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.
  • Religion

    Susan Hayward, associate director of the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, leads the conversation on religious literacy in international affairs.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to the final session of the Fall 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, if you would like to share it with your classmates or colleagues. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Susan Hayward with us to discuss religious literacy in international affairs. Reverend Hayward is the associate director for the Religious Literacy and Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School. From 2007 to 2021, she worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), with focus on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Columbia, and Iraq. And most recently serving as senior advisor for Religion and Inclusive Societies, and as a fellow in Religion and Public Life. During her tenure at USIP, Reverend Hayward also coordinated an initiative exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, partnership with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faith Development Dialogue. And she coedited a book on the topic entitled Women, Religion and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen. Reverend Hayward has also taught at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and serves as a regular guest lecturer and trainer at the Foreign Service Institute. And she’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. So, Susan, thank you very much for being with us today. Can you begin by explaining why religious literacy is so important for understanding international affairs? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Irina. And thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations for inviting me to be a part of this webinar. And I really appreciate you and the invitation, and I appreciate all of you who have joined us today, taking time out of what I know is a busy time of year, as we hurdle towards final exams and cramming everything into these last weeks of the semester. So it’s great to be with all of you. I am going to be—in answering that broad question that Irina offered, I’m going to be drawing on my work. As Irina said, I worked at the—I work now at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life Program. And what we seek to do here is to do here is to advance the public understanding of religion in service of a just world at peace. And we do that, in part, by working with professionals in governments and foreign policy, and in the humanitarian sector, as well as working with our students who are seeking to go into vocations in those professional spheres. And then my fourteen years with the Religion and Inclusive Societies Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. So I’ll say a little bit more about both of those as we go along, and those experiences, but I’m also happy to answer any questions about either of those programs when we turn to the Q&A. And I should say that I’m going to be focusing as well—given that a lot of you all who are joining us today are educators yourselves or are students—I’m going to be focusing in particular on how we teach religious literacy within international affairs. So I wanted to begin with the definition of religious literacy, because this is a term that is increasingly employed as part of a rallying cry that’s based on a particular diagnosis. And the diagnosis is that there has been insufficient deep consideration of the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs at all levels across the world. And that the result of that lack of a complex understanding of religion in this arena has been the—the hamstringing of the ability of the international system to operate in ways that are effective in bringing justice, peace, democracy, human rights, and development. So I’m going to circle back to that diagnosis in a bit. But first I want to jump to the prescription that’s offered, which is to enhance religious literacy using various resources, trainings, courses, and ways that are relevant for foreign policymakers and those working across the international system, as well as those students who are in the schools of international affairs, or other schools and planning to go into this space, into this profession. So the definition that we use here at Harvard Divinity School—and this is one that has been adopted by the American Academy of Religion, which is the scholarly guild for religious studies—defines it in this way: Religious literacy is the—entails the ability to discern and analyze the fundamental intersections of religion and social, political, and cultural life through multiple lenses. So specifically, one who is religious literate will possess a basic understanding of different religious traditions, including sort of fundamental beliefs and practices and contemporary manifestation of different religious traditions, as well as how they arose out of and continue to be shaped by particular social, historical, and cultural contexts. And the ability to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions across time and space. So this gets broken down in two different ways—three, according to me. But that definition focuses on two in particular. One is often referred to as the confessional approach or the substantive approach. So that’s looking at understanding different religious traditions and their manifestations in different places. That’s understanding something fundamental about the difference between Theravada Buddhism and Vajrayana Buddhism, for example. Or how Islam is practiced, and dominantly practiced in Nigeria, versus in North America, for example. The second approach is the religious studies approach. Which is sometimes also called the functional approach. So that’s the ability to be able to analyze the ways in which religions in complex ways are really intersecting with social, and political, and economic life, even if not explicitly so. But in implicit, embedded ways shaping different kinds of economic systems, social systems, and political systems, and being able to analyze and see that, and so ask particular questions and consider different kinds of policy solutions—diagnoses and solutions that can take that into account. And then finally, I add the religious engagement approach. That particularly comes out of my work when I was at USIP and working with foreign policymakers in the State Department and elsewhere. To some extent, overseas as well, those in the diplomatic sector. Which I understand is determining whether, when, and how to engage with specifically defined religious institutions, actors, and interests, including on issues related, for example, with religious freedom, in ways that are inclusive, just, strategic, and, importantly for the U.S. context, legal. So abiding by the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Now, all three types of religious literacy defined here depend on three principles or ideas. So the first is that they understand religions as lived, as constituted by humans who are constantly interpreting and reinterpreting their religious traditions. This means that as a result they are internally diverse, sometimes very internally contradictory. They’ll have different religious interpretations with respect to particular human rights issues, particular social issues, issues related to gender, and so on and so forth. That they change over time. That that sort of complex interpretive process that is going on within religious traditions also leads to kind of larger normative changes within religious traditions over history in different temporal contexts. And that they’re culturally embedded. So as the question I was asking earlier, how is Islam, as it’s understood and practiced in Nigeria, different from how it’s understood and practiced in North America, for example. There are ways in which the particular religious interpretations and practices of a tradition are always going to be entangled with specific cultural contexts in ways that are near impossible to disentangle at times. And that means that they just manifest differently in different places. And this—these ideas of religion as lived pushes against an understanding of religions as being static or being monolithic. So that then leads us to ensure that there’s never—that it’s always going to be a problem to make sweeping claims about entire religious traditions because you’ll always find somebody or some community within those religious traditions that don’t believe or practice according to the claim that you just made about it. And that applies to situations of violent conflict and with respect to human rights, on global issues like climate and migration. This idea, the internal diversity in particular, is what is at play when you hear the phrase “Ambivalence of the Sacred” that was coined by Scott Appleby in his—in this very influential book by the same name. I’ll throw in here a quote from Scott Appleby from that book, this idea that religions are always going to show up in ambivalent or contradictory ways across different places, but also sometimes in the very same contexts. So I think we can see that, for example, in the U.S. right now, and that there’s no one, let’s say, religious position with respect to reproductive rights, for example. There’s a great deal of internal plurality and ambivalence that exists across religious traditions and interpretations within the Christian tradition and beyond about that specific issue. Moreover then, what religion is, what is considered religious, what is recognized as religious and what isn’t, and how it manifests in different contexts depends on just a complex array of intersecting factors. I’m going to come back to—that’s kind of meaty phrase just to throw out there, so I’m going to come back to that in a minute. So the second principle or idea of religious literacy that I want to highlight here is the idea of right-sizing religion. This is a phrase that Peter Mandaville used quite a bit when he was in the State Department’s Religion and Global Affairs Office under the Obama administration and has written about. So I’ll turn you to that article of his to understand more about it. But the central idea is that we don’t want to over nor underemphasize religion’s role in any given context. So just by way of a quick example, in looking at the Rohingya crisis or the ethnic cleansing of Rakhine State in Myanmar, one could not say it was all about religion, that it was about Buddhist nationalists who are anti-Muslim wanting to destroy a particular religious community. Nor could you say it had nothing to do with religion, because there were these religious dimensions that were at play in driving the violence towards the Rohingya and the larger communities’ acceptance of that violence against the Rohingya community. But if you were to overemphasize the religious roles, the religious dimensions of that crisis, then your policy solutions—you might look at religious freedom tools and resources to be able to address the situation. And that would address the situation in part, but obviously there were other economic and political factors that were at play in leading to the Rohingya crisis. And including certain economic interests with oil pipelines that were being constructed across lands that the Rohingya were living on in Rakhine state, or the political conflict that was taking place between the military and the National League of Democracy, and so on. So addressing the crisis holistically and sustainably requires that we right-size the role that religion is playing in that particular crisis. And that goes across the board, in looking at conflicts and looking at the role of religion in climate, and addressing climate collapse, and so on and so forth. We need to always neither under nor overestimate the role that religion is playing in driving some of these issues and as a solution in addressing some of these issues. OK. So with that definition and principles of religious literacy in mind, I want to go back to the diagnosis that I gave at the—that I mentioned at the top, for which religious literacy is offered as a solution. The diagnosis, if you remember, was that there’s been insufficient consideration given to the multiple and complex dimensions of religion and culture that impact international affairs. So I’m going to demonstrate what it means to apply the religious studies approach to religious literacy, or the functional approach to religious literacy, to help us understand why that might be. And remember, the religious studies approach is seeking to discern and explore the religious dimensions of political, social, and cultural expressions and understandings across time and place. So this approach, in trying to answer that question and consider that diagnosis, it would invite us to look historically at the development of the modern international legal and political systems in a particular time and place in Western Europe, during the European Enlightenment. As many of you may well know, this came about in the aftermath of the so-called confessional or religious wars. Those were largely understood to have pitted Protestants against Catholics, though it’s more complicated in reality. But broadly, that’s the story. And the modern state, on which the international system was built, sought to create a separation between religious and state authority. For the first time in European history, this separation between religious and state authority that became more rigid and enforced over time, in the belief that this was necessary in order to ensure peace and prosperity moving forward, to bring an end to these wars, and to ensure that the state would be better able to deal with the reality of increasing religious pluralism within Europe. So this was essentially the idea of secular political structures that was born in that time and place. And these secular political structures were considered to be areligious or neutral towards religion over time, again. In the process of legitimating this sort of revolutionary new model of the secular modern state, and in the process of creating this demarcated distinction that had not previously existed—at least, not a neat distinction of the secular or the political authority and the religious—the religious authority—there was an assertion as part of that ideologically legitimate and support that. There was an assertion of the secular as rational, ordered, and associated with all of the good stuff of modernity. Meanwhile, the religious was defined in counter-distinction as a threat to the secular. It was irrational, backwards, a threat to the emerging order. A not-subtle presumption in all of this is that the new modern state and the international system would serve as a bulwark against archaic, dangerous, religious, and other traditionally cultural, in particular, worldviews and practices in—it would be a bulwark against that, and a support for this neutral and considered universal international law and system—secular system. Now, I realize I’m making some, like, huge, broad historical sweeps here, given the short amount of time I have. But within that story I just told, there is a lot more complexity that one can dig into. But part of what I seek to do in offering religious literacy in international relations theory and practice to students, and to practitioners in this realm, is to help those operating in the system think through how that historically and contextually derived conception of religion and the co-constitutive conception of secularism continues to operate within and shape how we interpret and respond to global events within the system. And this occurs—I see this happening in two dominant ways. One is, first, in thinking about religion as a distinct sphere of life that can be disentangled entirely from the political, when in reality religion is deeply entangled with the political, and vice versa. And scholars like Talal Asad and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd have done really great work to show how even our understanding of the secular and secular norms and so on is shaped by Protestant Christian commitments and understandings. And saying within that, our understanding of what religion is—like, a focus on belief, for example, which has been codified in a lot of religious freedom law, as part of the international system—again, tends to emphasize Protestant Christian understandings of what religion is and how it functions. So that’s the first reason for doing that. And then second, in understanding religion to be a threat to modernity, and sometimes seeing and responding to it as such rather than taking into account its complexity, its ambivalence, the ways in which it has been a powerful force for good, and bad, and everything in between, and in ways that sometimes let the secular off the hook for ways that it has driven forms of violence, colonialism, gender injustice, global inequalities, the climate crisis, and so on. So those are the consequences of when we don’t have that religious literacy, of those potential pitfalls. And, on that second point, of the ways in which religion continues to be defined in ways that can overemphasize its negative aspect at time within the international system, I commend the work of William Cavanaugh in particular and his book, The Myth of Religious Violence to dig into that a little bit more. So what we’re seeking to do, in bringing that kind of religious literacy to even thinking about the international system and its norms and how it operates, is to raise the consciousness of what Donna Haraway calls the situatedness of the international system, the embedded agendas and assumptions that inevitably operate within it. And it invites students to be skeptical of any claims to the systems neutrality about religion, how it’s defined, and how it’s responded to. So I recognize that that approach is very deconstructionist work. It’s informed by, post-colonial critical theory, which reflects where religious studies has been for the last couple decades. But importantly, it doesn’t, nor shouldn’t ideally, lead students to what is sometimes referred to as analysis paralysis, when there’s sort of groundedness within hypercritical approaches, only looking at the complexity to a degree that it’s hard to understand how to move forward then to respond constructively to these concerns. Rather, the purpose is to ensure that they’re more conscious of these underlying embedded norms or assumptions so that they can better operate within the system in just ways, not reproducing forms of Eurocentrism, Christo-centrism, or forms of cultural harm. So the hope is that it helps students to be able to better critique the ways in in which religion and secularism is being—are being discussed, analyzed, or engaged within international affairs, and then be able to enter into those kinds of analysis, policymaking, program development, and so on, in ways that can help disrupt problematic assumptions and ensure that the work of religious literacy or religious engagement is just. So I’m just going to offer one example of how this kind of critical thinking and critical—the way of thinking complexly about religion in this space can be fruitful. And it speaks back to one of the things Irina noted about my biography, the work I had done looking at women and religion and peacebuilding. So while I was at USIP, in that program, we spent several years looking specifically and critically at forms of theory and practice, and this subfield that had emerged of religious peacebuilding. And we were looking at it through the lens of gender justice, asking how religion was being defined in the theory or engaged in the peacebuilding practice and policy in ways that unintentionally reinforced gender injustice. And what we found is that there were assumptions operating about certain authorities—often those at the top of institutions, which tended to be older, well-educated men—representing entire traditions. Assumptions made about their social and political power as well. When in reality, we knew that those of different genders, and ages, and socioeconomic locations were doing their own work of peacebuilding within these religious landscapes, and had different experiences of violence, and so different prescriptions for how to build peace. So we began to ask questions, like whose peace is being built in this field of religious peacebuilding that was emerging? And the work that USIP had been doing in this space of religious peacebuilding? Whose stories were being left out in the dominant analyses or narratives in the media about religious dimensions of certain conflicts, and what are the consequences of that? So these kinds of questions are grounded in the recognition of, again, the internal diversity, the change over time of religious traditions. And they help ensure that analysis and policy actions aren’t unintentionally reproducing forms of harm or structural violence. I’m almost done. So please do bring your questions so that we can engage in a discussion with each other. But I wanted to end by offering a couple examples of resources that I think might be helpful to both enhancing your own religious literacy but also as potential pedagogical tools in this work. So first is Religious Peacebuilding Action Guides that were produced by the U.S. Institute of Peace, in partnership with Salam Institute for Peace and Justice, and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. There’s four guides. They’re all available for free online. Once I close down my PowerPoint, I’m going to throw the links for all of these things I’m mentioning into the chat box so you can all see it. But one of the things—I’m just going to dive in a little bit to the analysis guide, because one of the things that I think is useful in helping, again, to help us think a little bit more complexly about religion, is that it takes you through this process of thinking about the different dimensions of religion as defined here—ideas, community, institutions, symbols and practices, and spirituality. So it’s already moving beyond just an idea of religious institutions, for example. And it takes you through doing a conflict assessment, and asking the questions related to religion with respect to the drivers of the conflict and the geographic location and peacebuilding initiatives, to help you craft a peacebuilding—a religious peacebuilding initiative. I have used this framework as a means to help students think through the ambivalence of religion as it manifests in different places. So I have an example there of a question that I have sometimes used that has been fruitful in thinking about how these five different dimensions of religion have manifested in American history in ways that either have advanced forms of racialized violence and injustice or that have served as drivers of peace and justice. And there’s lots of examples across all of those dimensions of the ways in which religion has shown up in ambivalent ways in that respect. There’s also—USIP’s team has produced a lot of amazing things. So I’ll put some links to some of their other resources in there too, which includes they’re doing religious landscape mappings of conflict-affected states. They have an online course on religious engagement in peacebuilding that’s free to take. Another resource is from here, at Harvard Divinity School in the Religion in Public Life Program. And we provide a series of case studies that is for educators. It’s primarily created educators in secondary schools and in community colleges, but I think could easily be adapted and used in other kinds of four-year universities or other kinds of professional settings, where you’re doing trainings or workshops, or even just holding discussions on religious literacy. So there’s a series of kind of short, concise, but dense, case studies that are looking at different religions as they intersect with a host of issues, including peace, climate, human rights, gender issues. And it says something about that case study here—the example that I have here is the conflict in Myanmar, pre-coup, the conflicts that were occurring between religious communities, and particularly between Buddhist communities and Muslim communities. And then there’s a set of discussion questions there that really help to unearth some of those lessons about internal diversity and about the ways in which religious intersects with state policies and other kinds of power interests and agendas—political power interests and agendas. And then also, at our program, Religion and Public Life, we have a number of courses that are available online, one that’s more on the substantive religious literacy side, looking at different religious traditions through their scriptures. Another course, it’s on religion, conflict and peace, all of which are free and I’m going to throw them into the chat box in a moment. And we also have ongoing workshops for educators on religious literacy, a whole network with that. So you’re welcome to join that network if you’d like. And then finally, we have a one-year master’s of religion and public life program for people in professions—quote/unquote, “secular” professions—who want to come and think about—they’re encountering religion in various ways in their work in public health, or in their work in journalism. And so they want to come here for a year and to think deeply about that, and bring something back into their profession. And then the final thing, and then I’m going to be done, and this one is short, is the Transatlantic Policy for Religion and Diplomacy, which brings together point people from—who work on religion across different foreign ministries in North America and Europe. And their website,, has a lot of really great resources that—reports on various thematic issues, but also looking at religion in situ in a number of different geographic locations. They have these strategic notes, that’s what I have the image of here, that talk about, at a particular time, what are some of the big stories related to religion and international affairs overseas. And they list a number of other religious literacy resources on their website as well. So I commend all of that to. And with that, let me stop share, throw some links into the chat box, and hear responses and questions from folks. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Thank you for that. That was terrific. And we are going to send out—as a follow-up, we’ll send out a link to this webinar, maybe a link to your presentation, as well as the resources that you drop into the chat. So if you don’t get it here, you will have another bite at the apple, so to speak. (Gives queuing instructions.) So I’m going to go first to the written question from Meredith Coon, who’s an undergraduate student at Lewis University: What would be a solution for India to have many different religions live in peace with each other, especially since most religions share a lot of the same core values of how people should live? And how can society prevent the weaponization of religion, while still allowing broad religious freedom? HAYWARD: All right. Thank you for the question, Meredith. And one thing just to note, by way of housekeeping, I’m not sure I can actually share the links with all of the participants. So we’ll make sure that you get all of those links in that follow-up note, as Irina said. So, Meredith, I think a couple things. One, I just want to note that one of the assumptions within your question itself is that folks of different religious persuasions are constantly at conflict with one another. And of course, there is a reality of there is increasing religious tensions around the world, communal tensions of many different sorts, ethnic, and religious, and racial, and so on, across the world. And the threat to democracy and increasing authoritarianism has sometimes exacerbated those kinds of tensions. But there’s also a lot of examples presently and historically of religiously incredibly diverse communities living in ways that are harmonious, that are just, and so on. So I think it is important—there’s a lot of work that supports forms of interfaith dialogue and intra-faith dialogue. And I think that that work is—will always be important, to be able to recognize shared values and shared commitments, and in order to acknowledge and develop respect and appreciation for differences as well on different topics—again, both within religious traditions and across them. But I think that dialogue alone, frankly, is not enough. Because so often these tensions and these conflicts are rooted in structural violence and discrimination and concerns, economic issues, and political issues, and so on. And so I think part of that work, it’s not just about building relationships kind of on a horizontal level, but also about ensuring that state policies and practice, economic policies and practices, and so on, are not operating in ways that disadvantage some groups over others, on a religious side, on a gender side, on a racial side, and so on. So it’s about ensuring as well inclusive societies and a sense as well of inclusive political systems and inclusive economic systems. And doing that work in kind of integrated ways is going to be critical for ensuring that we’re able to address some of these rising forms of violations of religious freedom. Thanks again for the question. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Next question from Clemente Abrokwaa. Clemente, do you want to ask your question? Associate teaching professor of African studies at Pennsylvania State University? I’m going to give you a moment, so we can hear some voices. Q: OK. Thank you very much. Yeah, my question is I’m wondering how peacebuilding, in terms of religious literacy, how would you look at—or, how does it look at those that are termed fundamentalists? How their actions and beliefs, especially their beliefs, those of us—there are those outside who perceive them as being destructive. So then to that person, is their beliefs are good. So they fight for, just like anyone will fight for, what, a freedom fighter or something, or a religious fighter in this case. So I’m just wondering how does religious literacy perceive that in terms of peacebuilding? HAYWARD: Right. Thank you for the question, Professor Abrokwaa. I really appreciate it. So a couple things. One, first of all, with respect to—just going back, again, to the ambivalence of the sacred—recognizing that that exists. That there are particular religious ideas, commitments, groups, practices that are used in order to fuel and legitimate forms of violence. And I use violence in a capacious understanding of it, that includes both direct forms of violence but also structural and cultural forms of violence, to use the framework of Johan Galtung. And so that needs to be addressed as part of the work to build peace, is recognizing religious and nonreligious practices and ideas that are driving those forms of violence. But when it comes to religious literacy to understand that, a couple ways in which the principles apply. One is, first, not assuming that their—that that is the only or exclusive religious interpretation. And I think sometimes well-meaning folks end up reifying this idea that that is the exclusive religious interpretation or understanding when they’re—when they’re offering sometimes purely nonreligious responses to it. And what I mean by this, for example, let’s look at Iran right now. I read some analyses where it’s saying that, the Iranian authorities and the Ayatollahs who comprise the Supreme Council and so on, that they—that they define what Islamic law is. And there’s not a qualification of that. And in the meantime, the protesters are sort of defined as, like, secular, or they’re not—the idea that they could be driven by certain—their own Islamic interpretations that are just as authoritative to them, and motivating them, and shaping them is critical. So being able to recognize the internal plurality and not unintentionally reify that particular interpretation of a religious tradition as exclusive or authoritative. Rather, it’s one interpretation of a religious tradition with particular consequences that are harmful for peace. And there are multiple other interpretations of that religious tradition that are operating within that context. And then a second way that the religious literacy would apply would also look at the ways in which sometimes the diagnoses of extremist groups that are operating within a religious frame doesn’t right-size the role of religion in that. It sometimes overemphasizes the religious commitments, and drives, and so on. And so, again, we need to right-size. There are religious motivations. And we need to take those seriously. And we need to develop solutions for addressing that. And there are economic interests. And there are political interests. So there’s a whole host of factors that are motivating and inspiring and legitimating those groups. And being able to take into account that more holistic picture and ensure that your responses to it are going to be holistic. And then one final thing I want to say that’s not with respect to religious literacy as much—or, maybe it is—but it’s more just about my experience of work at USIP, is that—and it kind of goes back to the question that Meredith asked before you about religious harmony between multireligious relations and harmony, is that I sometimes finds that engaging with groups that are defining themselves and motivating themselves with a primary grounding in religion, that they’re not going to participate generally in interfaith initiatives, and so on, right? And so that’s where some of that intra-faith work can be particularly important. I saw this, for example, in Myanmar, when their—when previously the movement that was known as Ma Ba Tha, which was defined by some as a Buddhist nationalist anti-Muslim kind of Buddhist supremacist group. The folks who were most successful in being able to engage in a values-grounded conversation with members of the organization were other Buddhist monks, who were able to speak within the language of meaning and to draw attention to, like, different understandings of religious teachings or religious principles with respect to responding to minority groups, and so on. So I think that’s in particular, with addressing those groups, that’s where that intra-religious work or intra-communal work can be really critical, in addition to some of that cross-communal work. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So we’ve seen, obviously, the war in Ukraine and how Christian Orthodoxy is being—or, Greek Orthodoxy in Ukraine, and the division. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it’s playing out with Russian identity? HAYWARD: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been some really good analysis and work out there of the religious dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. So again, the sort of dominant story that you see, which reflects a reality, is that there are ways in which political and religious actors and interests are aligning on the Russian side in order to advance particular narratives and that legitimate the invasion of Ukraine that—that are about sort of fighting back against an understanding of the West as being counter to traditional and religious values. Those are some of the religious understandings. And then that concern gets linked then to the establishment of an independent or autocephalous Orthodox Church within the Ukraine context. And you see—in particular, what’s pointed to often is the relationship between Patriarch Kirill in the Russian Orthodox Church, and Putin, and the ways in which they’ve sort of reinforced each other’s narrative and offered support to it. And there’s really great analysis out there and stories that have been done about that. And that needs to be taken into account in responding to the situation and, I would say, that some of the religious literacy principles would then ask us to think about other ways in which religion is showing up within that, that go beyond the institution too. So a lot of the news stories that I’ve seen, for example, have focused exclusively on—sometimes—exclusively on the clerics within the Orthodox Church and their positions, either in support of or in opposition to the war. But in reality, on the ground there’s a lot more complexity that’s taken place, and a lot more of the ways in which different individuals and communities on both the Russia and the Ukraine side are responding to the violence, to the displacements, and so on. It paints a more complex and, I think, fascinating story, frankly. And sort of illuminates ways forward in support of peacebuilding. For example, there’s ways in which different kinds of ritual practices within Orthodoxy have served as a source of support and constancy to folks who are living in this situation of insecurity and displacement, in ways that have been helpful. There are, of course, other religious traditions that exist within both Ukraine and Russia that are operating and responding in different ways. Like, the Jewish community in Ukraine and the Catholic—the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. So looking at those complexities both within Orthodoxy, but there’s many different ways that Orthodox Christians are responding in both countries. There’s not one story of Orthodox Christianity and the invasion of Ukraine. But also looking at some of the religious diversity within it. And that helps to ensure, like I said, one, that we’re developing solutions that are also recognizing the ways in which religion at a very ground level is serving as a source of support, humanitarian relief, social, psychological support to people on the ground, as well as the ways in which it’s sort of manifesting ambivalently and complexly in ways that are driving some of the violence as well. And it also helps to push back against any sort of a narrative that this is about a Russian religion—on the Russian side—this is about a religious war against a secular, non-religious West or Ukraine, right? That that goes back to what I was talking about with the historical sort of contingencies that are baked into this system a little bit. And in defining it in that way, Russia’s religious and its motivations are religious, Ukraine’s not religious, that’s both not true—(laughs)—because there’s many religious folks within the Ukraine and within the West generally, but also feeds—it feeds the very narrative that Putin and Kirill are giving of a secular West that is anti-religion, that is in opposition to Russian traditional values. FASKIANOS: It seems like there needs to be some training of journalists too to have religious literacy, in the same way that we’re talking about media literacy. HAYWARD: Yeah. FASKIANOS: Probably should be introduced as well. (Laughs.) HAYWARD: Yeah, Irina, it’s funny, we did—one of my students actually did a kind of mapping and analysis of stories about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the religious dimensions of it. And she noted that there was—for example, it was—almost always it was male clerics who were being quoted. So there was very little that was coming from other gendered perspectives and experiences on the ground, lay folks and so on. And again, for that—for that very reason it’s sort of—because we know so many policymakers and international analysis are depending on these kinds of media stories, I worry that it creates a blinder to potential opportunities for different kinds of ways of addressing needs and partners for addressing needs on the ground. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Liam Wall, an undergraduate student at Loyola Marymount University: With so much diversity within religions itself, how can we avoid the analysis paralysis you mentioned and take in as many unique perspectives as possible, without letting that stand in the way of progress? How does one know that they have enough religious literacy and can now become an effective practitioner? HAYWARD: Well, OK, the bad news is that you will never have enough religious literacy. (Laughs.) This is a process, not an end. There are scholars here at Harvard who have been studying one particular sect of a particular religious tradition for their entire adult lives, and they would still say that they are students of those traditions, because they’re so complex. Because so many of these traditions are composed of a billion people or just—just 500 million people. But that means that there’s going to be an incredible diversity to explore. And so that’s the bad news. But the good news is, one, like, first take the burden off of your shoulders of having to be an expert on any one particular religious tradition, in order to be able to help to develop and enhance your own religious literacy, and those of others, and to operate in ways that reflect the principles of religious literacy, is the good news. As well as there are many different kinds of resources that you can turn to in order to understand, for example if you’re going to be working in a particular geographic location, scholarship, people you can speak to in order to begin to understand at least some of the specific manifestations and practices, and some of the disputes and diversity that exists within that particular country or geographic location across religious traditions. But, secondly, I would say, it’s almost more important than—like, the substance is important. But what’s just as important, if not more important, is understanding what kinds of questions to be asking, and to be curious about these religious questions and their intersection with the political and social. So we sometimes say that religious literacy is about developing habits of mind in how we think about these religious questions, and what kinds of questions we ask about religion. So it’s about developing that kind of a reflex to be able to kind of see what’s underneath some of the analysis that you’re seeing that might be relevant to religion or that might be advancing particularly problematic understandings of religion, or reinforcing binaries like the secular and the religious and so on. And that’s just as—just as important. So the extent to which you’re continuing to, like, hone those—that way of thinking, and those habits of mind, that will set you up well for then going into this space and being able to ask those particular questions with respect to whatever issues you’re focusing on, or whatever geographic location you’re looking at. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Mohamed Bilal, a postgraduate student at the Postgraduate Institute of Management in Sri Lanka. HAYWARD: Yay! FASKIANOS: Yes. How does sectarianism influence our literacy? In turn, if we are influenced by sectarianism, then would we be illiterate of the religion but literate of the sect? Thus, wouldn’t such a religious literacy perpetuate sectarianism? HAYWARD: Thank you for the question, Mohamed. It’s—I miss Sri Lanka. I have not been there in too long, and I look forward to going back at some point. So I would say sectarianism, in the sense of—so, there’s both religious sects, right? There’s the existence of different kinds of religious traditions, interpretive bodies, jurisprudential bodies in the case of Islam. And then broader, different schools or denominations. The term that’s used depends on the different religious tradition. And that reflects internal diversity. Sectarianism, with the -ism on the end of it, gets back to the same kinds of questions that I think Professor Clemente was asking with respect to fundamentalism. That’s about being sort of entrenched in an idea that your particular religious understanding and practice is the normative, authentic, and pure practice, and that all others are false in some ways. That is a devotional claim or—what I mean by a devotional claim, is that is a knowledge claim that is rooted within a particular religious commitment and understanding. And so religious literacy in this case would—again, it’s the principles of internal diversity, recognizing that different sects and different bodies of thought and practice are going to exist within religious traditions, but then also ensuring that any claim to be normative or to be orthodox by any of these different interpretive bodies is always a claim that is rooted within that religious tradition that we sometimes say is authentic. It’s authentic to those communities and what they believe. But it’s not exclusive. It’s not the only claim that exists within that religious tradition more broadly. And the concern is about—sects are fine. Different denominations, different interpretative bodies are fine and a good and sort of natural thing, given the breadth and the depth of these religious traditions. The problem is that -ism part of it, when it becomes a source of competition or even potentially violence between groups. And so that’s what needs to be interrogated and understood. FASKIANOS: So another question from John Francis, who’s the senior associate vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah: If you were training new diplomats in other countries to be stationed in the United States, where a wide range of religious traditions thrive, how would you prepare them for dealing with such religious variation? HAYWARD: The same way I would—and thank you, again, for the question. The same way that I would with any other diplomats going to any other—the same way I do with foreign service officers at the Foreign Service Institute, who are going to work overseas. I would—I would invite them to think about their own assumptions and their own worldviews and their own understandings of what religion is, based on their own contexts that they grew up in. So how that shapes how they understand what religion is, in the ways I was speaking to before. So for example, in Protestant Christianity, we tend to emphasize belief as the sort of core principle of religious traditions. But other religious traditions might emphasize different forms of practice or community as sort of the central or principal factor. So recognizing your own situatedness and the ways in which you understand and respond to different religious traditions. I would invite those who are coming to work here to read up on the historical developments and reality of different religious communities and nonreligious communities in the U.S. and encourage them to look not just at some of the—what we call the world religions, or the major religions, but also at indigenous traditions and different practices within different immigrant communities. And I would have them look at the historical relationship between the state and different religious communities as well, including the Mormon tradition there in Utah, and how the experience of, for example, the Mormon community has shaped its own relationship with the state, with other religious communities on a whole host of issues as well. And then I would encourage—just as I was saying earlier—no diplomat going to the U.S. is going to become an expert on the religious context in the U.S., because it’s incredibly complex, just like anywhere else in the world. But to be able to have sort of a basic understanding to be able to then continue to ask the kinds of questions that are going to help to understand how any political action is taken or response to any policy issues kind of inevitably bumps up against particular religious or cultural commitments and values. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to take the next question from Will Carpenter, director of private equity principal investments at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and also taking a course at the Harvard Extension School. HAYWARD: Hey! FASKIANOS: I’m going to ask the second part of Will’s question. How will the current polarized domestic debate regarding U.S. history, which is often colored by the extremes—as a force for good only versus tainted by a foundation of injustice—impact America’s capacity to lead internationally? HAYWARD: Hmm, a lot. (Laughter.) Thank you for the question. I mean, I think the fact of polarization in the U.S. and the increasing difficulty that we’re facing in being able to have really deep conversations and frank conversations about historical experiences and perceptions of different communities, not just religiously, not just racially even, but across different—urban-rural, across socioeconomic divides, across educational divides and, of course, across political divides, and so on. I think that—I think that absolutely hampers our ability to engage within the global stage effectively. One, just because of the image that it gives to the rest of the world. So how can we—how can we have an authentic moral voice when we ourselves are having such a hard time engaging with one other in ways that reflect those values and that are grounded within those values? But also because I think get concern—with respect to religion questions in particular—I get concern about the increasing polarization and partisanization of religion in foreign policy and issues of religious freedom, and so on. Which means that we’re going to constantly have this sort of swinging back and forth then between Republican and Democratic administrations on how we understand and engage issues related to religion and foreign policy, different religious communities in particular, like Muslim communities worldwide, or on issues of religious freedom. So I think it’s incredibly critical—always has been, but is particularly right now at this historical moment—for us to be in the U.S. doing this hard work of having these conversations, and hearing, and listening to one another, and centering and being open about our values and having these conversations on that level of values. To be able to politically here in the U.S., much less overseas, to be able to work in ways that are effective. Irina, you’re muted. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (Laughs.) With that, we are at the end of our time. Thank you so much for this. This has been a really important hour of discussion. Again, we will send out the link to the webinar, as well as all the resources that you mentioned, Susan. Sorry we didn’t have the chat open so that we could focus on what you were saying and all the questions and comments that came forward. So we appreciate it. And thank you so much, again, for your time, Susan Hayward. And I just want to remind everybody that this is the last webinar of the semester, but we will be announcing the Winter/Spring Academic Webinar lineup in our Academic bulletin. And if you’re not already subscribed to that, you can email us at [email protected] Just as a reminder, you can learn about CFR paid internships for students and fellowships for professors at Follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Good luck with your exams. (Laughs.) Grading, taking them, et cetera. Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving. And we look forward to seeing you again next semester. So, again, thank you to Susan Hayward. HAYWARD: Thank you, everybody. Take care.
  • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

    Lauren Kahn, research fellow at CFR, leads the conversation on AI military innovation and U.S. defense strategy.   FASKIANOS: Thank you, and welcome to today’s session of the Fall 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 if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Lauren Kahn with us to talk about AI military innovation and U.S. defense strategy. Ms. Kahn is a research fellow at CFR, where she focuses on defense, innovation, and the impact of emerging technologies on international security. She previously served as a research fellow at Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania’s global policy think tank where she helped launch and manage projects on emerging technologies and global politics, and her work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Defense One, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the Economist, just to name a few publications. So, Lauren, thanks very much for being with us. I thought we could begin by having you set the stage of why we should care about emerging technologies and what do they mean for us in—as we look ahead in today’s world. KAHN: Excellent. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here and be able to speak to you all today. So I’m kind of—when I’m setting the stage I’m going to speak a little bit about recent events and current geopolitical situations and why we care about emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing—things that seem a little bit like science fiction but are now coming into realities and how our military is using them. And then we’ll get a little bit more into the nitty gritty about U.S. defense strategy, in particular, and how they’re approaching adoption of some of these technologies with a particular focus in artificial intelligence, since that’s what I’m most interested in. Look, awesome. Thank you so much for kicking us off. So I’ll say that growing political competition between the United States, China, and Russia is increasing—the risk of great power conventional war in ways that we have not seen since the end of the Cold War. I think what comes to everyone’s mind right now is Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which is the largest land war in Europe that we’ve seen since World War II, and the use of a lot of these new emerging capabilities. And so I’ll say for the past few decades, really, until now we thought about war as something that was, largely, contained to where it was taking place and the parties particularly involved, and most recent conflicts have been asymmetric warfare being limited to terrestrial domains. So, on the ground or in the air or even at sea, where most prominent conflicts were those between nation states and either weak states or nonstate actors, like the U.S. wars—led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or intervention in places like Mali and related conflicts as part of the broader global war on terrorism, for example. And so while there might have been regional ripple effects and dynamics that shifted due to these wars, any spillover from these conflicts was a little bit more narrow or due to the movement of people themselves, for example, in refugee situations. I’ll say, however, that the character of wars is shifting in ways that are expanding where conflicts are fought and where they take place and who is involved, and a large part of this, I think, is due to newer capabilities and emerging technologies. I’ll say it’s not entirely due to them, but I think that there are some things, like, with the prominence of influence operations, and misinformation, deep fakes, artificial intelligence, commercial drones, that make access to high-end technology very cheap and accessible for the average person has meant that these wars are going to be fought in kind of new ways. We’re seeing discussion of things like information wars where things are being fought on TikTok and social media campaigns where individuals can kind of film what’s happening on the ground live and kind of no longer do states have, so to speak, a monopoly on the dissemination of information. I’ll speak a little bit more about some of the examples of technologies that we’re seeing. But, broadly speaking, this means that the battlefield is no longer constrained to the physical. It’s being fought in cyberspace, even in outer space, with the involvement of satellites and the reliance on satellite imagery and open source satellite imagery like Google Maps and, again, in cyberspace. And so as a result, it’ll not only drive new sectors and new actors kind of into the foray when it comes to fighting wars, and militaries have been preparing for this for quite a while. They’ve been investing in basic science research and development, testing and evaluation in all of these new capabilities, from artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, hypersonics. And these have been priorities for a few years but I’ll say that that conflict in Ukraine and the way that we’re seeing these technologies are being used has really kind of put a crunch on the time frame that states are facing, and I’m going to speak a little bit more about that in a minute. But to kind of give you an example of what are—what does it mean to use artificial intelligence on the battlefield—what do these kind of look like, there’s—largely, my work before this conflict was a little hypothetical. It was hard to kind of point to. But I think now, as these technologies mature, you’re seeing that they’re being used in more ways. So artificial intelligence, for example, are used to create—has been used by Russia to create deep fakes. There was a very famous one of President Zelensky that they used that they then combined with a cyberattack to put it at a very—to put it on national news in Ukraine, to make it look a little bit more believable even though the deep fake itself, it was a little, like, OK, they could tell it was computer generated. These are kind of showing how some of these technologies are evolving and, especially when combined with other kinds of technological tools, are going to be used to kind of make some of these more influence operations and propaganda campaigns a little bit more persuasive. Other examples of artificial intelligence, there’s facial recognition technology being used to identify civilians and casualties, for example. They’re being used to—they’re using natural language processing, which is a type of artificial intelligence that kind of analyzes the way people speak. You think of Siri. You think of chat bots. But more advanced versions being used to kind of read in radio transmissions and translate them and tag them so that they’re able to—that forces are able to go through more quickly and identify what combatants are saying. There’s the use of 3D printing and additive manufacturing where individuals are able to for very cheap—a 3D printer costs a couple—a thousand dollars and you can get it for maybe less if you build it yourself. You can add—you can add different components to grenades to make—and then people are taking smaller commercial drones to kind of make a MacGyvered smart bomb that you can maneuver. So those are some of the kind of commercial technologies that are being pulled into the kind of military sphere and into the battlefield. They might not be large. They might not be military in its first creation. But because they’re so general purpose technologies—they’re dual use—they’re being developed in the private sector and you’re seeing them being used on the battlefield and weaponized in new ways. There are other technologies that are more based originally in the military and defense kind of sectors and who’s created them, things like loitering munitions, which we’re seeing more of now, and a little—a lot more drones. I’m sure a lot of you have been seeing a lot of—about the Turkish TB2 drones and the Iranian drones that are now being used by Russia in the conflict. And these are not as new technologies. We’ve seen them. They’ve been around for a couple of decades. But they’re reaching a maturity in their technological lifecycle where they’re a lot more cheap and they’re a lot more accessible and they’re a lot more familiar now that they’re being used in innovative and new ways. They’re being seen as less precious and less expensive. And so not that they’re being used willy nilly or that they’re expendable but militaries, we’re seeing, are willing to use them in more flexible ways. And so, for example, Ukraine, in the early days of the campaign, there were some—allegedly, Ukraine used it as—the TB2 as a distraction when it wanted to sink a war ship rather than actually using it to try and sink the war ship itself. And so using it for things that they’re good for but maybe not the initial thought or the initial what they were designed to be used for. Iran—I mean, excuse me, Russia, now using the Iranian-made loitering munitions. They’re pretty reasonable in price. They’re about $20,000 a pop, and so using them in swarms to be able to take out some of the Ukrainian infrastructure has been a pretty good technique. Ukraine, for example, is very good at shooting them down. I think they were reporting at some point they had an ability to shoot them down at a rate of around 85 percent to 90 percent. And so the swarms weren’t necessarily all of them were getting through but because they’re so reasonably priced it was still—it was still a reasonable tactic and strategy to take. There’s even some kind of more cutting edge, a little bit more unbelievable, applications like now being touted as an Uber for artillery, whether you’re using similar kind of algorithms that Uber uses to kind of identify which passengers to pick up first and where to drop them off, about how to target artillery systems—what target is most efficient to hit first. And so we’re seeing a lot of these technologies being used, like I said, in new and practical ways, and it’s really condensed the timeline that, I think, states are seeing, especially the United States—that they want to adopt these technologies. Back in 2017, Vladimir Putin famously stated that he believed that whoever became leader in AI would become leader of the world, and China has very much publicized their plans to invest a lot more in AI research and development, to invest in bridging the gaps between its civil and military engineers and technologists to take advantage of AI by the year 2023. So we’ve got about one more year to go. And so I think that the United States, recognizing this, the time crunch has been—the heat is on, so to speak, for adopting some of these newer capabilities. And so we’re seeing that a lot now. There’s a lot of reorganization happening within the Department of Defense to kind of better leverage and better adapt in order to take advantage of some of these technologies. There’s the creation of a new chief data—digital and artificial intelligence office, the new emerging capabilities policy office, that are efforts in order to better integrate data systems ongoing projects in the Department of Defense, et cetera, to implement it for broader U.S. strategy. There’s been efforts as well to partner with allies in order to develop artificial intelligence. I mean, as part of the Indo-Pacific strategy that the Biden administration announced back in February of 2022 they announced that along with the Quad partners—so Japan, Australia, and I’m forgetting—and India, excuse me—they are going to fund research, for example, for any graduates from any of those four countries to come study in the United States if they focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and so to foster that integration and collaboration between our allies and partners to better take use of some of these things. I’ll say, even so, recently, in April 2022, for example, I think, looking at how Ukraine was using a lot of these technologies, the United States was able to fast track one of its programs. It was called the Phoenix Ghost. It’s a loitering munition. Little—it’s still a little—not well known. But, for example, I saw that the capabilities requirement that Ukraine had and fast tracked their own program in order to fulfill that. So they’re being used for the first time. So, again, we’re seeing that the United States is kind of using this as an opportunity to learn as well as to really take advantage and start kicking into high gear AI in defense innovation development. And so I’ll say that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its challenges, acquisitions process in particular. So how the United States—how Department of Defense takes a program from research and development all the way to an actual capability that it’s able to use on the battlefield. Before, in the 1950s where it used to take maybe five years now takes a few decades, there’s a lot of processes in between that make it a little bit challenging. All these sorts of checks and balances in place, which are great, but have made the process slow down the process a little bit. And so it’s harder for smaller companies and contractors to kind of—that are driving a lot of this—driving the cutting-edge research in a lot of these fields to work with the defense sector. And so there are some of these challenges, which, hopefully, some of this reorganization that the Pentagon is doing will help us. But that’s the next step, looking forward. And so that’s going to, I think, be the next big challenge that I’m watching for the—over the rest of this year and the next six months. But I think I threw a lot out there but I’m happy to open it for questions now and focus on anything in particular. But I think that gave an overview of some of the things that we’re seeing now. FASKIANOS: Absolutely. That was insightful and a little scary—(laughs)—and look forward now to everybody’s questions. As a reminder, after two and a half years of doing this, you can click on the raise hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or Tablet click the more button to access the raise hand feature. When you’re called upon, please accept the unmute prompt and state your name and affiliation. You can also submit a written question via the Q&A icon, and please include your affiliation there, and we are going to try to get through as many questions as we can. All right. So the first question—raised hand comes from Michael Leong. Q: Hi. Is this working? FASKIANOS: It is. Please tell us your affiliation. Q: Hi. My name is Michael Leong. I’m an MPA student in public administration at the University of Arizona in Tucson. And I just have a question about, basically, with the frequent use and successful use of drones in Ukraine is there any concern domestically about—because of how easily they are adapting such accessible technology to warfare that those can be used maliciously domestically and what steps they might be considering. Thanks. KAHN: Absolutely. That’s a great question. I think it’s broader than just drones as well when you have this proliferation of commercial technology into defense space and you have these technologies that are not necessarily, for example, weapons, right. So for—I think a good example is Boston Dynamics. They make this quad pet robot with four legs. It looks kind of like a dog. His name is Spot. And he’s being used in all sorts of commercial applications—help fund local police forces, et cetera—for very benevolent uses. However, there’s been a lot of concern that someone will go and, essentially, duct tape a gun to Spot and what will that kind of mean. And so I think it’s a similar kind of question when you have some of these technologies, again, that aren’t—it depends on how you use them and so it’s really up to the user. And so when you get things like commercial drones, et cetera, that you’re seeing that individuals are using for either reconnaissance or, again, using in combination with things like 3D printing to make weapons and things like that, it is going to be increasingly, increasingly difficult to control the flow. We’ve seen Professor Michael Horowitz over at the University of Pennsylvania, who’s now in government, he’s done a lot of research on this and you see that the diffusion of technologies happens a lot—a lot quicker when they’re commercially based rather than when they’re from a military origination. And so I think it’s definitely going to pose challenges, especially when you get things like software and things like artificial intelligence, which are open source and you can use from anywhere. So putting—kind of like controlling export and extrolling (sic) after the fact how they’re used is going to be extremely difficult. A lot of that right now is currently falling to kind of companies who are producing them to self-regulate since they have the best, like, ability to kind of limit access to certain technologies. Like, for example, open AI. If any of you have played with DALL-E 2 or DALL-E Mini, the image generating prompt sandbox tool that’s—they have limited what the public can access—certain features, right—and are testing themselves to see, OK, how are these being used maliciously. I think a lot of them are testing how they’re being used for influence operations, for example. And so making sure that some of those features that allow that to be more malicious they’re able to regulate that. But it is going to be extremely hard and the government will have to work hand in hand with a lot of these companies and private actors that are developing these capabilities in order to do that. But it’s a very great question and it is not one that I have a very easy answer to on how to address that. But it is, like, something that I’ve been thinking about a lot. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Arnold Vela, who’s an adjunct faculty at Northwest Vista College. What is the potential value of AI for strategy, e.g., war planning, versus tactical uses? KAHN: Great. So I think—honestly, I think a lot of artificial intelligence the benefit is replacing repetitive human—repetitive redundant tasks, right. So it’s not replacing the human. It’s making the human be more efficient by reducing things like data entry and cleaning and able to pull resources from all together. And so it’s actually already being used, for example, in war planning and war gaming and things like that and Germany and Israel have created things to make 3D AI to create sort of 3D battlefields where they can see all the different kind of inputs of information and sensors. And so I think that’s really where the value add—the competitive advantage of artificial intelligence is. It’s not necessarily—having an autonomous drone is very useful but I think what will really be the kind of game changer, so to speak, will be in making forces more efficient and both have a better sense of themselves as well as their adversaries, for example. And so, definitely, I think, I’m more in the background with the nonsexy—the data cleaning and all the numbers bit will be a lot more important, I think, than the having a drone with encased AI capabilities, even though those kind of suck the oxygen out a little bit because it’s really exciting. It’s shiny. It’s Terminator. It’s I, Robot-esque, right? But I think a lot of it will be the making linguists within the intelligence community able to process and translate documents at a much faster pace. So making individuals’ lives easier, I think. So definitely. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to go next to Dalton Goble. Please accept the unmute. Q: Thank you. FASKIANOS: There you go. Q: Hi. I’m Dalton. I’m from the University of Kentucky and I’m at the Patterson School for Diplomacy and International Commerce. Thank you for having this talk. I really wanted to ask about the technology divide between the developed and developing world, and I wanted to hear your comments about how the use of AI in warfare and the technologies such as—and their proliferation can exasperate that divide. KAHN: Absolutely. I actually think, we’re—I think that I’ve been focusing a lot on how the U.S. and China and Russia, in particular, have been adopting these technologies because they’re the ones that are investing in it the most. I mean, countries in Europe are as well and, Israel, et cetera, and Australia also. Except I still think we’re in those early stages where a lot of countries—I think, over a hundred or something—have the national AI strategies right now. I don’t think it’s as far along yet in terms of its—at least its military applications or applications for government. I will say that, more broadly, I think, again, because these technologies are developed in the commercial sector and are a lot more reasonably priced, I think there’s actually a lot of space for countries in the developing world, so to speak, to adopt these technologies. There’s not as many barriers, I think, when it’s, again, necessarily a very expensive, super specific military system. And so I think that it’s actually quite diffusing rapidly in terms—and pretty equally. I haven’t done extensive research into that. It’s a very good question. But my first gut reaction is that it actually can—it actually can help kind of speak—not necessarily exacerbate the divide but kind of close the gap a little bit. A colleague of mine works a lot in health care and in health systems in developing countries and she works specifically with them to develop a lot of these technologies and find that they actually adopt them quicker because they don’t have all of these existing preconceived notions about what the systems and organizations should look like and are a lot more open to using some of these tools. But I will say, again, they are just tools. No technology is a silver bullet, and so I think that, again, being in the commercial sector these technologies will diffuse a lot more rapidly than other kind of military technologies. But it is something to be cognizant of, for sure. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Alice Somogyi. She’s a master’s student in international relations at the Central European University. Could you tell us more on the implications of deep fakes within the military sector and as a defense strategy? KAHN: Absolutely. I think influence operations in general are going to be increasingly part of the—part of the game, so to speak. I mean, I mentioned there’s going to be—it’s very visible to see in the case of Ukraine about how the information war, especially in the early days of the conflict, was super, super important, and the United States did a very good job of releasing information early to allies and partners, et cetera, to kind of make the global reaction time to the invasion so quick. And so I think that was a lot—very unexpected and I think has shown just—not to overstate it but the power of individuals and that a lot of propaganda will have. We’ve known—I’m sure if you studied warfare history, you can see the impact of propaganda. It’s always been—it’s always been an element at play. I will just say it’s another tool in the toolkit to make it a little bit more believable, to make it harder, to make these more efficient, and I think what’s really, really interesting, again, is how a lot of these technologies are going to be worked together to kind of make them more believable. Like, again, creating deep fakes. The technology isn’t there yet to make them super believable, at least on a—like, a large scale that many people at—that a state could believe. But combining them with something like a cyberattack, to place that in a place that you would have a little bit more—more willing to believe it, I think, will be increasingly important. And we’ll see it, I’m sure, combined in other ways that I can’t even imagine. And that goes back to one of the earlier questions we had about the proliferation of these technologies and, like, it being commercial and being able to contain the use and you can’t, and that’s the hardest part. And I think that especially when it comes to software and things where once you sell it out there they can use it for whatever they want. And so it’s this kind of creativity where you can’t prevent against any possible situation that you don’t know. So it has to be a little bit reactive. But I think there are measures that states and others can take to be a little bit proactive to protect against the use. This isn’t specifically about deep fakes but about artificial intelligence in general. There’s a space, I think, for confidence-building measures so informal agreements that states can kind of come to to set norms and kind of general rules of the road about, like, expectations for artificial intelligence and other kind of emerging technologies that they can put in place before they’re used so that when situations that are unexpected or have never seen before arise that there’s not—there’s not totally no game plan, right. There’s a kind of things and processes to kind of fall back on to guide how to advance and work on that situation without having to—without regulating too much too quickly that they become outdated very quickly. But I think it’ll definitely be as the technology develops that we’ll be using a lot more deep fakes. FASKIANOS: Yes. So Nicholas Keeley, a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University, has a question that goes along these lines. Ukrainian government and Western social media platforms were pretty successful at preempting, removing, and counteracting the Zelensky deep fake. How did this happen? I mean, he’s—asks about the cutting-edge prevention measures against AI-generated disinformation today that you just touched upon. But can you just talk about the Ukrainian—this specific what we’re seeing now in Ukraine? KAHN: Yeah. I think Ukraine has been very, very good at using these tools in a way that we haven’t seen before and I think that’s, largely, why a lot of these countries now are looking and watching and are changing their tack when it comes to using these. Again, they seem kind of far off. Like, what’s the benefit of using these newer technologies when we have things that are known and work. But I think Ukraine, kind of being the underdog in this situation and knowing since 2013 that this was a future event that might happen has been preparing, I think, in particular, their digital minister. I’m not sure what the exact title was, but they were able to mobilize that very quickly. It was originally set up to better digitize their government platforms and provide access to individuals, I think, on a phone app. But then they had these experts that work on how—OK, how can we use digital tools to kind of engage the public and engage media. I think when they—they militarized them, essentially. And so I think a lot of the early days, asking for—a lot of people in that organization asked Facebook, asked Apple, et cetera, to either put sanctions, to put guardrails up. You know, a lot of the early, like, Twitter, taking down the media, et cetera, was also engaged because specifically this organization within Ukraine made it their mission to do so and to kind of work as the liaison between Silicon Valley, so to speak, and to get—and to engage the commercial sector so they could self-regulate and help kind of the government do these sort of things, which, I think, inevitably led to them catching the deep fake really quickly. But also, if you look at it, it’s pretty—it’s pretty clear that it’s computer generated. It’s not great. So I think that, in part, was it and, again, in combination with a cyberattack you could then notice that there was a service attack. And so, while it made it more realistic, there’s also risks about that because they’re practiced in identifying when a cyberattack just occurred, more so than other things. But, absolutely. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Andrés Morana, who’s raised his hand. Q: Hi. Good afternoon. I’m Andrés Morana, affiliated with Johns Hopkins SAIS International Relations. Master’s degree. I wanted to ask you about AI and then maybe emerging technology as well. But I think artificial intelligence, as it applies to kind of the defense sector, like, the need to also at the same time reform in parallel the acquisitions process, which is notorious for—as we think about AI kind of where these servers are hosted a lot of commercial companies might come with maybe some new shiny tech that could be great. But if their servers are hosted in maybe a place that’s so easy to access then maybe this is not great, as it applies to that defense sector. So I don’t know if you have thoughts on maybe the potential to reform or the need to reform the acquisitions process. Thank you. KAHN: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is some people’s, like, favorite, favorite topic on this because it has become sort of a valley of death, right, where things go and they die. They don’t—they don’t move. Of course, there’s some bridges. But it is problematic for a reason. There’s been a few kind of efforts to create mechanisms to circumvent that. The Defense Innovation Unit has created some kind of funding mechanisms to avoid it. But, overall, I do think it needs—I don’t know what that looks like. I’m not nearly an expert on specifically the acquisitions process that a lot of folks are. But it is pretty—it would make things a lot easier. China, for example, people are talking about, oh, it’s so far ahead on artificial intelligence, et cetera, et cetera. I would argue that it’s not. It’s better at translating what it has in the civilian and academic sectors into the military sphere and being able to use and integrate that. And so overcome that gap. It does so with civil-military fusion. You know, they can kind of do—OK, well, we’re saying we’re doing it this way so it’s going to happen, whereas the United States doesn’t have that kind of ability. But I would say the United States has all the academic and industry leading on artificial intelligence. Stanford recently put out their 2022 AI Index that has some really great charts and numbers on this about how much—how much research is being done in the world on artificial intelligence and which countries and which regions and specifically who’s funding that, whether it’s governments, academia, or industry. And the United States is still leading in industry and academia. It’s just that the government has a problem tapping into that, whereas China, for example, its government funding is a lot greater and there’s a lot more collaboration across government, academia, and industry. And so I think that is right now the number-one barrier that I see. The second one, I’ll say, is accessing data and making sure you have all the bits and pieces that you need to be able to use AI, right. What’s the use of having a giant model that—an algorithm that could do a million things if you don’t have all of the data set up for it. And so those are the two kind of organizational infrastructure problems that I’ll say are really hindering the U.S. when it comes to kind of adopting these technologies. But, unfortunately, I do not have a solve for it. I would be super famous in the area if I did, but I do not, unfortunately. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Will Carpenter, a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. Also got an up vote. What are the key milestones in AI development and quantum computing to watch for in the years ahead from a security perspective? Who is leading in the development of these technologies—large cap technology companies such as Google, ByteDance? Venture capital-backed private companies, government-funded entities, et cetera? KAHN: Great. Great question. I’ll say for quantum, quantum is a little bit more down the line since we do not have a quantum computer, like, a really big quantum computer yet that can handle enough data. China’s kind of leading in that area, so to speak. So it’s curious to watch them. They’ve created their first, I think, quantum-encrypted communications line and they’ve done a few works on that. So I think to keep an eye on that will be important. But, really, just getting a computer large enough that it’s reasonable to use quantum, I think, will be the next big milestone there. But that’s quite a few years down the line. But when it comes to artificial intelligence, I’ll say that artificial intelligence has had waves and kind of divots in interest and then research. They call them AI winters and AI springs. Winter is when there’s not a lot of funding and spring is when there is. It’s featured a lot of—right now we’re in a spring, obviously, and it was a large part because of breakthroughs in, like, the 2010s in things like natural language processing and computer vision, et cetera. And so I think continued milestones in those will be key. There’s a few that I’ve worked on. There’s a—there’s the paper right now—hopefully, it will be out in the next few months—on forecasting on when we actually think those—when AI experts and machine learning experts think those milestones will be hit. I mean, there were, like, two that were hit, like, there was ones where you’d have AI being able to beat all the Atari games. You have AI being able to play Angry Birds. There’s ones that’s, like, OK—well, and there are lots of those mini milestones that—bigger leaps than just the efficiency of these algorithms. I think things like artificial or general intelligence. Some say there are some abilities for you to create one algorithm that can play a lot of different games. You know, it can play chess and Atari and Tetris. But I think, broadly speaking, it’s a little bit down the line also. But I’ll say for, like, the next few months, it’ll—and the next few years, it’ll probably be just, like, more efficient in some of these algorithms, making them better, making them leaner, use a lot less data. But I think we’ve, largely, hit the big ones and so I think it’ll be—we’ll see these short, smaller milestones being achieved in the next few years. And I think there was another part to the question in the—let me just go look in the answer for what it was. Who’s developing these. FASKIANOS: Right. KAHN: I would say these, like, large companies like Google, Open AI, et cetera. But I’ll say a lot of these models are open source, for example, which means that the models themselves are out there and they’re available to anyone who wants to kind of take them and use them. I mean, I’m sure you’ve seen—once you saw DALL-E Mini you saw DALL-E 2 and DALL-E X. So, like, they proliferate really quickly and they adapt, and that’s a large part what’s driving the acceleration of artificial intelligence. It’s moving so quickly because there is this nature of collaboration and sharing that companies are incentivized to participate in, where they just take the models, train them against their own data, and if it works better they use that. And so those kind of companies are all playing a part, so to speak. But I would say, largely, academia right now is still really pushing the forefront, which is really cool to see. So I think that means that a lot more Blue Skies kind of just basic research being funded will—if it’s being pumped into that we’ll continue to kind of—we’ll see these advances continue. I’ll say also a lot of—when it comes to defense applications, in particular, I think, and where the challenge is is that a lot of—a lot more than typically when it comes to artificial intelligence these capabilities are being developed by niche smaller startup companies that might not be— that might not have the capabilities that, say, a Google or a Microsoft has when it comes to working and contracting with the U.S. government. So that’s also a challenge. When you have this acquisitions process it’s a little bit challenging at best, even for the big companies. I think for these smaller companies that really do have great applications and great specific uses for AI, I think that’s also a significant challenge. So I think it’s, basically, everybody. Everyone’s working together, which is great. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to DJ Patil. Q: Thanks, Irina. Good to see you. FASKIANOS: Likewise. Q: And thanks for this, Lauren. So I’m DJ Patil and I’m at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center, as well as Devoted Health and Venrock Partners. And so, Lauren, the question you addressed a little bit on the procurement side, I’m curious what your advice to the secretary of defense would be around capabilities, specifically, given the question of large language models or the efforts that we’re seeing in industry and how much separation of results that we’re seeing even in industry compared to academia. Just the breakthroughs that we’re seeing reported are so stunning. And then if we look at the datasets that are—that they’re building on—those companies are building on, they’re, basically, open or there’s copyright issues in there. There’s defense applications which have very small data sets, and also, as you mentioned, in the procurement side a lack of access to the ability of these things. And so what is the mechanisms if you looked across this from a policy perspective of how we start tapping into those capabilities to ensure that we have competitiveness as the next set of iterations of these technologies take place? KAHN: Absolutely. I think that’s a great question. I’ve done a little bit of work on this. When they were creating the chief digital AI office, I think they had, like, people brainstorming about, like, what kind of things we would like to see and I think everyone agreed that they would love for them to get kind of a better access to data. If the defense secretary asks, can I have data on all the troop movements for X, Y, and Z, there’s a lot of steps to go through to pull all that information. The U.S. defense enterprise is great at collecting data from a variety of sources—from the intelligence community, analysts, et cetera. I think what’s challenging to know—and, of course, there are natural challenges built in with different levels of how confidential things are and how—the classifications, et cetera. But I think being able to pull those together and to clean that data and to organize it will be a key first step and that is a big infrastructure systems software kind of challenge. A lot of it’s actually getting hardware in the defense enterprise up to date and a lot of it is making sure you have the right people. I think another huge one—and, I mean, the National Security Commission on AI on their final report announced that the biggest hindrance to actually leveraging these capabilities is the lack of AI and STEM talent in the intelligence community in the Pentagon. There’s just a lack of people that, one, have the vision to—have the background and are willing to kind of say, OK, like, this is even a possible tool that we can use and to understand that, and then once it’s there to be able to train them to be able to use them to do these kind of capacities. So I think that’ll be a huge one. And there are ways that kind of—there are efforts right now ongoing with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center—the JAIC—to kind of pilot AI educational programs for this reason as a kind of AI crash course. But I think there needs to be, like, a broader kind of effort to encourage STEM graduates to go into government and that can be done, again, by kind of playing ball, so to speak, with this whole idea of open source. Of course, the DOD can’t do—Department of Defense can’t make all of its programs open and free to the public. But I think it can do a lot more to kind of show that it’s a viable option for individuals working in these careers to address some of the same kind of problems and will also have the most up to date tech and resources and data as well. And I think right now it’s not evident that that’s the case. They might have a really interesting problem set, which is shown to be attractive to AI PhD graduates and things like that. But it doesn’t have the same kind of—again, they’re not really promoting and making resources and setting up their experts in the best way, so to speak, to be able to use these capabilities. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Konstantin, who actually wrote a question—Tkachuk—but also raised his hand. So if you could just ask your question that would be best. Q: Yes. I’m just happy to say it out loud. So my name is Konstantin. I’m half Russian, half Ukrainian. I’m connecting here from Schwarzman Scholarship at Tsinghua University. And my question is more coming towards the industry as a whole, how it has to react on what’s happening to the technology that the industry is developing. Particularly, I am curious whether it’s the responsibility and interest of industry and policymakers to protect the technology from such a misuse and whether they actually do have control and responsibility to make these technology frameworks unusable for certain applications. Do you think this effort could be possible, give the resources we have, the amount of knowledge we have? And, more importantly, I would even be curious on your perspective whether you think countries have to collaborate on that in order to such effort be efficient, or it should be incentive models based inside countries that will make an effort to the whole community. KAHN: Awesome. I think all of the above. I think right now, because there’s so—the relatively little understanding of how these work, I think a lot of it is the private companies self-regulating, which I think is a necessary component. But there are also now indications of efforts to kind of work with governments on things like confidence-building measures or other kind of mechanisms to kind of best understand and best develop transparency measures, testing and evaluation, other kind of guardrails against use. I think there are, like, different layers to this, of course, I think, and all of them are correct and all of them are necessary. I think the specific applications themselves there needs to be an element of regulation. I think at some point there needs to be, like, a user agreement as well about when they’re selling technologies and selling capabilities, how they agree to kind of abide by the terms. You sign it when you—the terms of use, right. And I think also then there are, of course, export controls that can be put on and certain—you’re allowed to do, the commercial side but you make the system itself—incompatibles are being used with other kinds of systems that would make it dangerous. But I think there’s also definitely room and necessary space for interstate collaboration on some of these, especially when you get—say, for example, when you introduce artificial intelligence into military systems, right, they make them faster. They make the decision-making process a lot more speedy, basically, and so the individual has to make quicker decisions. And so if you have things and when you introduce things like artificial intelligence to increasingly complex systems you have the ability for accidents to kind of snowball, right, where they become—as they go through. Like, one little decision can make a huge kind of impact and end up with a mistake, unfortunately. And so when you have the kind of situation when you’re forbid it’s in a—in a battlefield context, right. And let’s say the adversary says, oh, well, you intentionally shot down XYZ plane; and the individual said no, it was an auto malfunction and we had an AI in charge of it; who, in that fact, is responsible now? If it was not an individual now is it the—the blame kind of shifts up the pipeline. And so you’ve got problems like these. Like, that’s just one example. But, like, where you have increasingly automated systems and artificial intelligence that kind of shift how dynamics play out, especially in accidents, which require a lot of visibility, traditionally, and you have these technologies that are not so visible, not so transparent. You don’t really get to see how they work or understand how they think in the same way that you can say, if I pressed a button and you see the causality of that chain reaction. And so I think there is very much a need because of that for even adversaries—not necessarily just allies—to agree on how certain weapons will be used and I think that’s why there’s this space for confidence-building measures. I think a really—like, for example, a really simple kind of everyone already agrees on this is to have a human in the loop, right—a human control. When we eventually use artificial intelligence and automated systems increasingly in nuclear context, right, with nuclear weapons, I think everyone’s kind of on board with that. And so I think those are the kind of, like, building block agreements and kind of establishment of norms that can happen and that need to take place now before these technologies really start to be used. That will be essential to avoiding those worst case scenarios in the future. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take the next question—written question—from Alexander Beck, undergraduate at UC Berkeley. In the context of military innovation literature, what organizational characteristics or variables have the greatest effect on adoption and implementation, respectively? KAHN: Absolutely. I’m not an organizational expert. However, I’ll say, like before, I think that’s shifting, at least from the United States perspective. I think, for example, when the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center was created it was, like, the best advice was to create separate organizations that had the capability to kind of enact their own kind of agenda and to create separate programs for all of these to kind of best foster growth. And so that worked for a while, right. The JAIC was really great at promoting artificial intelligence and raising it to a level of preeminence in the United States. A lot of early success in making—raising awareness, et cetera. But now we’re seeing, there was some—a little bit of confusion, a little bit of concern, over the summer when they did establish the chief data—a digital and artificial intelligence office—excuse me. A lot of acronyms—when they—because they took over the JAIC. They subsumed the JAIC. There was a lot of worry about that, right. Like, they just established this great organization that we’ve had in 2019 and now they’re redoing it. And so I think they realized that as the technology develop, organizational structures need to develop and change as well. Like, in the beginning, artificial intelligence was kind of seen as its own kind of microcosm. But because it’s in a general purpose enabling technology it touches a lot more and so it needs to be thought more broadly rather than just, OK, here’s our AI project, right. You need to better integrate it and situate it next to necessary preconditions like the food for AI, which is data, right. So they reorganized to kind of ideally do that, right. They integrate it research and engineering, which is the arm in the Defense Department that kind of funds the basic research, to kind of have people understand policy as well. So they have all of these different arms now within this broader organization. And so there are shifts in the literature, I think, and there are different best cases for different kind of technologies. But I’m not as familiar with where the literature is going now. But that was kind of the idea has shifted, I think, even from 2018 to 2022. FASKIANOS: Thanks. We’re going to go next to Harold Schmitz. Q: Hey, guys. I think a great, great talk. I wanted to get your thoughts on AlphaFold, RoseTTAFold—DeepMind—and biological warfare and synthetic biology, that sort of area. Thank you. KAHN: Of course. I— Q: And, by the way—sorry—I should say I’m with the University of California Davis School of Management and also with the March Group—a general partner. Thank you. KAHN: I am really—so I’m really not familiar much with the bio elements. I know it’s an increasing area of interest. But I think, at least in my research, kind of taking a step back, I think it was hard enough to get people within the defense sector to acknowledge artificial intelligence. So I haven’t seen much in the debate, unfortunately, recently, just because I think a lot of the defense innovation strategy, at least in the Biden administration, is focused directly on the pacing—addressing the pacing challenge of China. And so they’ve mentioned biowarfare and biotechnology as well as nanotechnology and et cetera, but not as much in a comprehensive way as artificial intelligence and quantum in a way that I’m able to answer your question. I’m sorry. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’ll go next to Alex, who has raised—and you’ll have to give us your last name and identify yourself. Q: Hi. Yes. Thank you. I’m Alex Grigor. I just completed my PhD at University of Cambridge. My research is specifically looking at U.S. cyber warfare and cybersecurity capabilities, and in my interviews with a lot of people in the defense industry, their number-one complaint, I suppose, was just not getting the graduates applying to them the way that they had sort of hoped to in the past. And if we think back at ARPANET and all the amazing innovations that have come out of the internet and can come out of the defense, do you see a return to that? Or do you see us now looking very much to procure and whatever from the private industry, and how might that sort of recruitment process be? They cited security clearances as one big impediment. But what else might you think that could be done differently there? KAHN: Yeah. Absolutely. I think security clearances, all the bureaucratic things, are a challenge, but even assuming that individual wants to work, I think right now if you’re working in STEM and you want to do research I think having two years, for example, in government and being a civilian, working in the Pentagon, for example, it looks—it doesn’t necessarily look like—allow you to jump then back into the private sector and academia, whereas other jobs do. So I think that’s actually a big challenge about making it possible for various reasons, various mechanisms, to kind of make it a reasonable kind of goal for not necessarily being a career in government but allowing people to kind of come and go. I think that’ll be a significant challenge and I think that’s in part about some of the ability to kind of contribute to the research that we spoke about earlier. I mean, the National Security Commission has a whole strategy that they’ve outlined on it. I’ve seen, again, like, piecemeal kind of efforts to overcome that. But nothing broad and sweeping reform as suggested by the report. I recommend reading it. It’s, like, five hundred pages long. But there’s a great section on the talent deficit. But, yeah, I think that will definitely be a challenge. I think cyber is facing that challenge. I just think anything that touches STEM in general, and so—and especially because I think the AI and particular machine learning talent pool is global and so states actually are, interestingly, kind of fighting over this talent pool. I’ve done a research previously also at the University of Oxford that looked at, like, the immigration preferences of researchers and where they move and things like that, and a lot of them are Chinese and studying in the United States. And they stay here. They move, et cetera. But a lot of it is actually also immigration and visas. And so other countries—China specifically made kind of for STEM graduates special visas. Europe has done it as well. And so I think that will also be another element at play. There’s a lot of these to kind of attract more talent. I mean, again, one of the steps that was tried was the Quad Fellowship that was established through the Indo-Pacific strategy. But, again, that’s only going to be for a hundred students. And so there needs to be a broader kind of effort to make it—to facilitate the flow of experts into government. To your other point about is this going to be what it looks like now about the private sector driving the bus, I think it will be for the time being unless DARPA and the defense agencies’ research arm and DOD change this acquisition process and, again, was able to get that talent, then I think—if something changes, then I think it will be able to, again, be able to contribute in the way that it has in the past. I think it’s important, too, right. There was breakthroughs out of cryptography. And, again, the internet all came from defense initially. And so I think it would be really sad if that was not the case anymore and I think especially as right now we’re talking about using—being able to kind of cross that bridge and work with the private sector and I think that will be necessary. I hope it doesn’t go too far that it becomes entirely reliant because I think DOD will need to be self-sufficient. It’s another kind of ecosystem to generate research in applications, and not all problems can be addressed by commercial applications as well. It’s a very unique problem set that defense and militaries face. And so I think there will need to be—right now, it’s a little bit heavy on needing to—there’s a little bit of a push right now, OK, we need to better work with the private sector. But I think, hopefully, overall, if it moves forward it will balance out again. FASKIANOS: Lauren, do you know how much money DOD is allocating towards this in the overall budget? KAHN: Off the top of my head, I don’t know. It’s a few billion. It’s, like, a billion. I think—I have to look. I can look it up. In the research 2023 budget request there was the highest amount requested ever for STEM research and engineering and testing and evaluation. I think it was—oh, gosh, it was a couple hundred million (dollars) but they had—it was a huge increase from the last year. So it’s an increasing priority. But I don’t have the specific numbers on how much. People talk about China funding more. I think it’s about the same. But it’s increasing steadily across the board. FASKIANOS: Great. So I’m going to give the final question to Darrin Frye, who’s an associate professor at Joint Special Operations University in the Department of Strategic Intelligence and Emergent Technologies, and his is a practical question. Managing this type of career how do you structure your time researching and learning about the intricacies of complex technologies such as quantum entanglement or nano-neuro technologies versus informing leadership and interested parties on the anticipated impact of emergent technologies on the future military operational environment? And maybe you can throw in there why you went into this field and why you settled upon this, too. KAHN: Yeah. I love this question. I have always been interested in the militarization of science and how wars are fought because I think it allows you to study a lot of different elements. I think it’s very interesting working at the intersection. I think, broadly speaking, a lot of the problems that the world is going to face, moving forward, are these transnational large problems that will require academia, industry, and government to kind of work on together from climate change and all of these emerging technologies, for example, global health, as we’ve seen over the past few years. And so I think it’s a little bit of a striking a balance, right. So I came from a political science background, international relations background, and I did want to talk about the big picture. And I think there are individuals kind of working on these problems and are recognizing them. But in that I noticed that I’m speaking a lot about artificial intelligence and emerging technologies and I’m not—I’m not from an engineering background. And so me, personally, I’m, for example, doing a master’s in computer science right now at Penn in order to shore up those kind of deficiencies and lack of knowledge in my sphere. I can’t learn everything. I can’t be a quantum expert and an AI expert. But I think having the baseline understanding and taking a few of those courses and more regularly has allowed me to when a new technology, for example, shows up that I can learn how—I know how to learn about that technology, which, I think, has been very helpful, speaks both languages, so to speak. I don’t think anyone’s going to be a master—you can’t be a master of one, let alone master of both. But I think it will be increasingly important to spend time learning about how these things work, and I think just getting a background in coding can’t hurt. And so it’s definitely something you need to balance. I would say I’m probably balanced more towards what are the implications of this, more broadly, since if you’re talking at such a high level it doesn’t help necessarily people without that technical background to get into the nitty gritty. It can get jargony very quickly, as I’m sure you guys understood listening to me even. And so I think there’s a benefit to learning about it but also make sure you don’t get too in the weeds. I think there are—I think a big important—there’s a lot of space for people who kind of understand both that can then bring those people who are experts, for example, on quantum entanglement and nanotechnology—to bring them so that when they’re needed they can come in and speak to people in a policy kind of setting. So there definitely is a room, I think, for intermediaries. There’s policy experts that people kind of sit in between and then, of course, the highly specialized expertise, which I think is definitely, definitely important. But it’s hard to balance. But I think it’s very fun as well because then you get to learn a lot of new things. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, with that we are out of time. I’m sorry that we couldn’t get to all the written questions and the raised hands. But, Lauren Kahn, thank you very much for this hour, and to all of you for your great questions and comments. You can follow Lauren on Twitter at @Lauren_A_Kahn, and, of course, go to for op-eds, blogs, and insight and analysis. The last academic webinar of this semester will be on Wednesday, November 16, at 1:00 p.m. (EST). We are going to be talking with Susan Hayward, who is at Harvard University, about religious literacy in international affairs. So, again, I hope you will all join us then. Lauren, thank you very much. And I just want to encourage those of you, the students on this call and professors, about our paid internships and our fellowships. You can go to for information for both tracks. Follow us at @CFR_Academic and visit, again,,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all, again. Thank you, Lauren. Have a great day. KAHN: Thank you so much. Take care. FASKIANOS: Take care.
