain date ten or twenty years from now. Cars are 20 percent of global oil demand. About half of the emission reductions—cumulative emission reductions between now and 2050 will need to come from technologies that are not yet available at commercial scale and sectors of the economy that are really hard to decarbonize like steel and cement and ships and airplanes. We’re not—we don’t have all the tools we need to do those yet. And then, in Glasgow, the focus of a lot of what we did at Columbia was on—we did a lot of different things, but one of the key areas of focus was the challenge of thinking about decarbonization in emerging and developing economies. I don’t think we talk about that enough. The issue of historical responsibility of loss and damage was more on the agenda this year, and I think you’ll hear even more about it in the year ahead. The next COP is in Africa. There was growing tension between rich and poor countries at this COP. I think a starting point was what we see in the pandemic alone and how inequitable around the world the impacts of the pandemic are. Many people couldn’t even travel to Glasgow from the Global South because they couldn’t get vaccinated. We need, between now and 2050, estimates are—a ballpark—$100 trillion of additional investment in clean energy if we’re going to get on track for 1.5 (degrees)/net zero by 2050. So the question that should obsess all of us who work in this space: Where will that money come from? Most of it’s going to be private sector, not public. Most of it is going to be in developing and emerging economies. That is where the growth in energy is going to come from. Eight hundred million people have no access to energy at all. Nevertheless, if you model what energy access means, it’s often defined as, you have enough to turn on lights or charge your cellphone. But when you talk about even a fraction of the standard of living we take for granted—driving a car, having a refrigerator, having an air conditioner—the numbers are massive. They’re just huge, and the population of Africa’s going to double to 2.2 billion by the year 2050. So these are really big numbers and we need to recognize how hard this is. But we should also recognize that it is possible. We have a lot of the tools we need. We need innovation in technology and we need stronger policy, whether that’s a carbon price or standards for different sectors. And then, of course, we need private-sector actors to step up as well, and all of us. And we have these great commitments to achieve these goals with a lot of capital being put to work, and now we need to hold people accountable to make sure that they do that. So, again, I look back on the last two weeks or before, two weeks of COP, the gap between ambition and reality got bigger. Not necessarily a bad thing—ambition is a good thing—but now it’s time to turn the ambition into action. We need governments to follow through on their pledges. Good news is we have a wide menu of options for reducing emissions. The bad news is there’s not a lot of time at our current rate of emissions. And emissions are still going up each and every year. They’re not even falling yet. Remember, what matters is the cumulative total, not the annual flow. At our current rate of emissions, the budget—carbon budget for staying below 1.5 (degrees) is used up in, around a decade or so, so there’s not much time to get to work. But I’m really excited about what we’re building with the first climate school in the country here at Columbia. When it comes to pushing—turning ambition into action, that requires research, it requires education, and it requires engaging with partners in civil society and the public sector and the private sector to help turn that research into action. And the people we’re working with here every day on campus are the ones who are going to be the leaders that are going to hopefully do a better job—(laughs)—than we’ve done over the last few decades. So whatever you’re doing at your educational institution—be it teaching or research or learning—we all have a role to play in the implementation of responsible, forward-thinking energy policy. I’m really excited to have the chance to talk with you all today. Look forward to your questions and to the conversation. Thank you again. FASKIANOS: Jason, that’s fantastic. Thank you very much for that informative and sobering view. So let’s turn to all of you now for your questions. So I’m going to go first to—I have one raised hand from Stephen Kass. Q: OK. Thank you. Jason, thank you for the very useful and concise summary. What specific kinds of energy programs do you think developing countries should now be pursuing? Should they be giving up coal entirely? Should they be importing natural gas? Should they be investing in renewables or nuclear? What recipe would you advise developing countries to pursue for their own energy needs? BORDOFF: It’s going to need to be a lot of different things, so there’s no single answer to that, of course. And by the way, I’ll just say it would be super helpful if people don’t mind just introducing yourself when you ask a question. That would be helpful to me, at least. I appreciate it. I think they need to do a lot of different things. I think I would start with low-hanging fruit, and renewable electricity is not the entire answer. The sun and wind are intermittent. Electricity can’t do certain things yet, like power ships and airplanes. But the low cost of solar and wind, I think, does mean it’s a good place to start, and then we need to think about those other sectors as well. I think a key thing there comes back to finance, and that’s why we’re spending so much time on it with our research agenda here. Access to financing and cost of capital are really important. Clean energy tends to be more capital-intensive and then, like solar and wind, more CAPEX, less OPEX over time. But attaining financing in poor countries is really difficult and expensive. Lack of experience with renewable energy, local banks are often reluctant to lend to those kinds of projects. And then foreign investors, where most of that capital is going to come from, view projects often in emerging markets and developing economies particularly as more risky. Local utilities may not be creditworthy. There’s currency inflation risk in many developing countries, people worry about recouping their upfront investment if bills are paid in local currency. There’s political risk, maybe corruption, inconsistently enforced regulations. And it can be harder to build clean energy infrastructure if you don’t have other kinds of infrastructure, like ports, and roads, and bridges and a good electrical grid. So I would start there. And I think there’s a role for those countries to scale up their clean energy sectors, but also for policymakers and multilateral development banks and governments elsewhere—there was a lot of focus in Glasgow on whether the developed countries would make good on their promise made in Copenhagen to send $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries. And they fell short of that. But even that is kind of a rounding error, compared to the one to two trillion (dollars) a year that the International Energy Agency estimates is needed. So there are many other things besides just writing a check that government, like in the U.S. or elsewhere, can do. The Development Finance Corporation, for example, can lend to banks in local and affordable rates, finance projects in local currency, expand the availability of loan guarantees. I’ve written before about how I think even what often gets called industrial policy, let’s think about some sectors—in the same way China did with solar or batteries fifteen years ago. Are there sectors where governments might help to grow domestic industries and, by doing that, scale—bring down the cost of technologies that are expensive now, the premium for low-carbon or zero-carbon cement or steel. It’s just—it’s not reasonable to ask a developing country to build new cities, and new highways, and all the new construction they’re going to do with zero-carbon steel and cement because it’s just way too expensive. So how do you bring those costs down? If we think about investments, we can make through U.S. infrastructure or other spending to do that, that not only may help to grow some domestic industries and jobs here, that can be its own form of global leadership if we’re driving those costs of those technologies down to make it cheaper for others to pick up. So I think that’s one of the places I’d start. But there are a lot of other things we need to do too. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question—and let me just go back. Stephen Kass is an adjunct professor at NYU. So the next question is a written question from Wei Liang, who is an assistant professor of international policy studies at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. And the question is: I wonder if you could briefly address the Green Climate Fund and individual countries’ pledge on that. BORDOFF: Yeah, I mean, it touches a little bit on what I said a moment ago about the need for developed countries to provide climate finance to developing countries. And so I think that’s—it’s important that we take those obligations seriously, and that we, in advanced economies, step up and make those funds available. And but, again, we’re talking—the amount we’re still talking about is so small compared to the amounts that are needed to deal both with the impacts of climate change, and then also to curb climate change, to mitigate climate change. Because we know that developing countries are in the parts of the world that will often be most adversely impacted by climate impacts—droughts, and heat waves, and storms, and food security issues—from a standpoint of equity are the parts of the world that have done the least to cause this problem, responsible for very few emissions. If you look cumulatively at emissions since the start of the industrial age, about half—nearly half have come from the U.S. and EU combined. Two percent from the entire continent of Africa. So they are using very little energy today, haven’t therefore contributed to the problems, and have the fewest resources, of course, to cope with the impacts, and also to develop in a cleaner way. Sometimes it’s cheaper to develop in a cleaner way. Renewables are often today competitive with coal, even without subsidy. But there are many areas where that’s not the case, and there is a cost. And we need to help make sure that, you know, we’re thinking about what a just transition looks like. And that means many different things for different communities, whether you’re a coal worker or an agricultural worker in California that may, you know, be working outside in worse and worse heat. But it also means thinking about the parts of the world that need assistance to make this transition. So I think we need to be taking that much more seriously. FASKIANOS: Next question is a raised hand from Tara Weil, who is an undergraduate student at Pomona College. Q: Hi. So, given that developed nations are the largest contributors to carbon emissions, as you’ve said, how can larger powers be convinced as to the importance of addressing global inequality with regards to climate change? And thank you so much, also, for giving this talk. BORDOFF: Yeah. Thank you for being here. I don’t have a great answer to your question. I mean, the politics of foreign aid in general are not great, as we often hear in events at CFR. So I do think one—we need to continue to encourage, through political advocacy, civil society, and other ways, governments in advanced economies to think about all the tools they have at their disposal. I think the ones that are going to be—I’m reluctant to try to speak as a political commenter rather than a climate and energy commenter on what’s going to work politically. But part of that is demonstrating what—it’s not just generosity. It is also in one’s self-interest to do these things. And just look at the pandemic, right? What would it look like for the U.S. to show greater leadership, or any country to show even greater leadership and help cope with the pandemic all around the world in parts of the world that are struggling to vaccinate their people? That is not only an act of generosity, but it is clearly one of self-interest too, because it’s a pretty globalized economy and you’re not going to be able to get a pandemic under control at home if it’s not under control abroad. Of course, the same is true of the impacts of climate change. It doesn’t matter where a ton of CO2 comes from. And we can decarbonize our own economy, but the U.S. is only 15 percent of annual emissions globally. So it’s not going to make a huge difference unless everyone else does that as well. There is also the potential, I think, to—and we see this increasingly when you look at the discussion of the Biden infrastructure bill, how they talk about the U.S.-China relationship, which of course are the two most important countries from the standpoint of climate change. It is one of cooperation. That was one of the success stories in Glasgow, was a commitment to cooperate more. We’ll see if we can actually do it, because it’s a pretty difficult and tense U.S.-China relationship right now. So the question is, can you separate climate from all those other problems on human rights, and intellectual property, and everything else and then cooperate on climate? It’s been hard, but there’s a renewed commitment to try to do that. But also, a recognition that action in the clean energy space is not only about cooperation but it’s also about economic competition. And you have seen more and more focus on both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle on thinking about the security of supply chains, and critical minerals, and the inputs in lithium and rare earth elements that go into many aspects of clean energy. To my point before about aspects of industrial policy that might help grow your own domestic economy, I think there are ways in which countries can take measures that help—that help their own economies and help workers and help create jobs, and that in the process are helping to drive forward more quickly the clean energy technologies we need, and bring down the cost of those technologies to make them more accessible and available in some of the less-developed countries. So I think trying to frame it less as do we keep funds at home, do we write a check abroad? But there are actually many steps you could do to create economic opportunities and are win-win. Without being pollyannish about it, I think there is some truth to some of those. And I think we can focus on those politically as well. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take an international question from Luciana Alexandra Ghica, who is an associate professor for international cooperation at the University of Bucharest. What type of topics do you think we should address immediately in university programs that provide training in climate, development, global policies, or international public affairs, so that a new generation of leaders really pushes forward the agenda on climate change? BORDOFF: Yeah. Well, I’ll say a quick word about what we’re doing at Columbia, and maybe it’s relevant to that question, because Columbia has made this historic commitment to build a climate school. There are many initiatives, and centers, and institutes. There was not only a handful of schools—law school, business school, medical school, engineering school. And it is the largest commitment a university can make to any particular topic, is something on the scale of a school with degree-granting authority and tenure-granting authority, and all the things that come with a school. And it’s just the scale at a place like Columbia, and many other places, is just enormous. That’s what we’re doing on climate. We have created a climate school. And I’m honored President Bollinger asked me to help lead it. And we’re going to build a faculty. We have our first inaugural class of masters’ students, about ninety students that are going through the program right now, and we have a building in Manhattan for the climate school, and on and on. The idea—but the question is, what is climate, right? Because academia has been historically organized into traditional academic disciplines. So you have people who you hire through a tenured search, and they go to the engineering faculty and build their lab there. And there’s law professors, and their business school professors, and on and on and on, social work. But for climate, you need all of those, right? They all kind of need to come together. And, like, interdisciplinary doesn’t even sort of do justice to what it means to think about approaching this systemic—it’s a systemic challenge. The system has to change. And so whatever solution you’re talking about—if you want to get hydrogen to scale in the world, let’s—you know, for certain sectors of the economy that may be hard to do with renewable energy, or in terms of renewable energy and, say, green hydrogen. You need engineering breakthroughs to bring down the cost of electrolyzers, or you need new business models, or you need financial institution frameworks that figure out how you’re going to put the capital into these things. You need the policy incentives. How are you going to—you need permitting and regulation. How do we permit hydrogen infrastructure? It’s barely been done before. There are concerns in the environmental justice community about some aspects of technologies like that or carbon capture that need to be taken seriously and addressed. There are geopolitical implications, potentially, to starting to build a global trade in ammonia or hydrogen, and what security concerns—energy security concerns might accompany those, the way we thought about oil or gas from Russia into Europe. I have an article coming out in the next issue of Foreign Affairs about the geopolitics of the energy transition. So we need disciplines that come together and look at a problem like that in all of those multifaceted dimensions, so we can figure out how to get from a lab to scale out in the world. And so when we think about the areas of concentration here, climate finance, climate justice, climate in society, climate in international security—I mean, a range of things that I think are really important to help people understand. And that’s going to be a major focus of what we do at the climate school here. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Let’s go next to Sean Grossnickle, who has raised his hand. A graduate student at Fordham University. Q: Speak now? Hi, this is not Sean but Henry Schwalbenberg, also at Fordham, where I teach in our international political economy and development program. I went to a conference about a month ago in Rome. And there was a physicist from CERN. And he was a big advocate of something I’d never heard of, and this is this thorium for nuclear reactors. And he was going through all the pros, but I wanted a more balanced perspective on it. And I’m hoping that you might give me a little pros and cons of this thorium nuclear reactor technique. BORDOFF: Yeah. I will be honest and say that nuclear is not my area of focus. We have a pretty strong team here that works in nuclear, and I think is optimistic about the breakthroughs we’re going to see in several potential areas of nuclear—advanced nuclear technology, that being one of them, or small modular reactors, and others. At a high level, I will say I do think if you’re serious about the math of decarbonization and getting to net zero by 2050, it’s hard to do without zero-carbon nuclear power. It’s firm, baseload power. It runs all the time. Obviously, there are challenges with intermittency of solar and wind, although they can be addressed to some extent with energy story. Most of the analyses that are done show not necessarily in the U.S. but in other parts of the world significant growth in nuclear power. The International Energy Agency just modeled what it looks like to get to net zero by 2050, and this pathway that got a lot of attention for saying things like we would not be investing in new oil and gas supply. The world has to change a lot pretty quickly. And they have about a hundred new nuclear plants being built by 2030, so that’s a pretty big number. So we’re going to need all tools—(laughs)—that we have at our disposal. And unfortunately, I worry we may still fall short. So I think at a high level we need to think really hard about how to improve nuclear technology. The people who know that really well I think are optimistic about our ability to do that. And I will follow up on thorium in particular with my colleagues at Columbia, and happy to follow up with you offline about it. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take a written question from Stephen Bird, who’s an associate professor of political science at Clarkson University. He thanks you, and he wanted you to talk a little bit more about political will. The overall dollar amounts are clear. Much cheaper to address climate change than to ignore it. That said, countries are, clearly, lagging. Is it a case of countries just don’t want to take action now because of issues of fairness or because of lack of domestic political support, i.e., citizens aren’t convinced that they should pay costs now with payoffs that come later, and what might we do to improve that issue in terms of persuading or arguing for more political will? BORDOFF: Yeah. It’s a question for, you know, a political scientist as much as an energy or climate expert, and I wish I had a better answer to it. I think it is—climate is one of the trickiest problems for so many reasons but one of those is there is no acute event now that you sort of respond to, hopefully, and pull everyone together. It’s a set of things that, you know, of course, there would have been storms and droughts before but we know they’re intensified and made worse. It’s hard to rally public support. We often respond to a crisis kind of proverbial, you know, frog in the boiling water kind of thing. So that makes it hard. There are huge issues—we talked about a just transition a few minutes ago—there are huge issues with intergenerational equity when we talk about climate. There are, clearly, climate impacts and damages today but some of the worst will be in the future, including for people who may not be born yet, and we don’t do a great job in our political environment about thinking about those and valuing them today and how you do that, and from an economic standpoint, of course, there are questions about discount rates you apply and everything else. I think, politically, one of the things that has mobilized stronger climate—support for climate action, so it is encouraging that if you look at polling on climate change, the level of urgency that the public in many countries, including the U.S., broadly, ascribe to acting on climate has gone up a lot. It’s higher today than it was, you know, a decade or so ago. That’s a result of people seeing the impacts and also advocacy campaigns and political campaigns. It is often tied to—it’s like a win-win. Like, President Biden says when he thinks of climate he thinks of jobs, and so we’re going to deal with climate and we’re going to grow the economy faster and we’re going to create jobs, and there is truth to that. It is also the case that there are costs. The cost of inaction are higher, but there are costs associated with the transition itself. So if you survey the American public, I think, climate, according to the latest YouGov/Economist poll I saw, you know, it was number two on the list of things they cared the most about. That’s much higher than in the past. And then if you ask the American public are they willing to pay $0.25 a gallon more at the pump to act on climate, 75 percent say no. And you look at the challenges the Biden administration is having right now sort of thinking about a really strong set of measures to put in place to move the ball forward on climate, but acute concern today about where oil prices are and inflation and natural gas prices as we head into the winter. If the weather is cold then it’s going to be really expensive for people to heat their homes in parts—some parts of the country like New England, maybe. So that’s a reality, and I think we need to—it was interesting, in the roundtable we did with President Obama with climate activists, that was a message he had for them. You know, be impatient, be angry, keep the pressure on, but also be pragmatic. And by that he means, like, you know, try to see the world through the eyes of others and people who are worried about the cost of filling up at the pump, the cost of paying their heating bills. They’re not—some of them may not be where you are yet. They may not have the same sense of urgency with acting on climate that many of us on this Zoom do and need to take those concerns seriously. So I think that’s a real challenge, and it can be addressed with good policy, to some extent, right, if you think about the revenue raised from a carbon tax and how it could be redistributed in a way that reduce the regressive impacts. I’ve written about how, at a high level—I’ll say one last point—if we get on track for an energy transition, which we’re not on yet, right. (Laughs.) Oil and gas use are going up each and every year. But imagine we started to get on track where those were falling year after year. It’s still going to take decades, and that process of transition is going to be really messy. It’s going to be really volatile. We’re going to have fits and starts in policy from Obama to Trump to Biden. We’re going to make estimate—we’re going to make bets on technologies and maybe get those technologies wrong or misunderstand the cost curves, the potential to shut down investment in certain forms of energy before the rest are ready to pick up the slack. If it’s messy and volatile and bumpy, that’s not only harmful economically and geopolitically, it will undermine public support for stronger climate action. So you see, like, in Washington they’re selling off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because we’re moving to a world beyond oil and also we have all this domestic oil now with shale. We need more, not fewer, tools to mitigate volatility for the next several decades if we’re serious about making this transition, and I think the same is true for thinking about sort of buffers you could build into geopolitics, foreign policy, and national security, because there will be—in a post-oil and gas world, you know, you may say, well, we’re not going to worry as much about the Middle East or about, you know, Russia’s leverage in Europe. But there will be new risks created and we can talk about what some of those might be, and we need new tools of foreign policy to mitigate those potential foreign policy risks. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question. Raised hand from Chloe Demrovsky, adjunct instructor at NYU. Q: Hey, can you hear me? BORDOFF: Yes. Thank you. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: Hi. Chloe Demrovsky, adjunct at NYU and president and CEO of Disaster Recovery Institute International. Thanks for being with us, Jason. So my question is about the feasibility and your thoughts on artificially altered clouds or solar geoengineering. What are the ethical and geopolitical implications of, perhaps, using this to buy a little time for our energy transition? Thanks. BORDOFF: Yeah. A super interesting question, and I will say, again, I’m sort of—think of myself as an energy expert. So that is where I spend more time than thinking about tools like solar geoengineering. I guess, it seems there’s, obviously, huge risks associated with something like that and we need to understand them. We need to do research. We need to figure out what those risks may be. There are global governance concerns. It’s actually pretty cheap to do solar geoengineering. So what happens when some country or some billionaire decides they want to start spraying stuff into the atmosphere to cool the planet? And for those who don’t know that, you know, solar—I mean, you think of after a volcano the planet cools a little bit because of all the particulates up in the atmosphere. When you model in an energy system model how much phasing out coal will reduce warming, you, obviously, have much less carbon dioxide emissions but that’s offset slightly—not completely, of course—it’s offset a little bit by the fact that you have less local air pollution, which is a good thing from air pollution. But air pollution has a slightly cooling effect, because you have these little particles floating around that reflect sunlight. So the idea is can we create that artificially and cool the planet, and you can imagine lots of reasons why that could go wrong when you’re trying to figure out what—how much to put in there, what unintended consequences could be. You still have other impacts of carbon dioxide like ocean acidification. Maybe you go too far in one direction, that’s like you’re setting the thermostat. That’s why one of the companies doing carbon removal is called Global Thermostat. You’re kind of figuring out what temperature it should be. But I will say so it’s an area that needs research and I think, given how far we are away from achieving goals like 1.5 and net-zero 2050, I guess what I would say is in the same way that when I worked in the Obama administration it was—I wouldn’t say controversial, but there were some people who didn’t want to talk about adaptation because it was kind of a more—there was a moral hazard problem there. It was, you know, less pressure to mitigate and reduce emissions if we thought adaptation was a solution. People worry about that from the standpoint of solar geoengineering. But the likelihood—I hope I’m wrong, but the likelihood that we roll the clock forward, you know, later this decade and we realize we’ve made progress but we’re still pretty far short, and the impacts of climate change in the same way the IPCC 1.5 report said, you know what, 1.5 is going to be pretty bad, too, and that’s even worse than we thought, the more we learn about climate the more reason there is to be concerned, not less concerned. It seems very plausible to me that we will kind of come to a growing consensus that we have to think about whether this technology can, as you said, buy us time. This is not something you do permanently. You need to get to net zero to stop global warming. But if you want to reduce the impacts of warming on the rate of Arctic sea ice melt and all the rest, can you buy time, extend the runway, by doing this for some number of decades. And I think—I don’t have a strong view on the right answer to that. But I think it’s something we, certainly, need to be thinking about researching and understanding what the consequences would be because we’re going to have to figure out how to take more abrupt actions to close that gap between ambition and reality unless the reality starts to change much more quickly than is the case right now. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I saw a raised hand from Maya but she lowered it. So if you want to raise your hand again, please do so. And in the meantime, I’m going to take a written question from Jennifer Sklarew, who’s an assistant professor of energy and sustainability at George Mason University. Was CCS/CCUS, which carbon capture and storage/carbon capture utilization and storage, to write out those acronyms, promoted as a climate change solution in Glasgow and was there a pushback against this technology option as both a climate change solution and a support mechanism for continued fossil fuel use? BORDOFF: There was some pushback but, I think, actually, more in the other direction. So I think there has been a growing recognition from many in the climate world that carbon capture technology, carbon removal technology, need to be part of the solution. I think there’s almost no climate model at this point that shows how you would get to 1.5 degrees or net zero—1.5 degrees without huge amounts of negative emissions—carbon removal. Some of that can be nature based, but a lot of it will be—some of it will be technology based as well and focusing on what we care about, which is the emissions, is the most important thing. So and this is not, I don’t think, the primary thing you’re going to do. You want to do the things that are easiest and cheapest and present the fewest risks. So putting a lot of renewables into the grid, getting electrification into the vehicle fleet—there’s a lot of things that you would do before that. But if you think about some of the sectors in the economy we talked about before that are hard to decarbonize like steel and cement, it may well be the case that carbon capture is part of the technology there. There was a big announcement yesterday from the NET Power Allam Cycle gas plant in Texas that they had finally come online with delivering net-zero power to the grid. It was sort of a milestone in that technology. So we need to advance this technology and figure out how we’re going to—how we’re going to get where we need to be. We need to hold that kind of technology accountable to make sure that it’s actually meeting the standards we’re talking about so that it actually is very low, if not zero, carbon. But if you look at, you know, most of the scenarios I’m aware of, whether it’s—Princeton did the study “Net-Zero America,” how we get to net zero by 2050 in the U.S. The International Energy Agency, as I said, did it for net zero globally. There is a meaningful role for carbon capture, to some extent, in the power sector in these heavy industry sectors like steel and cement, and then making, say, hydrogen some of that will be blue hydrogen. Most of it, eventually, will be green, but there may be some role for blue hydrogen, which is—which is gas with carbon capture. So I think, if anything, there’s been a growing understanding that we need all tools on deck right away and, again, I fear even with all the tools we may still fall short. FASKIANOS: Great. There’s a written question from Laila Bichara, who’s at SUNY Farmingdale, international business. There was a New York Times article, “Business Schools Respond to a Flood of Interest in ESG,” talking about the issue of the scarcity of skills in recent graduates to help with social impact, sustainable investments, climate finance, and social entrepreneurship. And she wanted to know if there are resources that you could point the group to in terms of foundation courses or certification that would provide all students with a basic foundation. BORDOFF: Yeah. That’s a really good question and it’s a growing area of focus and I think universities should be doing more in. The Tamer Center of Columbia Business School does a lot of work in ESG. We hosted a really interesting roundtable at the Center on Global Energy Policy yesterday on ESG and actually been doing a lot of work thinking about that in the context of state-owned enterprises and national oil companies, which we don’t talk about enough. But they’re a really, really big part of the problem we’re talking about. We tend to focus more on these very well-known private sector companies or financial institutions in places like New York. So there—Bloomberg Philanthropies has done a huge amount in this space. I think there’s some really good educational programs with some universities and business schools that have done a lot in the ESG space. But I think it’s a need, to be frank. I mean, the fact that you’re asking the question and I’m pointing to a few examples, but not a huge number, and it is something that universities need to educate themselves about but then is an opportunity for us to educate others. Maybe a revenue one, too, with executive education or something. But there’s a lot of companies and financial institutions that want to understand this better. I worry that while there’s a huge growing focus on climate, which is a good thing, in the financial community, the phrase ESG kind of means so many different things right now. It’s this alphabet soup of regulations and standards and disclosure requirements, and some may make a difference and some may not and it’s hard to figure out which ones matter, and for people who want to do the responsible thing what does that really mean. That’s an area where research is needed. I mean, that’s a role for what we do every day to think about if the SEC is going to regulate what makes a difference and what doesn’t, if you’re going to create green bonds. If you’re going to call everything green in the finance community, what’s real and what’s not? What moves the needle? What doesn’t? What are the returns for greener portfolios? How is that affecting the cost of capital for clean energy versus dirty energy? You know, on and on. I think those are important research questions for us to take on and then it’s our job to help educate others as well. FASKIANOS: Great. So the next question I’m going to take from—oh, OK. Good. Maya Copeland (sp) has written her question. She’s a political science major at Delaware State University. Do you believe developed nations like the U.S. have done a lot in reference to climate change or mostly talk? If you believe nations like the U.S. have dropped the ball in this aspect, what do you think it would take to get those powerhouses serious about environmental change? BORDOFF: I think advanced economies have done—many have done a lot. I mean, the European Union has taken climate seriously and has reduced emissions and has pretty strong measures in place with a carbon market, for example, with a pretty high carbon price right now. The politics of this issue are not quite as favorable in the U.S., but the U.S. has seen emissions decline more than most over the last decade and a half, in part because of policy measures that have, you know, advanced renewable energy and brought the cost of that down as well as cheaper natural gas displacing coal for a while. But at a broader level, you know, have we done enough? The answer is no one’s done enough—(laughs)—which is why emissions are still going up every single year. So that—so the answer is no, we haven’t done enough. Almost no country has done enough at home to be on a trajectory for net zero 2050. You saw the announcements from countries like India saying, we’ll get to net zero by 2070, and, you know, people said, oh, well, that’s terrible. They’re not saying 2050. And implicit in that is sort of saying, well, if you want to get global to net zero by 2050 we’re not all going to move at the same speed, right. Some countries have advanced with the benefit of hydrocarbons since the Industrial Age and some haven’t. So, presumably, the pathways are going to look different, right. And, you know, that’s not always how countries in the advanced—in the developing—in the developed world talk about it. The commitment from the Biden administration is net zero by 2050. So I would say there’s been—there are some models to point to of countries that have taken this issue seriously but we’re not doing enough and partly because the political will is not there and partly—I come back to what I said before—this problem is harder than people realize. So you say which countries are doing enough, like, point to some models, right, and somebody might point to Norway, which, you know, the share of new vehicles sold that are electric in Norway went from zero to, I think, it’s 70 percent now. I mean, that’s amazing. Seventy percent of new car sales are electric. And if you go back to the start of that trajectory, about a decade or decade and a half, oil demand is unchanged in Norway. So we can talk about why that is and it’s because a lot—as I said earlier, a lot of oil is used for things other than cars, and it’s increased for trucks and planes and petrochemicals. It takes time for the vehicle fleet to turn over. So when you start selling a bunch of electric cars, you know, average car is on the road for fifteen years so it takes a while before that—the vehicle stock turns over. So I saw that kind of mapped out on a chart recently, just two lines—one is electric vehicle sales going straight up and then the other is oil demand in a flat line. It’s a reminder of how unforgiving the math of decarbonization is. The math of climate is really unforgiving, like, you know, the kind of harmful impacts we’re going to see with even 1.5 degrees warming. But the math of energy and decarbonization is really unforgiving, too. It’s—and we just need to be honest with ourselves about what it takes to get where we need to go. Because I think it’s good to have optimism and ambition, but I worry there should be optimism but not happy talk. We should recognize that there’s a lot of work to do and let’s get to work doing it. FASKIANOS: Great. So there are several questions in the chat about China. I’m going to start off with Andrew Campbell, who’s a student at George Mason University. Is LNG—liquefied natural gas—a bridge toward renewable energy still being considered? If not, how are India and China’s expected growth and increase in coal use going to be addressed? And then there are a couple of other comments or questions about China. You know, what’s your take on China as the biggest emitter and return somewhat to coal? Can we actually even make stated and adequate new goals? And, you know, given the relationship between U.S. and China, which is contentious, you know, what is the cooperation going to be between U.S. and China on climate? So there’s a lot packed in there, but I know you can address it all. (Laughs.) BORDOFF: Yeah. I think the China question is really hard, as I said earlier, this kind of, like, competition and cooperation and we’re going to try to do both, and I think there was a hope early on—Secretary Kerry said it—that climate could be segmented from the broader challenges in the U.S.-China relationship, and I think that has proven harder to do than people had hoped, in part, because, you know, you need both parties to want to do that. I think China has signaled it’s not necessarily willing to segment cooperation on climate from lots of other issues. And then these things bleed together where, you know, there’s measures being taken in Washington to restrict imports of solar panels from China, that there were concerns that were made with—in ways that have human rights abuses associated with them with forced labor or maybe have unfair trade practices in terms of subsidies. China is—you know, the leadership in China takes climate seriously. This is a country that recognizes, I think, climate change is real and that needs to be addressed. They have a set of national interests that matter a lot, obviously, to them in terms of economic growth, and the pathway to get there is challenging. So it’s a country that’s growing clean energy incredibly quickly, as we’re seeing right now, in part because there’s a(n) energy crunch throughout Europe and Asia. They are ramping up the use of coal quite a bit again, but also taking some pretty strong measures to advance clean energy and, over time, hopefully, move in a lower carbon direction for reasons both about concerns over climate but also local air pollution, which is much, much worse in many parts of China than it is here and that’s a huge source of concern for the public there. So when it comes to things like coal they need to figure out how to address those air pollution problems. And then for reasons of economic competition, like I mentioned a minute ago. I mean, China dominates the global market for refining and processing of critical minerals for solar panels, and there are economic and national competitiveness and strategic reasons to do that. So all of those things motivate them to move in the direction of clean energy, but they need to be moving faster to phase down hydrocarbon energy for sure. And then you ask a really hard question about—not hard, but one of the most contentious questions is about the role of natural gas in the transition, and we can have a whole separate session about that. I think there is a view of many in the climate community and many in developing countries—in developed countries that there’s not space left in the carbon budget for natural gas, and you saw the Biden administration recently declare through the Treasury Department that, except in very rare cases of the poorest of the poor like Sierra Leone or something, they would not finance natural gas projects through the multilateral development banks. The vice president of Nigeria, I think, responded—speaking of CFR—in Foreign Affairs by writing that this was not fair and you need to think about a viable pathway for a country like Nigeria to develop and it just—it doesn’t work to get there that fast. There has to be a bridge. The role of gas looks very different in different parts of the world. It looks different in the U.S. than it does in an emerging or a developing economy. It looks different in the power sector, where there are a lot more alternatives like renewables than it does in heavy industry or how we heat our homes. It