  • Middle East and North Africa

    Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College and program director of the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and the MENA region, leads the conversation on migration, refugees, and education. 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 available on our website, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Rebecca Granato with us to discuss migration, refugees, and education. Dr. Granato is associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, and program director for the Open Society University Network’s Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives in Eastern Africa and in the MENA region. She also serves as an associate at Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking, and has developed and delivered teacher professional development in Myanmar, Jordan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other places. Her work focuses on contextualized, learner-centered experiences in undergraduate courses, teacher professional development, and research-oriented training in places affected by crisis and displacement for refugees, internally displaced people, and those in host communities. So, Rebecca, thank you very much for being with us today. I thought we could begin with you sharing your insights on some of the barriers refugees and migrants face in higher education. GRANATO: Thank you, Irina. And thank you to CFR for having me here today. I’m just going to share a few slides. And I’ll talk for just ten or twelve minutes to Irina’s question. Let me share my screen. So what I thought I would do is give you some background on higher education in displacement context, including some of the barriers, challenges, successes, and goals. And I was also going to talk a little bit about the need for close collaboration across seemingly disparate actors in order to open opportunities for those affected by displacement. So some of you may know this, but as of the month of May 2022, the number of forcibly displaced individuals across the globe crossed the 100 million mark. This is significant. I mean, this is the largest jump in displacement since World War II. And what this really means in real terms is that one in every seventy-eight people on Earth have actually been forced to flee. Nearly half of these individuals are youth. I think as many of us know, sustainable development goal number four demands that we ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. But we have a long way to go when it comes to full participation of refugees and exercising this right to a full educational experience. That said, a lot of work has gone into awareness-raising of the barriers that this population faces, as well as into establishing and promoting global markers for success. Sone example of a really important marker out there is something that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) established, a global goal called the 15by30 Roadmap, which sets a target of enrolling 15 percent of refugee youth into higher education by 2030. Which means about a half a million individuals. This would raise the numbers up to 15 percent from 5 percent, which is what we have today in terms of enrollments, which hovers around 90,000 refugees taking advantage of higher education opportunities. In order to reach this goal, as this roadmap articulates, there are five education pathways that refugees can pursue. And the five are intended to ensure that refugees’ needs are met in different ways. Just like our needs when we want to go to university are also met in different ways. One would be national university enrollment in countries of first asylum. Another would be UNHCR tertiary scholarship programs, which could be in universities of—universities and countries of first asylum, or also in third countries. Connected higher education programs, which use online education and blended learning. Complementary education pathways for admission to third countries, which are third country scholarships that include a durable solution. And then TVET opportunities, technical and vocational education and training. So through these five pathways is how UNHCR intends for the global community to help refugees actually move in greater numbers into higher education. The UN has also launched a campaign called Each One Take One. This was launched quite recently. And what it asks is that universities across the globe each take at least one refugee student onto their campus. So it’s a catchy tag. It won’t have a major impact on its own, but the goal of some of these catchy tags is really to help promote the idea of refugee inclusion in higher education. But in order to make this a reality, there are still a number of barriers that need to be overcome. So I’m going to go back a little bit to some data that isn’t just focused on the tertiary education numbers. So we’ll look at a couple of global data points. All of these numbers are actually drawn from UNHCR’s Global Trends report, which they publish annually. And they collect data from across the globe, across many, many countries that host refugees. So when it comes to the number of youth who are actually eligible for higher education opportunities in refugee contexts, this chart, as you can see, does not tell a very promising story. Sixty-eight percent of refugees have access to primary education. This is compared to a global average of about 91 percent for primary school. So there’s a big gap there. When it comes to secondary education, we’re looking at about 37 percent of refugees accessing secondary education, compared to a global average of about 84 percent. And then, of course, when we get to tertiary, which I’ll come back to, we’re looking at 5 to 6 percent, compared to a global average of about 37 percent. And as you can see here from this slide, the enrollment numbers drop off precipitously after primary education. And this happens for a number of reasons. It could be caretaking of younger siblings, wage-earning possibilities, a sense of hopelessness that education actually isn’t opening up opportunities, hearing from bigger brothers and sisters and others that a university education, while it might have been possible for a refugee, resulted in no additional livelihood opportunity within a camp setting. And for girls, of course, there are additional barriers—early marriage, safety concerns, cultural barriers. Second, I would say that—and as indicated by this chart too—that the quality of K-12 education is often very poor in displacement contexts. Primary and secondary education for refugees is most frequently treated as an emergency response, so as a kind of temporary stopgap measure before the refugees are repatriated. But we also know that the average refugee status lasts around two decades, which is a number that extends far beyond the typical school years. So treating primary and secondary as an emergency response is actually—it’s very damaging. When education is treated like this, as a humanitarian issue, what partners end up doing is they end up setting up special schools in parallel systems. So you can see here on the slide, I note three different ways in which emergency response education plays out at the K-12 level. Partially integrated systems, like what you have in a case like Jordan where students in some cases are in what are called second-shift schools. The refugees go in the afternoons. The host communities go during the day. Often there are less-qualified teachers teaching the afternoon. Jordan’s trying to move away from that, slowly, slowly. But it’s just an example. A parallel system is like an example of what Kenya does, where all of the students in the K-12 system go through the Kenyan national curriculum, but the teachers are actually employed by NGOs. And they have no training, or virtually no training, and they also do not have the—they don’t have the Ministry of Education pay scale. So they’re treated like what we call incentive workers. They make about $110 a month. And then we have the example of an informal system, which is probably the weakest of all. And an example of that is what we have in the Cox’s Bazar camps for the Rohingya in Bangladesh, where the students actually, up until recently, were completely blocked from attending any kind of formal school system. And they were attending four levels only of a curriculum that was designed by the British Council. So very few host countries actually allow for inclusive educational opportunities in which refugee education is fully embedded into the host country education system. And an inclusive system would really mean that teacher quality, school infrastructure, financing, access to learning materials, and other resources are the same for all students, citizens, residents, and refugees alike. And of course, refugee students before they get to tertiary often need even more support beyond what is needed by the host community. They need assessment of prior learning when their certificates are not verifiable, when they’re coming from another country. They might need language learning and will certainly need psychosocial support. So this is the—this is a major barrier leading up to the attempt to get more students into higher education. And even for those who do make it, and the numbers have slowly crept up, there are significant and often paralyzing barriers to actually accessing or being successful in these tertiary education environments. Language is one of them. Most refugees are displaced to countries in which the language of instruction is different from their own. And graduation from secondary school in that country of first asylum does not necessarily mean academic fluency, as many of these refugee contexts are in rote learning environments. Even in places where refugees do speak the same language as their hosts, such as Syrians in Jordan, there are limited higher education opportunities for refugees in, for example, Jordan, in the country of first asylum. So in many cases, even if they make it through the secondary school system in their native language, they still have to learn another language to be competitive in a tertiary environment. There’s a major skills gap, especially when applying to university programs more so than TVET or some of the other certificates or diplomas. Between interrupted education and poor-quality opportunities in host countries, even the brightest youth often lack the necessary skills. And this could be as simple as they don’t have the basic ICT skills to fill out a college application. They don’t have the ability to frame and promote themselves. They don’t have the confidence to do so. They don’t have the content knowledge to pass entrance exams, not to mention the more advanced skills like critical thinking and academic writing. Navigating the system is a major barrier. Lack of access to quality information on higher education opportunities and scholarships. Refugees often have to rely heavily on word of mouth, on social media, on WhatsApp groups, on NGOs and informal networks in order to know where they can get access to higher education. And most of them, even when they identify that opportunity, they don’t have the support in understanding the application procedures, the prerequisites, how to obtain study visas if they need them, or how to even arrange for recognition of prior learning. And then finally, I mean, there’s the obvious one of limitation on numbers of scholarships and places for study. Opportunities in host communities are extremely limited. And this often has a very politicized aspect to it, you know, where refugees sometimes are treated as foreign students. Like in Jordan, where they have to pay foreign tuition. And then there’s the issue of the possibility of, say, complementary education pathways, where they go to a third country but many of the scholarships out there right now don’t have a durable solution attached to them. So a student may go to study in another country, but there’s no sustainable post-graduation option for them. And they risk being left in kind of an administrative limbo, which is a serious protection risk. So as you can see, in spite of these many barriers the numbers have gone up over the past few years. Since the Global Refugee Forum in 2019, we have been able to move from 3 percent to 6 percent, which is not insignificant. But the goal of reaching 15 percent by 2030 is a lofty one, especially considering that almost 90 percent of the world’s refugee population is hosted by developing countries. So just to give a kind of comparative data point, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, the enrollment rate of non-refugee youth in higher education across the region still hovers only around 9 percent. So if we’re trying to get to 15 percent with the refugee population, we also need to think about the host community. And this is another sort of political issue that comes up a lot. So there are many different actors working in the field to address some of these barriers to reach the goal of 15by30. There are foundations providing significant funding for scholarships for displaced learners. MasterCard Foundation, Education Above All, some of which you might have heard of. There are regional actors working to open places for learners at national universities and countries of first asylum. I live in Kenya. I’m talking to you from Nairobi. We have a network here called the African Higher Education Network. And then there’s another network that works in Africa that is called the Men’s Network, that works primarily in francophone Africa. And they work on complementary education pathways. So there’s lots of actors doing lots of work. And then there are networks that are working along multiple lines and with diverse actors, such as the network I work for. And I’m going to talk a little bit about what OSUN has done just for a couple of minutes, and what makes us unique in our ability to support the opening of higher education opportunities for refugees. So OSUN is a truly global network. We have representation on almost every continent. Partners are quite diverse, including higher education and research institutions. All of them are at various stages of their own institutional development, but all of them also share a set of similar values, including a commitment to open society and also to collaboratively addressing inequality. Because we work horizontally across partners, we’re able to support new and continued educational access in both emergent and protracted crises. And it’s important to keep both emergent and protracted crises in mind. When we have, you know, the news inundating us with Ukraine and Afghanistan, there are many refugees who have been displaced for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years. So we do a lot of work as well through connected learning programs, also by supporting student movement to institutions across our network for the purposes of education. And, luckily, we also work in countries of first asylum, where we might be able to take students into national universities. And when it comes to emergent crises, networks are a really important contributor. Not just OSUN, but all networks. In our case, we’re capable of mobilizing human and financial resources for really rapid response. And we’ve done this in three different—three very different contexts over the past nineteen months, with Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. For example, we were able to support over two hundred students from Afghanistan to continue their education after displacement. Still a drop in the bucket, though. And by working across multiple partners, we’re also able to support students in the more protracted situations in Africa, the Middle East, and Bangladesh. In urban settings and in refugee camps, which are the places where I work. As Irina mentioned, I direct something called the OSUN Hubs for Connected Learning Initiatives. And we have what’s called the Refugee Higher Education Access Program, which is a bridging program. It takes about fifteen to eighteen months and it’s really intended to prepare students to really be ready to go into any academic English-language university program. Critical thinking, writing, analysis. All of these things they’re not getting in their very poorly equipped secondary schools. And some of the content knowledge upskilling that’s needed. So working within our network, these students are also eventually integrated into classrooms alongside matriculated students at campuses across the globe. And this has an added benefit for those students of humanizing the refugee student and exposing them—exposing the non-refugee matriculated students—to the very different perspectives that the refugees can bring. So even these very diverse networks can only impact a finite number of students. But what they can do, and the reason I’m mentioning networks—and what OSUN is working hard to do—is really to create models that can be locally contextualized, and also replicable in other contexts and by other institutions. Likewise, I mentioned earlier UNHCR’s Each One Take One campaign. Again, a catchy little slogan, but once a university sets up a system for one student, it becomes much easier to take in many more. Universities realize it’s possible. And in the context of the American system, there’s going to be the opening of a new refugee category—a visa category in the coming months, which some of your universities—if you’re dialing in from the States—might be involved in down the line. And the initial pilot will be asking universities to just take one or two students through a complementary pathway, with the intention that it would be scaled up over time. So I guess one question is, why should we be putting so much emphasis on higher education for refugees? And, first, I would say there’s the moral imperative. Many of us who work for universities have social missions attached to our universities. And we try to emphasize this element, of course, with our institutions and also with other university actors. But beyond that, there are many other players who need to be convinced at this importance of this, particularly governments, state actors, people that we deal with a lot on the ground. And we need to make a different argument there. The moral imperative does not hold weight for them. We need to show them that educating refugees is a good investment of human and financial resources. And as actors in the refugee education space, I believe we really need to think of higher education as an instrument that fosters growth, reduces poverty, and boosts shared prosperity, not only for the individual receiving the education but for the country in which the individual is residing. We can clearly articulate the global gains of tertiary graduates, OK. So we have that data. And I’m sure many of you are familiar with this. For example, some of the World Bank data shows that tertiary education graduates—and not just refugees—experience a 17 percent increase in their earnings. In sub-Saharan Africa, which of course is hard hit by many refugee crises, it’s a 21 percent increase in earnings for tertiary education graduates. So in addition to wage-earning capacity, there’s data indicating that tertiary education graduates are more environmentally conscious, they have healthier habits, they have a higher level of civic participation. So when refugees, if we expend that argument, are allowed to study and work in host—in third countries, they have the potential to contribute to societies and economies. So there needs to be a lot more data collection on this, in order to make a convincing case. But I’m going to give a couple of quick examples before I end, upon which we could base an argument for opening higher education opportunities and increasing potential earning power. So when refugees travel to Canada for higher education through complementary pathways, they’re granted permanent residency upon arrival. The World University Service of Canada, WUSC, leads on this movement of refugee students between countries of first asylum and Canada. And they’ve been able to show that 90 percent of the refugees who were brought into their universities contribute to the economy as taxpayers within several months after graduation. They too need more data on actually what the numbers are. In 2017, the U.S. government completed a study that looked at a period that’s now a little bit distant, they need to update this, but 2005 to 2014. And what they found is that while resettling refugees can cost thousands of dollars in the first couple of years, the tax contributions outweigh the cost. So during the period studied, the federal government spent approximately 206 billion on refugees. And yet, over that same period the refugees contributed more than 269 billion in tax revenue. So that’s a positive—net positive economic tax contribution of 63 billion. And then finally, if we’re looking beyond first-world countries, refugees often send remittances back to their country of origin. And one example is Liberia, which is a big refugee providing country. And about 18.5 percent of their GDP comes from remittances abroad. So I’ll just conclude by saying that, there’s a couple of things that we need to—we need to do to promote further access. One is, we need to be thinking differently about how to prepare youth in the countries that—the countries of first asylum, before they get to the tertiary level. What’s happening now with the donor community, there’s a lot of investment in primary education. There’s a lot of attention on tertiary. And secondary is just being left out. Teachers are not trained. Students are just falling behind. And then we have this major drop off of ability before they can get to tertiary. We also need to rethink refugee participation. Those of us who work on the ground, we think we’re always including refugee voices. We need to do a lot more on that. The refugees themselves are the experts in what their informal economies look like. So in many countries they can’t work legally, but they have informal economies. What do they really need to be studying? What skills do they need? We need to be tapping that. And UNHCR’s working on a kind of refugee-led mentoring program that might tackle some of this. And then finally, the last point I would make is that we really need to create pathways and pipelines between different higher education institutions and programs. We need to include connected opportunities, scholarships in countries of first asylum, and also third-country opportunities so that students can move between degree possibilities, like any of us would, who want to get a higher education. So there needs to be options out there. So I think I’ll end there and turn it back to Irina. FASKIANOS: That was fantastic. Thank you so much, Rebecca. And we’re going to turn to all of you now for your questions and comments. You can share what you’re doing and your thoughts. (Gives queuing instructions.) So the first question is from Patricia McCormick, who I think is at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, because she says she hopes you will reach out to her. How are universities contacted to admit refugee services? Who pays for the housing and tuition of refugee students? GRANATO: I think I had a moment of internet instability. Can you hear me, Irina? FASKIANOS: I can hear you now, yes. So start at the top. Did you hear the question? GRANATO: I think it’s the question that’s in the Q&A, how are universities contacted to admit refugee students? FASKIANOS: It is. GRANATO: OK. Sorry about that. Sometimes Kenya has unstable internet. If you can’t hear me, please let me know. Flag it. FASKIANOS: I will. GRANATO: So that’s a good question. Admitting refugee students. So in the U.S. right now there isn’t currently what we call a durable solution. That’s what’s being designed. In order for those of us who work in the field to responsibly send refugees to countries—to what we call third countries, there really needs to be a legal framework in place so that they can remain after. Once refugees leave camp settings, they’re often not allowed to go back. So what that means is they become not only stateless but they become campless. They’re statusless. They’re in this kind of administrative limbo, was the term I used earlier. So when—the U.S. is currently designing this process that many of us are very involved in. And what will happen is a coalition of NGOs will reach out to universities and try to find interest in universities taking in students. The question, though, you had was about all the wraparound services, because many universities are often willing to forgive tuition. I know in OSUN we do that all time. But there are so many other costs associated with bringing a refugee student to another country. There’s the cost of the flight, the cost of the visa, the housing, the living stipend, all of that. So some of that’s going to be covered by the U.S. government during this pilot, but really what needs to be looked at is what a more sustainable mechanism is for this. And there are different ways it’s done in different parts of the world. So in Canada, they use a—they use a community sponsorship model. So sometimes—well, they do two things. The community sponsorship model, and what’s called the student levy. I don’t think this would work in the U.S. But the student levy, there’s also money put on the tuition bill—like a dollar or two dollars—on every single tuition bill. And that money goes to cover refugee students at a given institution. And community sponsorship involves the community coming together and identifying pots of money that can be used for these wraparound services. And then, of course, universities need to also spend both human and financial resources on building out what’s needed in terms of the structures on campus to support these students, because there’s always legal advising, there’s psychosocial support, there’s all of the upskilling that might not have happened on the end when they’re being sent from their country of first asylum into the third country. I hope that answers your question. But if institutions are interested, though, you should pay attention to what’s coming, because there will be a call for interest for universities to participate in this new refugee visa category pilot program. And you can also contact me. I’ll be—I’ll know what’s going on and be involved in some ways, too. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to a raised hand from Beth. And you’ll need to share your last name and your affiliation. If you can unmute yourself, that would be great, or accept the prompt. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: OK, great. My name’s Elizabeth, I go by Beth, Bryant. I’m with Texas State Technical College. I’m on a campus about twenty miles from the Texas-Mexico border. We specialize in associate degrees and technical training for occupations that are in demand in Texas, of course, since we’re such a big economy, and, you know, other places—wind technology, cybersecurity, nursing, education, things like that. I teach state and federal government. We’re all online now. Some of the technical courses have hybrid classes. So my first question is, I know the definition in the dictionary of a refugee, but one of the things that we face here is just an influx of people from Mexico and Central and South America that are not necessarily fleeing war or famine. I think those folks, it’s easy to look at them as a refugee. What we have here are folks that are fleeing economic crises, societal unrest. I have two immigration lawyer friends who I used to help students whenever I can, and they’ve been very generous. One story is a guy got sent back to Honduras when he finally had his trial, was not granted asylum, and was killed two weeks later. So that’s what we’re dealing with here. It’s like an administrative backlog and these people are fleeing difficulty, but it’s hard to get them classified as a refugee. And with the backlog, with the administrative courts that determine asylum, has people just sort of hanging out for two years, and then they make their way into the country and the best they can do is get a job washing dishes at a restaurant, or working at South Padre Island cleaning hotel rooms. So all these countries that you mentioned, it’s easy to see. But for us here on the border, we have a difficult time actually thinking of some of these immigrants—some of these immigrants as refugees. So in order to access what OSUN is doing, how can—what are some of your thoughts on that? And then, just to follow that up, access to technology. Access to the computers. I have students that are trying to do their assignments on a smartphone because they don’t have a computer. We do have funds. We try to get them to those students to help them. These may be first-generation Americans or immigrants. So the technology, the digital divide, is really wide with this group. And this is in our own country. This isn’t a first or second world issue. This is a—I mean, a second or third world issue. This is—this is right here in the United States. And it is a—it is a big problem, because we can’t get these folks to that next level because of the classification and because of the access to technology. So just—just some thoughts on how we could work with our administration, here at TSTC on that. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. GRANATO: Those are big questions. They’re really big questions. I would say, what you pointed to, Beth, of this person who ended up being sent back to, I think it was Honduras you said, and killed, I mean, that’s exactly—when we’re thinking about more traditional refugee pathways, I think there’s also a consideration there that needs to apply to immigrants into the United States. I guess, illegal immigrants. I’m not sure I know the politically correct term for the U.S. right now. But that kind of unofficial immigration into the U.S., because asylum does take a long time, and often fails, and then it leaves people in, again, this kind of limbo where they end up having to go back to a place where it’s not safe. So having that legal framework planned out in advance before taking students into an institution is really—I think that’s just a—that’s an important starting point. I think that was one of your points, but your other point is really about this technological gap. And I guess what I’m not sure I’m understanding, Beth, is, are these students—they’re enrolling in your university as fully matriculated students? Q: Yes. Yes, they’re—I mean, TSTC has open enrollment. And, you know, I’ve taught DREAMers before, who came over here when they were babies because their mother was fleeing, you know, economic insecurity, et cetera. And then I have, you know, people who have—who have migrated. It’s not hard to do. And we take them. And we try to get them into an English as a second language course, et cetera. But it’s—now that so much—even if my courses weren’t online, you still have to have a computer to complete higher education. I mean, period. It’s one of the things that I noticed. I mean, when I tell my students I had to type all my research papers on a typewriter, it freaks them out, you know? And so there are funds available, since we’re a state institution. We’re state-funded. The state of Texas funds us. So we do have access to funds to try to get the computers to those that need them. But it’s coming out of hiding, interacting with the government. A lot of my students won’t apply for the funds because they’re scared. And they’re bright people. Mexico has a pretty good secondary education system. So do you see that as an issue with the people that you deal with? And how do you— FASKIANOS: And then we’ll—if you could take a crack at that, and then we have several other questions. We’ll move on. GRANATO: One of the—one of the things we do, though, is we really work with our faculty on adjusting assignments so that the assignments work in these lower-resource settings, so that students don’t have to have a computer. There actually is quite a bit that students can’t do on their phones. And students—we find that our students, who are very used to not having access to technology, are very adept at being creative in how they’re going to get some of these assignments done. They often handwrite them, and then they’ll type them up in WhatsApp, you know. But we do a lot of faculty work around how to kind of adjust content so that it works in the environment, because you can’t—we simply can’t provide a computer for every student. That would be an unsustainable model. So faculty development is one way we grapple with it. And then upskilling the students so that they know how to kind of adjust and how to be flexible. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to next to a written question from Dr. Damian Odunze. Does the refugee education program include internally displaced persons, especially in countries in East and West Africa? Is there a collaboration between your organization and local communities? And Dr. Odunze’s with Delta State University in Cleveland, Missouri. GRANATO: Thanks, Dr. Damian. So, yes, we do—we do work with internally displaced students, and many other programs in the region do as well. I would say that, in terms—when you ask about collaboration with local institutions, we—at least from the perspective of OSUN. I can speak from OSUN’s perspective. We attempt to collaborate with local universities here. And there’s a lot less flexibility with local institutions, say in Kenya, in terms of the ways in which refugees are credentialed, the ways in which their qualifications are kind of framed, than there would be with, say, an online program in the United States or even a third-country pathway. There’s often just more flexibility with foreign institutions. So we try to work on opening opportunities for students here with local institutions, but the other ways in which we work with local institutions is we do a lot of work with refugee-led organizations. And those refugee-led organizations work with us on developing the contextualized programming. It also builds their capacity. So some of our attempt at local work is also just with sort of organizations that have been developed by the refugees themselves, which are also educationally oriented, but not higher education institutions. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And just to correct myself, Delta State University is in Cleveland, Mississippi. My apologies. So I’m going to go next to Candace Laughinghouse. Q: Good afternoon. Well, first, thank you for this presentation. It’s really opened my eyes to a lot. I teach at a HBCU, St. Augustine’s University. And we have students—it’s in Raleigh, North Carolina. We have a lot of international students I was unaware of until I joined the faculty. And a lot of that is through the Episcopal Church. Because the school is an Episcopal University. But I just had some questions. And I’m wondering, in our attempts to provide education to students—I’m going to do some research further myself—I was just wondering, also as a—probably because as—(inaudible)—and the importance of listening to our language as instructors—because I actually have to engage in this with some professors in addressing our larger student population of African American students—is, I guess, educating our language and how we’re creating a community to transform. It reminds me of a book by bell hooks called Teaching to Transgress. And a lot of that—and what I’m hearing some of the questions, and some of the things I know, things are sometimes kind of intention or not being aware of addressing certain things. But how does it impact a student’s learning? Because we often feel that the desire to learn just makes us all equal. These students want to come learn, but then even when I just use the language these students, like, you know, what does it—how does it impact our ability to teach and the students’ ability to learn at whatever level, when they are pretty much labeled and categorized in the different areas I’ve heard? Like, you’re an immigrant. You’re a DREAMer. You’re a—you know? That definitely has an impact, even when—I have three small children. And one went through some troubles because of COVID. And they’re even in private school. So the learning development for my youngest was a challenge. But even then, at a private institution, I had to address how she was then being labeled immediately by performance or labeled by even from where she comes from. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of investment or consideration of this type of thing? Because that does—wouldn’t you agree that that would impact, one, a teacher’s ability to teach at a certain level, and also a student’s connection with receiving the education, if you have these labels that are, like, these folks, those people, these refugees, do they deserve this? Instead of, these are young adults experiencing refugee status. These are young adults—because then it reclaims the humanity of them. Just like my girls know, I’m African American, our ancestors were not slaves. They were enslaved. Because we are aware now of what that denotes when you place labels. So I was wondering, has there been any sort of inquiry into that? Because I really believe that that could be a strong—there could be a correlation to the outcome of these programs as well, and how we are addressing the students. Because it kind of places a barrier between us and these young adults. GRANATO: I think it’s a really excellent question. And, again, an area that needs more research, especially when we’re talking about integrating displaced learners into—primarily into environments where the majority of students are not displaced. So a student going to your university, for example, there by necessity needs to be an awareness of the context of where this person came from, at least among the staff, administrators, and faculty, because they will bring with them—they will bring with them a certain experience that needs attention. Definitely trauma that might or might not need attention, but legal questions that will need attention. So that has to be—there has to be awareness. But the question of how they are perceived by their classmates and the ways in which they kind of categorize themselves, I mean, I certainly can’t speak for the refugee population. But I’ve heard a number of our students speak to when they go to third countries and they enroll in universities, where they’re not surrounded by their compatriots in the same way. And they don’t want to identify as refugees. They don’t want to be labeled that way. They want to be identified as students. Now, what kind of psychological studies have been done on that, I think that’s an area that’s somewhat under-researched still. But there’s—I think there’s a difference between awareness and labeling too. And that awareness is critical in these university settings, where these students are going to come with a very different set of needs and requirements. Q: OK. So I guess—I guess my only question is—and you’re seeing what I’m saying about research. So is that something separate from what you’re doing? That cannot be integrated into the praxis in what your—and the pedagogy in which you’re—which you brilliantly presented earlier? Because I’m saying that that is a huge impact. Because we can have all the tools to say, hey, this can work, and this can work, and this can work. But something like that, in its—you know, it has a huge impact. And I’m not just speaking for the students, because the students, yeah, they bring their own things. But I’m talking about—I’m speaking as an educator. And as educators, how that can be perhaps—or, not perhaps—how that should be included in faculty around what you’re addressing. But thank you for letting me ask the question. GRANATO: Yeah. And I mean, I think you’re absolutely right. And, the work that we do with students in the bridging program, again, this is my example from the context I work in, we do a lot of work, you know, you mentioned bell hooks. We do a lot of work in trying to get the students to think – to think about content and ideas outside of their own contexts. And yet, they’re very much in their context there. And the label in a camp is important to them. They use it. You know, in their camp setting, it becomes a tool. But that’s very different when they’re then removed from that kind of majority area, where everybody is the same as them. So, no, I mean, you’re raising a really important question, and one that needs to be thought of, especially in third countries. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Sana Tayyen, who’s at the University of Redlands in California. When developed countries, like Sweden and Germany, accept refugees, do they usually have an agenda as to the types of jobs and pathways they want refugees to end up in? Not 100 percent sure on this, but I’ve heard of Syrian refugees being brought into Sweden to fill service jobs for an aging population. Will higher education cater to government agendas? GRANATO: It’s a good question. So the path—this question is really about what we would call third country pathways, where refugees are moved from a country of first asylum to a third country for the purposes of higher education. I think that’s what you’re asking, Sana. You know, in the programs that we work with, as OSUN but also OSUN co-chairs what is called the Global Taskforce on Third Country Higher Education Pathways, we work with institutions and governments that don’t have that agenda. Promoting an agenda like that, that refugees should be coming in to fill a particular service, undermines the purpose of higher education and the mission of a higher education opening up possibility. So if you look at Germany, higher education pathways, students can come in and they can study—they can study anything at an institution that they’re accepted to. They have to be accepted to the institution. In France, it’s the same. There are many different options that the students can choose from in terms of majors. The important part is that they have the ability to work after, and that their ability to work—that their work permit allows them to work across sectors. So those are the pathways that are under development. And those are the ones that we, for example, support. I’m not—I don’t know about that case you’re referring to in Sweden. I can’t really speak to that because I’m not sure. But I can’t imagine that’s 100 percent accurate, but I will look that up. FASKIANOS: Great. So next question from Ellen Chesler. Can you speak in more detail about OSUN’s program for Afghan refugee students at Bard College in the U.S. and the American University of Central Asia in Tashkent? And how are these programs going? GRANATO: So Bard took in—Bard, and our partner, American University of Central Asia, took in a number of students, it’s around two hundred, into BA and MA programs. The number will go up. There will be another intake. The program is partially—the scholarships are partially funded by Bard itself. You know, we do tuition remission. AUCA does tuition remission. There’s donors that contribute. I guess how is it going? It’s been a heavy lift. You know, it’s very different from bringing in international students. And international students, they’re already quite complicated to bring into a university setting, as you all well know. But bringing in the Afghan students into America was particularly complicated because we don’t yet have this refugee visa category. So the students came in through referrals, the P4 process—sorry—the P3 process. But many of them came in on student visas. And student visas are not a sustainable mechanism. They only last for the duration of the degree. So now what Bard is trying to do is figure out what’s next for these students. And we’re having to do it on a case-by-case basis. You know, figuring out what’s going to happen to them after, what kind of legal status they’re going to have. Are they going to claim asylum and be stuck in that system, and not be able to work? Are they going to be able to transition to some kind of residency? And this is all because this special refugee visa category does not exist yet. Next year, hopefully, it will be a very different scenario. At the American University if Central Asia, it’s also had a different set of struggles. I know that the university there has struggled with a lot of—a lot of trauma. I mean, there’s been a lot of psychosocial issues that have come up, and a lot of issues with students attending classes, because they’re really struggling. And the university—Bard and AUCA, you know, it’s a bit lift to equip your staff with the extra skills they need to deal with this, and the extra staffing you need. I mean, you need more people. And it happened so quickly that I feel like there’s been kind of a catch up. So I think—I hope that answers your question. I’m not sure if your question was how is it going was a different one, but I hope that answers it. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have two more questions I’d love to get in, from Dr. Adegbola Ojo, who’s at the University of Leeds in the UK. Apart from financial remittances, is there evidence of other forms of positives, e.g., brain gain, in home countries resulting in the human capital flight of refugees? GRANATO: When you say “home countries,” do you mean their countries of origin, or do you mean the countries they are going to becoming their home countries. FASKIANOS: Right. I’m not sure. Dr. Ojo, do you want to unmute and clarify? Because I read exactly what was in the question. (Laughs.) Q: Yes. Yes, thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Q: Yeah, yeah. It’s countries of origin. GRANATO: Countries of origin. Q: Yes. GRANATO: That’s a good question. And, again, it’s an understudied area. The number—you know, an understudied area of people who have gone and sought an education, gone from a third country—sorry—a country of first asylum, to a third country for education, who have then gone back. I don’t actually know the exact numbers. I don’t know what the exact numbers are of people who might have gotten a university education—say, in the UK—and then they return to their country of origin. I imagine it’s quite small. So I don’t—and there aren’t studies on that particular question. When it comes to brain gain, of course, most refugees who leave, say, a camp-based setting, they don’t—the vast majority do not go back to the camp. Most of them can’t. In Kenya, you can return to a camp. In a place like Cox’s Bazar you wouldn’t be able to. In a place like Rwanda, you could. So it’s different in every—in every place. In Jordan, you wouldn’t be able to return. So it would also be difficult to track if people return what kind of impact it would have because most of them actually don’t. Most of them remain in the country that they go to educate—to be educated. But it would be interesting to look at the numbers that return to their countries of origin, and what that net brain gain is. I think it’s a really good question. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer. Q: Well, thank you. I do think that that would be a knowledge gap there, and potentially area for further research. Yeah, something to think about. GRANATO: It’s a good research question, yeah. Q: Thank you. GRANATO: What I can say—although, maybe there’s another question. I was going to add something, but maybe— FASKIANOS: No. No, go ahead. Just have a—go ahead. GRANATO: OK. I was just going to say, it’s a little different from your question about brain gain, but there have been some recent studies on refugees who don’t leave the camp but get an education, and have a degree, and then actually have really no very pronounced livelihood opportunity that’s connected to their degree. And some of those studies have looked about the increase in things like depression and anxiety. And the sort of negative impacts of higher education, when then there’s no livelihood opportunity that really is connected to the degree itself. So I know it’s different from your question, but just it made me think of it. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So we’ll take the final question from Sneha Bharadwaj, who’s a professor at Texas Woman’s University. How can we get involved in this mission? So that’s a good question to end on, on what administrators and educators can do in their own institutions. GRANATO: So I think there’s a couple of things. First, I’ve already mentioned a few times that there will be this initiative in the U.S., and of course, Texas Woman’s University would be an institution that could participate in this, with this new refugee visa category and taking students in from countries of first asylum. But that’s going to still be a very small number. I mean, the vast majority of refugees will not be traveling for third-country opportunities. The vast majority will need to be educated in their country of first asylum. And, you know, offering online opportunities for students is always something that refugees are interested in, in camp-based settings. We find that online opportunities really only work if there’s also some infrastructure on the ground to support them. Very remote instruction, often, there’s just major attrition. But if you have online offerings, you could come together with other partners, you could think about ways that you could offer some kind of online degree, if that’s something that your institution is accredited for. Again, getting back to this network idea. Networks of institutions can do that collaboratively, so it’s not as much of a heavy lift. There’s always opportunities as well, and need, in refugee settings for additional research to be done, and for collaboration on things like faculty development inside camp settings, and training of teaching assistants. Those are also areas where there’s quite a bit of need. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Well, we are at the end of our time. So I thank you for taking your evening—giving your evening to us, Rebecca. You are in Nairobi, so it’s late there. And to all of you for being with us, and for your questions and comments. We really appreciate it. GRANATO: Thank you. Thank you for having me. FASKIANOS: You can follow Rebecca Granato on Twitter at @rebecca_granato. And you will receive an invitation to our next Higher Education Webinar shortly. But in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you, again, for joining us today. And we look forward to your continued participation in the Higher Education Webinar Series. (END)
  • China

    Zongyuan Zoe Liu, fellow for international political economy at CFR, leads the conversation on global economics. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to today’s session of the Fall 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Zongyuan Zoe Liu with us to talk about global economics. Dr. Liu is a fellow for international political economy at CFR. She previously served as an instructional assistant professor at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service in Washington, D.C. And before that, she completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Columbia-Harvard China and the World program and the Center for International Environment and Research Policy at Tufts University. She served as a research fellow and research associate at many institutions—the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business, and at the Institute for International Monetary Affairs in Tokyo. Dr. Liu is the author of Can BRICS De-dollarize the Global Financial System?, published by Cambridge University Press; and Sovereign Funds: How the Communist Party of China Finances its Global Ambitions, forthcoming in 2023 by Harvard University Press. So we will stay tuned for that. So, Dr. Liu, thank you very much for being with us. This is a very broad topic, but it would be great if you could give us your analysis of the state of the global economy today. LIU: Yeah, thank you very much, Irina, for inviting me to do this. I really, truly appreciate the opportunity to engage with our college and national universities, both the faculties and the students. This makes me feel I’m very much still part of the academia community. So thank you very much, Irina, and thank you, everybody, for tuning in today. So I wanted to begin by saying that as an economist one thing that I learned is that we are very bad at making forecasting. And, once that forecasting is already very bad, but—and forget about the long run. But that being said, I hope our conversation today can at least exchange some perspectives in terms of how we think about global economy and how we think about some policy-relevant natures. So the first—I will begin by saying two statement, and then I will delve into it. The first statement I would say that I’m afraid that geopolitics probably would make economic forecasting, which is already a very difficult business, but geopolitics would likely make this business even more difficult going forward. And this is because global economic prospect will be more influenced by geopolitics and geopolitical tensions, in addition to pure supply and demand. So that is to say, for our—all our college students and our graduate students, who are either pursuing a political science degree, international relations, or economics, or anybody who are vaguely interested in understanding global economics, now this is the time to realize, well, the models may not—the models had their limitations before, and their limitations are probably going to be even more pronounced going forward. The pure supply-demand dimensions—price is set in certain ways—probably are not necessarily going to go that way. One such example would be the European Union and the United States are considering putting a price cap on Russian oil. And what does that mean? That probably means, well, it almost feel like for a long period of time there was this global cartel called the OPEC or OPEC+. These are the so-called sellers’ cartel. And they have the power, the monopolistic power almost, in terms of setting the price of oil in the global market. But now we are probably going to see the other part of the story, which is what about a global buyers’ cartel? And that is essentially what a price cap means. So long story short, I think geopolitics would play a lot into our analysis of global economics forecasting going forward. And then my second sort of quick statement would be in terms of global economic status today. I would say the key—like, let me take a step back. When we think about economic development, we tend to think about factors of production. Like, for our—again, for our students who probably learned this at the beginning of the semester, this is the time to refresh your concept. But key factors of production—one is resource, the other is technology, and then the other is labor. In terms of resources, you can think about natural resources as well as capital. So these three fundamental factors of production, I would say, they are all going through a period of changes. And these changes are not necessarily in a good way. So that, long story short, a lot of the changes now in global economic conditions may not necessarily be good. And I’m happy to go into a detailed analysis of why resources are not necessarily changing in a good way, or technology, or in terms of labor and demographics. But I’m also happy to stop here and then sort of answer questions or explain further going forward as well. FASKIANOS: Great. We will go to all of you to ask your questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) So we already have a question. It’s from Fordham University. Raised hand. So you’re going to tell us—have to tell us who you are and unmute yourself, or accept the unmute prompt. There you go. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: OK, great. Yes, so I’m a third-year student at Fordham University. My name is Valerie Bejjani. And my question for you, Dr. Liu, pertains to your paper—your Cambridge-published paper—about non-dollar alternatives, which I find very fascinating. And it made me think about something I read for an international political economy class about how Keynes first introduced a non-dollar alternative called the bancor during the Bretton Woods Conference, but the U.S. shot it down. So I was curious about your opinion on this, whether you think it was a mistake for the U.S. not to accept it, and what you think the implications—the historical implications are for BRICS countries today that are trying to devise their own non-dollar alternatives? LIU: Thank you very much, Valerie, for your great question. And I have to—since we’re on the record—I just have to say, this is not a planted question. (Laughs.) And I very much appreciate that you’ve given me the opportunity to talk about the research that I did before. So just a quick background about that research that I did, I finished the research last year—yeah, last year in the summer, in July. So when I submitted my manuscript, there was a review process, right? And then that was the moment when not everybody were interested in SWIFT, in SPFS, in China’s cross-border banking—Cross-Border Payment System, or CIPS. So a lot of these alphabetic soups that everybody here are familiar with now, last year before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nobody was even interested. And one of the reviewers was even telling—had a comment there saying that, well, you know, don’t necessarily think that these are good examples that deserve to—so many real estate. (Laughs.) But and then my publisher somehow engineered it such that my—that Cambridge publication came out right on the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was—that was—as a researcher, you probably can never hope the timing in that way. So going back to your question, Valerie, I would say I highly appreciate that you raised the question. And I respect that—highly respect that you are already getting yourself familiarized with Keynesian and all the other historically speaking alternative monetary system or monetary concept as well. So that’s all good. So keep doing what you are doing now and I look forward to continuing our conversation going forward. So your question, if I understand it correctly, so is it a good idea for the United States to shut it down, right? So I mean, if I were—I was obviously not in the policymaking room in those days, but I can certainly understand why the United States would want to maintain the dollar’s dominant currency status in the global financial system. That’s because if you are able to—if the dollar were the dominant currency, in the existing dollar—in the existing global financial system, that basically means on the one hand we can issue debt cheaply. And that literally means the U.S. Treasury is the proxy for risk re-asset. That has huge implications not just for our government debt and our physical expenditure. It also has a tremendous amount of stabilizing factor for our domestic financial institutions and the expansion of our banks in the international market. So from both public perspective and the international perspective, those are good. And the United States has, from a policymaking perspective, all our financial policymakers had their right to shut it down. Now, but if you ask this question from an alternative perspective—say, if you ask the question for—to, let’s say, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney—former governor. If you ask him, he would probably tell you, well, this is a terrible idea that the United States would shut it off, because he specifically said in 2019 at the Jackson Hole symposium, when all the major central bankers were gathered in the big hall and talking about monetary policies, he was the one standing in front of everybody saying that, well, it’s a terrible idea to have one single currency, which is the U.S. dollar, to dominate the global financial and monetary system. That is the reason why the system is not stable, hence we need to have an alternative system. Like a basket currency or something like that. So, if you ask people like him, he would be—like, be in favor of the diversity—of a more diversified global monetary system. And again, if you ask the countries like China or, for that matter, Russia or Iran, they would be way much more in favor of a much more diversified monetary system as well. And that may not necessarily, from, exchange rate perspective, exchange rate risk is an important aspect, but the more important aspect probably is from the geopolitical hegemonic power of the U.S. dollar. Which means, the U.S. sanctioning power really resides in the dollar being the dominant currency. So right now, we hear about U.S. can sanction Russia, sanction other countries. How that is being executed, it is literally being executed by our banks no longer processing the bank transactions of all the Russian banks. Hence, when people talk about kicking Russia off the SWIFT system, it’s not just that the transaction cannot go out. It literally means in practice nobody can send a message with Russian banks. Like, there was no communication. So the entire dollar system is based upon the SWIFT system, which 90 percent of the messaging to process the transactions are using dollar. And then, because the expansive power of our U.S. banks, it literally means all international trade literally has to be settled—the settlement has to be done by U.S. bank, who has U.S. dollars. And in order to access that transaction mechanism, only SWIFT can get the job done. You also have to literally tap into either the Fedwire System or the CHIPS system, which is the clearinghouse system based here in New York. So in order for this whole system—in order to have this whole system to make your dollar payment work, you literally have to maintain on the one hand a connection, on the other hand have connections with the dollar settlement system. And that’s why when Russia was kicked out of SWIFT, a lot of other countries who are not necessarily on the good side of the United States started to get worried because people used to think, well, kicking somebody—kicking some banks off the SWIFT system is almost the financial version of a nuclear bomb. It’s the nuclear option of cutting somebody from the international financial system, of which the U.S. dollar is the dominant currency, the primary invoicing currency as well. And then on the other hand, lesson learned from this sanction experience, especially from the perspective of China, is that, well, previously we’ve already laid out a lot of this planning system—meaning the infrastructure used to internationalize the renminbi, such as the China—the China’s CIPS system. Policymakers inside China started to wonder, well, since the planning is already there, it’s not too much to ask just to add additional function. So the previously, from a functional-wise, China’s renminbi payment infrastructure is really not about bypassing sanctions, because in my research I realized when—I interviewed people who actually participated in the designing of the system. And I remember talking to three people on three different occasions, and they all mentioned one point, which is without the CIPS system, the international using of renminbi, really—the user experience was really, really terrible. And the reason it was terrible was simply because there are more than two thousand of small and medium-size banks in China. You are familiar with the big four—ICBC, Bank of China and all that—but those are the major banks. More Chinese bank—more than two thousand of the smaller Chinese banks, they don’t have a direct connection with the SWIFT system. Which basically means in order to make transactions across border, it really takes time and the cost of transactions are extremely high. Therefore, in order to improve user experience, they literally had to design a system that can facilitate this cross-border transaction. But when geopolitics plays into it, especially since 2018 when U.S.-China trade war started to get really escalated to a higher level, a lot of those conversations started domestically. And then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine really accelerated this whole process. So I hope that sort of give you a broader—it’s a long answer, but I hope that gives you a deeper understanding of what has been going on, and what are the—what are the instrument—the functions of the instrument. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. I’m going to take a written question from Abraham—he goes by Abe—Borum. Dr. Liu, you mentioned OPEC within the context of NATO and the U.S. efforts to limit Russia energy policy. What are the second- to third-order effects on other sectors of global markets? And Abe is a graduate student at the National Intelligence University. LIU: Abe, that’s a great question, I have to say. And I would strongly encourage everybody here, especially our undergrad and graduate students—to think not just the first-order or direct impact, but also the second-order effect. So I appreciate this question, because then you give me a little bit opportunity to elaborate on why I think on the natural resource aspect our global economy is not necessarily heading towards the right direction. So just tie back into Abe’s question to begin with, right now since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the hydrocarbon prices, and more specifically oil prices, oil prices have been increasing. Although in recent—in recent weeks, it has relatively been stabilized a little bit, but it’s still way much higher than pre-pandemic, that would be 2019, right, Irina? 2019, right? (Laughs.) My timeline is all blurred. So I checked this morning, price might have changed slightly. But when I checked it this morning Brent today, this morning when I checked, it was trading about $88 per barrel. And remember in 2019 what the price was? That was something around—the average price in 2019, that was $64. So we are literally talking about more than $20 per barrel more expensive. And then WTI, that is, what, U.S. benchmark, right? WTI was trading at $96 per barrel – close to 96 (dollars). Like 95.99, something like that. And in 2019, Brent was trading on average $57 per barrel. So close to double. So higher energy prices, that basically would directly translate into higher production costs across the board for energy—because every sector need energy, whether it is electricity, whether it is other types of energy. So it directly translate into higher electricity prices. This is important for the United States. This is very relevant for the European Union as well. So higher production costs would literally raise the price of the output. And that is going to further exacerbate the inflationary pressure. And that is going to make the Federal Reserve, and the ECB, and the Bank of England measures to curb inflation even more difficult. And then on the other hand, I also wanted to mention that right now the added layer of geopolitics making this even more difficult. We already see this happening, which is, Biden made his trip to Saudi Arabia, but it did not get the intended consequence or intended result, which is trying to get Saudi Arabia and OPEC in general to stabilize the global oil market. And OPEC+, about a week ago, decided that they are going to cut their production by about two million barrels per day. That is about the daily consumption of, I believe it’s China, or something like that. So from that perspective, by limiting production, that is going to further—that is from a pure supply/demand perspective, right? If we hold supply—we hold demand constant and if you reduce the supply, that is going to further raise the upward pressure for the prices. So geopolitics is probably going to further put upward pressure for the prices as well. And then finally, the final point I would want to make there is that right now OPEC countries—OPEC+ countries in particular—they might be—have this existential threat, which is the net zero transition. Right now, what is most valuable for Russia, or for Iran, for UAE, for Saudi Arabia—their most valuable export comes from hydrocarbon. It could be oil. It could be natural gas. So in the long run, when the entire global economy moved to zero dependence on hydrocarbon, that basically means for Russia—that’s probably more close to 70 percent of their GDP and government revenue. That is going to be gone. Think about how the Russian economy can make up that much amount of revenue in the short run? That’s very difficult to think about, especially these days. And this can be applied for countries like Saudi Arabia as well. Therefore, these countries—these hydrocarbon-exporting countries—they have this existential threat. Which is their most valuable export might become no longer valuable in the long run. So that’s why they are—they are inherently very interested in carving a closer relationship and, more importantly, a relatively stable relationship with their stable buyers. And the buyers these days are going to not necessarily be the United States because, you’ve heard all these stories about the U.S. are energy independent and so on and so forth. But, you know, we can—that’s a different story. And when people say U.S. is very largely energy independent, there are so many reasons that argument can be rebutted. But let me just say, U.S. does not necessarily consume a lot of energy from—exported by Saudi Arabia. But who does? China and India. So right now, China’s largest energy—in terms of volume—largest energy supplier is Russia. But in terms of pure monetary value that China actually pays, and the largest receiver of Chinese money for energy, that is Saudi Arabia. Therefore, earlier this year you probably read the news about Saudi Arabia might consider allowing renminbi to pay for Saudi oil. There might be more opportunity in there, because they might be very interested, especially MBS, because of all his behaviors, might expose a lot of the Saudis individuals under U.S. sanctions. And on the other hand, China already established a renminbi denominated oil futures market. And that—although, the volume today is relatively—the volume today is relatively low, but the growth is very rapidly. So if all these major oil-exporting countries hypothetically—if they decided to suddenly switch their—the pricing of their oil overnight into renminbi instead of the dollar, we could potentially see the dollar’s pricing power and invoicing power in global trade would be diminished. And that is because the infrastructure, the facility is already there. Although the volume of renminbi-denominated oil futures is still relatively low, the plumbing is there. And once you have the plumbing there, there is no way to go back. So now what the United States should do is to make sure that everybody is still very much interested in maintaining the existing dollar-based system and maintaining the pricing of commodity using U.S. dollar. And that brings in the discussion about putting an oil price to Russian oil instead of just a wholesale sanction of Russian oil. As long as we are putting a price cap to it, that basically means we are—yes, we are hurting Russian export, but still we are allowing Russian oil flowing into the international market. That still makes the dollar’s pricing power in global commodities relevant. So from that perspective, I think it’s the right move to preserve the dollar system. But on the other hand, those countries that are not—again, not necessarily on the geopolitical good side of the United States, they do have the intention to hedge against the risk of being sanctioned. And they need the—they need buyers to buy whatever that they have are valuable today. I hope that makes sense to you. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take the next question, a spoken question, from Dr. Seebal Aboudounya, an associate lecturer at the University of College London. You can correct me on the pronunciation of your name. Q: Yes. Hi. The pronunciation is perfect. Thank you very much. So I have two students here from the international public policy program. And they would like to ask questions. So I will just hand over to them. Thank you. Q: Hi, professor. I’m Cici and I’m a graduate student from UCL. I’m really glad you can give me a speech and answer my questions. And I want to ask questions about Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As we all know, that Belt and Road Initiative has employment more than ten years, since 2013. And it seems as the most important foreign policy for China and their President Xi. And it has already achieved many success. So I want to ask, what’s the core purpose of Belt and Road Initiative, and how can we evaluate it? And do the countries in BRI view it in a positive or a negative way? Thank you. Q: Thank you very much. And the second student will now ask a question. Q: Hi, Doctor. My question is, what’s the future of global economy under the impact of Ukraine war, China-U.S. competition, and COVID-19? Thank you. Q: Thank you very much. LIU: All right. Thank you very much, Professor Aboudounya. And let me just being with the first question from Cici, right? Thank you very much, Cici, for asking this important question. And I’m so glad that you are asking something about BRI, because I do think it’s important for people to understand this whole Chinese initiative. You are absolutely right that the BRI is a very important Chinese foreign policy initiative. And I would even say that the BRI is—or, the Belt and Road Initiative—is Chinese President Xi Jinping, his signature foreign policy initiative during his first two terms. Now he just recently got his—as the general secretary of the party—he just got this third term. So we’ll see how BRI being played out going forward. But at least during his first term as the president of China and as the party general of the Chinese Communist Party, that was his signature foreign policy initiative, or grand strategy, if you will. So in terms of what it is and how we think about it, those are great questions. So there are very simple answer to say—to describe what BRI is. You can think about it as a global-spanning infrastructure project. So that’s what it looks like. If you just put—if you just—if we have an Excel spreadsheet and we just look at, at least all the—every single project that BRI has been doing, it’s really about infrastructure. And more specifically, more than 70 percent of BRI infrastructure projects are related to energy, are energy-related infrastructure projects. Therefore, you can also think about BRI as infrastructure orientated and combined with the idea of establishing China’s access to global energy resources. And then, if you think about it from China’s domestic perspective, why Xi Jinping decided to start this BRI initiative and what are the connections of the BRI with previous Chinese policies? I would say the reason—fundamental reason why Xi Jinping started this BRI was because of the fundamental domestic problem which is the overcapacity in China’s production sector, especially steel, concrete, and a lot of these infrastructure-related sectors. And that takes place after global financial crisis, and then China’s spending four trillion—four trillion yuan to stimulate its economy, and it created the major overcapacity issue at home. And the international economy—or international demand or demand from outside of China was not enough—or especially the Western market like United States or European market, they were not growing as fast to be able to absorb China’s overcapacity. Therefore China really have to think about how to distribute in a broader global market to solve its overcapacity issue. So Xi Jinping, in one of his meetings, he had this saying—and I think it’s very revealing, so I quote him. So he did say this, and I translate it, obviously, into English. So he said: Our overcapacity problem might be other countries—might be beneficial to other countries. In other word, we are producing a lot of this stuff that we do not use, and we are losing money. But if we are able to sell it to other countries, that might be good for them and good for us, as well. So that was—could we—if we give him the benefit of the doubt, is that a good way—is that a good intent? Sure. If we give him the benefit of the doubt, if everything he implemented perfectly, that could be mutually beneficial. And indeed, if you look at all these BRI forums or BRI summit, a lot of these are related to improve their connectedness, solve overcapacity issue, and even BR specific government-to-government level industrial production coordination fund. In other word, if government are establishing lots of money to coordinate—so much you are going to produce, how much I am supposed to produce. The idea is really to tackle the problem of overcapacity. But again, reality when you are looking at how this is being implemented, nowadays it varies. There’s a very good Rhodium Group report that you probably—if you just google Rhodium Group BRI, they have this report analyzing the BRI lending. And that’s where BRI really come into—really encountered a lot of problem. So you are probably familiar with the whole narrative of the data trap, so depending upon who you are talking to—so if you talk with—if you talk to Chinese project managers, or if you talk to Professor Deborah Bräutigam at SAIS/Johns Hopkins who runs the China Africa Research Initiative—if you talk to folks like them, they might tell you, well, you know, it’s really not about the data trap but really speaks to the fact that China is really, really inexperienced in terms of the development finance and in terms of lending, and that the reason is that they really have a limited capacity to do, on the one hand, the environmental impact assessment. Many of these—you will be shocked. Many of these projects they do not even have a real environmental impact assessment. And on the other hand, because a lot of these lendings are directly being lent out by Chinese policy banks—and more specifically, if you look at Africa, that would be China import and export bank, they have a limited capacity to evaluate all these business plans. And I remember talking to a project manager in Mali, so I asked him, have you interacted with all those folks on how you do your—how you do your bidding in order to get the money. So this person, he was very frank with me, and he said, well, I understand how the—I understand how they want the number to look like in order to give me the loan, so I just cook the numbers so that I can get the loan. In other word, there is not necessarily an internally robust risk management process in getting out of these loans. Therefore, am I surprised to see that so much of Chinese—so much of China’s BRI loan now are in trouble, like in countries like Zambia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and a couple of others.   So am I—am I surprised about that? I’m not surprised because if you followed this and if you realized that there is a lack of the internal risk management process, that’s the result you are going to get. And it is also because of the debt, combined with the contract term, which is when you are signing a contract like—it’s like, I go to the bank and I say, I am Zoe, and I bank with Charles Schwab or Bank of America. Hey, I’m going to buy a house, so how about you lend me the money. This is literally the way how contract negotiating works. And then, guess what? The banks are going to say, hey, Zoe, I do not know who you are, although you look like a good person. I do not want to lend you the money at this rate. I’m going to lend you the money, and you have to put down a collateral. So collateral is the idea that, in case I, Zoe, can no longer pay back my loan, I literally have to give up some sort of tangible asset to the bank. Now in the case of Sri Lanka, that was what happened to Hambantota. So long story short, is that combined with the collateralization of this BRI debt really feeds this debt trap narrative because, well, if it looks like you are setting the countries up to debt, and you are collateralizing their critical infrastructures, this looks like debt trap to many observers. So I can’t—I have a lot of sympathy to this debt trap narrative, but really, when we think about BRI debt and how BRI is being implemented, we really need to think about two sides: on the one hand, the policy side; and the other side is really about implementation, because without implementation the policies are only a piece of paper, isn’t it? So, I really encourage you to look more specifically into the details, and if you are interested in learning more about BRI, there are a lot of data set that are available. On the one hand, William & Mary—William & Mary have the aid data. If you just google William & Mary and google aid data, you will see their entire data related to BRI. And then the other website that—I would have to say, my colleague and I here at the Council, we have this BRI tracker. My colleague Benn Steil, he run—he had this BRI tracker. So you can take a look at that. And then the Council also published a BRI report last year—last year, right, Irina? We have a BRI Task Force report, so definitely check that out. And then finally there is also Boston University has the global policy institute. They have this China—they have a specific China-oriented research team, and they have—they also run seminars occasionally, and webinars—you can sign up for it and you can have access to their research. We also have this BRI data, so make sure that you check those out so that you can look at all the contract, you can look at what are the—where exactly—at what level project are being implemented. I hope that sort of covered the ground for that with BRI. And then go back to the other question—the other question about the future of global economy, especially the impact on Ukraine. I really appreciate this question as well because it’s—it’s really dear to my heart, too, and the research in itself is dear to my heart and to many of my colleagues here at the Council. And then, on the other hand, we also—everybody are surprised about how fast and how coherent the sanctions on Russia were able to take place. It used to be like—I myself included—like when the Europeans decided—the European Union decided, basically the next day after—following the U.S. sanctions, they basically decided that they are going to do the same. I was like, oh, gee, looking across the Atlantic, I don’t think I understand you guys. It almost feel like you guys could never agree on anything anytime soon, but now, it’s like overnight there is this agreement on sanction of Russia. I feel like, oh, this is unprecedented. So from that perspective, I do think the—Russia’s war on Ukraine, it reunited the U.S. alliance system, and from economic perspective, I think it’s very important in the sense that a lot of the economic differences that we used to have—for example, the Eurozone or, in particular, the ECB might have interest in letting the euro play a bigger role in the global system and all that. So a lot of these are—a lot of these disagreement are going to be surpassed by the priority, which is to address Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. And then on the other hand, we are also seeing that, yes, European Union, despite of their heavy dependence on Russian oil and gas—and Russian gas in particular, they are willing to participate in setting a deadline to say by this—by the end of this year we are going to phase out Russia’s—our dependence on Russian energy. And in that context, it is good for American energy industry in the sense that we can—here in the United States we can—in the context of making sure that our domestic energy security is secured, right, or we can’t export our LNG to our—to meet the need of our European allies. So that is another good aspect of it, and then in terms of—and then finally, I would—along the line of energy I would also say this probably is also going to accelerate the transition to net zero in terms of technology and putting more resources into this technology related to energy transition. That might be related to hydrogen. Canada is already exporting its hydrogen energy to Germany and German trains are now—some German trains are now run on hydrogen power. It would be cool to check it out—how it looks, right? So that means, from energy perspective at least we are seeing the realignment of this energy supply, energy demand dynamic. And because energy is so important for production and for energy growth, that is sort of a stabilizing factor. But that being said, still we are not—I am not saying that the Europeans aren’t going to—are no longer having problems. And the Europeans are still going to have problems and the IMF revised downward European growth prospect next year. They downgraded to—even further to a lower point. I believe it’s point—it used to be—it used to be about 1.3 in the energy outlook earlier in July, but I think this time—a few days ago when I checked again, there are new economic outlook. They’ve revised it down for EU—European advanced economies that it was revised down to .06 percent growth. From that perspective combined with high inflation, literally we are seeing that Europe—the advanced European economies—or broadly speaking, Eurozone as a whole—probably are going to head towards, maybe recession is a very, very harsh word, but it definitely going to run into serious economic troubles. So in the long run, this is not a good—this is not good looking. And in the short run, at least, this is not good looking, right, and in the—if we broaden the horizon back, focusing on the economy. Another factor that constrained European growth are, in particular, let’s say, the major powerhouses like Germany. A critical part of that is, they are suffering from two issues. One is their cost of electricity is simply too high, and I’m talking about this relative to—it’s much higher than the United States for sure, but they are not—they are much higher than China, as well. So China energy per kilowatt is in the magnitude of 0.002 or 0.003 magnitude. And where is Germany? Germany is something like ten times of that. We are talking about .38 per kilowatt. So that basically means if your fundamental electricity cost is high, and when energy price goes up higher, electricity price is also going to go up high, and then your entire manufacture industry is going to face a higher cost. And that, combined with demographic challenges, refugee challenges, it simply means that the government are going to have a whole lot of difficult time to deal with their expenditures. So again, both from energy perspective, from cost-of-production perspective, from the demographic perspective—aging population, refugee problem—and on top of that you probably would also have to think of—take care of the aging population, meaning added social welfare costs and pension costs, so those are—those mean slowing economy, especially on advanced economies, are not necessarily looking nice. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Isaac Alston-Voyticky, who has written a question but also said, happy to ask it, so why don’t you unmute yourself, please, and give us your affiliation. Q: Hello, my name is Isaac Alston-Voyticky. I am at CUNY School of Law and CCNY’s Colin Powell School. I am actually graduating this semester, so—(laughs)—anyway, so my question is you posed the three classic core components of economics. Would you think in the modern day, given the immaterial nature of so much of our global market and marketplace, that knowledge as the foundation of neoclassical economics, plays an equal role as a component of modern economics? And I mean that obviously in the concept that knowledge is known, unknown, real, surreal, and unreal, of course. But also, to your first kind of opening point when you said that, you know, it’s really hard for economists to model out and do predictions. When we talk about improving data sets and analysis across like IPE, international affairs, you know, implementation of international law, one of the issues we have is a lot of our economic models are still too variable-based, and that we haven’t really gone past that. So if we think about it from the quantum computing, we have X, Y, Z, and T, and that’s just your bare, you know, next level. And I would imagine we can do that if we find the right components so, hopefully—and, I mean, I don’t know what kind of answer you have, but I’m very interested to hear. LIU: Yeah, Isaac, first of all, congratulations for getting—you are in CUNY, right? And so you are right here in the neighborhood, so you know—right? So feel free to—feel free to, on the one hand definitely check out our award-winning website, and then if me or our colleagues could be of help, just feel free to stop by. And so these are two great questions obviously, and you touch upon a lot of the complaints and the frustrations that I have with modeling—(laughs)—right? So the first question, knowledge, I fully agree with you that so far our economic models have not been able to fully appreciate, or fully absorb, or fully model the role of knowledge; for that matter, even finance. Finance, at least has this term called the intangible asset when you are evaluating a firm, and therefore your mergers and acquisitions, you pay the so-called goodwill based upon how much you value the intangible asset; meaning like knowledge, expertise, and so on, so forth—so patent and all that. So from that perspective, I think the knowledge is definitely going—knowledge is definitely going to be extremely more important going forward, and I say that both—from three aspects. The first is knowledge can improve the quality of your human resources, which touch upon basically the labor force which reverts back to one of our three factors of production. And then knowledge also is necessary for technology, and that is another factor of production. And then finally the other would be knowledge, technology, and other resources. So resources, there is capital and non-capital, meaning natural resource and all that. And there are—then the confounding factor of knowledge is being played more here because better financial expertise—well, obviously, depending upon how you use it, but sometimes, financial expertise tend to run itself in trouble. It outsmart itself; it’s not necessarily good. But if we are able to—if we have better knowledge about financial market, about our debt—I go back to your second question—better data about financial market and better knowledge to improve our use of natural resources or the efficiency—improve the efficiency. Or the next day, if we all have a battery and move toward renewables—these are going to be extremely—go back to the Schumacher model—these are going to be extremely disruptive, but in a very good way. But the reason I am cautious about, you know, we may not necessarily going there overnight is because, on the one hand—technology R&D takes some time, it’s expensive, but then on the other hand, it’s just in the processing, the implementation part. It’s really—a lot of geopolitical factors plays into it because when we think about knowledge, knowledge and the technology, those are the things that we tend to think they tend to diffuse themselves, like knowledge—you exchange knowledge, and that’s the foundation of new knowledge being created. You stand on the giant’s shoulders, right? Knowledge and technology tend to diffuse itself, and right now what we are observing is, on the one hand, there are a lot of—there are a lot of export controls towards certain countries, and then on the other hand, countries like China are also—are trying very hard to lower the cost of the relatively cheaper technology, right, or the less advanced technology. And that basically means if a country can or—especially a country like China can quickly achieve economies of the scale, are able to find an alternative that is cheaper but at a lesser technology, but will still get the job done, then probably that—in the short term, it can service China and also service a lot of developing economies. But for a country like China, that is not necessarily good in the long run. And then on top of that, because of export controls, because of a lot of geopolitical tensions between China and the rest of the world, but the long-run trajectory over China’s indigenous development capacity is still there; China’s people—there are still U.S.-trained Chinese scientists going back to China, but it is going to tremendously slow China down and making it very difficult and very costly. So if we think that, for the past forty years or so—or for the past twenty years since China joined WTO, if we believe that cheap Chinese goods tend to be—tend to benefited the rest of the world in many ways, then a slowed-down Chinese economy is bad news for the global economy, probably more true than not. China is the largest trading partner for more than 120 countries in the world, so if Chinese economy slow down, that have major ramifications for the rest. And then go back to your second question with regard to, you improve the database and in terms of modeling the limitations—that’s a frustration that I have nowadays. Yes, the model themselves—oftentimes I go into a meeting, listen to a talk—especially in the econ papers, the econ paper would begin with—it’s very sterilized. You begin with assumptions, and then you talk about your independent variables, your dependent variables. Right now we are really in a world where your independent variables can be—your independent variables might be suddenly changed because of geopolitics, or because of some disruptive technology, or simply because supply chain means you used to be able to get rare earth, but then if you are Japan in 2007, you were no longer able to get rare earth reliably from China. So those are going to significantly shift your calculation. Therefore I would say, I really don’t have a good answer in terms of how to improve at researcher perspective, but hopefully, as you said, quantum computing, artificial intelligence might help us to get as much better information as possible. But that being said, quantum—a lot of these quantum computing and artificial intelligence is—it used to be the case that a lot of statistics are garbage in, garbage out. Hopefully, our AI and the quantum computing, as we train themselves, they can learn better than the human beings. I’m not exactly comfortable about saying that, but that’s my hope. FASKIANOS: I have some—a written question from Todd Barry, adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey. Is it possible that China would turn inwards and switch an economy to import substitution industrialization, producing all goods domestically, without imports, like Latin America tried to in the 1970's? LIU: Right, that’s a great question, and when you were asking that I was immediately thinking about the Chile and its car industry. And that was a disaster. The East Asian model, in terms of the import substitution—that’s the East Asian miracle, especially applicable to, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea to a certain extent, as well. In the case of China I would say I would be really hesitant to—in retrospect if we have this conversation twenty years down the road, I would be really, really—I would be really sad to realize that this year is the moment—or October is the—October 2022 is the moment when China started to turn inward because that is going to be disastrous for China’s long-term growth. China’s decade-long of double-digit growth benefitted from an open economy, benefitted from being able to trade with the rest of the world, and the United States actually welcomed China into the global system. Therefore I would be very, very sad to see this is the moment. Now is there a—is there the risk? I do see the risk, and I do see the narrative there, especially with President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on domestic circulation. If you think—I would argue—in my latest publication with the, I made this argument to say the important—the dual circulation, especially the domestic circulation, it is a departure from previous going-on strategy because going out is starting from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao. These are really the idea of prioritizing the international market. It’s really about using international market to develop the Chinese economy. And dual circulation is a departure from that. It’s not to totally abandon globally—the global market, but it really is—it prioritizes domestic market: domestic demand, domestic supply, domestic technology and—domestic technological innovation capacity, and making international market relatively supplementary. And if even—and Xi Jinping even—if Xi Jinping even intend to make the international market more dependent on China’s domestic market, meaning making the rest dependent more on China. So there is the narrative there. However, in practice, I don’t—I don’t see how Chinese companies are able to do this because the Chinese company—a lot of Chinese companies, especially multinational Chinese companies, they still need to have access to global capital, global technology. And although it becomes—especially on the technology side has become increasingly difficult. But it is to the benefit of the Chinese company, Chinese people, and China’s long-term growth potential to maintain an open economy. But there is the chance that might not happen, and if we think—if we do believe that Xi Jinping has a timeline with reference to Taiwan, then he—obviously, if there is a war breaking out, then obviously there will be consequences, and we can imagine Western sanctions, and that basically means the Chinese economy is going to be severely isolated from the global system. So from that perspective, right now a lot of these zero-COVID policies are very much—the way that I think about it is it could be interpreted as it’s a drill, or it’s a preparation to make sure that China is developing internal capacity to be able to absorb as much sanction shock as possible. But I don’t think that—I do not think Xi Jinping is going to make up a decision and going to make a move to Taiwan, say, tomorrow. As long as we can kick the can down the road, I think that’s good. FASKIANOS: Out of time, and I am sorry to say that we couldn’t get to all the questions, but we appreciate it. Zoe did mention a few resources that our task force on the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the Belt and Road tracker—we dropped the link in the chat, but we’ll also send a follow-up note with links to some of those things. She also does a lot of writing on In Briefs and articles, so you should go to And you can follow her on Twitter at @zongyuanzoeliu. So I encourage you all to do that. This has been a terrific hour, so thank you again, Zoe. We appreciate it. LIU: Thank you, Irina, for having me. And I really do appreciate this opportunity to engage with every participant here. If I did not get a chance to answer your questions, or if you have other questions, just feel free to reach out to Irina or feel free to reach out to me. We are here, and the Council really appreciate and the—really appreciate the colleges and student, and the Council actually—we do a lot of stuff related to education, you know—not just at a college level. We also do at high-school level— FASKIANOS: High school— LIU: —middle-school level, and even—we also even have games for kids. So if you haven’t tried those out yet, just try it out. FASKIANOS: Thank you, Zoe. So our next academic webinar will be on Wednesday, November 9, at 1:00 p.m. (EST) with Lauren Kahn, who is here at the Council, on military innovation and U.S. defense strategy. And again, I just wanted to shout out. We have our CFR fellowships application deadline for educators is available. You can check it out at The deadline is October 31 so it’s right around the corner. Follow us at @CFR_Academic. And again, go to,, and So thank you all for being with us. Have a great rest of your day. (END)
  • Education

    Mordecai Ian Brownlee, president of the Community College of Aurora, will lead the conversation on navigating the digital equity gap in higher education.   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 available on our website, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Mordecai Ian Brownlee with us today to talk about the digital equity gap in higher education. Dr. Brownlee is president of the Community College of Aurora in Colorado. He also teaches for Lamar University in the College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Brownlee publishes frequently and serves as a columnist for EdSurge. He has been featured on a number of national platforms including by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine as a new school leader representing the next generation of college presidents, and he was most recently appointed to serve on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. So, Dr. Brownlee, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us. I thought we could begin by having you define digital equity and give us an overview of the digital equity gap in higher education, and I know you are going to share a presentation with us so we look forward to seeing that on screen. BROWNLEE: Absolutely. Thank you so much for the opportunity to the Council on Foreign Relations. Just thank you all so much. And to answer that question as we talk about digital equity, it’s the assurance of ensuring that all have access to the information technology available and to have the capacity to engage in society and productive citizenship. And so we’ll talk about that and let me just start sharing the screen and we’ll jump right into it. All right. Here we go. So, once again, thank you all for the opportunity, again, to the Council of Foreign Relations for this opportunity to talk about navigating digital equity. Bringing greetings on behalf of the Community College of Aurora here in Aurora, Colorado. And let’s just jump right into it. You know, as we talk about defining this work, how to navigate this work, we have to first understand the work, and to understand digital equity we must first understand the digital divide. And so, you know, as we talked about the digital divide at the beginning of the pandemic it, certainly, was dealing with the voice and mindset, the texture and tone, of accessibility and being able to engage in learning throughout the pandemic and, first of all, I would say as educators it’s so critical that even as we are, quote/unquote, “coming out of the pandemic” that we still acknowledge part of the challenges that are happening across the country and across the world in regards to accessibility—equitable accessibility to information technology, to the tools, and to have the capacity to not only learn but, certainly, engage in the economy and society. So as we talk about digital equity, we must understand the digital divide and so let’s kind of define that. One of my favorite definitions for the digital divide defined comes from the National League of Cities and they say the digital divide is the gap between individuals who have access to computers, high-speed internet, and the skills to use them, and those who do not. There’s two critical components as we talk about digital equity that I want to call out with the digital divide definition here. One is access. The other is skill. Access and skill. So as we think about equity and just think about how do we level the playing field, how do we close the gap on accessibility and skill attainment to engage. And it’s not just being able to access and that’s the other—I think the complexity here as we think about the term equity because just because I provide you the computer, right—and we found this during the pandemic—just because I provide you the computer do you even have broadband access? And if you have broadband access do you have dependable sustainable broadband access? And then if you have sustainable broadband access, are you skilled to not only learn but and engage through this instrument and tool, and that in itself is where we have found there to be challenges as we think throughout the pandemic and, certainly, beyond the pandemic on what we must do to close the gap for equity and the digital divide. So digital divide provides that access, skill. Equity will then take us deeper into this work. Here are key factors I want to call out in regards to how we must eradicate or address these challenges, these factors, in order to close the gap on the digital divide. Number one, what we have seen through research—and has done a great job of calling this out—number one, age-related issues as we think about the various generations that are engaged in society and still present in society. We have digital natives. I consider myself to be a digital native as a millennial. But this is very different than previous generations that may not have had the proper training and skill and their jobs do not have them engaging, utilizing these tools and instruments on a regular basis and so that in itself has created some challenges. And, again, there is, certainly, all those that are outliers and those among the generations that have been able to engage in these instruments and tools. However, it is truly a fact through research that age-related issues have been a part of this challenge, more specifically, speaking to our older population. Socioeconomic factors—have to talk about it. I think about it, especially in the higher education space. Our tribal institutions is where I’ve heard throughout the pandemic some of our most severe challenges that have been experienced in regards to the digital divide. One of the stories that I heard that just breaks my heart—I remember the first time I heard it, it truly had me in tears—we were at the height of the pandemic at this point and what we were learning is in one particular tribal community in order for those students to complete—these are young K-12 students—in order for them to complete their assignments they had elders and community members of that tribe that would walk the students up to the highest point on the mountain within that particular tribal territory just to be able to pick up an internet signal, and they were able to do this when there was not as much traffic on that internet broadband access—that grid, if you will. And so those students were having to do their work—their homework—between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. in the morning. Very interesting reality—unfortunate reality. We, certainly, have to come up with the solutions to addressing this. This in itself is part of that digital divide conversation. Geographic causes—it depends on where you are in the country. I remember at one point in time I was teaching and served the University of Charleston out of Charleston, West Virginia, and for those that are familiar with that part of the country in the Appalachia, I would have my students that were having to use their own cell phones in order to complete their assignments and upload their assignments. They did not have either, in some cases, the actual tools or accessibility, would have to drive in to more populated spaces to pick up a signal. This was impacting their learning experience. This in itself is all a part of that digital divide. Last, certainly, not least, racial, culture, language. All of this plays a role and more in that skill set component along with accessibility component and how are we going to as educators, as key stakeholders within our community, leaders, be a part of the solution to close that divide. Age-related issues, socioeconomic factors, geographic causes, racial, cultural, and language. Again, is the source on that there. Step two, to navigate digital equity we must understand digital equity, and so now we’re going to go and delve into what does it mean—what does digital equity mean. So I’m taking my definition, again, from the National League of Cities. Digital equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. This is huge. So, again, as you heard me talk about the digital divide just moments ago, it’s the component of accessibility and skill. That skill is then where we get into productive citizenship through society, democracy, and economy, and so now we’re talking about how does this tool, this instrument—it’s much more than just accessibility. Now how do I engage? How am I advancing my family, my economic—social economic realities through this instrument and tool? The definition goes on to say—again, by the National League of Cities—digital equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services. Case in point, life. As we think about all aspects of life from employment to social participation—as we think social media engagement, employment, we all understand what that means; lifelong learning, certainly as educators we have to think about that component—and then accessibility to the tools that we need, I think about my own child who this past weekend had to reach out for virtual assistance from medical care for an earache that he was having. My ability to have the skill set and accessibility to reach out, obtain those resources for my family, and engage through an electronic means to fulfill what my needs were are all a part of this equity. Life in itself should be able to remain whole in what I produce and how it is able to produce within me, and that is in itself digital equity. So step three, let’s discuss how to navigate digital equity in higher education and, again, hello to all of our educators that are on the call today. So here’s some tips that I want to leave for you on today just to think about, and I look forward to our conversation that we’re about to have here in a moment. Number one, as educators—and we’re talking about navigating digital equity—it is so important that we understand who we’re serving. I say that because, unfortunately, what can happen is especially as educators and we think about the economy, the disruptions that we’re experiencing in the marketplace right now, we’ll sometimes pursue who we want, not necessarily who we have, and that’s unfortunate. As we think about the respective institutional missions and the spaces in which we serve, we have to be mission centered and embrace who it is that we’re serving because we owe it to those students who are pursuing their academic endeavors and their professional endeavors through our respective institutions to totally be served. We must understand their realities. One of the conversations we have here at the Community College of Aurora is the conversation about you don’t know who is actually sitting, respectively, in that seat in that classroom and what they had to overcome in order to sit in that seat that particular day. Do we know how many bus routes they had to take? Do we understand the challenges that they were having with their children? Do we know are they now leaving their second job that they’ve worked for the past twenty-four hours to now sit in your classroom? So we have to understand, be aware, and approach that engagement with a sense of grace. I think that’s a word that we, perhaps, haven’t necessarily embraced in the academy in the way in which we have—should have, but now more than ever we have to. Secondly, create systems that level the learning engagement field. So it’s this idea of privilege—this thought of privilege—and, perhaps, what we assumed that everyone had access to and what everyone had the ability to engage with that they don’t necessarily have, and if they do have accessibility to it do we have a true understanding of what all they have to do to have that level of engagement and accessibility? Again, case in point, bus routes. Think about what’s happening around our country. There has been a reduction from a transportation standpoint financially, and many of the routes and the transportation services that have been provided—some of this due to disruption, others due to areas in which there have had to be a funneling of tax dollars and resources in other spaces and places in our communities. Long story short, the reality is, is that in many communities the bus routes have had to be reduced, which means that individuals are either having to walk or find ways to public accessibility to some of these resources in terms of broadband access and computer access. So then as we’re teaching and we’re instructing and we’re providing services, we have to think about how can we level the playing field and remove barriers? Does it have to be performed—does that learning outcome have to come in the form of computer access and broadband accessibility? And maybe it does, so this takes us to point number three. Let’s promote community resources to close the digital divide. I think that laser focus on how we’re going to close that divide creates this space for equity, and so, perhaps, it’s through libraries. There’s one organization out of North Carolina in some of their rural spaces they have now through grant funds created different spaces in their rural communities for those in more rural spaces to gain access to a computer lab and the grants are sustaining that accessibility through computer labs in those rural spaces. Amazing resource. There’s many others and examples that we can share around the country. So with that said, let’s promote these community resources. Sometimes it’s a library. Sometimes it’s a grant-funded opportunity. Sometimes it’s a local nonprofit. So let’s talk about how we can be creative in our respective communities to close the gap there. Fourth, adjust learning experiences to be more inclusive. Not only do we need to create the systems to level the playing field but we must then adjust the learning experiences to be more inclusive to create learning spaces and engagement spaces for all, going back to not only accessibility but skill. Last, certainly not least, providing institutional resources to close the digital divide. What I mean by this is, is that, in closing, due to—through the pandemic and many of our institutions received the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds—the HEERF funds. Those HEERF funds were utilized in many different ways. In many cases, we were able to do laptop loan programs. In some spaces they were even doing hotspot loan programs. And so now that we are coming out of the pandemic what does it look like to sustain these resources, OK, because now that we provide these resources how do we sustain them? How do we ensure that we’re having long-term engagements? One of the things that I want and I ask from my educators, especially administrators, to look at: How do we close this—(inaudible)—without placing the costs on the backs of our students? They already have enough going on. We don’t need to just move the cost of something on to their tuition and fees. How can we be even more creative with the engagements and enrollments of our students to being laser focused on what we’re doing to close, again, many of those factors and gaps that were highlighted earlier? So grateful for the opportunity. Have a website. Would love to engage with you all more. I know we’re getting ready to go into conversation. But and, again, thank you all so much for the opportunity. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you so much for that overview. So we’re going to go to all of you for your questions now. You can click the raised hand icon on your screen to ask a question, and on an iPad or a tablet click the more button to access the raised hand feature. When you’re called upon accept the unmute prompt and please state your name and affiliation followed by a question. You can also submit a written question by the Q&A icon and I will read out the question, and if you do write your question please include your affiliation just to give us a sense of where you’re coming from. And there are no questions as of yet but I know that will change, or else you were so thorough that nobody has questions. (Laughs.) So do you see now with the pandemic experience that there will be continued—I’m going to ask the first question—you know, that this has opened up the space now for deeper understanding of the digital divide and bringing the resources to bear? Or now that we’re kind of post-pandemic or whatever this is people have forgotten about it and are moving on? BROWNLEE: Thank you so much for the question, my friend. I think that it’s twofold. There’s two sides of this coin, right. So there’s the one side of the coin where the awareness now is so much deeper and richer than it ever has been because of the amount of resources and what it took to sustain since 2020 those resources that were being provided to the students in the community. So now there’s many that have learned and they’re now having those conversations about how to sustain the resources because, as we all know, while there’s been an extension of HEERF funds through the Department of Education, that day is coming to an end here pretty soon and so we have to talk about sustainability. The other side of that coin is, unfortunately, there are those that acknowledge what the realities were but their agenda is more on how do we move past it, not necessarily sustain what we were providing. That’s part of the issue for some that we have to address because we don’t just move on from hardship, right. That hardship is real and we have to still maintain a laser focus on how we’re going to close the digital divide, especially in the academic spaces, but also understanding our responsibility as not only educators but community leaders, stakeholders within our community, to be a part of the solutions and the expansions on equitable access and resources being made available. And so I think with both sides of those coins we’re seeing two different realities. But I think that there’s also a need now more than ever to maintain the senses of urgency around the haves and have nots and what we’re going to do to be a part of the solution to ensure that we’re raising the level of accessibility and skill for all within our communities. FASKIANOS: I noted in your presentation you talked about knowing who your students are. So what advice do you have for higher education educators and leaders who are trying to navigate the digital divide in their classroom and to get to know—to figure out where their students are coming from and what their needs may be? BROWNLEE: So, as we all know, especially in the IR space, right, there’s different tools, resources, that we can use to survey our students. There’s different splash pages, if you will, that we can utilize in terms of the enrollment processes or the readvising processes, or even think of some of our learning management tools that we can engage with students to determine what their needs truly are. I think that it’s important that we create tools and instruments that will have high engagement rates. Sometimes those have to be incentivized. But we have to think about outside of our normal student leader responses how we’re capturing the voice of all of our students. And so that’s those that would not typically provide response, and as we think about the digital divide we have to acknowledge that that tool, that instrument, can’t just be electronic. What are we going to do to have paper resources or maybe through phone conversations, outreach, being able to have, certainly, the walk around conversations around our respective campuses and the universities. And so we need to have those conversations to make sure that we’re capturing the voice of all of our students, I think, is in the true spirit of continued improvement. We have to understand who we serve and then acknowledge, through the development of systems and the recalibration of our student experiences, are the voice of these students. FASKIANOS: Right. And in terms of the skills, because community colleges are so focused on developing the skills, what specifically are you doing at Aurora or are you seeing in the community college space to help students develop those skills that they need to navigate digitally? BROWNLEE: Absolutely. One of the things I’ll talk about—and those that may not be aware and I don’t know who all has visited Denver—but the history of Aurora—Aurora is the most diverse community—city—in the state of Colorado. I call that out because immigrants—it has a strong—there’s a strong population in this community and so part of our young thirty-nine years of existence in this community has been providing English second language courses. We’re noticing that especially our immigrant families and communities that are seeking social and economic mobility, highly skilled from where they come from but now we must create learning opportunities to close that gap, not only through language but through accessibility in this American market. And so through our community ESL programs we’ve been able to educate upwards of two thousand students a year and walk them through the various levels of learning and engagement with the English language, and then at some point in that process—learning process—we then engage and begin the computer engagement in utilizing the English language in their native language and beginning to close that gap. So I think that that work in itself is a part of that digital equity that must be created—how do you create the foundation to build upon to then advance the engagement. And there’s been some other great examples that I’ve seen around the country in doing that work, a lot of grant programs that I’ve seen in respective communities. You heard me talk about what’s happening out there in the Carolinas. But I think about what’s also happening over in California. California has been a great state that’s been able to do some work about working and identifying through heat maps and institutional resource—research and resources and community resources, looking at demographics, identifying low socioeconomic spaces, and putting concentrated efforts in those particular communities to increase the level of engagement, accessibility, and skill, and it’s critical and key. FASKIANOS: Great. We have a question from Gloria Ayee. So if you can unmute yourself and state your affiliation. Q: Hello. Thank you so much for sharing this important work that you’re doing. I am Gloria Ayee and I am a lecturer and senior research fellow at Harvard University, and my question is about the connection between the digital divide and also how it mirrors to current inequities that we see in the educational system in general. So thinking about that type of relationship, what do you think are the most significant challenges to addressing the digital divide, given the issues that we continue to see with the educational system in general at all types of institutions, and what do you foresee as the best way to actually address these challenges? BROWNLEE: Oh, that’s a great question. Great question. Thank you so much for asking that question, Gloria. I would say two things come to mind—funding and agenda, right. So if—I’ll tell you what comes to mind for me. So as we think about financially and we look at how these institutions are funded around the country, let’s think K-12. So grade schools. Think K-12. Let’s also think higher education. Are we talking headcount? Are we talking full-time equivalency? Are we talking success points? Are we talking—even as we think about developmental education, how are these institutions being funded to sustain the work of working especially with low socioeconomic communities? Let’s just take, for example, full-time equivalency, especially in this higher education space. So if I were someone who wanted to work to create programs that I’m going to help in the advancing and addressing of the digital divide and advancing digital equity, I need funds in order to do that. Now, could I pursue grant funds? Absolutely. But even—we all know that grant funds are not necessarily all the time sustainable funds. Short-term funds, but it still has to be a hard-lined. So then as we think about doing this work—I’ll go back to funding and agenda—realizing and looking at what would need to shift within particularly my state’s legislative agenda or, perhaps, in that particular district how the funding is occurring. If I’m working with a high population, which we are here at the Community College of Aurora—a high population of part-time students, these are students that are maybe taking one class and engaging. However, if I’m funded by a full-time equivalency model it then takes several students that are taking one class to then equal that one full-time equivalent, which then impacts my funding structure. So then how do I then serve, yet, I am seeking to obtain? And this is where we then get into, I think, a part of that friction of agenda and funding models. So I think that as we think equity—with an equity mindset beyond just the initiatives of overlay—we actually want to bake in the equity experience within our respective states and communities—then we’re going to have to take a look at the funding agenda, the agenda and funding—how are we truly going to advance equity and closing the digital divide. It has to be funded properly towards sustainability. We’ve seen this same thing occur in developmental education as well for those who’ve been a part of those conversations where we saw around the country there will be a reduction in developmental education funding, which has been impacted, in some cases, the success rates and resources that were historically provided through community colleges in certain communities. Same thing in this digital divide space and digital equity. So funding an agenda, and I think that the solution is, is really coming to the table and saying what does equity look like without it being an overlaid agenda, without it just being a conversation? What does it look like for it to be baked into the experience of how we’re going to transform lives, which then means that, in many cases, legislatively and funding models. We have to move from a transactional mindset to a transformational mindset and we have to go all in on ensuring that we’re creating equitable communities and engagements for those that we serve. Oh, you’re muted, my friend. FASKIANOS: Yes. Thank you. After two-and-a-half years—(laughter)—I should know that. Encourage all of you to share your best practices and what you’re doing in your communities as well. You know, we have seen the Biden administration really focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. They’re focusing on bringing more diversity to the State Department and other parts of the government. Is the Department of Education looking at the funding model? Is this an area that they are actively trying to reform and adjust? BROWNLEE: I get the sense—and I’ve had the pleasure of speaking in front of several legislators in different venues—I get the sense that there is a major conversation that’s happening. I do. I truly get the sense that there’s a major conversation happening, not just with our current administration from thinking about our U.S. president but also thinking local legislators as well. I really think that there’s conversations—many conversations that are happening. If anything, I feel as though the major—I don’t want to use the word barrier so I’m searching for the appropriate word here. But I think the major hurdle that we’re going to have to think about is how we have built and designed our funding models to date. You know, some of these funding models were built in early 1990s, mid-1990s in some cases. Really, you don’t see it too much early 2000s, and so we have older financial modeling infrastructure that we’re trying to pursue this work and how to change it. And so it can’t be a Band-Aid approach. I think in some spaces and communities that’s what’s been done is that rather than changing the actual model, the infrastructure itself, it’s received a Band-Aid in the form of grants. And I do believe that grants are significant and, certainly, necessary and appreciated. However, I think that we’re reaching a point in society where there has to be a total restructuring of our funding models and taking a look at what percentages are going where, taking a look at the demographics in our respective communities, taking a look at the economic realities in our respective communities. Take a look at just how much the demographics are shifting in our respective communities and building a model that’s ready to engage, sustain, and raise the level for all, and I think that we’re on our way. I, certainly, hope that we are. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Rufus Glasper. Q: I am here. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Q: Hi, Mordecai. How are you today? BROWNLEE: How are you, sir? Q: Hi, Irina. FASKIANOS: Hi, Rufus. Great to hear from you. Q: Mordecai, talk a little bit about digital equity and faculty. How have they accepted, rejected, embraced what you were describing as all of the different factors that are affecting our students, and what kind of practices have you developed or can be developed to ensure that faculty can continue the progress and include our students who are most needy? BROWNLEE: Great question, Dr. Glasper. I didn’t expect anything different coming from you. So, let me just say, we’ve had some very intense conversations, and I have to really give our faculty and our instructors kudos because I will tell you this is probably by far one of the most engaged communities that I’ve ever worked in of educators that are committed to just truly getting to the solution. There’s some strong work that was done around inclusive excellence here at the Community College of Aurora, certainly, prior to my arrival. It led to this college receiving an Inclusive Excellence Award from the American Association of Community Colleges right around 2017. Part of their work at that time was looking at, as our faculty and our academy, how were we going to close the gap on success rates, particularly in English and math, and part of that work was creating resources towards gap closure to ensure that those that had not traditionally and historically had access to some of those learning materials and plans and resources that they were being provided those in a more intensive way. Now as we think more into the digital space and, certainly, think through the pandemic, what we’ve now done as an institution is that we’ve become—Community College of Aurora has become the very first Achieving the Dream institution in the state of Colorado and one of the projects that our faculty and our instructors are delving into—I’ve got a big meeting tomorrow on this, matter of fact—is taking a look at the respective success rates in our gateway courses—our key courses that are gateways into our respective academic programs—and asking ourselves how can we create more equitable learning experiences. Two things—critical things—that I’ve seen our faculty do. Number one, looking at the data. I think that the data is key and critical—taking a look, disaggregating that data. And our faculty and our instructors continue to do that work, looking at a three-year spread, a five-year spread, and saying: Where is the success occurring? Who’s it occurring with and those respective identities of those students? And then really asking the hard questions: Why isn’t this population succeeding at the same rate as this population? The other part of this criticality is, is also then accepting that there can’t be an excuse in the work. There can’t be an excuse in the work and that we must ensure then that we are creating the equitable resources and infrastructure to close the gap, create learning experiences, and say, listen, if our students can’t access the internet and the Web then what can we do to create for them the resources, whether it be paper? If they can’t come to the teaching demonstration at this particular day how can I create an opportunity for them to engage and obtain that information at another given time? Perhaps they’re a working parent and can’t necessarily attend at 10:00 a.m. but they can at 5:00 p.m. What are we doing to level the playing field with accessibility? And the other aspect of that is just that our faculty and instructors have been partnering to create these more holistic learning engagement opportunities where if we’re having a conversation in English then what can we do within our math department and almost cohorting, in a sense, the learning experiences amongst those two separate classes but then creating like engagements where the same conversations happening in English could be happening in math and science to begin to bring about a new learning within the students to say, OK, well, this particular world issue, now I’m understanding it through various lenses and I understand the interconnectivity in these learning experiences. And so more integrated learning, and I think that we’ve got a long way to go but we’re committed to doing that work. FASKIANOS: So Rufus Glasper is the chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges, and I just thought I would ask you, Rufus, to maybe share your experience as the chancellor what has been working in your community. Q: I am the chancellor emeritus. I have not been at the colleges for a little over six years now. But I am the president and CEO for the League for Innovation in the Community College. And one of the things that I’d like to connect with with our experience right now we are involved in the state of Arizona with a project which is—which we are embracing. We are working with four different types of institutions right now—urban metropolitan, we have a couple of rural institutions and we have a couple of tribal, and we’re trying to make that connectiveness between insecurities—student insecurities. So we’re looking at housing. We’re looking at hunger. We’re looking at jobs. And one of the things that we have found is that we can’t make either of these items connect and work without broadband first, and the reason being when you’re looking at access it’s critical when you start to look at the activities that are occurring throughout the U.S. now and specifically within Arizona—I’ll talk about the connections we have now made that are national in scope, that are city, town, and county in scope, and the commitments that we are now working to obtain from all of those who are in position relative to enhancing broadband access and digital equity. There’s actually a Center for Digital Equity at Arizona State University (ASU), and last week we had a gathering of all of our institutions to get a better understanding of what does digital equity mean as it comes from the ASU center. What does it mean for each of our different types of institutions, and I will tell you that the one that was hardest hit was the one you talked about and that’s tribal just in terms of access, in terms of resources. But I am pleased with the dollars that are out there now at all levels. So if this is a time for us to increase access, increase affordability, than I think we should seize the moment. My question then, which would lead to another one, is on the whole notion of sustainability and you talked about that in terms of stimulus kinds of resources, and equity is in everyone’s face right now, especially broadband and others. Is it a sustainable initiative and focus and what are the elements that need to be connected in order to make sure that it stays in the forefront and that our students who may have benefited from buses sitting in their neighborhood during the pandemic and others but are still trying to make choices? And I’ll make the last connection point, and you made the opening—how flexible should our institutions be around work-based learning so that our students who are not able to come to the campus and be there on a regular basis but want to balance having a virtual environment? Do you see a balance coming or do you see us forced into staying the old, antiquated model of face-to-face classes and sixteen and eighteen weeks? BROWNLEE: Let me start with the sustainability component then. Thank you again, Dr. Glasper. From a sustainability standpoint, I’ll say here at the institution part of the conversation—it’s a hard conversation. But I encourage every educator to have this conversation, this brave conversation, in your spaces. Let’s take a look at your success rates, and I’m just particularly speaking to higher education right now. Let’s take a look at your various academic profiles. Let’s take a look at what has been your engagements with your workforce partners, your advisory councils, in many cases, and let’s talk about two things—one, the sustainability of those programs and, two, the social and economic mobility of those programs directly to workforce. I think what we will find is what we found here at the Community College of Aurora is that over time the various disruptions that have occurred has shifted the needs of our students. However, the institutions respectively delivering these services have not shifted with the times. And so it is quite possible that either our approach to the work or the actual lack of proper programming is prohibiting social and economic mobility in many of these communities and especially for us. Fifty-two percent of our students are first generation. Sixty-seven percent of our students are students of color. So as we talk about sustainability, we’re right there on the front line of having to take a look at enrollment, full-time equivalency, completion, graduation, and employment rates, and we began to find a shifting of that. And so when we talk sustainability, I bring this up as a framework, if you will, to say once you’ve had those conversations now let’s talk about where there are losses—financial losses—and areas in which we can truly be innovative and reallocate dollars that were once going in certain areas and infuse that into other areas that are going to have a higher return. So I think thinking, truly, with a return on investment—an ROI mindset—will then help us to not only meet the needs of our mission, meet it in its current state and its current needs and the disruption that’s currently being experienced, which will then help create new opportunities for sustainability beyond what has just been HEERF funding or potential grant funding, it can be hardlined into the institutional mission. I think the other component of that sustainability, too, is looking at the strategic plans of our respective organizations, looking at those—not only the mission but the objectives and asking how equity is not necessarily a separate objective but equity is actually ingrained in all aspects of the objectives—the strategic objectives—because, at that point, we can then understand the significance in resourcing and funding equity all the way through the entirety of the institution. In regards to your latter question about work-based learning and the old model of doing things, I, certainly, believe and hope, Dr. Glasper, that there’s this new movement that’s occurring where we’re going to have to embrace, whether we like it or not, the next era of higher education, and that next era will require us to not approach things in the same modalities and same ways. We’re watching, especially in research, the confidence levels reduce—heavily reduced now in the public’s perception of what higher education is to provide in comparison to what it once provided. Higher education in many communities isn’t necessarily being seen as the sole or the primary tool towards social economic mobility as it once was twenty, thirty years ago. So what does this mean? Our approach to sixteen-week instruction is, certainly, going to have to be transformed. What does it look like to have five-week instruction? Eight-week instruction? What does it look like for us to have true noncredit instructional programs that’s in direct partnership with business and industry to ramp up the training and social economic mobility opportunities within our communities? Folks aren’t necessarily looking for a two-year or a four-year or a six-year learning experience. They need to put food on their family’s table today. What does it look like for them to engage with the institution and have that kind of learning experience, and we have to do it with a digital equity mindset, right, because they’re seeking opportunity. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have accessibility in their current state. We want to get them to a state where they can have that accessibility. So how then do we create those tools? One key component of this is even looking at our college application processes. What is the readability score on some of these applications? We want to educate those that may have a reading level of a—seventh or eighth grade reading level. But some of these college applications are reading at a fourteen, fifteen grade reading level. That in itself is creating a barrier to those that are seeking opportunity, that need the opportunity to up skill. And so I think that the old model is going to, in my opinion, and hopefully quickly deteriorate and we’re going to have to be more effective. But let me also say this. It is critical that we have our faculty and our instructors at the table. These decisions shouldn’t be thrown upon them. It should be conversations that we’re having collectively together, and then how can then we resource our faculty and our instructors and our staff to be a part of those solutions, drive those solutions, reinvest in them to be able to create more innovative and more, I’ll say the word, relevant learning experiences because I truly believe that relevance is not necessarily a word that we’ve used in higher education in terms of our approach, but now more than ever we’re going to have to. FASKIANOS: OK. So I’m going to take a written question from Nicole Muthoni, who is an entrepreneur and innovator at the University of Connecticut. She has been passionately working on bridging the divide in emergent nations, especially Kenya. Therefore, in this regard, the key factors creating the digital divide in this space is geographic causes, socioeconomic factors, and culture. So the question is what tools and programs can we use to effectively educate teachers to learn the necessary skills that they can use to teach their students in the classrooms. This is because most of the teachers have not been empowered with the necessary and needed skills for educating in the space of digital equity. BROWNLEE: I think—I began to speak to that right towards the end of what I was just sharing, right. FASKIANOS: Right. BROWNLEE: It’s this idea of we’ve got to get out of the blame game. Oh, I want you to come up with the solution. Well, how are you investing in me to be a part of the solution? How are you even engaging me in part of being the solution? You know, as I talked earlier about those conversations we’re having at CCA about what are those programs that have been unsustainable or times have shifted and changed and we needed to create some more relevant learning experiences. It is our faculty and our instructors that made that decision to be able to say, hey, it’s time to pivot. They were at the table. Not just present for the sake of inclusion but, truly, the decision makers in that work. Now, I think, the next component of this work as we talked about achieving the dream and us being the first in the state of Colorado, part of our strategic plan is creating a—we don’t have a name so just work with me here conceptually. We don’t have a name yet. But I can tell you what the desired outcome is, and the desired outcome is that we create a learning center for our faculty and our instructors to grow and to be invested in and to learn what are those emerging approaches that will—on the verge of becoming best practices. However, they’re not, quote/unquote, “best practices” around the country yet. What could we create here at CCA to be a part of those solutions? And also exposure to national best practice. What are we doing to invest into our people? So I think that part of that shifting that Dr. Glasper was calling out is going to have to occur now more than ever because, unfortunately, what’s happened, I think, in the academy too many of our instructors and faculty have been blamed. Too many of our staff had been blamed, not engaged and brought about to be the solution, and not just thrown right out there in the fire to say come up with something. No. You need to care for your folks more deeply, more passionately, and more genuinely than we have ever before and really ask the question how are we going to be relevant and make sure that our folks feel cared for and that they’re valued in the spaces in which they’re serving. FASKIANOS: Thank you. So the next question is from Krishna Garza-Baker from the University of Texas at San Antonio. What would you say is the role of private service providers and their ability to assist in reducing the digital divide? Are they doing enough to collaborate with higher education institutions to address this area, specifically, internet service providers? And I’m going to add on to that. What are your recommendations for how schools can and should be leveraging corporate and community partnerships to help address the digital divide? BROWNLEE: You know, you heard me earlier talk about how we can’t just do this overlay approach. Yes, I want to give you a voucher for reduced broadband access. That’s wonderful. It is. It is grateful. It’s better than not having it. But now let’s talk about how we’re truly going to hardline in opportunities for all. As we think about the spirit of advocacy, unfortunately, sometimes, as they say, it’s the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I think, is how it’s communicated. And so what I would say is, is that now we have to think about those that don’t have a voice how we’re still meeting their needs. And so working directly with corporate industry partners, those who have the access. What does it look like if we focus less on trying to make a dollar and more on trying to create opportunity? What would it look like if we all came about and said we want to be the solution to the issue? Yes, there’s areas and opportunities where we’ll make that dollar. But as we think about society as a whole, what does it look like to create experiences and a life for the goodness of all? And so I think that now we really more than ever have to have these conversations. More than ever it just can’t be who gets the voucher. It’s how do you create the accessibility for all, those who have a voice and those who know how to use their voice. And I think that—if I understand the nature of that question now, I will say with private entities, corporate partnerships, I think it’s more visibility in these colleges and universities and these nonprofit spaces beyond the cameras and just looking at the campaigns. What does it look like for us to have the conversations day in and day out to say we’re neighbors, we’re all going to collectively be a part of the solutions and to bring the rising up, if you will, of our communities to raise the level for all and that’s, certainly, what we’re seeking to do. We’ve seen some major responsiveness in this particular community to say, listen, outside of just some campaign and a picture, what does it look like for you all to be a part of our learning experience, a part of our community, a part of our solutions, and to hardline these experiences for all. So equity causes and it charges and it demands that, and we have to realize the power of that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Laila Bichara from SUNY Farmingdale. Many of my students are immigrants and are first-generation college students. My question is about skill transfer—once our students get access to technology for themselves and their families who are then losing their jobs due to automation. BROWNLEE: Demographic shift. I talked about it earlier. You know, I think about here in the Denver Metro area and I’m going to—I attended a site visit conversation with their chamber of commerce there in Denver. It was pretty telling. In looking at the demographics, it broke down how for millennials, I think, there’s currently—so there’s 3.3 million in the greater Denver area. It broke down for millennials, which I fall into this group—I think it was eight hundred and sixty-four thousand millennials currently in that space. Then it had Xers. Not Xers. It had generation Z. Z accounted for, roughly, six hundred thousand. But get this. So my children, my eight- and my four-year-old—they’re generation alpha—were only accounting for, roughly, three hundred thousand in the space currently right now. I say that as an example that I’m going to walk us through really quickly, and that is, is with the lens of equity and we think about the shifting and the disruptions in market and we think about especially now in the markets humanization versus automation, and we want to create social and economic mobility for these respective spaces wherever those realities are and we think about accessibility to the internet and we talk about that digital equity and the digital divide, we then have to have a high degree of urgency within us to say that what will—can we create today that will prevent communities of color and low socioeconomic communities that traditionally in this current market would have been given opportunities but that in the future market, due to a lack of potential skill and accessibility, will not be provided the resources and the opportunities that they once were in an automated world. And so what do we do then to make sure that they’re not the one pressing the button. They’re the one that’s coding the button, right, and that’s all a part of that work and that shifting. So it’s going to take stronger math and science skills and accessibility and equity all built into their learning experiences because if not the wide—we will widen the gap—the poverty gap—because we move, again, deeper into automation, lessen the humanization, and then we are essentially moving an entire population of folks further down the supply chain, if you will, which then will prohibit their learning—not learning, their earning ability. And so we have to be laser focused on those realities and, really, look to eradicate what’s going to be future barriers now so systematically we are able to address it. FASKIANOS: Great. So the last question I wanted to ask you is you’ve just completed your first year as president. What are the lessons that you’ve learned? BROWNLEE: Oh, my gosh. I will tell you that, you know, I just released an article on this talking about my first year in the presidency and through EdSurge and lessons learned, and one of those lessons I would say is is—that I highlighted in that article is, you know, don’t do more for an institution than you would do for your own family. I think that as educators, as community leaders, and anyone that’s on this call, I’ll just take the opportunity to encourage you. You know, sometimes we give our all to these entities in which we serve, and we do it and we give it countless hours. You know, we say it’s a forty-hour job but we’re probably spending fifty, sixty, seventy, if not more, and we get lost in that, right. And so there’s good work to be done. However, what is the biggest mockery of all to save the world but lose your own family? And I think that part of my lesson that I had to really reflect on was, like, right now as I’m giving this lecture my eight-year-old son is here in the office with me right now that I’m trying to get to be quiet and work with me as I’m giving—having this time with you all now, right. He doesn’t have school today. It’s an in-service day. But really creating those engagements for my family to be engaged in the experiences and making sure that they’re part of the process. I think the other component of this is, too—and I talked about this in the article—is realizing that it is a privilege to serve, never taking for granted the ability, the opportunity, that we have to serve because there’s others that wish that they had these opportunities. So, yes, even in our most—our days of most frustration it still is a pleasure and a blessing and an opportunity to serve and honor. And so what would life look like if we embraced it for the pleasure and the honor that it truly is and how we treat and create spaces for others to thrive, because they’re sacrificing being away from their families and loved ones to do this work. We need to create more communities for all to thrive. FASKIANOS: Oh, your son should be very proud of you. I have to say that—what a role model. BROWNLEE: Thank you. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Laurette Foster. Laurette, please say your affiliation. It’s great to have you on. Q: Hi. Laurette Foster, Prairie View A&M University in Texas. And I really don’t have a question. I just want to say how delighted I was to hear the conversation and hear about what the next steps are, because looking back at the pandemic and how we wanted to step up and do so much and I’m just afraid that even though we did those things that needed to be done that many of us now are settling back into the old ways. And it’s still funny that when you told the story about the tribal community happened to go to the top of the mountain from 2:00 in the morning to do—the passion for education is there with the kids. But we have to continue to do our part. So I just appreciate all the comments and—that you did today. It was really enlightening. So thank you very much. BROWNLEE: And thank you, and I will say that my wife is a proud product of Prairie View A&M. The Hill as well. So just thank you for your comments. FASKIANOS: We have another thank you from John Marks of LSU of Alexandria just saying that it was really great to take time out of his day and to—said they—definitely in Louisiana access and skills are, indeed, real obstacles that are typical of every online class that he’s taught. I’m going to take the final question from Haetham Abdul-Razaq from Northwest Vista College, again, from San Antonio, Texas, working on a research project regarding online learning and community college students. One of the interesting findings is that some students might be considered as tech savvy, yet they have problems engaging in online classes. Do you think that we should build on the strengths of our students’ digital knowledge when it comes to these sorts of skills? BROWNLEE: Great question. Absolutely. I think, you know, we talk about creating student-centered approaches and sometimes we’re successful at that and other times we’re not, perhaps, because if we were to really delve into student-centered approaches just how far from our base currently of how we approach higher education just how far it’ll take us. But I would say, going back to an earlier conversation, now’s the time more than ever to go there. Matter of fact, we should have went there already before. It’s time, truly, for a revolution and an evolution in our approach to learning and engagement and advancement with an equity lens. And I go back to that word relevance. We have to create more relevant learning experiences. Think about business and industry. If we look at what’s happened over the past ten years due to some of our bureaucracies and our lack of responsiveness. Look at business and industry. They’re creating learning experiences right around higher education, in some cases not even engaging higher education anymore, directly working with middle schools and high schools to create their own strong pipelines. What has happened that that even came about, right? And so due to a lack of responsiveness, perhaps, innovation—true innovation—and that student-centered approach that we, perhaps, moved far from or maybe just took parts of that was easier to tackle, not the harder aspects of that, and so we now have to tackle it. We have to embrace it, because if not I think that five, ten years from now, certainly, twenty years from now, we’ll have more institutional closures, more reductions in enrollments, if we fail to be responsive and create these more equitable learning opportunities that are geared at creating a digital equity. FASKIANOS: Right. Well, we are just at the end of our time. Thank you very much, Dr. Mordecai Brownlee. We really appreciate your being with us and sharing your insights, and to all of you for your questions and comments. And so you can follow Dr. Mordecai and also go to his website,, and at @itsdrmordecai, correct? BROWNLEE: That is correct. That is correct. I look forward to engaging with everyone. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. We really appreciate it. Just as a reminder for all of you, our next Higher Education webinar will be on Wednesday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Rebecca Granato, associate vice president for global initiatives at Bard College, will talk about refugees, migration, and education. So we hope you’ll tune in for that. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out CFR fellowships for educators at, and this is a program that allows educators to come for a year in residence at CFR or else go work in—we place you in government to get some policy-relevant experience. The deadline is October 31. So if you’re interested email us and we can send you information about that. Also, go to,, and for research and analysis, and follow us at @CFR_Academic. Thank you all again. Thank you, Dr. Brownlee. We appreciate it, and we hope you have a good rest of the day. (END)  
  • Russia

    Mary Elise Sarotte, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis distinguished professor of historical studies at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, leads the conversation on Russia’s global influence. FASKIANOS: Welcome to today’s session of the Fall 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Mary Elise Sarotte with us to talk about Russia’s global influence. Professor Sarotte is the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis distinguished professor of historical studies in the Henry Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. She is also research associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. She previously taught at the University of Southern California and the University of Cambridge and served as a White House fellow. She is the author or editor of six books. Her most recent book is entitled Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate. And it was published by Yale University Press. Thank you, Mary. She has already won the Pushkin House Prize for the best book on Russia, and she is shortlisted for CFR’s Arthur Ross Book Award, and the Cundill History Prize. So we’re very excited to have you here with us, Professor Sarotte, to talk about this and to be with us. And congratulation on your accolades for prior books as well as this one. So best of luck with those two upcoming book awards. So I thought we could perhaps start with you giving us your analysis of what exactly is happening to Russia’s global influence as we are watching the war in Ukraine and Russia, obviously, on the world stage. SAROTTE: Absolutely. First, let me just say a quick word of thanks to you, Irina, to your staff, and to all the people who have taken the time to sign on. At a time like this, which is a time of war, the Council is more essential than ever. It’s essential to have a place where we can meet, either in person or virtually, and talk about these utterly critical issues. So thank you for doing this. And thank you to all of the students and educators who have made time to Zoom in today. I was looking through the list last night and, as of last night, we have people signed up from eleven time zones—from London, to Hilo, Hawaii. So in these days where there’s a lot to be worried about, it’s a silver lining that there are smart young students and that there are smart educators taking time to inform and learn about this. Yeah. So the name of today’s session is Russia’s global influence. My feeling is that as—what’s happening is that Russia’s global influence is decreasing as the Ukraine war’s global influence is increasing. So in other words, they’re on opposite trajectories. So as the duration, significance, brutality and bloodiness of the war increases, Russia becomes more and more isolated. You can go through this in a number of factors. If you look, for example, in energy terms, this is going to be the last winter that Russia could plausibly put Europe in the cold and in the dark. Europe is making great strides towards finding alternative sources of energy—whether that’s alternative suppliers, or renewables. Dramatic changes are happening. There’s a famous saying, I think it’s attributed to Lenin, I believe, that there are some decades when nothing happens and then there are some weeks when decades happen. And there’s been many, many weeks this year where decades happen. And I think we’ve seen decades of progress in terms of energy renewables, and so forth. So, one of five. So, number one, energy terms. Russia is going to have decreasing influence over Europe. Number two, in trade and economic affairs we’ve already seen what’s being referred to as the great decoupling of Russia being cut off from what used to be formerly major trading partners. In military terms, the recent retaliation against Ukraine for the putative attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge—putative in that they’re subscribing authorship of that to Ukraine—that is, again, also self-defeating for Russia. It’s using up a supply of precision-guided munitions that, in military terms, would be better used against military targets, not against kindergarten playgrounds. And to say nothing of the incredible moral crime of doing that. Just in pure military terms it doesn’t make sense. Also, what it has done is further solidified Ukrainian opposition. As historians, we see this again and again. When you bomb a people—like, for example, the Blitz in London, the reaction tends to be a sense of solidarity and a sense of hanging together to survive and persist. And that’s happening in Ukraine as well. It's also given such credence to Ukraine’s request for air defense systems that the New York Times just now, as I was just getting ready for this session, just reported that Germany is now shipping an air defense system that is so new, it has never been used in Germany or anywhere else. It’s called the IRIS-T SLM system. It has already crossed Ukraine’s border from Poland. It apparently includes mobile launchers, a 360-degree radar, and a separate command vehicle from which you can operate the system. This was in development in Germany, and it was—it’s capable, apparently—it’s effective at distances of up to twenty-five miles. It can strike targets twelve miles up. It was basically still in development, but now they’ve let Ukraine jump the queue and shipped it right to Ukraine. The idea that that would have happened even, you know, a week ago is unthinkable. So to recap, in terms of energy, economics, military, Russian influence is actually declining because allies are banding together to fight against it. Soft power from before, that is—in the West, Russia’s soft power is basically nonexistent at this point. The fifth and final category, and that’s the real wild card, is nuclear. That’s, obviously, the big worry. There, Russia’s global influence in that category remains strong. There are only two strategic nuclear powers, and that’s the United States and Russia. More than thirty years after the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still control 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads. They are the only two states with civilization-ending capabilities, with the ability to kill most life on earth, within practically a matter of minutes, if they choose to do so. They are in a nuclear class by themselves. So that is why we are now hearing so much nuclear saber rattling from Russia. So just to sum up, because of the immense self-inflicted harm of this war to Russia—to say nothing of the terrible harm to the Ukrainians who are fighting bravely against a truly brutal aggressor—because of this war, Russia’s global influence is decreasing, which, of course, raises the risk that they’ll lean heavily on the one way in which they still have global influence, which is as a strategic nuclear power. So I think you’ve chosen exactly the right topic for us to talk about today. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you, Mary, for that. We want to get to all of you and your questions. So we’re going to turn now to you. (Gives queuing instructions.) And we already have four hands raised, so I’m going to go first to Morton Holbrook. Q: Professor Sarotte, a somewhat obscure question. Russia early on purported to recognize two new countries in eastern Ukraine, which Russia did not do with regard to Georgia or with regard to Crimea. And the question is, is it a complete charade? Or has anyone actually, besides Russia, recognized them. Someone like Belarus, maybe, or China, or any other country? Or is it just a completely charade, these two new countries? FASKIANOS: Morton, can you give us your affiliation? Q: Kentucky Wesleyan College in Kentucky. FASKIANOS: Thank you so much. SAROTTE: OK. Thank you for calling in from Kentucky. So we’ve got one time zone down, for those of you doing a time zone bingo chart. We can tick that one off. Thank you, Morton Holbrook, for your question. Yeah, things have been moving so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Initially, as you indicated, Putin indicated he was going to recognize people’s republics in eastern Ukraine. But now things have moved on, and now he’s said he’s annexed those areas. There’s a little bit of a gray zone because, of course, no one’s quite sure what the annexed borders are, what the borders of the annexed area are. Obviously, no other countries have recognized this. So this is, obviously, all very contested. I would actually, rather than trying to parse the recent terms—whether it’s a recognized republic, or a country, or an annexation—I actually would go back to a vote that took place in 1991, while the Soviet Union still existed, although it was falling apart. And in December 1991, Ukraine held what was essentially a free election to decide—to basically confirm among the population the decision of the parliament to depart from the Soviet Union and become an independent state. And that vote, that Ukrainian vote for independence, was enormously successful. It was over 90 percent in favor of independence. And the relevant fact here for your question, Morton, is that in no electoral district was support for independence below 50 percent. In other words, there was majority support for independence in every single part of Ukraine—whether that was Crimea, whether that was Donetsk, whether that was Luhansk, whether that’s the areas that Putin is now calling new countries, or new annexations. And so if we take that as an expression of popular will about whether or not Ukrainians want to be part of Russia, it was really clear that the desire was overwhelmingly to be independent. So that is, I think, an important data point. That when that question was actually put to a vote, an overwhelming number of Ukrainians voted to be independent, and a majority voted in every single district. Now, obviously, there are Ukrainian separatists who feel—sorry—there are pro-Russian people inside Ukraine who feel differently. But I think that that election is the information that we should really look to when we’re trying to figure out the sentiments of the people. FASKIANOS: Thanks. I’m going to go next to Julian Reich. And you need to unmute yourself. Q: Yeah. Hi, professor. Yeah, I’m Julian Reich from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. I’ve read some of your articles about NATO enlargement and the post-Cold War settlement. Do you think Russia’s renewed revisionism is as much a sense of their inability to achieve economic growth post-Cold War? Or do you think it largely rests on the unsatisfactory nature of the post-Cold War settlement? SAROTTE: Hmm. Yeah. Thank you, Julian, calling from Hunter College. Yeah, so as I like to say to my own students—so if any of them are on this call, they’ll groan when they hear me say this—the one phenomenon that I have never observed as a historian is mono-causality. Important events happen for multiple reasons. They’re not necessarily significant reasons. There’s a huge role for accident and chance in history. But there’s usually a mixture, often a dramatic mixture changing over time, of reasons. So I don’t think there is one simple answer for why what’s happening now—why Putin has become an aggressive invader of Ukraine. Certainly, the economic difficulties of Russia in the 1990s, the economic difficulties of other parts of the Soviet space, those are all a factor because they then gave Putin a base of support. When he came in and the economy started doing better, setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not he was responsible for that, people then associated him with moving beyond a really terrible time. The 1990s were an awful time in the post-Soviet space. Any of the indicators that you look at are just truly depressing. For example, the life expectancy for men decreased in Russia in the 1990s. The population decreased. Those are numbers that conceal a great deal of suffering. And so Putin coming in and the economy improving meant there was a certain base of support for Putin, which then meant when he started dismantling the fragile democracy in Russia, he had support for what he was doing that put him in the position that he’s in. But of course, you also have to look at his personal beliefs and fixations. It seems that he spent sadly, tragically, far too much time alone during the pandemic obsessing about the history of what he thinks belongs to Russia. I’m hearing reports from archivists out of Russia that there were all kinds of requests from the Kremlin, presumably from Putin personally through his subordinates, for evidence and documents. And he, Putin, has been publishing articles, or at least allowing articles to be published under his name, about the history of the Second World War, the history of ties with Ukraine. I’m not agreeing with any of them; I’m just noting that he is fixated on history. And so he has this fixation on the idea that he can restore the Russian greatness, he can restore land that belonged to Russia. So that’s a factor as well. Then there is, of course, the factor that the post-Cold War settlement didn’t define a place in its security structure for Ukraine. There were early discussions about that, and I talk about that in my book Not One Inch, but those did not result in a fixed secure birth for Ukraine in the European security structure. So that meant it was left outside of what was essentially the new frontline in Europe, which was the Article 5 frontline. Article 5 is, of course, the heart of the North Atlantic Treaty. It’s the article that says every member state should treat an attack on one state as an attack on all. It’s a very, very strong security guarantee. And NATO, of course, as I describe in my book Not One Inch, expanded, enlarged, in the 1990s, and expanded and enlarged its Article 5 territory, but not to Ukraine. One of the bigger surprises of my research was that President Bill Clinton in the early 1990s recognized, as he put it, that Ukraine was the, quote, “linchpin” of Europe, the key to Europe. I’m paraphrasing, but the exact quotations are in my book, Not One Inch, if you’re interested. So in early discussions of NATO enlargement, Clinton went to Central and Eastern Europeans and said: I understand. You have every right to want to join NATO. You are new, free democracies. We admire hugely how you threw off Soviet control. But you have to understand, if we give you Article 5, we’ll draw essentially a new line. We just got rid of the Cold War line. If we give you Article 5, we’ll draw a new line, and that will leave Ukraine on the wrong side. And Ukraine is a huge country in terms of geography, in terms of population. At the end of the Cold War, it had a population over fifty million, which meant it was on the size of Britain or France. It’s geographically enormous. It was becoming a new democracy as well. And Clinton said, you know, we can’t leave Ukraine in the lurch like that. It’s too big a leap to put it in NATO right away, but we can’t just leave Ukraine in the lurch like that. But then Boris Yeltsin, Putin’s predecessor, made a lot of self-harming, bad mistakes. He started using bloodshed to fight what should have been political fights. In October 1993, Boris Yeltsin decided to have tanks fire on his own parliament. I mean, we think about in the United States we had January 6. Imagine if Trump had sent tanks to fire on the Capitol, right? Then Yeltsin allowed a very brutal invasion of Chechnya. There’s some question as to whether he understood quite how extensive that invasion would be, and quite how brutal it would be. But he allowed it. He was president of the country. And so once he started shedding blood again in Russia, so soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europeans, who had been willing to listen to what Clinton said about Ukraine, who had been willing to agree, through clenched teeth, to perhaps try to find some intermediate solution for Ukraine as well, said: No. Forget it. We need Article 5. And you see this kind of parting of the ways between the post-Cold War path for the Central and Eastern Europeans and the Ukrainians. And so then Ukraine gets left out. So I could continue. There’s, like, five more reasons. But basically, when you’re looking at a history, you try to look at what the main factors are and how they interact with each other. So I think that there are a lot of factors, and the ones that you mention are part of them, that led to where we are today. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Victoria Williams, who has written her question out. But why don’t you ask it? Q: Hi, how are you? Hello. So I’m very curious to understand how we can deescalate the situation and move away from the sort of nuclear option or nuclear threat. How can we do this without basically empowering him and allowing him to just take Ukraine—take pieces of it? FASKIANOS: Victoria, you’re with Alvernia University? Q: In Reading, Pennsylvania, that’s correct. So I’m East Coast zone. (Laughs.) SAROTTE: East Coast, OK. (Laughs.) All right. Well, thank you, Victoria. And, yeah, obviously that’s the huge question. So the huge question is how do we avoid nuclear escalation. That is the essential question. The challenge is to balance that against responding to Putin, who is essentially an aggressive bully, right? And who at this point, it’s clear, only understands the language of force. What has happened in the past couple weeks has really, unfortunately, foreclosed options for de-escalation. The announcement of annexation of territory, what I was talking about in response to Morton Holbrook’s question, that removed, for example, the option that there could perhaps be a negotiated settlement. Because now Putin is saying, no, no, that’s Russian territory. It’s not even Ukraine anymore. And Ukrainians obviously don’t accept that. So the possibilities for de-escalation unfortunately became fewer in the past couple of weeks. And that is really tragic because, as I said, we’ve got the nuclear shadow hanging over all of this. So the real challenge is how to push back against a bully. And this, by the way, is not just, of course, about Ukraine and Russia. Obviously, there’s discussions about what the People’s Republic of China might do to Taiwan in the wake of its de facto takeover of Hong Kong. So there are other countries around the world that are looking at this to see what could happen. So it’s important to push back and be firm, but to do so in a way that doesn’t lead to nuclear escalation. That is a very, very difficult task. The one thing that heartens me is that we do have some experience with it. The experience was called the Cold War. So we do have a track record of dealing with this challenge. Some of the big differences that make me nervous are that the Cold War evolved over decades, and there was time to build guardrails, which were arms control agreements. We seem, by contrast, now to have spun back up to Cold War-like conditions in a matter of months, but we’re missing guardrails. We’re missing—and we’re missing popular understanding of what that means. Let me talk a little about both of those. So during the Cold War, there were a whole host of arms control agreements that limited the kinds of weapons that Washington or Moscow could build, and where they could be deployed, and a whole host of things. At present, there’s only one nuclear treaty that constrains Washington and Moscow in any way. It’s going to expire soon. And my guess is it’s probably not going to be renewed. And then Moscow and Washington will be in, in nuclear terms, completely unconstrained. That is jaw dropping and immensely frightening. So during the Cold War, of course, you had the ABM Treaty—the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty—Intermediate Nuclear Range Forces Treaty, and a whole bunch of alphabet-soup treaties that at least put some guardrails on. We don’t have those. What we also had during the Cold War was a greater cultural understanding of what nuclear war would mean, the sheer devastation that would be involved. I remember as a kid seeing a film called The Day After, about the nuclear devastation that would ensue if Soviet missiles hit the United States. I was actually just listening to Ian Bremmer the other day. And Ian Bremmer said he woke up and started thinking about that film, The Day After, for the first time in decades. We, as kids, those of us who are old enough, at least have memory of the potential horror of nuclear war. My students now do not have that at all. There’s really no understanding of that. And that’s not their fault, but it means there’s just not a cultural awareness of just how risky this is. As a matter of fact, I heard a report—it must have been on the BBC, just some stray report. But someone—it was a couple months ago—something about Russia tested some nuclear systems, but they didn’t—and the journalist added: But they didn’t actually have nuclear weapons on them. They were just testing the systems. And I was thinking, of course they didn’t have nuclear weapons on them. (Laughs.) I mean, you know, of course they didn’t blow up large segments of Europe in a test. But just the fact that the person kind of didn’t know what she was saying I though, wow, we really just lost, like, the cultural understanding of what it means. So we have these risks and we don’t have the guardrails, and we don’t have the cultural understanding. So we need to move forward carefully. I think the Biden administration has been doing a good job with this immense challenge. I think the answer has been to move incrementally, which is what has been happening. So there has been a gradual escalation of the amount and sophistication of weaponry provided. As I said, literally just in the past couple of hours there was a big step forward with Germany now delivering air defense systems. There has been, obviously, meetings of the G-7 and NATO. I think the incremental approach has been a strong one in a very, very dark situation. The Finnish and Swedish memberships in NATO are advancing incrementally. And it seems that this incremental approach so far has, at least for the prospects of the wider world, kept the conflict constrained. Now, obviously, it has not kept it constrained in any way for Ukraine. And I really have to express my admiration for the Ukrainians for how bravely they are fighting, for what they are suffering. It really is remarkable. And these recent strikes, with precision-guided munitions hitting kindergartens, just, unspeakable. So obviously the war is not constrained for Ukraine, but it has not become a global thermonuclear war. It has not become a bigger war. I am worried about this pipeline destruction that has been going on. I heard reports this morning about some kind—I don’t even know if this is accurate, so don’t quote me on this. I haven’t even had time to look at this. But I heard reports this morning that there was pipeline damage in Poland. If that’s true, that’s Article 5 territory. That would be—things that start to happen in Article 5 territory increase the risk of escalation. So the best way to keep it from escalating is to keep it away from Article 5 territory, to give Ukrainians the means to defend themselves, to keep ratcheting up the pressure incrementally. I don’t really know that there are many offramps more for Putin. I think at this point we’re probably looking at some kind of a grinding to a stalemate process. I think that’s probably the best-case scenario. It’s not a good one, but it’s probably the best of bad options. Obviously, the worst option would be escalation in some way to nuclear use. So thank you, Victoria, for the question. Long-winded answer, but it’s an important and complicated question. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Manuel Montoya at the University of New Mexico. Q: Hello, Dr. Sarotte. I’m Manuel Montoya. I’m a professor here at the University of New Mexico, here in Albuquerque. So Rocky Mountains, Mountain time zone. SAROTTE: All right, thank you. (Laughter.) Q: Yeah, thank you very much for your presentation. And thanks, everybody, for all of your questions. I’ve been thinking recently about the health of international institutions in the next chapter of whatever follows what is happening now. And my question is about Russia’s global influence, not in terms of its military power or even its social power, but also the influence it will have on the stability of international institutions, like the International Criminal Court. If there is a political will to try Russia in the International Criminal Court system or to hold them accountable through any other political devices that the international global governance community has, what do you perceive being the vulnerabilities or the risks associated with that? And how is that going to influence the stability or legitimacy of those institutions moving forward? SAROTTE: All right, Mountain time in the house. Excellent. Thank you so much. Q: Thank you. SAROTTE: Yeah. Thank you, Manuel, for your question. Yeah, it’s a good question. I guess I would answer your question two different ways, short term and long term. And, preview, I’m actually going to duck answering the long-term part. So short term, I think one of the silver linings is—of these terrible events that are happening—one of the silver linings is that Putin’s actions have created a new sense of solidarity, purpose, mission, and togetherness in international organizations. And this is not uncommon. Theorists know that having a clear enemy concentrates minds. Having an enemy the size of Russia really concentrates minds. So this is not surprising, but it is heartening. NATO, in particular, has a new sense of purpose and mission. There’s some speculation on this—back in February—oh, there’s a sense of unity now but it will fall apart as soon as leaves start turning in the fall. Well, the leaves are turning, at least here in Washington, D.C., and that sense of unity has not fallen apart. And I think other international institutions are feeling new life in their limbs, feeling new power in their veins, feeling a new sense of purpose. So in the short run, I think what is happening—although, it is again, I can’t say this enough, it’s deeply tragic for the world, incredibly dangerous, awful for Ukrainians—there are some silver linings, such as this new sense of solidarity. Now, your question about holding Russia accountable, I would put that in the category of longer-term questions. Because right now what’s essential is to prevent loss of life in Ukraine, to somehow find a way to end the violence and the bloodshed. That’s the most pressing path. But obviously holding Russia accountable and pursing what has happened here, the war crimes that are happening, is obviously hugely important. It’s a little hard right now to predict exactly how, when, and where that will happen while the conflict is still ongoing. Because obviously the continuation of the conflict itself makes it difficult to gather evidence and so forth. So your question is an insightful one. It’s an important one. But it’s just really hard to answer right now. As a historian, I am interested in the interplay between contingency, so individual decisions, individual actors making decisions, and structures. And right now, we’re in a war. And a war is a time when contingency dominates. Many unpredictable factors come into play. So it’s just a little bit—a little bit—it’s a lot hard to say what the conditions, what the parameters will be for the kind of accountability initiative that you’re talking about. So I think it’s the right question, but I just think I’d be lying if I said I had a good answer for you. The only thing I can say with certainly is it’s not a question that can be answered right now. It’s an important question, but it’s something that has to be on hold for a little while. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to the University College London. I don’t know who is asking the question, but please say who you are and unmute yourself. Q: Yes. Hello. We are from UCL, from the IPP master’s program. My name is Dr. Aboudounya and I have a number of students who have really interesting questions. They are just on their way, just one second. (Laughs.) SAROTTE: All right. So we’ve got British summertime in the house, excellent. Very good. How many people have you got there in your classroom? Q: So at the moment we have around eight people attending. SAROTTE: Excellent. Q: And we have a number of questions. So the first one will— Q: Hello. I have two questions. The first question is, is our world still in the process of globalization, especially with the United States’ economic pressures to the Russia and as Russia set war to Ukraine and they cut off the energy to Europe, and also add in the situation of the spread of COVID-19? This is my first question. And then my second question is, without Russia, how can Europe solve its energy problem? Q: Thank you very much. We just have another question, sorry. FASKIANOS: One more and then we will go answers, and then we have so many other questions we’ll have to keep it at that. Q: Hi. I also have a question. That is, if the war continues, will Russia change its public policy with other developing countries, like Malaysia or India? Will they cooperate together to solve their current issues, or they will take other actions? Thanks. SAROTTE: All right. Well, thank you, UCL, for making a good showing there. You can check off British summertime. Let me—first, let me say—so, the second question first was Russia and its attitude towards developing countries. Obviously, because Russia is now decoupling itself, and also being decoupled from, the Western economy, that increases the importance to Russia of countries that are not in Europe, countries that are not in the United States, and so forth. So there is new leverage now for basically other countries. Obviously, , I wouldn’t call China a developing country, but obviously China and India have enormous leverage right now with Russia. So in a sense, there’s a kind of recalibration happening in the international system as the energy and economic ties between Europe are being cut, it’s then going to be creating newer ties or stronger ties to developing countries. So there’s a large realignment going on. Again, as with the previous question from Manuel, it’s a little early to foresee the outcome, but it’s clear that process is underway. And then the previous question about without Russia, how can Europe solve its energy problem, that’s obviously the right question. The Europeans have had now a lot of this calendar year to think about that. So one of the self-harming choices that Putin made was to play his energy card too early. In other words, he started threatening and actually cutting off supplies—energy supplies—to Europe in the early spring, when the invasion didn’t end in three days, as he hoped. And that actually gave Europeans the whole summer to start to make plans, to try to find alternatives, to do things like build floating harbors to get liquefied natural gas to their customers, to find alternative sources. The sense, for example, from Germany, which is a country where I was recently, is that while it might be a difficult winter, no one is going to freeze. The supplies will be enough. There might—they’re not going to be able to keep lights on, perhaps, in stores in the evening, and maybe the Christmas markets won’t be as bright, but no one is going to freeze. And they’re ready for it. And that feeling seems to cover other European countries as well. And if there are some difficulties, people are ready for that. And, as I said before, this will be the last winter where Russia will able to threaten to put Europe in the dark and in the cold. And renewables are going to come online in a major way. Germany had to reverse course on some of its use of coal. It’s also has to reverse course on cutting down some nuclear plants. There is going to be a shifting, but it will—Europe will be able to provide for its essential energy needs. There may be some non-essential things that go away, but Europe will make sure that nobody freezes. And I couldn’t quite hear the first question, but I understand there are other questioners, so you’ll forgive me if I pass on the first question and move onto the next questioner. But thank you for ticking off the British summertime box. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Zachary Hammerschmidt. Q: Hi. I’m Zach Hammerschmidt from Mankato State—Minnesota State University in Mankato. So my question to you is: Should we be viewing this more of a continuation of the Cold War? Proxy wars have been more noticeable of late—as in Syria and the Ukraine, with NATO’s influence. And if so, wouldn’t the expansion of NATO into Scandinavia and our support of Ukraine as a pro-Western democracy further exacerbate the problem with Russian aggression? Because that definitely does mimic Putin’s rhetoric, of late. SAROTTE: OK. OK. Are you Central time? Q: Yes. SAROTTE: All right. We can tick off Central time. Excellent. Very good. All right, so, all right, Zachary, thank you for your question. Historical question. I love it. I’m a historian, so history, the one true discipline. All your political science students out there, nobody’s perfect. All right. So, yeah, Cold War. That whole thing has really come up again. My colleague, Stephen Kotkin, the author of the biography of Stalin, has recently said—I think actually in Foreign Affairs, Irina, I think, or at a Foreign (Affairs) event—that the Cold War never ended. That it’s been continuing. That we are kidding ourselves that we had a break in it. I’m not entirely sure I agree with that. I believe that we are once again now in cold war-like conditions. But in contrast to my colleague, Stephen Kotkin—I disagree with him with great hesitation—but I believe that the thaw between the last Cold War and this new cold war was real. The problem is that cold wars are not short-lived affairs. So thaws are precious. And neither Russia nor the West made the best use of the thaw that we had, that is now over. For example, it would have been wonderful if there had been more progress on disarmament than there was. That didn’t happen. It would have been wonderful if it had lasted longer. That didn’t happen. This indeed is what I investigate in my book, Not One Inch. So since I know this is not meant to be a seven hour, or an eleven hour event, I’m not meant to cover all the time zones, I won’t describe all the arguments in my book right here. But if you are interested, you can definitely look at it more. I think what has happened is we—the Cold War ended. We had a genuine moment where it would have been possible to establish lasting cooperation. I know there are other people who think differently, but I believe that there was a real moment of optimism. Perhaps that’s because I experienced some of it personally. I was studying abroad in West Berlin in 1989. That is ultimately the reason I do what I do. That is the reason why I became a historian, why I am interested in Cold War history, the history of the end of the Cold War, the history of what is happening now, because of the experiences that I had living in West Berlin and traveling behind the Iron Curtain and then, obviously, the experience of seeing that Iron Curtain open, unexpectedly. So I think that there was a genuine thaw. I do not agree with Stephen Kotkin. I do think, as I was saying before, that we are spinning back up to cold war-like conditions, but with some important differences. There are important differences both in the surrounding structure and context, and there are important individual differences. And the surrounding structure and context, obviously the previous Cold War was a lot more bipolar, Moscow-Washington. Now China’s a much—a major player, certainly in economic terms, also in military terms. So that is different. There are just—India, Brazil—it’s not as bipolar as it was. It's also not an ideological conflict. Putin is not a communist. He’s far too rich for that. (Laughs.) He’s not trying to restore communism. So I grant that there are many, many differences to the previous Cold War. And yet, the key factor of the previous Cold War was the rise of this thermonuclear conflict—a potential thermonuclear conflict between Washington and Moscow which, to repeat, would be a civilization-ending conflict. It would kill most life on Earth. That, for me, is a significant threshold in history. We crossed that with the development of thermonuclear weapons. And so that nuclear conflict between Washington and Moscow is, to me, what defines the Cold War, what made it unique and different from previous eras. The fact that we are now once again talking about a nuclear conflict at that level—again, I hope very much this does not happen, but the rhetoric is bad—means that we are once again having a cold war. And then, as you mentioned, Zachary, there’s also this idea of proxy wars. That there is a stalemate between Washington and Moscow directly, or Moscow and NATO countries, but then there are other countries where there is hot war, not cold war. The Cold War is a bit of a misnomer. There’s an excellent book by Paul Chamberlin called The Cold War Killing Fields. Talks about all of the people who died in hot wars during the Cold War. And so, yes, you’re right to say we’re seeing this phenomenon again of a stalemate between Moscow and Washington, for now, but with a lot of bloodshed and fighting in a proxy war situation. And then, to get to the last part of your question about NATO enlargement, I think that you have to differentiate sharply between peacetime and wartime. So as you’ll see, if you have a look at my book, I am not an opponent of NATO enlargement, right? If you’re looking for the person who says everything that’s happened is NATO’s fault, that’s John Mearsheimer. That’s not me. So you can ask Irina to organize an educator’s event with John Mearsheimer and have at him. I am not opposed to NATO enlargement. I think the problem with NATO enlargement was how it happened. There were ways not to leave Ukraine in the lurch, for example. There were alternatives known at the time, that I describe in my book. And I wish that those alternatives had dominated, those alternative methods of enlarging NATO. NATO enlargement was not one thing. There were multiple possibly ways to expand it known at the time, including ways that would have involved Ukraine. And I wish that those had happened. So I think how it happened was problematic. But—and this is a big but—my criticism referred to this peaceful thaw that I genuinely believe was a real thaw, a real opportunity for cooperation between the last Cold War and the one we’ve got coming up. That time has changed. We are now in a time of war. War changes everything. So now that we’ve seen that Putin will know no limits, that Putin will respond only to force, now that we’ve seen the brutality of what happened in Bucha, now that we’re uncovering the atrocities every time Ukraine liberates another city, now we need wartime actions. It’s clear that what we need to do now is to defend Ukraine, to make it clear either to Putin or people around Putin that there is no point in continuing this conflict, and to try to somehow move beyond this bloodshed. And in the first instance, that requires showing as much military resolve as possible. And, as I said, also, in response to an earlier question, that also shows playing up alliance unity, creating new opportunities for people to join, like Sweden and Finland. So in the context of the war, now that we are in war, I think that it is the right and appropriate thing for NATO to keep enlarging and for it to push back forcefully against Putin to hopefully get back to a place where we’re not in wartime, we’re in peacetime, and then diplomacy can take over again. FASKIANOS: Great. So we did have a written question from Gail Evans, who’s at Georgia Tech, who referenced—and I don’t know if you saw it—the event that CFR hosted with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Mary, in which he suggested that we needed to be aware of how the Ukraine war ended would determine whether Russia was the far end of the West or the beginning of the East. And she wondered what your reaction is to that. SAROTTE: Hmm, interesting. So, no, I did not see that event. I mean, obviously Henry Kissinger is very—is a smart man. I think whether Russia is the far end of the West or the near end of the East is up to the Russians. So I don’t know that it is in our hands to decide that. I’m also not sure that’s a meaningful distinction. Obviously, there’s a lot of countries between Europe and China. So what about them? I would—but I do agree with him, absolutely, that the way this war ends is of monumental significance. The problem is, it’s hard to say how it will end. We can talk about how it won’t end, right? So, for example, it’s not going to end with Putin saying, oh, I don’t know what got into me, sorry. And everyone saying, OK, no problem, let’s go back to where we were before February, 24, 2022. That is not going to happen. I mean, even if—I said this in a television interview recently—even if—and this is not going to happen. But even if we get off this Zoom and we find that somehow, miraculously, while we’ve been on the Zoom, Putin said: You know, what? Forget it. Let’s stop this sill invasion. Call it off. That’s not happening. And even if it did, no one is going back, right? No one is going to say, oh, OK, all right. Let’s, you know, start the oil flowing again. I mean, even though despite there’s holes in the pipelines now. This is a real breaking point in history. So the question is, how is the war going to end? And it will be something new. I don’t know what it will be. It could be worse. But it will be something new. Russia, as I said, has been largely decoupled from the Western economy. That’s not going to change immediately. There will be questions, obviously, huge questions, about the internal domestic politics in Russia. It seems that Putin has decided to really attach his fate to the fate of this war, which is yet another tragic decision. He seems to have foreclosed other options for himself. So it’s not clear—it is not clear to me how this war ends. But it is clear to me that it will be hugely significant. And so I would agree with Dr. Kissinger that how this war ends is hugely significant. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go next to Konstantin Tkachuk. Please excuse my pronunciation. Q: Yeah. Thank you a lot also from myself. My name is Konstantin. I’m coming from—I’m half Russian, half Ukrainian. And that’s a very insightful talk for me. I’m dialing from Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. SAROTTE: All right, Chinese time zones. Excellent. All right. All right. Very good. (Laughs.) Q: And my question is, we provide well—or somehow covered already the topic of the war and what is happening in the short term. I’m more curious that, given the situation will resolve in some time which we obviously cannot predict right now, and the war was definitely a political suicide for the current government in Russia, what do you think would be the settlement process worldwide for Russia, given the size of Russian resource markets, given the need in those resource markets still in many other countries, and the remaining impact on the various other industries? So how would you, from a historical perspective, see that? SAROTTE: Hmm, OK. Well, first of all, so thank you for adding the Chinese time zone. Secondly, thank you for sharing your personal background. I hope that your family members are safe. And I’m so sorry about the experiences that the Ukrainian side of your family is obviously going through. On your third point, your statement that this war was political suicide for the current Russia regime, I wish that were obviously true. I hope that will be true. I hope that we are approaching the post-Putin moment. It is not yet clear to me, however, that Putin has committed political suicide. When you’ve had a country in personal rule for decades, as he has—or, let me put it this way—when you’ve been at the top of a country for decades and you have created a situation of personal rule, you’ve established deep roots through the institutions of loyalties and supporters. Obviously, there’s no longer freedom of the press, there’s no longer freedom of association. And among the tragic effects of the war for Russia is that it has caused mass flight of people who might have led opposition. So certainly the outbreak of the war caused journalists and other writers to flee because the use of the word “war” was criminalized, and so their writing could have landed them in jail. More recently, the botched efforts at mobilization have caused some enormous number of young Russian men to leave Russia, as I’m sure you know. I haven’t—it seems like there are estimates that are bouncing around, but it looks like the number is clearly in the hundreds of thousands. So I’ve seen estimates that as many as half a million Russian men have fled the country because of the mobilization. So in a system that already has a dearth of venues to express opposition, to call for change, the war has depleted the supply of people who might be brave enough or inclined enough to make those calls. So it’s not clear to me that in domestic Russian terms Putin has committed political suicide. I think what has happened is grim for Russia as a country, as I said at the outset. I think as the global impact and influence of this war grows, the global impact and influence of Russia declines. I think many of the people around Putin are starting to realize they may be living in a very large version of North Korea. But again, the leader of North Korea has held on for a long time. So it’s not clear to me that this is political suicide for Putin. That then relates to the second part of your question, which is, you know, what kind of settlement comes out of this. And this goes back to the earlier question we had about, you know, the ICC and holding Russia accountable. You wisely mentioned, Konstantin, Russia’s resources. Obviously, Russia’s resources—its oil, its gas, and so forth—along with its strategic nuclear power, give it a certain weight in the international system. Russia is just simply too big to ignore, right? Before the war broke out I would often go to give talks and I would say: You know, there’s growing tensions with Russia, and they really worry me. And I would often face audiences who would say, well, why does Russia matter? It has the economy—it only has the economy the size of a small Chinese province or Spain. And I would respond, well, number one, Spain’s economy is not that small. And, number two, Russia’s a strategic nuclear power, right? That doesn’t change whether its economy is the size of Spain or not. So, you know, can’t just ignore Russia. It’s just too big and too nuclear to ignore. So it’s not as if the world is just going to be able to ignore Russia. There will, as you rightly said, have to be some kind of settlement. But as I’ve said with some of the other previous questions, I think we’re in a moment of contingency right now. And I think it would be—I’d be lying if I said, oh, I know absolutely what’s going to happen. It’s clear there is going to have to be a settlement. It’s clear Russia is just too big a factor, a player in the international system to simply write off. But what kind of settlement is going to come is going to depend on whether this really does turn out to be political suicide for Putin or not. And I don’t think that that is clear yet. But thank you for the insightful question. And thank you for adding in some Chinese time zones to this call. FASKIANOS: I’m going to go next to Zinadid Simpson Crasiyah (ph). Q: Hi. Good afternoon and thank you for this talk, Professor. I am a law student at the University of Oklahoma. I had a question regarding one of the articles you attached in your invitation to this, The World Putin Wants. And I was particularly interested in the talk about Putin’s influence on the global south and, as the article described it, the rest of the developing world, and how he has been winning the information war with them. So my question is, how does the West, the global west and I guess the United States, fight the information war if they’ve already started doing that? And how that could, in a sense, resolve at least some issues? SAROTTE: Hmm, yeah, all right. So, excellent. University of Oklahoma. I’m guessing Central time, yes? Q: Yes. Yes. SAROTTE: All right. Central time. All right. We’ve got another good—(inaudible)—from Central time. All right. Yeah, so the—I’m trying to remember how old that article is, I can’t remember exactly. I don’t think right now people would say Putin is winning the global information war. I think that headline has to go to the Ukrainians, right? Pro tip, don’t go to war against a very online comedian who knows how to communicate effectively. The Ukrainians have used information warfare very, very skillfully. As they should. They are at war. Again, wartime is different than peacetime. And so the terms of the information war have shifted greatly since that article was written. Obviously, another big factor, which is a little bit outside the topic here for us today but is worth mentioning, is the impact of, of course, the Chinese in the global south, the Belt and Road Initiative, their actions there. That, I think, has had much—had had more traction than the Russian approaches, and especially now because of the war Russia, as I—sort of just come back to my theme—Russia’s global influence is, I would submit, declining. So I think if that article were written today, it would have a little bit of a different focus. But that is a little bit outside of the area that we’re focusing on today. But thank you for the question. FASKIANOS: Mary, there are a lot of questions about China. So I guess maybe just to talk a little bit. You know, Russia’s relations with China, with a view to its global influence, and given its growing—China’s growing bargaining power. What opportunities does this create for China to reshape the power dynamic? And do you see this as a factor pressuring Russia to find an offramp? SAROTTE: Yeah. All right. We’re just going to assume that was, you know, questions from eleven time zones here and tick them all off here, as we wrap up. Yeah. So I actually—on the subject of Moscow’s relationship with Beijing, I co-authored an article with Sergey Radchenko for Foreign Affairs. So for those of you who are interested, please search—I don’t know, maybe one of the staff here could put it in the chat or, you know, the link to it. Sergey Radchenko and I, a colleague of mine at SAIS who is actually himself, Konstantin, he’s actually Russian-Ukrainian as well. We looked at historical parallels to the current relationship between Moscow and Beijing. And Sergey and I, we saw a cautionary tale. It’s a tale of a country that supported its crumbling neighbor in an effort to menace a smaller power. And in historical terms, that was rising Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, supported the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire, attacking Serbia. That did not end well for imperial Germany. That ended in World War I, which dragged down Germany as well. Germany, at the end—at the beginning of the 20th century was on course to be the dominant industrial military technological power of the century. If you at the beginning of the 20th century had tried to guess which country will dominate this century, the answer would have been Germany. And as a result of its foolish decision to support a crumbling neighbor in its effort to restore a lost empire, imperial Germany itself was dragged under. That’s not a good precedent for a current rising power, namely China, supporting a former imperial neighbor, namely Russia, trying to restore—trying to launch war and restore imperial glory in a small country, namely Ukraine. So we think that it is not wise for Beijing to be supporting Russia to the degree that it has been so far. There seem to be a lot of signs that Beijing is starting to have second thoughts itself. There seem to be a lot of signs that Beijing is trying to communicate to Putin that this war did not go well, is not going well, wrapping it up would be a good idea. I suspect that Xi Jinping regrets the statement that his partnership with Russia had no limits, made before the Olympics last fall—sorry—earlier this year. So I think the relationship between Moscow and Beijing is hugely important. As Russia gets more and more cut off from European countries, its economic relationship with China becomes more and more important. Beijing has leverage over Russia right now. Beijing is also enjoying getting, you know, gas and oil at a discount. Beijing is able to exploit Russia right now. That’s not really in Russia’s interest. So the relationship is hugely important. I hope that Beijing will continue on the trend line it is on, which is—which appears to be behind the scenes pressure on Moscow to start wrapping this up. I don’t think China, let me put it this way, would, you know, try to engage in some kind of muscular coercion of Putin. I think there are limits. But I think it’s at least—heartening is the wrong word—but less terrible if Beijing is saying to Moscow—if Xi is saying to Putin: This is really not a good idea. That’s better than what was being said earlier this year, which is, our friendship has no limits. Do whatever you want, right? So it’s an important relationship. Beijing has leverage. I hope Beijing will see that it is ultimately not in Beijing’s interest to be on the wrong side of this war. That is—I hope that very much. Again, like with so many other things, because we’re in a moment with such contingency, it’s a little bit hard to predict. But it’s definitely essential to keep an eye on Beijing and on China. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We just dropped the link to that Foreign Affairs article in the chat. So I commend it to all of you. We have so many questions, raised hands and written questions. I’m sorry we couldn’t get them all. But I’m going to reserve the right of the moderator to ask the last one. So, Mary, you did mention a little bit earlier about why you became a historian. So could you say a few words about, even if you don’t aspire to become a historian, why history is so important for all of us to have in our lives? SAROTTE: Yeah, absolutely. I believe that history is the—understanding history is the best way to prepare for the future. I don’t believe that it, or any other discipline, lets you accurately, to the last detail, predict the future. I think anyone who tells you students out there, I can predict the future, don’t believe them. But I think you can prepare for the future, right? If you think, for example, about, I don’t know what a soccer team, a football team, an American—you know, the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions, and in, you know, England it might be Manchester United. The fact that they hold a practice on—you know, in advance of the big game does not guarantee that they will win the game, but it greatly increases the chances, right? The fact, to use another example, that a pilot might spend many hours in a flight simulator before actually getting into a cockpit does not mean that the pilot will do everything personally—that he or she will do everything personally—but it does greatly increase the chances, right? And so, similarly, I would like to leave students with this thought. History doesn’t provide us with clear and obvious lessons, a clear, you know, checklist of what to do. But it does greatly increase the chances that we can meet the challenges that are coming. And, sadly, we are, once again, in an era of some very, very dangerous challenges—indeed, potentially existential challenges—for our planet. So I’ve been making a joke of it, but it actually really does mean a lot to me that the students have called in from around the globe to talk about these issues, because our globe needs you and needs your efforts to keep us away from disaster. So thank you for calling in to think about this, and helping create a global community to talk about these issues. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, thank you, Mary, for this terrific hour, and to all the students and professors who are trying to get everybody interested in history on the call. We appreciate your participation and I’m sorry, again, that we couldn’t get to all your questions. Again, I commend Mary’s book to you, Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate. And we will keep an eye on those book prizes. Hope you are the winner. So the next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, October 26, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Zongyuan Zoe Liu, fellow for international political economy here at CFR, will talk about global economics. And in the meantime, please do check out our CFR fellowships for educators at The deadline for that is October 31. It IS a unique opportunity to come to the Council for nine months, or to go work in the government. Follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. So again, thank you all for being with us. Thank you, Professor Mary Elise Sarotte. And we look forward to having your join us again in a couple of weeks. SAROTTE: Sounds great. Bye-bye. FASKIANOS: Bye. (END)
  • United States