looks different for, say, in the Global South, where you’re talking about people who are still using coal and charcoal and dung for cooking to think about solutions like liquefied petroleum gas. So all of those things are true, but we need to think about gas also with the carbon budget in mind. I mean, the math is just the math. (Laughs.) If you’re going to build any gas infrastructure and not have it blow through the carbon budget, it’s going to have to be retired before the end of its normal economic life and you need to think about how that might look in different parts of the world. So you need to be fair to people, to allow them to grow, but also recognize that the math of carbon, you know, is what it is. FASKIANOS: Great. I just want to credit those last—the China questions came from Lada Kochtcheeva at North Carolina State University and Joan Kaufman, who’s director of Schwarzman Scholars based in China. We are really at the end of our time—we started a couple minutes late—and I just wanted to go back to—there are students on the call who are following with a professor on the webinar who wanted you just to comment on blue hydrogen, whether or not it is contributing or helping to reduce greenhouse gases. BORDOFF: I think the answer is it can. You just need to make sure that it actually does. So the question of—and by blue hydrogen we mean, you know, using gas with carbon capture to create hydrogen. It needs to have very low methane leakage rates. It needs to have very high capture rates, and we know that is technically possible. It doesn’t mean it will be done that way. So if people are going to pursue blue hydrogen as part of the solution in the—particularly in the near term, you need to make sure that it’s meeting those standards. I think in the long run my guess and, I think, most guesses would be that green hydrogen is going to make more sense. It’s going to be cheaper. The cost is going to come down. And so if we have a significant part of the energy sector that is hydrogen and ammonia in, say, 2050, more of that’s going to be green than blue. But there can be a role for blue if you make sure it’s done the right way. You just have to actually make sure it’s done the right way. FASKIANOS: Great. And, Jason, we are out of time, but I wanted to give you one last, you know, one-minute or thirty seconds, whatever you want, just to say some parting words on your work at the center or, you know, to leave the group with what they can do, again. So— BORDOFF: Well, I would just say thanks for the chance to be with you all and for the work that you’re doing every day. You know, I think Glasgow was a moment when the world came together to elevate ambition and roll up our sleeves and say this is—this is the decisive decade. Like, we’ll know ten years from now—(laughs)—if we got anywhere close to making it or not. And so it’s time for everyone to kind of roll up their sleeves and say, what can we do? We’re doing that, I think, at Columbia with the creation of this new climate school. We do that every day at the Center on Global Energy Policy. And so just in all of your institutions, you know, what does that mean for you? What does it mean for the institution? What does that mean for your own research and time and how you allocate it? How do we step up and say, what can we do in the biggest and boldest way we can? Because we need—we’re creating a climate school because I think the view is—you know, a hundred years ago there were no schools of public health and now it’s how would you deal with a pandemic without a school of public health? So I think our view is decades from now we’ll look back and wonder how we ever thought it was possible to handle a problem as complex and urgent as climate change without universities devoting their greatest kind of resource to them. And the measure of success for universities has to be research and new knowledge creation. It has to be education. It has to be serving our own communities. For us, it’s, you know, the community here in New York, Harlem. But also are we focusing the extraordinary resources and capacity and expertise of these great institutions to solve humanity’s greatest problems? That has to be a motivating force, too, for much of—maybe not all of but a lot of what universities do. So I’d just ask all of us to go back and think about how we can do that in our own work every day. and we have to do it through partnerships. I think universities don’t work together as well as they need to. But this is only going to work if we work together. FASKIANOS: Great way to end. Thank you very much, Jason Bordoff. We really appreciate it. We’ll have to look for your article in Foreign Affairs magazine, which is published by CFR. So, we are excited that you continue to contribute to the magazine. You can follow Jason Bordoff on Twitter at @JasonBordoff. Very easy to remember. Our final academic webinar of the semester will be on Wednesday, December 1, at 1:00 p.m. (ET). Michelle Gavin, who is CFR’s Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies, will talk about African politics and security issues. So in the meantime, follow us at @CFR_Academic. Come to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for research and analysis on global issues, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you. Take care. BORDOFF: Thank you. (END)
  • Education

    Antonio Flores, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), leads a conversation on the role of Hispanic-Serving Institutions in higher education. FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at CFR. Today’s discussion is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted and honored to have Dr. Antonio Flores with us today to discuss the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions. Dr. Flores is president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Established in 1986, HACU represents more than five hundred colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Europe. During his tenure as president of HACU, the association has nearly tripled its membership and budget, expanded its programs, and improved legislation for Hispanic Serving Institutions, and increased federal and private funding for HSIs. He previously served as director of programs and services for the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority, and the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority. And, needless to say, he’s taught at public and private institutions, conducted research and policy studies on higher education issues. And so it really is wonderful to have him with us today to talk about HACU, how HACU is committed to the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and to serving underrepresented populations. Obviously, we are very much looking to develop talent for the next generation of foreign policy leaders, and really look forward to this conversation. So, Antonio, thank you for being with us. It would be great if you could talk about the Hispanic Serving Institutions, their role in higher education, and your strategic vision for HACU broadly. FLORES: Thank you, Irina, for those very flattering remarks and introduction. And of course, we’re delighted to be part of the series here today and talk a little bit about what HSIs are doing and how they can do more of the great work they’ve been doing for the nation, and HACU’s role as well in promoting them. And suffice to say that Hispanic Serving Institutions have become the backbone of not only Hispanic higher education, but also the American labor force. Because there are more—there are more than 560 now HSIs across the nation, enroll the vast majority, more than 5.2 million of them, of underserved students who historically have not been adequately served in higher education, including Latinos. And it just happens that this population, the Hispanic population, is contributing more than half of all the new workers joining the American labor force today. And that proportion is likely to continue to increase in the years ahead. In addition, of course, they serve scores of African Americans, of Asian Americans, Native Americans, and all Americans. So they are really a microcosm of American diversity. And for that very reason, going forward as these populations continue to increase demographically, their representation in the labor force will only continue to develop. The latest Census Bureau report for 2010 to 2020 indicates that more than 51 percent of all the population growth in the nation is attributed to Hispanics. So there we have it. It’s just the reality of the facts. And therefore, HSIs are now the backbone of America’s labor force, because ultimately the demands of the global economy are such that we need to step up to the plate and really educate at a much higher level, and train at a much higher level those underserved populations, particular Hispanics, so that we can remain competitive in that global economy. And that includes the preparation of top-notch leaders for foreign service careers. And so if we were to summarize how we view HSIs with respect to America’s challenges today, and opportunities in the future, I would say that there are three dimensions that define HSIs vis a vis the United States of America and its future in the world. Number one is diversity. And I already alluded to some of that. But diversity is not just with respect to the fact that they have the most diverse student population on their campuses. But it’s also the diversity across types of institutions because we have community colleges, we have regional universities, and we have research-intensive, or R1 institutions. So we have within campuses tremendous diversity, and we have across campuses nationwide institutionally diversity as well. And so that’s the name of the game. And that’s the name of the game for America, is diversity. And it’s the name of the game for the world. It’s a very diverse world out there. And so the more attuned those top-notch leaders that were looking to educate in our institutions are with respect to their diversity, the more not only knowledgeable and experienced and sensitive to that diverse reality of the world and of America, the much better leaders they are going to be. And so diversity, again, is that one unavoidable element of our world and of our country. The second, I think, very important element or dimension of HSIs is the dynamism. They are very dynamic institutions that are really doing a magnificent job with fewer resources than the rest of the field. They don’t have the big pockets or big endowments. They don’t have the applications they need from the federal government they should get. And yet, they excel at educating those who come to their campuses. Just to give you an idea, Opportunity Insights is a name of an organization that does socioeconomic analysis of graduates from students from colleges across the country. And particularly they focus on how institutions educate and position in careers those who come from the lowest quintile of entering freshmen to college. And they believe that those who graduate, they graduate and see what proportion of those who came in the lowest quintile move to the top quintile in terms of earnings. And in the last report I saw, nine of the ten top institutions in that regard were Hispanic Serving Institutions. Nine of the top ten. It’s not the Ivy League institutions, for sure. It is those institutions that I mentioned that are part of our group of HSIs. And in fact, the number one is Cal State LA in that report that I saw. And so, again, because they are very dynamic, creative, innovative, and resourceful with respect to using what little they have to optimize the educational outcomes of those who come to their campuses. And not just educational outcomes, but career outcomes. Once they are in the workforce, their earnings are higher than those of others from the same lowest quintile when they enter college. So dynamism is the second major component. And I would say deliverance. Deliverance for underserved populations is another important quality that HSIs represent, because they are ultimately serving—for the most part, the majority of their students are first-generation college students, many of them from immigrant families who are unfamiliar with the educational system and with the intricacies of going through a college education, because they themselves never had that opportunity to pass down. So they are at a very distinct socioeconomic disadvantage coming from those types of families who are also low income, because to be an HSI not only does an institution have to have more than 25 percent of its enrollment being Hispanic, but also they have to show that the majority of their students are Pell Grant eligible—in other words, needy, low-income students. And the other criterion is that they have to spend on average per student less than the average of their peer institutions. So they are efficient, very cost-effective, and they serve the neediest of our society. So there you have it. Diversity, dynamism, and deliverance for the most needed in our society. That’s what HSIs are all about. And so they really are in need of much greater support from the federal government, the state governments, and from the corporate community and the philanthropic community. And our association advocates for that to be the case, with some success but not enough. We have been able to increase the appropriations for them from Congress over the years, but they are way behind other cohorts of minority-serving institutions that get much more money per student than HSIs do, despite the fact that they—for instance, they not only educate 67 percent of all the 3.8 million Hispanics in college today; they also educate three times as many African Americans as all the HBCUs combined. Let me repeat that: More than three times as many African Americans go to HSIs as they go to HBCUs, OK? And more than 42 percent of all the Asian Americans in college today attend HSIs. They also educate more than twice as many Native Americans as all the tribal colleges and universities put together. And then we have other groups of different national origins who come to our campuses. So they are extremely diverse. And so that’s, in a nutshell, what HSIs are all about. And they’ve been growing, about thirty new HSIs per year, because demographically it’s how the country’s moving. There are more Hispanic young people emerging from high school and going to college than from any other group. And conversely, the non-Hispanic White student enrollment has been declining continually year after year for the last ten years. Look at the numbers. And that’s not going to stop. In major states, like California and Texas, for example, the two largest in the nation, more than 50 percent—about 52-55 percent of the K-12 enrollment is Hispanic. If you add the other minority populations, overwhelmingly these states futures are diverse and Hispanic. And so is the country. Other states are moving in the same direction, whether it’s Florida, or Illinois, or New York, New Jersey. The main states in the nation are moving in those—in that direction. So that’s why it’s so essential for Congress, the states, corporate America, and philanthropic America to invest in these institutions much more than they have been doing, because they represent the very future of this nation. To the extent that the new generations of graduates coming out of them are equipped with the right tools to succeed as scientists, as technicians, as professionals in whatever field they choose, our country will thrive. And the opposite will happen if we don’t. It’s that simple. And so that’s what I wanted to just briefly say as an introductory commentary on HSIs. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much for that. We’re going to go to the group now for their questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to first go to Manuel Montoya, who has raised his hand. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And, Dr. Flores, it’s a real pleasure to have you on the call. I appreciate all the work that you do for HACU and for Hispanic Serving Institutions. I am with the University of New Mexico. I’m an associate professor in international management at UNM, but I also do a lot of work with my cohorts on supporting HSI—our HSI designation. We are a Hispanic Serving Institution and an R1 institution as well. All of the things you said are really important. And I had a comment and then a question. I think this question of—this idea of diversity being the name of the game is not to be underestimated. I think that the students that go through HSI-designated institutions, I think that they have the potential to reshape and recalibrate what we mean when we say we are ambassadorial in the world. And the United States needs to upgrade and change its relational dynamics, political and economic, to include diverse voices that come from the learned and lived experiences of people who traditionally come from first-generation families, first-generation students. And HSIs are equipped to do that. So my question becomes, you mentioned wanting to track some people into the foreign service exam. But what other types of experiences or opportunities do you think are best practices for students that are coming out of HSIs to participate in the larger international relations frameworks and careers that are setting the global agenda? FLORES: That’s a good question, Professor Montoya. And let me share with you briefly something that I mentioned before we started the webinar to friends at CFR. And that is that HACU has a very robust national internship program that places upwards of five hundred undergraduates, and some of our graduate students, with federal agencies, including the State Department. We signed an MOU with the late Secretary Powell, who at that time was very much committed to increasing the number of Latinos in the Foreign Service, and other underrepresented populations. And that remains in place, although not with the numbers that we would like to see. And yet, there are other agencies that also have a foreign or abroad projection, like Department of Agriculture, for example. And others that have offices across the world. And so we are very much into helping them find the right talent they need, and getting them also as interns experience those agencies, and putting them on the right track to become full-fledged employees once they graduate. So that’s one of the things that we’ve been doing. We need to do much more of that. I accept that the number is, as impressive as they may sound, are very minute when it comes to the populations that we’re talking about. And our own association has made it a priority to expand its international reach. And we have, depending on the year, anywhere from forty to fifty universities across Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain that are affiliated with us to do precisely what you suggest, which is student mobility and experience abroad. And so—and in both directions, also that they would come to be in the U.S. And so we have the beginnings, I think, of a major push to make sure that many, many more young people who—they have a kind of an almost organic connection to international affairs, in this case Latinos, because most of them come from families who immigrated or have roots in other countries, and are really very much culturally adept to international roles. So your point is well-taken. And you’ll see a lot more activity from our end as an association in that regard. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Shoshana Chatfield. Q: Yes, hello. I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful presentation and for really exposing me to some of the issues that I wasn’t aware of previously. I am the president of the United States Naval War College. And since I’ve been here over the past two years, I have been actively trying to expand our recruiting effort to make our vacancies on our faculty available to members of the community. And yet, I’m not seeing any appreciable difference in the applicant pool. And I wondered if you could advise me how I might approach this differently to raise awareness about hiring to these war colleges who have not traditionally had a high representation of faculty who come from the same backgrounds that you described. FLORES: Thank you. Thank you for your very timely question, President Chatfield. Let me say that one of the first things that I would suggest is that you join our association as a college. Why would that be helpful to your effort? Because then you will connect with presidents and CEOs of five hundred-plus community colleges, regional university, and so forth, and school districts that are also affiliated with that, that are defined as Hispanic-serving school districts. So that even in high school you will have a presence through our association’s outreach to them, and that you also would network with peers of diverse institutions across the country who may have robust pipelines of Ph.D. graduates and others who could fit your own aspirations, in terms of getting some of those faculty on your campus, some of those administrators, and some of those as students. Because, at the end of the day, probably—you probably want to have a much more diverse student body. And that can come from precisely that opportunity to not only interact but formally establish relationships with some of those colleges to transfer, for instance, from community colleges or from high schools that we interact with on a regular basis. So that would be one suggestion. We also have in our association a very, very nimble system called ProTalento. It’s online. That is P-R-O-T-A-L-E-N-T-O, ProTalento. And that that—you can go to our website, find it. And we have on that website a very robust database of individuals who are looking for opportunities at different colleges. That are already teaching, or doing research, or both, and are looking for other opportunities. And also, we have institutions that are looking for them. And the system basically matches them. So you can go there and find a goldmine, so to speak, of talent. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Great question. And we have a written question, a couple written questions in the chat. This one comes from Andrea Purdy, who is an associate professor of Spanish at Colorado State University. We are anticipating reaching HSI status. And in talking to my students, a comment they have made to me is that they don’t always feel welcomed all over the university. There are niches, but overall the sense of belonging is not felt. They also commented that while they are beginning to see themselves in classrooms, they don’t see themselves in the faculty. What suggestions do you have for universities to make sure that the inclusivity is felt at all levels? FLORES: Well, it’s similar to the previous question in some—in some regards, because ultimately the first thing you want to do as a college or university, it has to be job number one, is to create a climate—a campus climate of support and welcoming feelings for the students, that they feel not only appreciated but they feel really supported and welcome to the institution. And so the point made is how can we recruit or how can we diversify faculty and staff? Well, again, you go—you know, when you want to catch fish, you go fishing where the fish are. And the fish are in some of the HSIs, those that are already more developed institutions. And many of them are regional universities or R1s or R2s. And those could be a source of talent for institutions like Colorado State, that is lacking some of their representation. And of course, I want to insist that please visit ProTalento. And you may be surprised how much success you could have in getting people from that database to consider your institution. But of course, faculty and staff who look like the students are essential to create that culture, that campus climate of appreciation and welcoming, I would say. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let’s go next to Rosa Cervantes, who has a raised hand. And please unmute yourself and tell us your affiliation. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you for taking my questions. My name is Rosa Isela Cervantes. I’m the director of El Centro de la Raza at the University of New Mexico, and also special assistant to the president on Latino Affairs. And I really interested in what you said, Mr. Flores, about the diversity of students at HSIs, and that we serve three times the amount of—if I heard correctly—of African American students at HSIs than BCUs, is that correct? Is that— FLORES: That is correct, yes. Q: OK. And I wanted to see if you could expand a little bit about that, and also maybe think through or talk to how we can do some coalition building with folks. Because I really feel like HSIs are completely underfunded, right? You’ve stated it, we’ve heard it. But yet, they’re so robust and they do so many different things for so many different students. I wonder how we might continue—and we’re a member of HACU—but I wonder how we maybe think through some conversations to really get out the word about that idea, that HSIs are that robust, that HSIs do served large populations of students. And sometimes some of the most neediest students that require more money, right, for their funding. And so I just think that’s very interesting. I think—I don’t think a whole lot of people know about it or understand that. I had a faculty member at a different institution actually question me, because I had read that somewhere. And I think we need to talk more about it. So I’m just wondering your thoughts about coalition building and what else we can do, and how other ways that HACU needs our support to make that happen. FLORES: Thank you for your excellent question, Ms. Cervantes. And let me share with you that last week I was in Washington, D.C. most of the week and met with a number of Congress individually, including your great senator, Mr. Lujan. And guess what? There was a lot of good conversation about that point. And I have also talked with a number of African American members of Congress who didn’t know that, and who actually had themselves—(background noise)—and who actually have themselves a significant number of HSIs in their districts. And they didn’t know that they had all these HSIs in their districts. And so I think the word is getting out there. And, more importantly, the appreciation for the fact that these institutions really are very diverse, and not only do they educate the vast majority of Latinos and Latinas, but they also educate a larger number, as we said, of African Americans and others than the HBCUs, for example. And they didn’t know that. And then—so I think that mindset might begin to change, because at the end of the day the funding and support should be focused on the students. And ultimately, if you help the neediest of students you have the more diverse population, but you have the fewest dollars per student coming from Congress. There has to be something wrong there with that equation. So there is an inequity that we are, as an association, trying to remedy. And we need all the help we can get from all—our own Latino organizations and HSIs, but also from others including the HBCUs. It’s not about reducing funding for them or anything like that. They can and should be getting even more. But not—but HSIs shouldn’t be treated as second-class institutions. They are not. They are the backbone, again, of America’s labor force, in terms of training that labor force to be competitive in the global economy. So they have to be treated appropriately and equitably. Basically, it’s about equity in terms of funding. And right now, things are not at all equitable, but we’re changing that gradually. And thank you for your question. Q: Gracias. FASKIANOS: So we have a written—several written questions. So Sandra Castro, who is assistant dean of the undergraduate programs at Adelphi University says: What recommendations do you have for institutions that are striving to become HSIs in preparing for this designation? What internal changes and institutional infrastructure is necessary to truly serve the Latino student body? FLORES: I will suggest three things. One is, begin to work more closely with institutions that are already HSIs and that are doing a good job being HSIs, that are recognized for having, as they say, best practices with respect to being an HSI. And learn from them. Learn how it is that they do what they do well. And begin to then—and the second point is, educate your own leadership at your institution about how they can be much more effective and receptive to the inevitable demographic change in their student population to become an HSI, and how they can make the most of it in terms of student success, and also learning the ropes of how to get grants and funding to improve services for this population. And the third thing that I would recommend very strongly is that, you know, take a very hard look at all of your outreach and marketing materials, and revise them accordingly so that you reflect that commitment to diversity, in particular to Latino inclusion, in terms of bilingual materials and outreach to families and communities. Because many times the decision about whether to go to college or where to go to college by a student is really influenced very heavily by the family, the parents particularly, because of the tremendous pressure that many of them have in starting to work to contribute to the family income, because they come from low-income families. So working with those families and making them aware of the importance of getting a degree, a college degree, and postponing some of that lower-income—some of the minimum-wage salary that they could get as a high school graduate, and working with those families is very important. Working in their language and culture is even more important for some of them. FASKIANOS: Great. I think this is a good segue to the next question from Eric Hoffman, who got an upvote. He’s the dean of the Honors College at Miami Dade College. And his question is: How can we get the Hispanic and Latinx students out of their community and expand their aspirations to colleges and universities in states and areas far from home? FLORES: Well, you know, it’s an excellent question, in the sense that historically—because these are first-generation college students for the most part, whose families have not had the opportunity to educate themselves in college. And their temptation is to stay home. Especially sometimes it’s worse for female students to move away from home. And my suggestion is that you, again, will work with those families as closely as you can to make them aware of the fact that moving away doesn’t mean—moving away physically doesn’t mean moving away from the family otherwise, that they will ultimately remain connected to the family. And now with technology it’s even easier. You know, we have Facetime. We have all kinds of other ways of interacting that were not available just some years ago. And they ultimately need to consider the best options in terms of financial aid and the quality of education they’re going to get, and a few of the studies that they want to pursue. Sometimes all of those things are not available locally, so you have to go where all of those are. And I think that once there is a process of education for the family in that regard, they tend to be much more flexible. We experience some of that with our own national internship program, because we place them primarily in the Washington area, but also in other places. And I personally get to intervene sometimes with some families in their language, in Spanish, to reassure them that the young woman that was going to be placed somewhere else in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere was going to be OK, and she was going to come back home after the ten-week experience, or fifteen-week internship. And, guess what? After they experienced that, their siblings—they were trailblazers for their siblings and for neighbors, and all that. Now we don’t have that problem, at least with our internship program. We have thousands of applicants and, unfortunately, we can only place about five hundred a year, annually. And so it does pay off to invest in working with families closely. And again, it’s a generational effect, because then younger siblings or relatives will not have that kind of issue going forward. FASKIANOS: You had mentioned that you were in D.C. last week meeting with members of Congress. And we obviously have a new secretary of education, Dr. Cardona. Have you seen a shift from the Biden administration in their approach and what they’re doing from a federal level to support the HSIs? FLORES: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there is just no question about that. The shift has been dramatic. And this administration and Congress are—have shifted gears and are actually investing more than anything else in people, investing in the economy to create more jobs, investing in education to prepare the labor force much better, investing in health to protect people from not just the pandemic but from other diseases that we experience. And just in general, the infrastructure, they just passed that bill in the House, is to improve the lives of people across cities, across states, by improving their infrastructure. It is not just about roads and bridges. It is also about water systems that are decaying and are affecting the health of people. It is about the lack of access to broadband connectivity. It is all of those things that will improve the lives of people. And so there, no question. And HSIs have improved—again, not to the extent that they should be supported. But we are in a much better situation now than we were just a couple of years ago. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take Nathan Carter’s written question, and then Mike Lenaghan, I know you wrote a comment/question in the chat, but I’d love for you just to raise it and speak it, because I’m afraid I might not get it exactly correct. So Nathan Carter from Northern Virginia Community College in the Washington D.C. metro area. I am the—NOVA’s chief diversity equity and inclusion officer. We are an emerging HSI. When we look at our enrollment data here in fall 2021, we see a clear decline in quote/unquote “new” Hispanic students, both male and female. We wish to discuss this growing issue and recognize what may be the current obstacles or community issues happening right now in the Hispanic community that will help us explain what we see and how we can reach out to the Hispanic community to help address what could be a growing problem across various states. So I think if you could comment on that, and how to, you know, have that discussion. FLORES: Well, thank you for that question. It’s something that, of course, has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Because a lot of our colleges and universities, HSIs and others, did not have the endowments or the money to immediately make—shift gears in the direction of the technology required to move from in-person to online teaching and learning, and to train faculty and staff to manage all of those new systems. And that’s on the institutional side, that there was that kind of reality of not getting all of the necessary resources to make that shift immediately and successfully. On the receiving end you have families and communities that do not always have the connectivity to broadband and the devices at home and the space at home to learn online. And so it was a one-two punch—institutional and students were hit very hard. And therefore, many of them withdrew. And apart from the fact that when it comes to the rate of infection, hospitalization and death, Latinos were worse hit than any other population, so much so that during the pandemic Latinos shrank their life expectancy by three years, compared to two years for Black and 0.68 years, so less than a year, for non-Hispanic Whites. So you do have all of those things. And ultimately, that means that the students served by these institutions come from those very families that were hardest hit in their health as well. So they couldn’t go to school. They were trying to survive. And many did not. And so there was a drop in the enrollment, and particularly at community colleges, is where the—they were the hardest hit with respect to that, just like that community that is emerging as an HSI. So we are pushing very hard for that to be remedied, not just for the pandemic, but for the long term. Because I think the hybrid models of teaching and learning should—will remain in place for the long haul. And we need to make sure that those families, those communities that have been historically underserved and underfunded get that necessary technology at home to do that type of educational experience. We also need to make sure that the institutions that are suffering the most get the most help to beef up their infrastructure. And not just in terms of technology, but also in terms of expanding classrooms and also creating labs that are very expensive to create for technology of science or engineering types of degrees, which are the most in demand. And in some states, it’s even—it’s worse than in others because a lot of students are homeless. A lot of students are homeless. And in a state like California, where we have the largest concentration of Latinos, for example, that problem has been rampant and recognized by the state as a huge priority. So what they need to do is also build affordable housing even on campuses, so that those students have a place to live in a decent, humane way. And so there are many things that come to create this perfect storm against populations like low-income Latinos, and African Americans, and others. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to ask Mike Lenaghan to ask his question live. Q: Thank you very much, Irina. And it’s a pleasure to see you, Dr. Flores. I am Mike Lenaghan from Miami Dade College, and truly cherish the empowerment we’ve enjoyed through the vehicle of HACU. It’s been my experience, basically with a great deal of labor-intensive and purposeful leadership development, to have my scholars—just me, as one faculty member—successfully transfer to over 139 colleges and universities in the United States, all of whom required financial support and almost all of whom were able to avoid loans. This is over a twenty-year period. My question is: How might I, as a faculty member, also someone who’s labor-intensive, be empowered, possibly mediated by HACU, to share basically how to set up my Hispanic students and their families and their relatives for the kind of success my scholars have enjoyed at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Georgetown, UVA, Duke, UCal Berkeley, and so on? Which, when the right combination of chemistry and self-identification occurs, each of my Hispanic/Latinx scholars basically knows what they uniquely bring and add, as well as what they uniquely can address and engage in each school. I realize I am just a microcosm in a larger macrocosm, but I’m wondering does HACU have a role to play that might mediate some education and sharing, not just a book or a strategy, but something that could be shared, including some of what I like to call my all-stars, who have enjoyed operating in the context of HACU as a launching pad. Thank you, sir. FLORES: Thank you for your very, very important work, Professor Lenaghan. And thank you for your very caring teaching and supporting our students, your scholars. And ultimately, you have a lot to offer to the academic community as a faculty who cares about these students not only doing well but excelling and going to places that perhaps their families never thought of them being able to go. And I think it begins with learning from people like you what is it you’ve been doing so well to help those that you have helped to excel. And HACU can be a platform for you to share that. We ultimately have annual conferences and other meetings where your expertise and your success can be shared with others to adapt it to their own needs and replicate what you’ve been doing so well in other places, so that many more can go onto those very selective institutions, and others. And of course, I don’t know if we’ve been connecting—I insist on this point, on connecting with families, because many of the Latino families—and maybe in the Miami area it’s a little different because a lot of the Cuban and South American families perhaps come from a more middle-class background than in places like Texas or California. And maybe they had already some collegiate experience in their home countries, and they immigrated there, or whatever. But that helps a lot, OK? When they come with that background. But when they don’t, when they are immigrants who come without even a high school diploma from their home countries, and they don’t know the language, their highest expectation is at least to get their high school diploma and start working somewhere. And so taking them to the next level, it takes a lot of work. And it takes a lot of work in terms of making sure that they understand that if their child has the talent, and has the persistence and discipline, et cetera, et cetera, to go places, that they can be very helpful to him or her in ensuring that there is a space at home where they can study, that they do concentrate on their studies, and that they really aim for those places that you mentioned and don’t settle for second-best of going to some institution, but make that their goal: I’m going to go to X or Y Ivy League or very selective institution because I have with it takes, but it’s going to take a lot of nurturing and support. And the parents can be very helpful, even if they don’t have an education, by really making sure that their child has the space and the time at home to concentrate and study. That will go a long way. But really, let them flourish. And so HACU can be a platform in three different ways. One is, allowing individuals like yourself, who are excelling in their teaching, to share their best practices with others. Secondly, we also, of course, have to recognize that we have some programs already in HACU that are very effective, especially those that are focused on moving a critical mass into STEM degrees. And we’re going to emphasize that even more going forward. And thirdly, that we, as an association, have the ability to influence federal agencies and others—and corporations to invest in the kinds of practices that you may be successful at. And I’ll give you a couple examples. We just got a planning grant from NSF, HACU did. And we are almost done with the planning for one year, because we want to submit a multiyear, multimillion grant to NSF with an emphasis on moving as high as possible, to the PhD. in fact, Latinos all the way from community college up to the research one institutions. And we are working on that proposal to be submitted early next year. But we could, I’m sure, learn from what you’re doing. And so we could influence agencies to also invest more. We have a new program under NSF for HSIs that you can apply for a grant to expand what you’re doing with more students, more parents. And the same thing is true with respect to other agencies. I was just in Washington last week and met with the undersecretary of the Department of Commerce to discuss the technology program, where our institutions will each have a role to play. And so we have the role of advocating and influencing agencies and Congress to invest in institutions like yours, Miami Dade, and professors like you, so that you can do more of exactly what you are doing. So please feel free to send us an email at HACU. You can send it to my attention. And I’ll make sure that it finds its way to the right staff in charge of the kinds of programs that you are dealing with. We do have great staff that follows up on situations like yours. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. We will circulate after this an email with some of the resources you’ve mentioned and the email that we should be sharing, Dr. Flores. So we have another question, and it follows onto Mike’s question, from Arturo Osorio, who’s an associate professor at Rutgers University. Any advice or programs that you know to help connect the parents of the Hispanic Latino Students to the higher education experience? Many of our students are first-generation Americans and also first-generation college students. This creates a large cultural and experiential gap for parents to bridge on their understanding of what kids are going through and support them. As a result, many of the students have very stressful moments as they navigate away from the family to their college life. FLORES: Yeah. Excellent question. And my suggestion is that please send us an email. We have an office in HACU that is designated to promote pre-K-12 and higher education collaboration. The executive director of that office is Jeanette Morales. Jeanette Morales has a team, and they work with clusters or consortia of colleges, universities and K-12 schools, particularly secondary schools, to move out successfully many more of those underserved students to college and be better prepared to succeed in college. It is more substantive than just a college visitation thing or admissions officers talking with them at an event. They actually have early college interventions for high school students. So they actually earn even college credit when they are creating high school for the most advanced students. But they also have opportunity for professors from some of those universities and community college to teach as visiting teachers in those high schools, where they may not get the resources to hire faculty for advanced courses and for the courses that are required to be successful in especially STEM degrees, like advanced math, advanced science, and so forth. So that office and our association has been in place for the last seventeen years. It was that far back when we first saw that more than half of the battle to succeed in college has to be won in K-12. And it has to be won with families on your side, because first-generation college students do depend largely on families to make decision after high school. So please feel free to contact Jeanette Morales or myself in my email at our San Antonio headquarters. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. We are at the end of our time. I just wanted to ask if you could just do really briefly what you’re doing internationally to encourage—you know, and we don’t have a lot of time. But I don’t want to leave without—you had told me in our pre-call just a little bit. So if I you could just give us a wrap-up on that, that would be fantastic. FLORES: Yeah. We think of international education not as an appendage, not as a luxury, not as an add-on proposition, but as an integral part of a college education, in this case. And we hope that the vast majority of our young people will have a chance to experience a study abroad. And of course, it’s like a big dream, because right now if you look at the numbers, only about 5 to 7 percent, max, of all the 350,000 American students going to study abroad are Latino. And the same number, roughly the same percentage, is African Americans and others. And conversely, only about maybe 3 percent of all the students coming from other countries come from Latin America—1.3 percent only from Mexico, which is right next door to us, OK? So that has to change. And it has to change because people who have an international experience ultimately expand their horizons and their vision of the world and are more effective not only professionals but citizens of the world. And we feel that it is very important for our young people to do that, not as a—as a kind of a luxury, or anything like that, but as an integral part of their development as professionals. And so we plan on being even more keen on affecting legislation that will provide more resources for our institutions and international programming, and ourselves as an association being much more engaged in getting more international institutions to affiliate with us to promote that mobility, that experience, independent of whether the government decides to invest or not. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you very much. Antonio Flores, this has been really a great discussion. And thanks to everybody for their terrific questions and comments. We really appreciate it. HACU is lucky to have you. We’re fortunate to have you leading this great association. As I mentioned, we will send out a link to this webinar, also some of the resources you mentioned, email addresses and the like. And I’m sure everybody knows it, but it’s worth repeating, the HACU website, HACU.net. You can follow them on Twitter at @HACUnews. So go there. You can also follow us at @CFR_Academic. And please go to CFR.org, ForeignAffairs.com, and ThinkGlobalHealth.org for CFR’s resources on international affairs and the like. So I hope you’re all staying well. Dr. Flores, thank you again. And we look forward to your continuing involvement in this webinar series. The next invitation will be for December, and we will be sending that out under separate cover. FLORES: Thank you very much, Irina. Thank you, everyone. (END)
  • Education

    Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, associate professor in George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and global fellow in the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program, leads a conversation on the future of U.S.-Mexico relations.   CASA: Welcome to today’s session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I am Maria Casa, director of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Thank you all for joining us. Today’s discussion is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, CFR.org/academic if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera with us to discuss the future of U.S.-Mexico relations. Dr. Correa-Cabrera is associate professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and global fellow in the Latin America Program at the Wilson Center. She also serves as nonresident scholar at the Center for the United States and Mexico in Rice University’s Baker Institute, is a fellow at Small Wars Journal-El Centro, and is co-editor of the International Studies Perspectives Journal. Previously Dr. Correa-Cabrera was principal investigator of a research grant to study organized crime and trafficking in persons in Central America and Mexico, supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. She is past president of the Association for Borderland Studies and the author of several books. Welcome, Guadalupe. CORREA-CABRERA: Thank you, Maria. CASA: Thank you very much for speaking with us today. CORREA-CABRERA: Thank you, Maria. Thank you very much to everyone, especially the Council on Foreign Relations, for the opportunity to talk to you about the relationships of my two countries, the United States and Mexico. So today, I’m going to start by explaining what is the current state of Mexico-U.S. relations, but in the context of a very important event that took place some days ago, in the context of the U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities. The bicentennial—so-called Bicentennial Understanding. There was a concern at the beginning of the current administration in the United States that the relationships between the United States and Mexico were going to be difficult. Notwithstanding the last, the current year has been extremely productive in many areas. And with this new understanding, the Bicentennial Understanding, that it states in the Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities, the United States and Mexico’s relation has been reframed in a very important way. There is an understanding that the Mérida initiative that had been the center of the relationship between the United States and Mexico, focused on security, needed to be reframed. And then, you know, that was—that was considered that the priorities remained the same, the priorities of the two countries, with some changes that I’m going to be talking about. But the three—I mean, the high-level understanding, this high-level meeting told us what’s supposed to be—I mean, where we’re going to see in the future. So I just wanted to point out some of the points that were discussed. This framework was informed by each country’s security priorities, that I’m going to be talking about. And the focus is addressing violence, but through a response that’s driven by justice and use of intelligence against organized crime, and based on tactical cooperation in law enforcement, based on the previous mistakes that had been identified. But currently, the focus would be on public health and development as a part of the strategy of cooperation between the two countries. I’m taking some words from the—from the communique of this understanding. And, you know, with the consideration of—for a more secure and prosperous region, the Mexico-U.S. Bicentennial Framework serves to reaffirm the friendship and cooperation that exists between the two nations. You know, as you see, the language is very friendly. It’s based on an understanding that the relationship is important, cooperation is important. Apparently the two countries are in the same boat in this regard. The United States recognizes that support of militarization is not the way probably to go. And a greater focus on public health and development to address the root causes of violence in the southern hemisphere, particularly in Mexico, is probably the way to go, with an understanding to promote a more secure and prosperous region. There are four themes—I mean, this is the idea. This was—I mean, that was the conversation that’s on the table. We don’t necessarily know ourselves today how this is going to be implemented, what are the particular policies that—or, the collaboration, or the amounts of money to make this happen. But this is kind of like the idea of the future of this collaboration. However, I am going to be talking about the opportunities, and particularly the challenges, considering the priorities of the two nations that, in a way, and when we have the meetings of this type, and when we listen to the language and read the media and talk to the politicians that were present, we have a sense. But then when everybody goes home, we kind of, like, think about this better and we see opportunities, but more challenges than we initially thought. So there are four main things in the United States-Mexico relations that need to be highlighted, plus one that has been also always important but today is more important due to the pandemic. Which is the theme of public health, where an important collaboration between Mexico and the United States has been observed but at the same time poses certain challenges with regard to the border management. Title 42 is still in place and the borders are going to be opened gradually, considering, you know, the vaccination status of people. But that has had a major impact on border communities, and certain impacts on trade and development, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border. The other four main themes of U.S. Mexico relations that I want to talk about are immigration, security, trade, and energy. I mean, I don’t want to place them in order of priority. I think that energy is going to define the future of Mexico-U.S. relations, but I’m going to mention the four in the context of the present—I mean, the present situation. So with regards to trade, the successful passage and, you know, implementation of renegotiation of NAFTA, today in the shape of USMCA, has been extremely successful. Poses some challenges, of course. And this is going to be connected with the last subject we’ll be talking about, the proposal of the Mexican government to reform the electricity sector. This is something that is going to be very, very important, and what are the priorities of the United States in the framework of build back better? But with regards to trade, apparently their relationships could not be, you know, better than today. There are some challenges, of course, that have to be with labor rights and unions in Mexico that would cause some loss of competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. And in the framework build back better, of course, this is going to benefit the United States and it’s going probably to affect the manufacturing sector of Mexico. Let’s see how it works. But with regards to trade, things are mainly, you know, stable, with exception of the future. And this is going to be very, very important. The potential passage, we don’t really know, it’s very difficult that the electricity reform in Mexico will pass. But anyway, the president—the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has a very important amount of—I mean, segment of the population, and a very important support from his base that might help him to achieve his goal. I see it very differently, but we’ll talk about that. So the next area that I would like to talk about is immigration. Here we have enormous challenges, enormous challenges that have been visualized with, you know, the current situations at the border that started since the beginning of this administration. During the past years, I mean, they had started to be increasing in magnitude, or at least in visibility. As I mentioned, Title 42 is maintained, and the migration protection protocol—Migrant Protection Protocols, so Stay in Mexico program, where a number of asylum seekers would have to wait for their cases to be decided in Mexico, there’s a new definition in this framework. The Supreme Court of the United States very recently made a decision with regards to the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols. In the beginning the Department of Homeland Security, you know, made the declaration that they would—they would continue with that, but very recently they intention is not to continue with the Migrant Protection Protocols. In the end, and this is why this is very important in the very current conversation, in the end the continuation of this—of this program that has been highly criticized. Then it’s also—it has put the human rights of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers at risk. That might—this will not work if Mexico—if the government of Mexico does not accept it. We have to see what is going to be the result. But we have a definition in this regard. The role of Mexico is key in the management of the U.S.-Mexico border, in the management of what some call migrant crisis, and then a crisis at the border. We observed that crisis very recently with a number of Haitian citizens that all left their country, went to South America, and from South America—from countries such as Ecuador, Brazil, Chile—traveled north through different countries, finding different challenges and dangers, and arrived to one point of the U.S.-Mexico border, with the help of a number of actors, such as migrant smugglers and corrupt authorities, but with the aim of making—I mean, escaping a terrible life and making a better life in the United States. We have a caravan that’s now in direction to Mexico City. They were going go—they will put their demands on the table, but their intent is to continue going to the United States. There is a very big definition with regards to the migrant crisis, or what some call the migrant crisis, and the immigration issues that the government of the United States has recognized very accurately, and the Mexican government too, that there need to be collaboration to address the root causes of the situation that has to do with the development of the countries of Central America, of South America. And, you know, to achieve stability in South America, probably not through militarization. Secretary Blinken in a very surprising statement has led us to believe that today the United States is also reframing its aid to Latin America, to Central America and the Caribbean. And the focus is not going to be in aid in military equipment or in the militarization of the region. This is very important. And this brings me to talk about the third important—the third theme in the U.S.-Mexico relations. Mexico’s security—the relationship of Mexico and the United States in the past few years has been focused on this connection between security and immigration. That’s in the end centered on a specific attention of border enforcement, of border security cooperation. The situation in Mexico has deteriorated in the past few years, and the situation has not improved in an important way. Mexico’s homicides remained at high levels, despite the pandemic. During the pandemic the decrease was very small, but today and we expect that this year the homicide rate continues growing in a trend that does not seem to be going down. The approach of the Mexican government since the transition period was—I mean, I can be summarized in the phrase talks not bullets. Which means, like, a completely—I mean, a complete shift of the declaration of Mexico’s war on drugs to some other, like, approaches that will focus as well to solve the root causes of violence insecurity in Mexico, mainly development frameworks. However, the prior militarization of criminal groups in different parts of the country, and the events—the shootings and the diversification of criminal activities by armed groups in the country—has also caused a very complicated situation. The count of homicides in Mexico shows that killings remain essentially unchanged, more than 36,000 homicides in the year 2020. As I mentioned before, this year we expect an important increase. I don’t know what will be the magnitude, but we have observed since the beginning of the year very unfortunate events. For example, at the U.S.-Mexico border, in the city of Reynosa, the massacre of migrants, and also assassinations and disappearances in a very key highway of Mexico from Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey. We still remember the Culiacanazo in the year 2019, which was a very complicated year. And today the situation in states like Michoacán, Guerrero, and Sinaloa, the massacres that be found, and people who disappear—or, that remain disappeared, is a very big concern, both to Mexico and the United States. There is not really an understanding of how this collaboration with regards to security will be framed. However, there was a very big advancement in the Bicentennial Understanding initial talks that the Mérida Initiative, at least on paper, supposed to be ending. But there’s going to be a focus on dismantling transnational criminal organizations, probably in a different way and not with a focus on the military sector or on armed forces. At least, this is what we have on the paper. Mexico has been very straightforward with regards—and very critical with regards to the role of the DEA. And that has caused several tensions in this relationship. We also have the issue of security and the—I mean, the priorities of the United States with regards to build back better proposal or reform. And then we have, as I said, the reform of the electric sector in the Mexico state, who want to recover the control of the management of electricity, of the electricity market, and the capacity of the state to manage the lithium. So Mexico has—and the Mexican government has three main projects: the construction of the refinery in—the Dos Bocas in Tabasco, the Santa Lucia airport, and the Maya Train. There is a tension between Mexico and the United States with regards to priorities. Mexico has a priority to continue with the support of oil and gas. This is—this is reflected in the construction of the refinery. And here, we’re probably going to see the main point of tension. Because of build back better and the commitment with build back better, and also focus on U.S. internal markets where Mexico has been benefitting from the growth of its manufacturing sector. We don’t really know how this is going to be playing out, but at least, you know, on paper things are going to be good. But definitely the priorities with regards to energy are very different, and the focus of the U.S.-Mexico government on the lessening of climate change. And this focus is going to be very different—very difficult. The United States is committed to meet its climate goals, create millions of jobs inside the United States. And that has really changed their relationship. So we can talk more about these. Thank you for listening to this. And as I said, we’ll probably be talking a lot about energy and the inequalities that public health and vaccination rates, that will also cause tensions. And immigration is another point that we need to talk about in greater depth. Thank you. CASA: Thank you, Guadalupe, for that introduction. There certainly is a lot to talk about. Now let’s open this up to questions from our participants. (Gives queuing instructions.) Let’s see. We will start with a written question from Paul Haber, who’s a professor at University of Montana. He asks: Can you please provide some detail regarding the changes in labor required in Mexico by the USMCA? And what has happened to date? And do you expect a real deepening of the reforms between now and the end of the AMLO administration? CORREA-CABRERA: This is a very important question. With regard to the USMCA, mainly the main point that might cause tensions have to do—has to do with labor unions, particularly in the maquiladora sector, in manufacturing sector. The United States has been very clear with regards to that requirement, but that would, at the same time, lower the competitiveness of Mexico’s manufacturing sector. As I said, there have been, I mean, in the past couple of years an attempt to create independent labor unions in the maquiladora sector, but there are still extreme tensions. And there have not been a real advance in this—in this sense. But at the same time, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, with his theme of primero los pobres, the poor first, and a support of Mexican labor, an increase—a very important increase since the beginning of his administration of wages, he is supposedly committed to help Mexican workers and to—and he has been focused as well on supporting not only the labor unions or the labor sector, but with his social programs that have been, I mean, advertised a great extent. Such as Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, the Youth Constructing Future, which is a very important, for him, but also very criticized program. And the support of mothers without—I mean, single mothers. And, I mean Youth Constructing Future for those who don’t have jobs. So on the one hand Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also in order to continue building his base of support or maintaining his base of support, focused—has focused on these programs, these social programs, that are not necessarily just focused on labor, as the way that the United States wants this to be seen in order to also rebuild the economy by changing the focus to internal development. I don’t see in that regard if what—if your interest comes from the United States, what has happened with the union is—with the labor unions and their capacity to really, I mean, grow in the Mexican manufacturing sector—I don’t see—I don’t see a lot of advancement in that area. And definitely in this regard, there are very different priorities in Mexico versus the United States. But Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been able to convince a number of his supporters, a number of Mexican workers, because he has increased in a very important way Mexican wages. And he is probably going to be able to achieve more increases when the elections—the presidential elections approach. But definitely we don’t see very definite changes with regards to this area as the USMCA has been posed. CASA: Next we have a raised hand from Sherice Nelson, assistant professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Sherice. Q: Good afternoon. Thank you so much for your talk. And I appreciate you leaving time for us to ask questions. As a professor, how do—the biggest challenge often is to get students to back away from some of the stereotypical information they get about U.S.-Mexico and the relationship, and the centering of that—of that relationship on immigration, when there’s far—as you mentioned—there are far other issues that define our relationship. Where are places that we can lead students to, to get better information that is not as stereotypical about the relationship, that will pique their interest? Thanks so much. CORREA-CABRERA: That’s a very important question. Thank you for asking. And absolutely, there is a way to present the issue on immigration, to place it in a political perspective—either from the right side or the left. The problem with immigration and the quality development and the access for jobs—I mean, it has been studied in depth by Mexican academics, United States academics. Issues have more to do with development and with the jobs that are offered in the United States, the pull and push factors of undocumented immigration, for example. And we have very different areas to be thinking about migration or immigration. And the focus recently has been at the border, has been with regards to asylum seekers, has been politicized in the United States, while many other areas have been, to some extent, ignored. There are—for educators, there are a number of analyses. One particular area that’s important to know, it’s United States—I mean, immigrants—how immigrants in the United States, coming from different countries, have been able to develop, have been able to make this country great. That’s one area that we have to focus on. And there is a lot of information in that regard. Another, I mean, issue that it’s important to know are the pull and push factors of undocumented immigration. And one important factor that usually we’re not focused on are the jobs that exist in the United States, and the perspective from—I mean, the undocumented immigration from the perspective of employers. And that is connected to this analysis of the role of immigrants in the United States. Where are they coming from? What are they doing? How they came here, and not just of those who want to come. Another issue that has been widely covered is the one that has to do with migration. Migration flows that start in countries such as Chile, that dangerous journey where that media has been focused on, without analyzing this as a whole, without analyzing this understand that there are jobs in the United States, there is a comprehensive immigration reform that’s on the table, and that that comprehensive immigration reform will definitely help to solve the problems of a system that needs the, I mean, immigrants to continue working, but it’s creating all sorts of problem. The disfunctions of U.S. immigration system have been identified. There is a proposal that’s bipartisan to solve these issues with temporary visas, pathway towards citizenship for those that are already here, that already have jobs, that already contribute to this economy. But unfortunately, immigration is definitely, as you correctly mention, a subject that has been utilized, that has been polarized, because it touches very important sentiments of the electorate. And we don’t understand it. Definitely the immigration system in the United States needs to change. And there are—there is a very important amount of articles, of studies that analyze not just those who want to come or the so-called migrant crisis at the border, but how the market in the United States works, the labor markets, what undocumented migrants do in the United States, how to solve these issues with these bipartisan efforts that have been put together in documents, such as the Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and also those that want to work. And many of these problems would probably be solved through the mechanisms that think tanks, and analysts, and academics have done. Important work by think tanks like the Migration—MPI, the Migration Policy Institute, or the—I mean, other initiatives in Mexico. There have been a lot of—there’s a lot of information about the possible policies to solve these issues. It’s important to consider that information is there, that the work is done, but the problem is the coverage. And definitely our students need to go to understand the suggested—the suggested solutions, creating legal pathways to migration, to temporary work in the United States, is probably the way to go. But unfortunately, we got into these politicized moments, and these electoral moments, and the discourse gets politicized. But there is a lot there, a lot of analysis, a lot of proposals that you can find. Amazing work, both in the United States, in Mexico, and in many other countries of the Americas, because right now the issue of undocumented immigration, irregular immigration does not only have to do with Mexico and the United States. Immigrants have to pass through Mexico in order to get to where they want to go in order to go where the works are located. But we know and we have seen that a number of people, for example, that what was called the Haitian crisis at the border, like, the journey was done from countries as far as Chile, and so many countries have to deal with that. For example, the situation in Venezuela—many migrants that have been—I mean, finding jobs and a home in Colombia temporarily are also going—also moving up and are going to the border. So there’s a lot there, and our students, you know, can find a lot of information. It’s just to get out of the media discourses that are presented and that do not allow us to see the reality. But there is a lot out there that we can access, particularly for our students. CASA: Our next question is a written question and comes from Pedro Izquierdo, a graduate student at George Mason University. He asks, what improvements and flaws do you see in the bicentennial framework regarding arms trafficking, unlike the Mérida Initiative? CORREA-CABRERA: Well, it’s—the Bicentennial Understanding is not—at this point it’s just a number of good wishes and the recognition of certain problems. Arms trafficking has been recognized in this Bicentennial Understanding. As of today, we don’t really know what the United States is going to be able to do with regards to arms trafficking, and there is a very important and complicated situation here because in the United States it’s not by decree, it’s not by—I mean, the arms possession and the way that United States citizens understand their rights with regards to bearing arms. It’s a constitutional right; therefore—and there’s a lot of—you know, there’s a very, very big business that will not end so easily. Therefore, the two countries might, you know, might agree on—I mean verifying or collaborating to end or to lessen the issue of arms smuggling. However, this is going to be very difficult unless something important happens in the United States with regards to the legislation to place some limits on the bearing of arms. This is very important