    Christopher M. Tuttle, senior fellow and director of the Renewing America initiative at CFR, leads the conversation on the U.S. midterm elections and beyond. FASKIANOS: Thank you, and welcome, all, to today’s session of the Fall 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. The video and transcript will be available on our website at, and as always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Christopher Tuttle with us today to talk about the U.S. midterm elections and beyond. Mr. Tuttle is senior fellow and director of the Renewing America initiative at CFR. He’s also a managing director of CFR’s Corporate Affairs Program and a senior adviser for the Council’s external affairs efforts in Washington. From 2015 to 2019, Mr. Tuttle served as policy director of the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations under Chairman Bob Corker, and prior to that, he was director of CFR’s Washington Program and Independent Task Force Program. So, Chris, thank you very much for being with us today. It would be great if you could talk a little bit about the Renewing America initiative, and also, talk a little bit about the midterm elections. We are about forty days and a few hours out from the elections on November 8, and we would love to hear from you your analysis of the lay of the land and what it portends for governance in the U.S., as well as how we will be viewed in the world. TUTTLE: Absolutely. Thanks, Irina. It’s great to be here. Great to be speaking with you all today. As Irina mentioned, I’m Chris Tuttle, and before digging in on today’s specific topic, I would like, as Irina mentioned, to begin with a plug for the program I run at CFR, the Renewing America initiative. But you all know the Council on Foreign Relations is obviously a foreign policy organization, but we have a keen understanding of the reality that U.S. power, our place in the world, and our upward trajectory over the past century have been powered by our domestic strengths. And right now, some of our most important national security threats come not from without, but from within. So we’re looking at nine specific domestic issues that underpin our strength and our power in the world—and really the future of the United States in the twenty-first century—and the future of how the world’s going to look in the twenty-first century with a strong U.S., hopefully, still leading the way. So the nine issues are democracy and governance, education, energy and climate, the future of work, immigration, infrastructure, social justice and equity, and trade and finance. And I’d commend to you our website, please check it out. We’ve got a Twitter feed as well that just went up yesterday, actually, so please follow us on Twitter. And we’re going to post the website to the chat, or you can just google, CFR Renewing America. So thanks, Irina, for indulging that pitch and now onto today’s topic, the midterm congressional elections and beyond. I thought I’d start with the House of Representatives. Right now, the partisan balance in the House is 221 to 212—that’s 221 Democrats to 212 Republicans. That’s a very tight—very tight—very tight margin, and that’s not much of a majority, historically speaking, in terms of party breakdown. What that means, though, for midterms is that Republicans need to gain only six seats to take control of the House, and Democrats are facing some pretty heavy headwinds, which I’m sure you’ve been reading about, as people have been covering, sort of, the horse race. The first headwind is structural. On average over the past seventy years or so, a sitting president’s party has lost an average of more than two dozen house seats during the midterms. On top of that, inflation has been at forty-year highs. The economy has had two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, and certainly related to this, President Biden’s job approval rating right now is at a pretty dismal 43 percent. Also, many Democrats are retiring leaving open seats that are always more difficult to defend than if an incumbent were still running. But interestingly, it’s not just national issues as a factor coming into play this year. Many voters are also concerned about local issues. Crime, the way COVID and other issues have been handled in the school districts are a couple of examples, and those are also likely to weigh on the Democrats in a way similar to the dynamic that put Glenn Youngkin into office as governor of Virginia last year. But for the Democrats, it’s not all bad news. Biden’s approval rating, though still pretty problematic, is actually up about six points from where it stood in July, and there are indications that abortion, in the wake of the Dobbs decision, may be a more significant factor than many prognosticators first guessed. For the House, this all adds up to basically kind of the following: the red wave that everybody was talking about during the summer—saying that the Republicans were going to be swept into control of the House with a twenty-five- to thirty-five-seat pickup—may not, in fact, materialize. Regardless, however, the numbers are still not great for Nancy Pelosi’s hopes for her House team. Right now, The Cook Political Report, which I commend to you—if you follow elections closely you may already be aware of it—but The Cook Political Report right now rates 192 seats as solidly, likely, or leaning Democratic. Conversely, it rates 212 seats as solidly, likely, or leaning Republican. That leaves 31 seats as toss-ups. Assuming those numbers hold, Republicans only need to get six of those seats to gain control, which is a pretty likely scenario. Moving onto the Senate, it’s a little bit different story. As you all know, the Senate is split right now fifty-fifty. Senate races tend to be more candidate-based than House races, which are often more party or national dynamics-based. In the—if you want to do the math on this, Democrats are defending fourteen seats this year and two are rated as toss-ups—that’s Rafael Warnock in Georgia—and he’s currently leading well within the margin of error about 0.3 percent over Herschel Walker—and Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, where the Republican is leading just by 1.7 points. Republicans are defending twenty-one seats in the Senate. One of those is rated as a toss-up—that’s Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and he’s ahead just slightly 1.5 percent—that’s based on the RealClearPolitics polling average. And one of the Republican seats is rated to lean Democratic. So that’s the seat in Pennsylvania where Senator Pat Toomey retired. And right now, you’re probably seeing Dr. Oz and Fetterman going at it regularly. Right now, Fetterman is up by about 4.7 percent. So you can game out all the possibilities alike based on that, but it’s going to be a dog fight for the Senate, and we could very well end up exactly where we are today at fifty-fifty when all is said and done. So one note about the rest of this Congress, you know, it’s—time is growing short, and the Congress is about to go home to spend time with their constituents as the election approaches. But there is an order of business that may actually end up getting done that’s pretty important before the end of this year. It may—it, likely, will not be before the election. It will likely be in a lame duck session after the elections. But I think that it’s worth mentioning— probably the most important couple of pieces of legislation, I think, that could move in this Congress are a couple that reform presidential elections and transitions. As I mentioned, they’re just about done for this two years, but they’ve got a couple of bills pending to change current statutes to prevent what happened in late 2020 and early 2021, where we came close to the invalidation of a presidential election, which would have created a full on constitutional crisis. The House passed its version of this legislation last week, and the Senate has similar legislation that was—it was negotiated on a much more bipartisan basis in the House, but it’s very similar. The cosponsors in the Senate are wide ideological range. Chris Murphy of Connecticut sort of on the left to Lindsay Graham of South Carolina on the right, and this just—Mitch McConnell just signaled his support for this legislation, as did Chuck Schumer, yesterday. And it passed the Senate Rules and Administration Committee yesterday by a wide bipartisan margin. So this will likely—the Senate version—also known as the Electoral Count Reform Act—will likely pass during the lame duck session that’ll be held probably sometime in November, early December, and then, it will mean—because the House has passed its version; the Senate will pass its version—they’ll have to get together in a conference committee to come up with a compromise version, but it’s actually something that can move. And I’d be happy to go into further detail about that, but it’s a very important piece of legislation. You may have read—I wrote a piece on this. I think it was in the read ahead, but I encourage you to follow this because it really is an important piece of reform legislation that’s got bipartisan support, and it can actually move the ball forward. And it is potentially an existential issue for the country. So moving onto the Congress yet, we’re just getting ready to conclude the 117th Congress. We’re going to be going into the 118th Congress in January. What’s in store? I thought I’d start—because we’re the Council on Foreign Relations—with foreign and international policy. If you are a fan of bipartisanship, there is a lot to like about the incoming Congress and about this current Congress. When you look at issues—when it comes to China, when it comes to Russia/Ukraine—there is wide bipartisan agreement on how to handle those issues. On trade, there’s wide bipartisan agreement. Now those of you who might be supportive of freer trade may not like what that bipartisan agreement is, but right now we’ve got both parties who are pretty—they have pretty skeptical views of trade, and that’s anomalous. In the past you’ve had Democrats, who have been in Congress anyway, broadly pretty skeptical of trade. You’ve had Republicans who have been more supportive of free trade agreements. That all changed with the onset of sort of the new Republicans, Donald Trump, that kind of thing. So there’s widespread skepticism on trade, and I’d be happy to talk about that during the Q&A. Bipartisanship, for better or for worse, is alive and well in foreign policy, and there are some notable exceptions. You can—we can roll through those if you would like. But really, on the great big issues that are confronting the United States, there’s widespread agreement. So assuming we have a Republican House, legislatively there’s not much in the realm of what might get done. Republicans are likely going to pass Republican bills like those proposed in their newly released Commitment to America, which Kevin McCarthy introduced last week. It’s sort of their agenda for Republican control—their legislative agenda. But they’re likely to pass Republican bills, bipartisan majorities, and they’ll die in the Senate. Even if Republicans do win the Senate, they won’t have sixty votes to overcome a legislative filibuster that would be by the Democrats. One can also expect with the Republican House takeover a multitude of congressional investigations into the COVID pandemic, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the FBI’s handling of recent matters, among many others. Senate Democrats, should they keep their majority, will continue to face an uphill climb to get much of anything through. Not only will they not have the votes to overcome a Republican filibuster—or even if they are able to go nuclear and eliminate the legislative filibuster entirely, which is unlikely, most legislation they pass will not move in the House. Even using the budget reconciliation process, which requires only fifty votes in the Senate, Democratic moderates like Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona may not be supportive. As far as the political dynamics are concerned—so what is this sort of portend for our politics? I’m afraid they’re unlikely to improve any time soon. I’ve written about this. If you’d like, you can go to, again, Renewing America. I think they’re likely to get worse. I think that Republicans may take from these midterm elections the message that Trumpism remains their path to victory. And some Democrats, in the wake of losses, may push for the party to live its values and go further left. Similar to the way that we saw on the Republican side, when Republicans who were losing elections—say after 2012 when Mitt Romney lost—a lot of Republicans said, well, we just didn’t run far enough to the right. We need to go further to the right in the future in order to win. So you may see a similar dynamic emerging more and more. The nascent sort of harder left edge within the Democratic Party could actually take on more power, and that will probably be a pretty tough dynamic because you’ve got Trumpy Republicans and a further left Democratic Party. So the clashes will continue and are likely to get worse. So if you combine this with what likely will be actions by the president to try and do by executive fiat what he probably won’t be able to do legislatively, and the reality that the presidential campaign will begin de-facto the day after the midterms conclude—and we have a recipe for a pretty tough time ahead, I’m afraid. So with that, I’d be happy to talk about any of these issues and beyond, and would also be pleased to provide advice on Washington careers, political work, anything else you’d like to discuss. So thank you. FASKIANOS: Great. And I do think we should take you up on that at the end of this, but we will first go to questions. Thank you, Chris, for that overview—I think, a little depressing—just the conflict will continue, but good news that there’s bipartisanship on foreign policy issues, for sure. So, to all of you now, if you can click the raised hand icon on your screen to ask a question on your iPad, or you click the more button to access the raised hand feature. So when you’re called upon, accept the unmute prompt, and please state your name and affiliation followed by your question. You can also write your question in the Q&A box. If you do that, please include your affiliations so it gives us context as to where you are in the world. OK, so I’m going to go first to a written question from David Caputo, who is the president emeritus of Pace University. Please comment on the apparent under polling of uneducated white males and what it means for the races you’ve cited. TUTTLE: Yeah, it’s a good question. I think that there is a dynamic within certain parts of the polling public, where they just don’t want to talk to pollsters, you know. They watch cable news. They think, boy, these people do not understand me, and I don’t want—there’s a certain social stigma attached to some of what they may think about certain issues. So I think that that is a potentially real issue out there. Polling has become enormously more complicated than it used to be. It’s tough to reach people. The proliferation of cell phones and getting rid of landlines, it has become harder and harder to poll, and I do think that that is potentially a real issue—where you could see some surprises based on that under polling of those populations, where, actually, the numbers that I read off earlier in some of the close races and some of the others could actually turn out being some surprises—probably more likely for the Democrats. The Democrats would probably be more likely to be surprised. Republicans are talking about this as a potential factor—that there is under polling of certain populations that tend to vote more Republican. So that would be my comment on that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Let’s go to Babak Salimitari, who has a raised hand. Q: Hello, can you hear me? TUTTLE: Hi, Babak. FASKIANOS: We can, Babak. Please state your affiliation. Q: Hi. My name is Babak. I’m from UCI. I’m a master’s student there now. My question is pertaining to immigration and the situation at the border right now, and what affect that would have on congressional races in the border states like Arizona and Texas? Right now, there’s, like, 8,000 illegals crossing the border every day, and the Democratic Party has been pretty mum about this situation until, say, like, Ron DeSantis buses them over to Martha’s Vineyard, and then that’s when the headlines come out on MSNBC and whatnot over the situation at the border. Why isn’t the party taking a stronger stance on confronting this situation and preventing people from crossing the border illegally? TUTTLE: Let’s see. As far as why the party isn’t taking a stronger stand, they’re in a tough spot. They’ve got, I think, broad swaths of Democratic base voters who think that the Republicans are overdoing the illegal immigration thing and are generally supportive of immigrant communities that make up a sizeable chunk of not necessarily their voters, but a sizeable constituency for their—for Democratic base voters. So in other words, Democratic base voters, the people who are going to turn out during midterm elections, tend to be more concentrated, and they tend to be more to the left. And they have pretty much been reluctant to take actions that they view as unfair to various people who are coming to the United States to seek asylum, that kind of thing. It’s a big motivator for Republican voters, particularly in voter states—or in border states. They see—they see illegal immigration as a real problem. You could see that during the Trump era. That was a big issue for Republican voters. But I think that the Democrats are in a tough spot when they’ve got a lot of their base voters and a lot of their members of Congress who think that U.S. immigration controls have been too stringent, I think, in the past, and sympathize with a lot of the folks who are crossing the border illegally. That’s sort of my take on it. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Amalia Frommelt, who is a graduate student at NYU—New York University. In the context of the most recent attempt to overturn the presidential election and also recognizing America’s historical disenfranchisement of voters that are not white men, what is the greatest threat to the future of free and fair American elections? And have these historical and contemporary events influenced these threats? TUTTLE: Yeah, I think they have influenced these threats. My concern—my biggest concern is that we’ve got not just sizeable, but a majority of Republicans who still think that the election was invalid. But we also have, on the flip side—and you saw this in 2016—significant parts of the Democratic Party in 2016 said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate reelected president. And I do have concerns that this fall may see the same with—the Democrats have been very, very concerned and very public about some of the different laws that have been passed in different states when it comes to voting, and ballot access, and that type of thing. I am not convinced that that will have a major—that those will play a major role in the midterm elections, but that won’t, I don’t think, stop some within the Democratic Party claiming that the elections this fall are not legitimate. So the biggest threat I see is that you have potentially both major political parties claiming illegitimate elections, and once you start claiming illegitimate elections, people—it’s less surprising when people use undemocratic means to accomplish their ends. And that’s enormously problematic for the United States. There has been a lot of talk about potential civil war and that kind of thing. I don’t think we’re there, but I do think that these elections stand to continue not just sort of the political discord, but also for people to sort of step out of the margins of political discourse in a way that is potentially quite dangerous for the United States. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question from Michael Leong, a graduate student at the University of Arizona who has his hand up. Q: Hi, there. TUTTLE: (Inaudible)—your profile picture. Q: Oh, sorry about that. TUTTLE: No, it’s OK. Q: All right, so hi there. So I just have a question because, as you discussed, with the Republican Party taking that message that Trump is and remains their path to victory, and because of that, potentially Democrats moving further to the left, that means the polarization is going to become more severe. But is there going to be a path for both parties where basically American political—the political sphere to move back towards the center where it’s not so polarized? TUTTLE: Yeah, so I’m hopeful on that front. I wouldn’t call myself optimistic, but I am hopeful. There are signs within the Republican Party that maybe the Trump era is just beginning to sunset. There are some indications of that. For example, if you look in New Hampshire, there was a sort of more moderate—I wouldn’t even say more moderate because I don’t think the Trump phenomenon is necessarily political so much as it is rhetorical and personality based. But you had a Republican who was not a Trump Republican; in fact, you had several in the primary, and what occurred was Trump—one of the candidates was very pro-Trump, and if you took the candidates who were not, you know, Trumpy candidates and you added up all their numbers, they actually—if it had been a single sort of non-Trump Republican, that person would have won. The leading non-Trump Republican also received a lot of funds from various Democratic senatorial—or Democratic committees to—or excuse me—the leading non-Trump candidate was sort of torn down by an ad campaign by some of the Democratic committees, and that put the Trump person in the best place to win. So, in other words, those two bits of sort of—those two problems where you had several non-Trump candidates plus the Democratic Party acting to try and get—to knock down the leading non-Trump candidate in order to get—to be able to run against the Trump candidate. So I think there are signs. That’s kind of a long way of getting to I think there are signs within the Republican Party. And you saw this in some other areas as well. You saw it in Maryland where the Democratic Party, the various Democratic entities were supportive of the—in one way or another, supportive of a Trump candidate getting the nomination because, you know, politics—you knew that person is easier to run against. I don’t think we’re there yet, though, on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, I think it’s a little bit tougher. It is, I think, hard to see a Democratic Party that doesn’t continue moving leftward, and you—I think that Joe Biden, although he ran very much as sort of a moderate, uniting figure, that governance has not really been that way. And I think that he is having to cater to his left flank pretty often. So he has sort of become an outsider, I think, within the base of the Democratic Party, and I see that as continuing to be a rising force within the Democratic Party. Younger voters, if you look at polling, tend to be more supportive of the issue set of sort of the hard left, and the sort of Democratic Party of prior administrations. If you look at sort of some of the economic policy, you look at some of the former Treasury secretaries, for example, in the Democratic Party; their style of sort of governance, their style of managing the economy, that kind of thing, are going away in favor of a more left-trending line. So I think there are signs of hope on the Republican side—small signs—of getting sort of out of the Trump era. But I think the Democratic Party is probably, for the next several years, going to continue to trend leftward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. A question from Todd Barry, who is an adjunct professor at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey. What is the likelihood that Republicans, in control of Congress, would cut off funding for Ukraine, and that this would lead to a peace agreement? TUTTLE: Great question. I actually think—and this speaks to my bipartisanship question in terms of Russia-Ukraine. You are seeing signs among some of the sort of harder right members of Congress to pull funding from Ukraine and not support—not continue to support Ukraine. They are not within sort of the mainstream foreign policy leaders within the—with the Republican Party. I don’t think they are going to get much in the way of traction. If you look at those who are really sort of foreign policy leaders within the party and have influence on sort of the party—the party leadership in the House and in the Senate, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Mitch McConnell, I think, is committed to continuing funding for Ukraine. Jim Risch—there was just a hearing this morning where he’s the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—is all in favor of continuing to support Ukraine. And like I said, foreign policy leaders in the House—folks like Mike Gallagher—very much are supportive of continued funding for Ukraine. So I think there are signs of that, but I think it’s premature to think that there is going to be any massive erosion of Republican support for Ukraine and continuing to stick it to Russia. That’s an excellent question. FASKIANOS: Great. Next question, I’m going to go Isaac Alston-Voyticky, who is a graduate student at CUNY School of Law. Q: Hello. So I already—I already had my introduction. My question is how do you feel the delegitimization of election results immediately prior to and during the election process will have an effect on election turnout for the two major political parties in the upcoming midterms as well as the current tertiary parties? TUTTLE: So give me a little bit more on that. Q: So a good example was the—in California, probably the most prominent one. He called it like twenty-four hours that he was—that he—because he knew he was going to lose, so he said, oh, the election result, it was fake, right? Obviously, this is, you know, like a fraudulent election, and the—the tempo out there is that when that happens on a consistent basis, it effects the electoral—kind of election results because like in turnout it says, well, if it’s already fraud, why am I going? TUTTLE: Yeah, yeah. So I think it remains to be seen, Isaac. I don’t know that there’s a—and we’ll need some empirical data, I think, to really be able to judge that. I will say that there is a lot more absentee, and a lot more early voting than there has been in the past. That certainly weighs in favor of it having a lesser effect. But without empirical data, it’s hard to know. Those are individual decisions that people are going to—to be making, and I would hesitate to sort of weigh in on that without a closer look at—a closer specific look at that dynamic. FASKIANOS: Great. So we have a written question from Mike Nelson who is an affiliate adjunct professor at Georgetown University who is noting that digital technologies have transformed our elections over the past fifteen years. Obama beat Hillary by using MeetUp to organize at the grassroots. Trump weaponized Twitter. Biden used Zoom from his basement. (Laughs.) I like that characterization. And what’s new this year, do you think? What will it be? Will it be disinformation? TV—will TV be a critical factor? Are you hearing anything on that front? TUTTLE: I’m not—not specifically. I mean, TV is always a critical factor in elections. I think that you can look at—I remember looking at polling numbers for various members of Congress I’ve worked for, and you can actually see, if we do a line, of when they went up on TV and the numbers go way up. So I think TV continues to be powerful. And I think social media—that’s probably, I’m guessing—the trend of the line is downward for TV; more for various social media—type stuff that you mentioned. I don’t know that there is anything particularly new for the midterms, but social media is always evolving. It’s always seemingly gaining more and more influence, but it’s also becoming more diffuse. So the platform of yesterday is no longer the platform of today because it has been—you know, there are two or three more platforms. So I’m not aware of anything particularly new. You may be, and I’d be happy to talk about that. But I don’t have any sense of what sort of the new thing is, the thing that we’re going to refer to as sort of the big thing in 2022—what was able to move a particular election. And I think 2024, it remains to be seen. It’s possible that there is a social media platform out there that I haven’t heard of that may actually be the next big thing. And right now, it’s not much, but two years from now it might be the next big thing. FASKIANOS: Right. Is there concern about interference from Russia, China in the midterms? TUTTLE: There’s always concern about that. We have, I think, done a reasonably good job with our intelligence agencies, with different efforts that have been undertaken to protect our elections. It’s still tough, though, because you have elections that are administered not just at the state level, but at the local level. Now that makes it tough for us to sort of harden our targets because they are so diffuse. But it also makes it harder for the other side because the targets are so diffuse. But I think that’s always a concern. It will continue to be a concern, and it’s not just Russia and China; it’s the Iranians, the North Koreans. There are any number of state threats out there, and if you put a state threat up against a county clerk in Wausau County, Wisconsin, that is—or Marathon County, Wisconsin—excuse me—that’s pretty asymmetric. The question is whether or not they can do that wholesale, and the question also is how much are we digitalized, and how much do we rely on internet for our elections. And that is why paper ballots are still important because they are really hard to—they are really hard to mess with if you are a state actor. So I think those are critical questions and one that our intelligence agencies and FBI, and others, and state officials in particular are—and state and county officials are looking at very carefully and working hard to harden themselves against potential attacks. FASKIANOS: Thanks. I’m going to go next to Fordham University. I don’t know who has the raised hand, so please announce yourself. Q: Yes, good afternoon. My name is Javier Mendez. I’m from Fordham University. I’m a first-year undergraduate studying business administration. And my question would be regarding the impact that the natural disasters had on the Caribbean Basin, for example Hurricane Fiona’s devastation in Puerto Rico—and the subsequent congressional debates regarding an amendment to the Jones Act, and the near future of—twelve hours—Hurricane Ian’s impact on the west coast of Florida, and the subsequent government reaction to that devastation. How would that affect the results of the upcoming midterms, specifically in these states and regions where the Hispanic population is so great and they tend to—(inaudible)? TUTTLE: Right. So the question is how will the—the more specific question or the more current question is what effect might the natural disaster that’s heading toward Florida right now have on the midterms? Q: Yes, and—between that and the debate regarding an amendment to the Jones Act stemming from Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. TUTTLE: OK. So on the hurricane that’s heading toward Florida right now, I think that, obviously, the response is going to be critical. We saw the reaction during the hurricane that hit New Orleans back in 2005 that that provoked a lot of sort of—that provoked people to take action politically—basically saying the Bush administration had mishandled it. The story was a lot more complicated than that; I mean, any federal disaster is going to be the responsibility of the federal government, but primarily the state and local governments. But I think that if it is perceived as being mishandled, and there is sort of a blame game on what happens there, it could potentially have some marginal impact on the midterm elections. I’m not as familiar with the Puerto Rico case, so I’m a little reluctant to weigh in on that and the Jones Act. But I’d be happy to look into it if you wanted to send me a note. My email is on the CFR website. I’d be happy to look into it further. But I’m sorry that I don’t have a great answer for you at the moment. FASKIANOS: But I would note that we are seeing cooperation between—at the federal and obviously the state and local level with President Biden and Governor DeSantis. I think that they are working together on this issue. TUTTLE: Yeah, it appears—it appears that way, so, that will—but if things really go south, sometimes the blame game commences, and you could see some potential political conflict come from that. FASKIANOS: Yes. So the next written question from Hannah-Grace Henson, who is an undergrad student at Drexel. If the Supreme Court rules that election results can be overturned by state electors, what do you see happening during the next presidential election in 2024? TUTTLE: Good question. (Pause.) I think it is—it’s an—it’s an open question. The answer is I don’t know. I think that over the past—even during the Trump period when it came down to it, there weren’t state officials who were willing to bite the bullet and send forward electors who were not reflective of the popular vote. I think that is likely to hold with maybe an anomaly or two, but I don’t—from my vantage point, I don’t see state officials who will be willing to do that. Trump—the Trump in 2020 worked mightily on state officials to do so, and they did not. And when they didn’t, Trump and his supporters tried to put forth slates of alternate electors. That’s one of the things that is addressed in the Electoral Count Reform Act and the legislation that’s moving through the House. But I actually am not as worried about that as some. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Arjun Chawla. Please pronounce your name for us since I did not do so correctly. Q: So are you able to hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. TUTTLE: Yes. Q: Thank you both for the time. My name is Arjun Chawla. I’m a graduate student at Georgetown University. My question is I’d love to get your thoughts on—and if you look back at 2016, there was potential for an interference in the United States presidential election, and then ahead to the 2020 presidential election, there was potential news coming out about Hunter Biden, and that was not announced until after the election if—whatever those investigation findings were. Now coming up to the midterms—still this is not a presidential election—there is the lawsuit against—well, New York against Trump as well as the January 6 hearing going on. I’m curious. I know this is not a presidential election but in regards to the midterm, what effects do you think both of these events would have on the midterms? TUTTLE: Yeah, so on the Hunter Biden stuff and—wait, what was the second you mentioned? Q: The Trump lawsuit from New York— TUTTLE: You’re talking about the lawsuits as well as the January 6. Q: And the—sorry, and the— FASKIANOS: Right, the New York State— Q: Correct, in relation— TUTTLE: The Letitia James, right, yeah. Q: Exactly. Ahead of the midterms. TUTTLE: So, yeah. So I think that it may have some marginal impact, but I don’t think—I think a lot of the people who are voting in midterm elections have already sort of—are already part of a camp, OK? So if you are part of the Republican camp, you are seeing this Hunter Biden stuff, and it may intensify your feelings about how this wasn’t reported, and you are concerned about what’s on the laptop. If you are part of the Democratic camp, you see the January 6 stuff, and you see the January 6 committee hearings as well as the Letitia James actions up in New York, and you are already in that Democratic camp, and it may harden—it may intensify your feelings. How much effect that actually has on the independent voters that vote in midterms, and they’re typically—it’s typically a smaller number than would vote in a presidential election, I think it’s hard to say. I think that of those three, I think the January 6 committee, for those who are paying attention to it and to news surrounding it, is probably the most persuasive in terms of changing your opinion, one way or another. But it may have just changed your opinion on Trump. And part of the effectiveness of those hearings was you had a lot of people testifying who were long-term Republicans who had been staff for Donald Trump. And so it wasn’t necessarily—it was harder to make the case that this was entirely cooked up by the Democratic Party because you did have all these Republicans testify. So the question is, how much January 6—the January 6 committee and their actions might actually be able to steer independent voters? I think it remains to be seen. I think the numbers are probably fairly small. Q: Thank you. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Mark Diamond, who’s a senior lecturer at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Do you see any shifts in voting patterns of faith-based communities such as Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslim-Americans, and others? TUTTLE: What were the groups? FASKIANOS: I think— Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, Muslim-Americans, and others, so really just faith-based communities. I think those were examples. TUTTLE: Yeah. I have not seen numbers on this. My guess is of those groups the one most likely in a midterm to shift a bit I think may be the Evangelicals. I think that there are some probably—like I said, I don’t have polling numbers on this, but anecdotally speaking, I think that Evangelicals in some cases have been increasingly skeptical of Trump and I think everybody on my side of the aisle—I was a longtime Republican staffer—were quite surprised when the Evangelical community turned out pretty strongly for Trump. So the question is, is that population moving? My guess is there are signs of that. And the other question is, does it affect their vote in midterm elections? I think probably in a lot of cases—Trump is not on the ballot and Evangelicals tend to vote pretty widely for Republicans, so they’re going to probably continue to vote for Republicans. So I don’t think it’s going to necessarily change their voting patterns during a midterm election, but I could see potentially some shifts when it comes to a general election and a primary in two years, for the Republican presidential primary. FASKIANOS: Great. I’m going to go to Derek Kubacki. TUTTLE: Hey, Derek. Q: Good afternoon, sir. How are you doing? TUTTLE: I’m OK. How are you? Q: All righty. Derek Kubacki, academic adviser at UTSA, coming back for another master’s as well, in global affairs this time around. Question is—it goes back to—it’s not necessarily with the midterms themselves but it goes back to what you talked about with the Electoral Count Act that they’re looking at doing. The House side include provisions for up to one-third of both chambers. The Senate bill is one-fifth, or essentially twenty senators. When we look at the likelihood of any potential challenge to a future election, which could conceivably come from either side of the spectrum, are those numbers really worthwhile? Do they really mean a thing when you’re going to have some sort of majority that’s going to be able to hit that threshold—I believe it’s eighty-seven in the House and twenty in the Senate—or is this simply just a speed bump or—to potentially looking for an amendment to the Constitution to outright abolish the Electoral College? TUTTLE: Yeah. So I think that changing the Electoral College, for a wide variety of reasons, is not in the cards, so I would set that aside. I will say that the House version does have that higher threshold of one-third; the Senate has a one-fifth threshold. I don’t have any inside information on this but they knew that they were going to have to go to a conference committee and it’s awfully convenient—(laughs)—that there’s one-fifth and there’s one-third; meeting in the middle might mean a quarter, OK? So I think that it’s going to be enormously challenging. I don’t think it’s a speed bump, but I think it’s going to be very challenging to get those kinds of numbers to object to the certification of a state’s results. There was only—basically there were two objections I think that were raised—I think it was Arizona and Georgia in 2021—and the pressure was huge. You saw it—you’ve seen different efforts both in the House and in the Senate to object, but they haven’t been able to find a partner, and that’s just with one to one. The last time I think was Barbara Boxer who objected to Ohio’s results and she had a variety of Democrats in the House who were willing to go along with that. But I think that’s a—it’s a pretty heavy threshold. I think it’s much more—even at a quarter, it’s a pretty high threshold, and I don’t think you get there. I think it makes it significantly more difficult to object. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to take another question from Todd Barry on—again, from Hudson County Community College. Will the Republicans craft a stimulus bill for the economy? TUTTLE: Unlikely. It remains to be seen what’s going to happen with the economy generally, if we are going to tip further into a recession. Now I know there’s a question about whether or not we’re actually in a recession. Traditionally, the definition has been two consecutive quarters—the traditional shorthand definition has been two consecutive quarters with negative economic growth, but I think it remains to be seen how much the economy is going to slow down based on the Fed’s necessary actions to curb inflation. With inflation numbers being what they are, and with Republicans having stated over and over and over again that the COVID stimulus was—and not just Republicans; some Democrats too saying that COVID stimulus was actually enormously problematic in terms of the current inflation picture. I think it’s going to be pretty challenging for Republicans to say we need economic stimulus. Inflation is still, I believe, above 8 percent. It’s hard to see how Republicans who are big believers that additional government spending can be inflationary, it’s hard to see them being supportive of some sort of stimulus package. FASKIANOS: So we are almost out of time, Chris, and I just wanted to draw upon your time working in the Senate. You mentioned that it’s unlikely for much to get done with the filibuster in place. Can you talk a little bit, from your perspective having been there, how important it is to have that sixty-vote threshold, and just having worked there back in the teens and now we’re in the 2020s, just the comparison of where we are now—(laughs)—and life in Congress from a staffer perspective, and any advice you want to give to students about public service, given this partisan environment that we’re in. (Laughs.) TUTTLE: Sure. Well, we have two minutes so I think on the filibuster, the filibuster is a long story, but if you want to take a short snippet of that long story: In 2005, it was Republicans who wanted to get rid of the filibuster in order to get federal judges through, and then in—and that was stopped; there was a bipartisan gang that stopped that effort. In 2013, Harry Reid, because Democratic judges weren’t getting through, actually did away with the filibuster for those judges, and then in 2017, Mitch McConnell, previously a strong supporter of the filibuster—Harry Reid had previously been a strong supporter of the filibuster—changed it for Supreme Court nominees. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans changed it for Supreme Court nominees. And now we’ve got—and during the Trump administration he was constantly calling up Mitch McConnell saying, why can’t you get rid of the legislative filibuster? I want to get things done. So the rogues’ gallery of people who had been supportive or opposed the filibuster over time has changed based largely on who happens to be in power. I would say that I think the filibuster is an enormously important and positive thing for the country; a lot of people disagree with me. But I think that it is important to consider that we right now have a country that’s roughly split fifty-fifty and if you start passing legislation wholesale that 50 percent of the country disagrees with firmly and then it switches to a new Senate and that legislation is then repealed and different legislation is put in, we’re going to be whipsawed not just in terms of what laws are on the books but also you’ll have the other half of the country dissatisfied with something that’s being passed. So I think it’s an important moderating influence. I think that a lot of my Democratic friends would have preferred that the filibuster still be in place when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated. So I think that the filibuster—it’s a really important part of moderating the actions of government to have more consistency and more incremental change, which ultimately turns out to be more durable and easier to live under for the American people. And I think we’re out of time but I’d be happy to talk a little bit about Washington careers. FASKIANOS: Just give us a couple minutes on Washington careers. TUTTLE: Sure. So I would say, in terms of Washington careers, they can be enormously helpful, enormously beneficial not just for you but for the United States. And I think one of the best places to start—and I’m, of course, biased—is in Congress because Congress forces you to work together with folks from the other side. And I don’t think there’s enough of that in our culture these days. There’s not enough—there are not enough Democrats with Republican friends, there are not enough Republicans with Democratic friends. You’re forced in Congress to know people and work with people from the other side. The other thing is you’re also forced in Congress to deal with people from all over and—I mean your constituents. So if you work for a member of Congress in a good office, the single most important stakeholder, the single most important person is your customer, the constituent. And being in a congressional office and talking to people who are living their lives is really important for connecting our government to the American people. It doesn’t sound glamorous to be sitting on the phone listening to somebody tell you about how their Social Security check was $24 short last month and can you help them, but it gives you a really good perspective on why democratic governance is so important. So I would encourage those of you—you have a small window to work on Capitol Hill. Nobody wants to be a thirty-year-old, thirty-five-year-old staff assistant answering phones and writing constituent mail. So you have a narrow window between sort of college graduation, maybe twenty-six, twenty-seven, to get your start on the Hill. So I’d encourage you to take a look at that as a career path. FASKIANOS: Wonderful. Well, I’m sorry we went over a few minutes, but I wanted to close with that, give some people some career advice. So, Chris Tuttle, thank you very much for this hour, and to all of you for your questions and comments. We put in the chat there the link to the landing page for Renewing America; it’s, and the Twitter is at @RenewingAmerica. So you should follow the work that Chris is doing there on the very important nine pillars of what we need to focus on here at home. And again, I hope you will join us for our next academic webinar on Wednesday, October 12, at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) with Mary Elise Sarotte, who is the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Distinguished Professor of Historical Studies at Johns Hopkins, on Russia’s global influence. You can also follow us @CFR_Academic. Visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Again, Chris Tuttle, thank you very much for this conversation; we really appreciate it. TUTTLE: Thanks, Irina. Always a pleasure. Good luck to everyone. FASKIANOS: Thank you. (END)
  • Climate Change

    Adil Najam, professor and dean emeritus of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, leads the conversation on climate justice. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Welcome to today’s session of the Fall 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, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Adil Najam with us to talk about climate justice. Dr. Najam is professor of international relations and Earth and environment and dean emeritus of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. Previously he served as vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan, and as a director of the Boston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. He has also taught at MIT and Tufts University and served on the UN Committee on Development and on Pakistan’s Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs. Dr. Najam was a coauthor for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, and has served on various boards and written over a hundred scholarly papers and book chapters. So, Dr. Najam, thank you for being with us today to talk about this very important topic. Can you talk a little bit about what climate justice is, and why it is so important for international relations? NAJAM: Thank you. Thank you, Irina. It’s wonderful to be here. It’s wonderful to see a lot of participants here. So I’m looking forward to this conversation. I want to just maybe sort of frame a few ideas in the next ten, fifteen minutes on global climate justice. And I purposely added the “global” to it. I am very happy, and I hope we will have a discussion also and questions on domestic climate justice, because climate justice is not simply a global issue. It is a live issue in many countries—all countries, actually, including in the United States. I want to focus on the global aspect partly because I think we in recent years don’t focus enough on it, and because I think it’s about to hit the ceiling. I think we will hear a lot about it in the coming months in this year and going forward, including because of Pakistan, which is where I’m from and where I was literally sort of two days ago. And this background you see behind me is Lahore University of Management Sciences. And I say that because of the massive floods that you and your viewers have been reading about. In many ways, that has brought not only for Pakistan but for the world this issue of global climate justice back into focus, as the UN secretary-general came to Pakistan, and all that. If you allow me to just share a few slides to say a bit about what climate justice is, I’m hoping you see a black screen now, and you see my name sort of coming up. If people are seeing that and they are seeing my slides. I won’t go into the details of sort of who I am. You have done that. But I wanted to use this to contextualize a couple of questions around this. And the first one of this is about what I was just saying, which is we are beginning to sort to think again about what the climate is telling us. Not want we want from the climate, but we are now at a point in climate change reality where the climate is giving us signals, and it is giving us signals about justice. The second is, just to raise a few questions and thoughts about what I call the age of adaptation, which essentially—I’m assuming all your viewers know the difference between mitigation and adaptation. We have been fixated, as we should have been, about mitigation, which is what can we do to keep climate change from happening. The fact is, we have failed. The fact is, we are now in what I call the age of adaptation where, at least by my calculation, about 2.5 billion—2 ½ billion people—are now having to adapt to global climate change, including, for example, the thirty million Pakistanis who were displaced in these recent floods. And what that means for climate justice is that in the age of climate adaptation, justice becomes much more of an issue. Because let’s just put it up there to think about what that means as individual countries, beginning developing countries now, the impacts are happening on the people who have very little and sometimes nothing to do with causing the problem. And then the argument becomes, well, you have a fingerprint. You live in Boston. You have been emitting many times more than, for example, your brother living in Pakistan. And yet, the impacts there are happening to people who have got nothing to do with it, and that’s the justice argument, right? And that leads to what we call sort of talks of reparation. That leads to loss and damage, which is a language that you hear a lot about. And finally, this question of why is climate now and in the future essentially a justice issue? And I would add, you know, essentially is the key thing that I mention there. It is good to see people on Zoom, though Zoom is not essentially my favorite medium. I think the only good thing it does is we can change our backgrounds. That was me teaching my class on sustainable development last year. But that’s not the point. The point I want to come to about climate justice is the following: That, as I said, we are coming to a head. I think you have done this literally at the point when we are coming to a head. And the reason we are coming to a head is, A, the age of adaptation I talked about and, B, sort of where we are in this post-Paris, the climate agreement, world. And there were two essential things that came out of that. One was this number. And if you count the zeros there, I don’t know how many of the people sort of, find it easy when there are that many zeros, but that’s 100 billion. That’s the number that came out of Paris, saying that’s the amount that will be invested in developing countries in particular, per year, on climate adaptation as well as mitigation. I’ll only put the point out there, why this is a climate issue. It hasn’t materialized. The last couple of climate negotiations were entirely about that. And therefore, you have a lot of countries that are now beginning to face the impacts saying: We in good faith went and started doing something about this issue that wasn’t even of our making on this agreement that the world would come together. And the world hasn’t come together. The reality of climate is even more stark. These two numbers that you’re all familiar with, 1.5 and two (degrees). The fact of the matter is, I know of no science at this point where 1.5 (degrees) can actually be achieved. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong. I think we cling to the hope, but just from a reality perspective 1.5 (degrees) is nearly out of the game. And two (degrees) may be very closely coming to the game. And that is making a lot of countries very scared. If you remember why 1.5 (degrees) came, it is that Paris actually wanted a two-degree target. And then the small, especially island, states said: By two degrees we aren’t there. It’s existential for us. We are underwater, or nearly underwater. So what I’m trying to set up here is that there’s a moment that we are in global affairs where this issue of climate justice is just boiling. If I—if you will allow me just a bit—you know, we often talk about 2020 because of COVID as a year like no other. Let me remind us what else was happening other than COVID in that year. Why it was really a year like no other. January 2020, hottest January ever—ever recorded since we started recording. February, second hottest ever recorded. March, second hottest. April, second hottest ever. May, hottest ever. You see the pattern here, right? And you remember seeing these. You might have tweeted about it. By July, no one was tweeting about it because the cat was more interesting—the dancing cat. And we had started getting used to this, you know, just barrage of climate data coming every month. Eight out of those twelve, as far as I can tell, records have been broken since then. Why am I putting this as climate justice? Again, you have a lot of places in the world—floods in Pakistan being one, heat in India being another, floods in Bangladesh being another—all across the world who are now seeing that impact in the age of adaptation. I’ll give you just two very quick other pictures, and then come to the climate—sort of, you know, open up very soon. And why I mean—why I state that we are in the age of adaptation, right? I hope people can see this. I some years ago decided I’m not going to put future data on climate. This is recorded, past data for every month ever since we started keeping climate records. So this is not about what will happen. This is about what has happened. And this ends around 2016. You can take it to 2022 now. And it starts touching 1.5 (degrees) even more. Touching 1.5 (degrees) doesn’t really mean that the barrier has been crossed because sort of, you know, that’s the way sort of it’s counted. But you see the pattern again. And you see, again, for a lot of countries—and it’s not just countries. For the poorest people in the countries. This is true about the Pakistan floods, for example. If you look at the floods, it’s not the affluent in Pakistan whose homes get sort of blown away. It is the poorest. So essentially what we are seeing is that the poorest people, the most vulnerable people around the world, are paying the cost of our inaction—my inaction, other—(inaudible)—inaction, right? Now, you might be saying, that’s fine, but I don’t live on the planet. I live in a particular place. So choose your place. Same data. For every point on Earth that we have data for, ever since we have data on climate. So what I’m trying to say is the age of adaptation is here. Just look at that picture. Choose the place you are interested in, and you start seeing that pattern. And if we are in the age of adaptation, once people start seeing impacts, right, they’re starting to see impacts. As soon as you start seeing impacts, you start demanding a very different sort of action. And that’s where—that’s where climate justice comes. Let me show a quick map. This is actually an old map, 2014. But the interesting thing—the reason I still use is it’s from Standard & Poor’s. It’s from a rating agency of risk. And if you look at that map, and you look at the red countries where the impacts are the most immediate, and you start thinking about where the emissions are coming from, this tells you what the climate justice argument globally is. One very last—one very last point, and then I move to you. That while it is a global issue, it is also a domestic issue. And again, we think of climate justice by linking it to other justice issues, as we should. I’m only putting one picture here. What happened in the age of adaptation that makes it a justice issue? One of the things that happens is it immediately changes from an energy issue—a primarily energy issue, to a predominantly water issue. When you’re thinking about mitigation, right—mostly when we talk about the climate, we talk about how we can reduce emissions. And as soon as you talk emissions, you’re essentially talking energy. You’re essentially carbon management, right? You’re bringing down carbon emission. Most of them are in energy. And therefore, a lot of our policy is about that. As soon as you start talking age of adaptation, a lot of it is about water. What do I mean by that? Think about impacts. When you think about what’s happened, not just in Pakistan. I’m using the Pakistan example because I’ve just come from there but think about wherever you are. A lot of the immediate impacts are about water. Water rises, sea-level rise. Water melts, glaciers. Water disappears, drought. Water falls from the sky like no one’s business, extreme events. That’s what a flood looks like in a country like Pakistan, but it’s not just Pakistan. It’s many other countries. And again, if it becomes water, it immediately becomes something that affects the poorest people, the most vulnerable people, the most marginalized people, and those who have historically been least responsible. To give you just a picture of what a flood like this means in Pakistan, this is from 2010. But if you look at that blue squiggle, that’s the area covered by the flood. That blue, the dark blue and light blue, is the severe and very severe. I put that on a map to scale of the U.S. to give a sense of what is covered like what you see in that picture. It’s up from Vermont down to Florida. I put it on the map of Japan, it covers the whole country. I put it on a map of Europe, Denmark to France. And the point of that is now you are in this moment that I’m talking about where it becomes a justice issue because within developing countries there is this immense pressure of climate being see as a reality, right? And that pressure then starts pushing domestic politics, and domestic politics start pushing international politics. So that’s my context of climate justice, as we see it. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much for that sobering overview. And I think the slides that you showed really bring it to life and make it so much—you see it really so starkly. So thank you for that. So now we want to go to all of you for your questions. (Gives queuing instructions.) So now I’m just going to go to questions and see—we have several raised hands. OK. So I’m going to take the first question from Fordham University. I don’t know who’s asking the question, so please let us know who you are. Q: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for the discussion. My name is (inaudible), representing the International Political and Economic Development—I’m part of that program. And my question is just in regards to what we’re currently seeing. So I’m originally from South Africa and the just transition was a very topical point when it came to climate change and climate adaptation. And there was a push for the emerging markets to actually adopt renewable energy, moving away from coal. However, we see that recently, with the Russian and Ukrainian war, there has been an increase in demand and exports from Africa to the northern regions for coal. And you see that certain regions, such as Germany, has started powering up their coal-powered station, due to the lack of energy that they’ll see from the Russian nation. So my question is, what is the impact of what we see with this event being the war, and the impact on the increase in coal? And what does this mean for climate adaptation? Especially from regions from Europe, where African regions will be looking to them to actually see them adapting this change in climate and energy, I guess. NAJAM: Irina, do you want to take a few questions and then come back, or? Whichever way you want. FASKIANOS: I think we should just go—let’s go through them one at a time. NAJAM: Sure. Sure. Thank you for that question. It has many layers. I’ll pick up on a few. And the first one is that you are exactly right. In a world that is crisis prone, in a world that is turbulent—we saw that with COVID, we are seeing that with the economic turmoil of COVID that still continues in all sorts of ways, and we’ve seen that with the war in Ukraine—climate comes as this sort of—you know, we used to say climate is a threat multiplier. And now I think climate is the threat, and everything else is multiplied. And so we should expect that climate is going to be exacerbated by all these other things, and these other things are going to be exacerbated by climate. So what you are talking about in terms of energy is one issue, but as I talked to my friends in Africa, it is not just energy. Food, for example, is going to be hit equally hard. So in terms of energy, in terms of the Ukraine war, we see that not just in Africa but in other parts of the world. We see it in some places in coal. We see it all places in oil prices. But what is—what is hitting Africa particularly hard, for example, is food. Now, what does that have to do with climate adaptation? What it has to do with climate adaptation is that it comes at a time when the stress on food production—because, for example, water stress is already there, right? So that’s the multiplier thing. One of the most difficult things I find in my work for policymakers is that they want clarity. And I keep telling them, there isn’t clarity. There isn’t going to be clarity. This is why the floods, for example, were important. Immediately the question is, but how do we know this is because of climate? We’ve had floods before, right? Or we have had droughts before. And what is now becoming increasingly clear is it’s not like climate is going to give you a new set of issues. It is going to take the issues and do two things. One, the magnitude increases. And two, the frequency goes berserk, because whatever you thought was a twenty-year flood or a fifteen-year drought, now you have no way of doing it. And that creates an uncertainty for developing countries. But the justice question really—the justice question is that whose fingerprint is on it? And that’s the one that I would say you should keep—it is not going to be made for good politics. What I say is coming, I am very scared, because the politics it leads to is the politics of division. Till now we’ve had the politics on climate mostly—you know, even if it’s ineffective—it’s about mostly in the form of let’s all come together, it’s a common problem. What you saw in these floods—and the reason I keep mentioning it—one important thing is the UN secretary-general goes to Pakistan and for the first time clearly says: This is because of climate. That means, you know, this is coming from the top. You hear it at the top, and that is going to lead to a divisive politics. FASKIANOS: So there’s a written question from Mark Hallim, who’s a doctoral student, global security student, at the American Military University. How can climate change be achieved without leadership, political will, and development by nation-state leaders? NAJAM: (Laughs.) Not easily. Not easily. (Laughter.) Not easily. The fact, Mark, you said, right? FASKIANOS: Mark, yes. NAJAM: Mark. The fact, Mark, is that we have been kicking this one down the road. And that’s why we are confronting it. Till now—you know, I’ve been on this thing for at least thirty years. I was at Rio in 1992. I’ve been following the climate for nearly at every COP, at least until Copenhagen. And it’s not that the issue is new. We knew this from the beginning. The hope, the hope—because those of us who work on climate are essentially optimists. We want this problem to be licked. The hope was that we won’t come to the age of adaptation. The hope was that we would do enough on mitigation, right? What is adaptation? It’s the failure of mitigation. We would do enough that we wouldn’t come to this point of finger pointing. And therefore, it is going to become more and more difficult. Now, interestingly, again, if—the most important thing that’s happened in climate justice, to answer your question, this last week—I still haven’t read the exact document. But for the first time a country, in this case Denmark, has said that they are going to acknowledge the principle of loss and damage. Now, this is huge. For those of us who study—so, I’m assuming all of our audience are people who study this. Loss and damage, what’s loss and damage? You know, it’s just words. But it is more than words, if you take it seriously. Loss and damage means that if there is loss to someone or damage to someone, those who are responsible for it will somehow pay for it. We don’t do international relations like that. There are nearly no other areas in which we have things like that. I think what Denmark is trying, to answer Mark’s question, is saying: Let us restart, rethinking how we do climate assistance and climate aid, to address loss and damage. The challenge—the reason I’m scared about this is, imagine—you know, not even imagine. You don’t have to imagine. Just remember what happened in the summer. You had about twenty countries that had potentially climatically induced massive events—whether they were of heat, whether they were of fire, whether they were of drought, right? You get a planet where you see more and more of these things happening. It is not just the appetite for assistance. It is simply the capacity for assistance that will go. One last line, because I want to hear from others. And at the same time you have climate justice issues within developing countries, right? Now you have to choose between climate justice within the U.S. and countries elsewhere also pushing. That is why I’m insisting that it doesn’t make for pretty politics. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Isaac Alston-Voyticky, who has raised your hand. Q: Thank you very much. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. NAJAM: Yes. Q: Great. So I’m actually a CUNY law student. And I am working on kind of the intersection between technology and environmental change. And I have kind of a combination question. First, what are your predictions for the combination of sea level rise and tides for mean higher high-water levels? For example, can we predict that higher sea level will actually have an effect on tidal highs and lows outside of the traditional modeling? And then, as a follow up to that, are there any models or maps out there which illustrate combination climate data. One of the most annoying things I find in my research is that, for example, NOAA’s sea level rise and tidal flooding can’t be compounded on its interactive map. They don’t show what will happen when sea level rises and tides also happen. So I don’t know if there’s anything out there. NAJAM: Isaac, I’ll be honest. I don’t know the answer to that, to the technical part of that. But the question is very, very good from a policy side. And I’m particularly happy that you’re coming from a law direction to this. So what policymakers often want, and they are also disturbed, just like you are, they want clear answers, right? I’ve been working on this for years. And they say, well, tell us what climate will do to my agriculture. I say, I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I could tell you it will be ten times worse, this or that. Because then at least you would have something to plan with. The thing about climate change is not just the climate, it is the change. What makes it scary is that we don’t know what the change will be. But let me—let me, in not answering your question—not knowing the answer to the technical part—I have not seen those maps either. And I do not know what the combination is. There are many people I know who are as worried about that combination as you are, particularly in small island states. Because what people are realizing is that it’s not going to be one thing at one time. You get here, and you get hit there, and then you get hit in the face again, right? And again, just because of what—where I’m coming from, I’ll give you the Pakistan example. These floods that you’ve been hearing about, actually, the flood isn’t that bad. Pakistan is used to floods, and it isn’t that bad. Something happened there which was in some ways synonymous to what you are talking about. What happened is that six weeks before the floods, there was massive heat and near drought, which means you essentially get a clay soil, right, that has been totally depleted. Three weeks before what we call the floods, there was massive rain—monsoon which was seven times the expected normal—seven times. And those were the first pictures that came. And again, that is clearly because of climate. Seven times doesn’t happen. You know, and they came. And what that meant was on totally dry land they created this sort of lake effect, the type of picture you saw. And then came a flood which was higher than usual, but would have been manageable. Why am I giving you this example? That’s the one punch, two punch, three punch, much like your tides. Now, if you are a small island country, that’s what you are worried about. You are worried about that even if sea level rise on its own you can deal with in adaptation, you can prepare for. What happens when that happens, and the tidal change happens? It is the uncertainty—what makes climate particularly unpredictable is the uncertainty of what we are seeing, not simply the magnitude of the change. Now, and this is particularly true for sea level rise. I am an optimist still. I think we are a wise enough species, particularly for sea level rise. We are able to change our life patterns and where we live. We have technology in many places to deal with it. But the reason we worry about is not because sort of—you know, it’s not like Hollywood, where New York will be half underwater. I really don’t think that will happen. I think we will get—come to our senses well before that. But it is this one-two-three punch of multiple climatic events happening together. Sorry I don’t have a technical answer to your question, but it is a very good question. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take the next question from Molly O’Brien, who’s at George Mason University. Climate change demonstrates the complex ways in which food, energy, and water are interconnected systems. What are the most promising approaches you’ve seen to addressing climate change from a nexus perspective, rather than addressing distinct aspects of food, energy, and water individually? NAJAM: Thank you for that. I have seen some promising discussion, even if not fully implemented yet. You know, I’ve talked about—and I’m glad you talk about this. So as I’ve talked about this age of adaptation, there is a—I don’t know if it’s an opportunity—but there is—there is a hidden opportunity in that. And the hidden opportunity is that adaptation is essentially development. Show me any adaptation activity, and I will show you a development activity. I’m particularly talking about developing countries. And it is particularly about food, water—in particular about food and water. Food, in many ways, is nature’s way of packaging water. And so that’s—the nexus is the answer. Now, one of the things—I’ll give you one example of work that I had done many years—a few years ago. Again, in Pakistan, where we looked at potential climatic impacts on agriculture. This is a mostly agriculture country. And what we found—we were only looking at certain crops and certain parts of the country. So it’s not for the entire—but still for a country that majorly depends on this. The finding—I may be slightly off on the numbers, but I’m trying to recall—was that yield could go down by about 12 percent, right? Twelve percent is huge, if countries’ economies are depending on something. The interesting thing is not that. As I said, the number may be slightly off, somewhere in that range. What was interesting was that with adaptation interventions, good management, agricultural management, water management, better water use efficiency, better use of various technologies and so on and so forth, there could be a net benefit, even after accounting for climate change. And what that means is that there may be an opportunity around the world, if we take the nexus approach—and this is why sort of moving simply from carbon management to what you’re calling the nexus approach is not only a good answer, it is the only answer. And again, we see this not only in developing countries. We see this as countries think about net zero. I want to come to net zero again, because I’m not fully a fan of it. But the good thing about net zero is that it says: What can we do as a system rather than as a one-point lever on carbon going up and down? So short answer to your question is, what you’re calling the nexus approach is the only approach to adaptation. And in fact, having the most vulnerable countries start focusing on that food-water nexus, rather than only on emissions, is a good thing. You know, Bangladesh can bring its emissions down to zero. World emissions aren’t going to see much of a dent, right? But if Bangladesh starts focusing on food and water, it can make an actual difference on the type of impacts that 200 million people will face. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to take the next question, raised hand, from Evaristus Obinyan. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: Yes. Tell us your affiliation, please. Q: I’m Dr. Evaristus Obinyan. I’m a criminologist. (Laughs.) As you can see, I’m not in the science field, but I’m very interested in this particular issue. I’m a professor at the Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. Now, I—listening to you intently, I thought I heard you say stop it from happening. But after I’ve seen the digitized presentations, I realized that you were—you wanted to use it—it’s sort of happening or deteriorating. Because you are saying that to stop the—this from happening—you know, absolutely, it’s already happening—to stop it from deteriorating. Now, some say, like myself—I said nothing works. This is just the story of the planet. It has to go through this major evolution. How, then, can we stop the deterioration? Maybe, actually, it won’t matter really, or maybe we can use science and technology to manage or attempt to mitigate the natural planet evolution. FASKIANOS: Thank you. NAJAM: I hope I got the gist. I think I did, but if I failed—if I missed something, my apologies. There are two central points I want to pick up from that. I am not as pessimistic as you seem to be. I do think things work. I think—first of all, you’re right. You’re right, what we are seeing is a deterioration. Our efforts to try to mitigate have not yielded. And despite the fact that we have much higher interest in climate, and despite the fact that people sort of want to do the right thing, the fact of the matter is that line about emissions is just going upward, and upward, and upward. So that’s a reality. You are exactly right. But I am not going to extrapolate that into the belief that we can’t do anything. I think we have been reluctant to change lifestyle. And despite the fact—you know, we are an amazing generation. We are—my generation was amongst the first generation in the world which had more food than the world needed. And yet, people were hungry. We have more technology, better science than ever before. And we had more money, and yet people were sleeping poor. So the question is not of the ability to do it. The question is of willingness to do it. I mean, I have—I have faith in our species. I believe that it is a race between human knowledge and human wisdom. I think we have the knowledge to lick the problem, without creating lifestyles that are extremely uncomfortable. I’m not sure we have the wisdom to do it in time. We keep seeing that again. So I’m not willing to give up and say, well, this is inevitable. This is not inevitable. This is a choice. We make the choice. And I hope we can make an alternative choice. Now, the question then is, how will we do that? And I know it’s going to sound glib, I think at least theoretically the answer is what we've had for a number of years, which is sustainable development. But we need to look at this growth model again, that growth for its own sake as a goal keeps too fixated on this constant growth pattern, as opposed to moving towards a lifestyle that is comfortable and yet that doesn’t kill the planet that has given you this amazing sort of set of resources. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. I’m going to take Ivan Ramirez’s question, from the University of Colorado, Denver. And he’s originally from Ecuador. When I think about and discuss climate justice, I focus or relate it to health, existing disparities, and how climate exacerbates inequities. From your perspective, how is health being leveraged in the climate negotiations, as it relates to climate justice? NAJAM: On that last part, unfortunately it’s not. Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s a beautiful question. Thank you very much for asking that. And health is just one of the areas, like many that, you know, the first question pointed out about that, about—from South Africa. This is the nature of not just climate, but of the development. That once one thing goes wrong, there is a cycle of other things unraveling. Again, since today I’ve been talking about floods in Pakistan, right now the biggest issue in Pakistan is actually not water. It is dengue. It is the mosquito. It is health, right? So that is one way in which climate events trigger. The other and more important way to answer this is, you know, you’ve noticed that I talk about ourselves as a species. I hope other people do too. I think it is useful to think of ourselves as a species, amongst many, on this planet. If you think about that, one of the things that happens is you realize we’re not the only species adapting to climate change. That’s why dengue is happening in Pakistan, even in the north, next to the Himalayas. It shouldn’t. It’s a tropical disease. So the mosquito also changes when the climate changes. And that is what’s called vector-borne disease. So amongst the scariest things in the science, and amongst the things that we actually know much less about—because we’ve been focused on carbon—is what is going to happen on vector disease? But just about all climate scientists are worried about if the climate changes, it is not just what happens to humans or, you know, the big sexy species like panda bears and polar bears. But what is going to happen to disease vectors? And disease starts moving to places where it wasn’t endemic. Which means those places are not ready for it. And again, we are still struggling to come out of COVID. Now, COVID wasn’t because of this, but people who study Ebola have been—started worrying about that, that disease vectors move. Dengue is probably amongst the one that is talked about the most, because here is a tropical, maybe equatorial disease, that has been moving upwards, both in South Asia and the Mediterranean. So the health impacts are, in fact, one of those big ones, though they have not been talked about as much as climate change. Which is not to say that people are not interested in it, it is just that we don’t know enough about it. But people are worried about it. The justice issue of all of these things—I don’t want us to lose the justice aspect. The justice aspect essentially comes from the fact that those who are most vulnerable, those who are most likely to see the impacts, are not the ones who are most responsible for creating this. That’s the dynamic that creates that divisive politics of injustice. FASKIANOS: Let me go next to Gary Prevost, who’s raised his hand. And if you could—there we go. Q: Gary Prevost, College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. As I understand it, you’re basically suggesting that the resource allocation in the coming years needs to be much more on the side of adaptation than mitigation, especially in the global south. Does this mean that, say, the $100 billion a year, if it could be achieved, that would be used in the global south would be primarily more traditional development aid for the—in all of the fields that we’ve talked about, and not so much to create green energy in the—in the south? And that in the north it would still continue to be the focus on mitigation, since we’re the ones creating the carbon footprint. Am I understanding your basic argument that way? And then finally, if it is going to be traditional—more traditional development aid, do you think that’s going to make it easier or harder to achieve it politically from the global north countries? NAJAM: Gary, that’s a brilliant question. And you’ve really sort of unwrapped what I’m saying, what I was saying politely you have said more bluntly. And you’ve also highlighted, very, very politely and diplomatically, why it is very, very difficult. So the easiest part of your question is the last part, will it make it easier or more difficult? Clearly, more difficult. Will it even be possible? Probably not. So when I say that’s what—if I think that’s what should happen, that doesn’t mean that I think it will happen. Because we don’t have any models of massive reparations or, you know, international affairs doesn’t work on your fault, you pay me. There isn’t an international environmental court, or any court, that is going to do this. So how is this going to happen, except through goodwill? And at the scale, that goodwill there is no evidence we will be seeing. But let me first come to your question, because your—the way you framed it, which is—which is kind of right. Kind of right. So I do think that going to the old essential principle that no one else talks about these days, but which was part of the original UN agreements on climate, et cetera, which is common but differentiated responsibility. I wish we had taken it more seriously. The idea of common but differentiated responsibility was: Global climate change is all of our responsibility, but it is a differentiated responsibility. Those who have had high emissions already have a high responsibility to bring them down. Those who have low emissions now have a responsibility to try to keep it lower and not go on that same trajectory by using better technology, et cetera. And those who have historical high responsibility for emissions should help create the conditions that whatever impacts happen are not catastrophic. So which meant that all countries should do something, but different countries should do differently. In a way, if you are a developing country person, as I am, one of the arguments that comes to mind, and many people say it out loud, is that the north, if you will, the industrialized countries, have been pushing developing countries to do what they were supposed to do. We aren’t really cutting our emissions that much, but why don’t you do it, Bangladesh? Bangladesh, you do EV policy. Bangladesh, you do solar policy. Or Pakistan. Or Papua New Guinea, or Burkina Faso, or whatever. I do think that it will be better, rather than pushing them only on emissions—because, you know, their emissions aren’t that much—so it is to bend the curve so that their future emissions are restricted, I understand that, right? But it’s not really solving the problem. Now that we have adaptation looming at us, I do think it is the right policy to have countries, especially with large vulnerabilities and large populations, get ready for the hit that is coming, that is already there. I don’t see that easily happening, but I do think that that is the right thing. Now, you have rightly exactly pointed out the argument from my climate friends usually is: But that’s not climate. That’s just development. That’s what they wanted to do anyhow, right? And the argument is, you’re trying to divert our climate money to your traditional development agenda. I understand the argument. I don’t agree with it, because, A, I hope it is not traditional. So let’s take a country that’s not a developing countries, the Netherlands. If there’s any country in the world that is historically prepared for climate impacts, past climate impacts, it is the Netherlands. How did it do that? Infrastructure. So I understand a lot of adaptation investment will be infrastructure. A lot of adaptation expenditure will look like traditional development. But I hope it is not traditional development. I hope it is sustainable development. And you are exactly right. I think one of the reasons we haven’t gone back—(audio break)—that route is because my old friends, people like myself maybe, who come to the climate side look at adaptation as somehow a dilution, even stealing climate money for development. And that is why—Irina has heard me say this before—climate is not, must not be, cannot be seen as the opposite of development. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to combine two written questions from Leda Barnett at Our Lady of the Lake University, who says: You’ve discussed insights on shared governance via COP and the shortcomings of multilateral diplomacy. We should continue that, of course, but do you think approaches like sanctions or smart power would be effective? Are there examples of this being used effectively? And then Diamond Bolden, who’s an undergraduate at Xavier University of Louisiana: U.S. is not impacted as much as other countries. However, we contribute to it. What policy can we implement to progress on environmental justice? Or I guess, she meant to help progress on environmental justice. NAJAM: You know, because of, again, the recent events, I see a lot of anger in a number of developing countries. That’s what I’m trying to bring here that, you know, there’s something growing out there. And a lot of it, you’ve seen that in major newspapers, New York Times, Washington Post, sort of, you know, people from developing countries are writing op-eds about reparations, about—some compare it to slavery and payments have to be made, and all that. Logically, I partly sympathize with that. But I am a realist enough to recognize that’s not how politics happens. So sanctions on who, right? (Laughs.) Are we going to put sanctions on floods? The flood isn’t going to—just because I tell it to stop, going to stop. So I’m sure you don’t mean that. Are we seeing sanctions on rich countries or rich people to pay? That sort of power dynamic, I don’t know any example in history where the weak can impose sanctions on the rich, on the strong. Now, one of the things, by the way no one has pushed me on this. You should. I keep talking north and south, but it’s not just north and south. It’s not rich countries, poor countries. It’s rich people, poor people. The same flood in Pakistan, you know, people ask me, is your family safe? Yes, they are. I come from middle class, affluent enough. The flood impacts the poorest people in Pakistan. And the richest people in Pakistan also have high emissions, right? So it’s not as stark as that. And this goes back to the last part of the second question you asked. Yes, the U.S. has higher emissions but, again, the question that hasn’t come, the U.S. has serious environmental injustice questions of its own. It doesn’t mean that all of the U.S. is equally responsible. And as the climate changes, it is the poorest and most vulnerable in the U.S. who are going to be impacted. Again, the reason I keep saying I am particularly worried about this is as that happens whatever will there might be amongst my U.S. friends to talk about global climate justice, they are going to be distracted immediately by the most real, much more close, much more visible impacts of climate justice within the country. I’ll take a slight detour, Irina, but I think it’s a relevant one. This is from Professor Bullard’s work many, many—thirty years ago. You know, when he used to point out—this is not about climate, but it’s very much related—take a map of the U.S. And on that map, put a pin on wherever a superfund, most hazardous waste dumps are. And what you have just created is a map of the poorest African American communities in the U.S. OK, that’s the environmental justice question here. So just—it hasn’t come up, but I don’t want to sound as if this is simply a north-south issue. Within the south, within the north, and then within the north-south, because climate is not looking at those borders. Those are our creations, not the climate’s. FASKIANOS: Yes. I’m going to take the next question from Keith Baker, who has a raised hand. Q: Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: Hey, yeah. I’m Keith Baker. I work for Dallas College. I teach accounting and finance. One of the things I’ve noticed of the last several years is that rural water systems in the United States are deteriorating at a very rapid rate. As a matter of fact, some ones I’m personally aware of, because I have some friends who work in the education industry for teaching water treatment plant people, is that they’re sending out notices to very large populations of people that says it’s not safe to drink this water. It’s not safe to bathe in this water. Do not get this water in your eyes. Oh, by the way, extended exposure to this water in taking a shower might give you cancer. Now, if that’s happening in rural America, that means that some of the other infrastructure problems that we have, like in the Dallas area where I live where we’ve had these what I call downpours that have increased in intensity in the last several years, where our water runoff system has been overwhelmed. And neighborhoods that are a good hundred feet above the normal floodplains coming from creeks are having waters back up from the storm sewer system being overwhelmed, and starting to see some houses flooded that you would have never seen flooded twenty years ago or thirty years ago. NAJAM: So, Keith, this goes back to my previous point that climate doesn’t discriminate, in this sense. Now, the map I showed there is greater vulnerability in certain parts of the world, but all parts are vulnerable. The distinction also is that if you are in a richer country, you at least theoretically have the ability to deal with it. Like hurricanes, I mean, the same hurricane comes to Haiti and then to Florida. We here in the U.S. have a greater ability to—to just to be able to buy our way out of the impacts. We can build better. We can move people. We have the resources. And therefore, one of the things you always notice about with hurricanes is that when they hit the Caribbean the headlines are about how many lives lost. And when they hit our shores, the headlines are usually about the economic cost of that. That’s a good thing. I hope for every country it’s only an economic loss, right? But you are exactly right, now the—again, from a political point of view, as these things that you are describing in rural America, and some of it very scary from what you say, as that happens countries are going to find it more and more difficult. They’re already not inclined to support other countries for environmental justice, for climate justice. And if the pressure from within their country is higher, they’re going to be less and less inclined. And this relates, for those of you who study geopolitics, not even climate, what that means is that another fault line in a very fractured world appears. So you already have a world, in terms of geopolitics, that seems to be fracturing in various ways, and you have various pulls and pushes. In comes climate, just like we saw in COVID, right, when we thought vaccine diplomacy from different countries. That reaction is also going to exacerbate. But that’s the multiplier. FASKIANOS: So I’m going to take the next question from Jeanie Bukowski, who is at Bradley University, and sitting in now with her undergraduate class. Thirty-four students, science and politics of global climate change. Could you talk a little more about how individuals, especially young people, can take action on climate justice? NAJAM: I hope I’m amongst friends. (Laughs.) I’ll tell you what I tell my students and what I tell my kids. The good news is that we have now the type of—particularly in the U.S., but all across the world, actually—all across the world, all across the world, particularly in the young, there is a very heightened sense that this issue is real and that something has to be done. A lot of that has been channeled at you guys, meaning my generation, haven’t done what you were supposed to do, which is exactly correct. But not enough—as, you know, my grandmother used to say, point one finger at someone and at least three point back at you. Not enough is being spent on what we are doing with our own lifestyle. And I think sort of that—the reason why we keep talking more about it but the graph on actual emissions doesn’t shift we need to interrogate, right? And some of those easy answers don’t really work. So, for example, and I hope I am among friends so I’ll be blunt. It is—it is nice not to have a car and say, OK, because I don’t have a car therefore I don’t have emissions. But if you’re using a lot of Uber, those are your emissions. Those are not the emissions of that car—the Uber driver. When you get UberEats to deliver food, those are not the emissions of the restaurant. Those are your emissions. When I get Amazon packages three times delivered to my home, the world’s statistics might count them as China’s emissions, because something was created in China, but those are my emissions, right? And ultimately, it is this question of lifestyle. And what I was saying earlier about we are—we have the technology. We have the knowledge. I am not sure we have the wisdom. And ultimately, that wisdom will come individually. I do not see scientifically any way—absolutely we are running out of time. I’ll be absolutely blunt. We are still living the dream that somehow I won’t change anything I do, but by corporations doing it or governments doing it there will be a magic wand by which this will be solved. I just do not see the math. And therefore, responsibility does begin with the letter I, me. FASKIANOS: I think that is a perfect place to end this discussion. So thank you for that. Adil Najam, this was a terrific hour. And there are so many questions—good questions and comments, both raised hands and in the Q&A, I regret that we could not get to all of them. But we’ll just have to have you back. So thank you very much. Appreciate it. NAJAM: Thank you for having me. Good luck to the planet, everyone. FASKIANOS: Yes, exactly. We all—we all have to think about the “I” of what we are doing, for sure. The next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday, September 28, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. We are hosting Christopher Tuttle, who is the senior fellow and director of the Renewing America initiative here at CFR. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to follow CFR at @CFR_Academic. And you can visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. Thank you all, again, for being with us today. And we look forward to you joining us again next week on September 28. So thank you, again. And thank you, Dr. Najam, for this hour. NAJAM: Thank you all. (END)
  • West Africa

  • Education

  • Education

    Andrew Gordon, chief executive officer and founder of Diversity Abroad, leads the conversation on the importance of providing equitable access to global education.   CASA: Hello, and welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. 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 made available on our website, if you would like to share them with your colleagues after today. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We are delighted to have Andrew Gordon with us to discuss the importance of providing equitable access to global education. Mr. Gordon is the founder and chief executive officer of Diversity Abroad, an organization focusing on topics pertaining to access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in international education. He works with higher education institutions, nonprofit and for profit organizations, and government agencies for developing strategies for increasing access to international education for diverse, first-generation, and high financial needs students. Mr. Gordon is a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the Association of International Education Administrators, the European Association for International Education, the National Association of Black Accountants, and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. He is an alum of INROADS and the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce. Welcome, Andrew. Thank you very much for speaking with us today. GORDON: It’s great to be here. Thank you. CASA: Can you begin by giving us an overview of what equitable access to global education means and its importance in higher education? GORDON: Yeah. Absolutely. First, just want to say thank you, Maria, for the invitation to speak and to CFR Academic for hosting this session, particularly, this important topic. As I delve into my remarks, I’ll give a little bit of background as to the—where my remarks are going to come from. As Maria mentioned, I founded an organization, Diversity Abroad, that centers diversity, equity, inclusion in global education. And over the last sixteen years had an opportunity to work with higher-education institutions, everything from community colleges to liberal arts, R-1s to Ivy Leagues, on this question of what does equitable access to global learning and global education mean. And we get this question often and, usually, when I get this question sitting in meetings with academic professionals, I, in some ways, put the question back and I say, well, what’s the benefit of global education and global learning. Why do our campuses invest in infrastructure for global education and global learning, whether that’s sending students abroad, supporting international students, ensuring that global themes are embedded into the curriculum? We often hear in the field of international education the term campus internationalization. Why are we investing in that in the first place? Well, when we think about global education and global learning and the students that engage in it, one of the organizations that many on the call may be familiar with, AAC&U, puts global learning and global education as a high impact practice, the kind of opportunities that help our students excel academically, grow interpersonally, and also be positioned that much better to thrive professionally once they leave school. And so taking a step back and thinking of the benefits of global education, we talk about students who engage in global learning opportunities. Many times this helps open their—broaden their perspective of the world as a whole. If they’re participating in a physical—or education abroad program, many times it helps them in building resilience, a deeper sense of self, having more empathy for those who are, if you will, “different” than they are, embracing difference, something I think we can all appreciate we need that much more so in our society. So when we think—and we could probably, Maria, spend the entire time that we have talking about the benefits of global education and global learning. But the thing is that we know that—those of us who work in higher education know that and in many ways we are the gatekeepers to the kind of experiences inside the classroom, outside the classroom, that we say will fall under the umbrella of global learning. So if we know the benefits of these opportunities, we know how it can impact our students, then it is—well, the onus is on us to ensure that all of our students have equitable access to the benefits of global learning. We can’t, on one side, say these are all the benefits of these phenomenal opportunities and so on and so forth, and then on the other side be OK with only certain students having access to global learning opportunities because, essentially, what we’re saying is, well, this is a great thing that we have but only certain students are able to. And when we think about what—I would say, for many folks, when we talk about global learning, I would say one of the first things we often go to is study abroad. Study abroad is a phenomenal, phenomenal experience, and we’ll talk about other forms in a moment. When we think about that particular opportunity that, I would say, is very high profile on many campuses, students graduating from high school going into university, the percentage is that eightieth, ninetieth percentile of students who are interested in study abroad. We know that is one of the global—one of the experiences that would fall under global education. We also know that, traditionally, study abroad has not reached a vast—too many of our students, we’ll say, particularly our students of color, those who are first generation, those who are coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. And so I think, in many ways, we’ll get students who we say are—the growing population of students on our campuses are also those that study abroad has not supported, and even when campuses have been more successful in getting students to study abroad they haven’t necessarily been as—we haven’t necessarily been as successful in supporting the success of our students while they’re there. So, when we think back to study abroad, if you will, being an aspect of global learning, which is a high-impact practice, you know, high-impact practice is only a high-impact practice if it’s properly administered. So we send students but we’re not prepared to really support our students in a very holistic way, in an inclusive way. Great, we’ve sent them but we’re not really giving them equitable access to the benefits of a global education. And, likewise, global education exists in different parts of the campus as well. Think about what happens in our classrooms. In the curriculum we have a variety of different area—academic areas of focus. Frankly, how we support our incoming international students—our international students—every student is not going to study abroad, but our campuses are globally diverse environments where our students from all backgrounds exist and our international students and how they acclimate to U.S. culture, how we prepare them to engage with students from a variety of different backgrounds, Americans from a variety of different backgrounds. That’s also part of the global learning that happens. And so when we take a step back and just, again, think about why is it that we invest in global education and global learning, it’s because we know the benefits of it. We are 5 percent of the world’s population, and I think if anything in the last two years, sort of two and a half, three years, we—it is very clear and currently as well is very clear how incredibly interconnected we are as a globe, even as their call—you hear the pundits and otherwise say, like, oh, well, globalization is dead, and so on and so forth. It was, like, regardless of what those conversations are, we know that as a world we are all reliant on each other, and the world that the students, particularly the younger students, if you will—younger age college students—are going to inherit is going to be that much more interconnected. And so for us, as a country, the United States, to be able to take on the challenges and the opportunities that the twenty-first century puts before us and to be successful in taking on the—both challenges and opportunities that has to be a global approach because we’re not on this globe by ourselves, and for our future leaders to be prepared to do that it’s incredibly important for them to appreciate the importance of global learning and global education, have equitable access to a variety of those opportunities. And, frankly, we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we only allow our—maybe we say not intentionally but structurally the situation is such that only a certain population of students has access, real access, to these kind of learning opportunities. And so, I think, as higher education institutions we have to ask ourselves, what does that mean, yes, for the International Education Office, but also what does that mean for our academics in the classroom? What does that mean for our senior administrators who are deciding where to invest funds and otherwise of an institution? What does it mean for our chief diversity officers, for our VP of student affairs, and otherwise, who also were tasked with ensuring equitable access to a variety of opportunities that are available on campus? And so, when we think about these questions at Diversity Abroad, I think being in association and being able to work with the three hundred-plus institutions that we do on these topics, we really do look at it holistically. What does that mean—global education, equitable access, and education abroad? Global learning at home, what happens in and outside the classroom domestically? Support for our international students? But also how are we also ensuring that the professionals—faculty, staff, and otherwise who are engaged in global educational opportunities or experiences in and outside the classroom—that those faculty members and those staff are reflective of the rich diversity that our students embody? CASA: Thank you. Thank you for that introduction. Now let’s open it up to questions. As a reminder, please click the raise hand icon on your screen to request to ask a question. On an iPad or Tablet, click the more button to access the raise hand feature. When you are called upon, accept the unmute prompt and please state your name and affiliation, followed by your question. You may also submit a written question via the Q&A icon or vote for other questions you would like to hear answered in your Zoom window at any time. We do have a raised hand from Basilio Monteiro, associate dean and associate professor of mass communication at St. John’s University. Basilio? (No response.) You could accept the unmute prompt. Q: Thank you very much, Mr. Gordon, for your introductory remarks. You know, this internationalization of education—oftentimes what happens is I find that students go and stay within the one small bubble instead of mixing up with other students from the country where they go to. That interaction is not there, and oftentimes, it’s not even promoted to go. They will go—they go as tourists. They don’t go as learners to learn, and that seems to be the kind of trend, so I find. And I talk to the students. They’ll say, OK, oh, I went here. I went there. I saw this and I saw that, and that’s it. So that is—what is your overall national experience at this point on this particular context? GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that comment, and you’re right. I think that as the field of international education we have not been as intentional as we could be in ensuring that once we’ve put in the investment dollars, human capital, and otherwise that helps get students overseas that we’re really creating kind of an environment where our students are going to have the kind of experiences that they come back and they really have been able to develop deeper empathy, embracing difference, and so on and so forth. We think about it here in the U.S., right. The students at our campus, a lot of them are having a good time but they’re still learning. They’re still having very, in some cases—I hate to overuse the word transformative, but experiences that are shaping who they are becoming as people. That doesn’t have to change when our students go abroad, and so whether we’re talking about programs that are led directly by faculty, I’m thinking about how are we intentionally finding opportunities for our students to engage in the host community; what are opportunities of reciprocity when they’re in country in a certain location so that our students don’t just have a stamp on their passport but they’d have the kind of experience that is changing how they view themselves, how they view the world, and, frankly, how they view both the challenges and the opportunities that lie before all of us. What is incumbent on, I think, institutions as well as the organizations, institutions that work with a lot of third party organizations to help facilitate study abroad, it’s incumbent on those organizations as well to say, we know our students want to have a good time. They’re going to have a good time. That’s excellent. We want that. But we also—the core reason why our students are engaging in these opportunities needs to be academic, self-development, and otherwise. The fun is going to happen, but that other piece needs to be there because if it’s not then, frankly, we become glorified travel agents, taking students from point A to point B. I don’t think if you asked anyone in international education what their role is that we would say that’s what our role is because it’s not. But we need to be intentional about ensuring that the kind of outcomes that we want, that we say our students can gain—we’ve built the structure to be able to—for our students to be able to achieve those outcomes. Thank you for that question. CASA: Our next question comes from Beverly Lindsay from the University of California system. Q: Thanks to both of you for your introductory comments, Maria and Andrew, for your statement. As a former member of NAFSA and a number of other professional organizations, I actually have several questions, but I will limit them. One is, as you know, throughout higher education, particularly in comprehensive research universities, there is an emphasis on the African diaspora, the Latino diaspora. So many of the undergraduate students tend to go to those countries that are African, the Caribbean, or South America, for example. How do we encourage students, regardless of demographic background, to go anywhere in the world because they would get more experience? For example, when I was the international dean at Hampton we set up a program where the undergraduates could go and do internships at the British parliament, which was really innovative. The second question I would ask you is to what extent do you involve graduate students through your organization? Now, I realize that they’re often focused on their thesis or, in rare cases, we don’t think of study abroad. We think of research opportunities for our doctoral students. But to what extent do you involve students from different levels? Because I know in community colleges there is considerable emphasis now in terms of having the Los Angeles Community College system, the Dade County students in the community colleges, go abroad. So, as I said, I had many but I’ll just focus on those right now. But thank you for your forthcoming answer. GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that, Beverly. I think when it comes to destination, where our students go, again, unfortunately, I think, that our field has an opportunity to go in a different direction as far as a narrative about certain places. I think, unfortunately, in the U.S., when we think of Africa, when we think of the Global South as a whole, it’s often positioned through the lens of deficit of the people, of the governments, health care systems, and so on and so forth. And, without question, there’s work to be done. But there’s a lot that’s happening of innovation in—I mean, Africa, the continent, I mean, obviously, the different countries. Same thing in Latin America. But if we position these locations as you go here to help, you go here almost in a savior type mentality, whereas if we position locations like Europe and Australia and otherwise, like, well, you go here, this is where you’re going to learn, this is where you go on internships and this is where you’re going to prepare yourself professionally, really, seems like amplifying this narrative of parts of the world are important for learning, growth, innovation. Other parts of the world are more focused on philanthropy, giving, and so on and so forth. And I think that puts us, frankly, as a nation in peril. There was a recent survey that came out—I want to say it was in the last couple weeks—and it—they surveyed youth in Africa. I can’t remember which countries. But it asked—the question was who has a more positive impact on your country, China or the U.S., or maybe it was a variety of countries. But China eked out ahead the U.S. So the continent with the youngest population in the world, and we know what that means for the future, of future work and otherwise, views of different countries having a positive impact. We don’t see a lot of study abroad programs on the African continent, for example, or Latin America that are focused on innovation and technology. I can—I can go on and on. And so I think we have to take a step back as a field of international education—I think, higher education as a whole—and push back against narratives of how certain regions of the world, certain countries, are viewed so that our students are encouraged to want to engage anywhere in the world as they’re looking to deepen their understanding, grow interpersonally, be that much better positioned for their post-degree careers, and so on and so forth. So that—I think that onus is on us as institutions, as organizations, to increase that perspective. But I also think that that also has an aspect to deal with incoming international students as well. With the incoming international students how are we helping them have opportunity to tell more their story about the countries they come from, the contributions their countries make to the U.S., to other parts of the world, and so on and so forth. As to the other question as far as how we engage with graduate students, we were—I would say primarily graduate students who are working in higher education programs, international education programs, that are interested specifically in this work will engage with Diversity Abroad in a variety of ways, either participating in one of the communities of practice that we have, coming to our annual conference, Global Inclusion, in a kind of variety of different ways from that perspective. As far as specifically looking at mobility-based programs for graduate students, that’s not our focus at this time. CASA: Our next question comes from Hemchand Gossai, associate dean of humanities and social sciences at Northern Virginia Community College. Q: Maria and Andrew, thank you very much for your comments and also for providing this opportunity. My institution is very large with a multi-campus sort of setting with seventy-five thousand students. It’s almost ubiquitous among institutions of higher education, particularly in their admissions process, to extol the importance of how many countries are represented at the college or university, and that’s a great thing. We have that as well, and we have a large contingent of international students. One of the things that has struck me and that you have sort of alluded to, Andrew, has to do with the role of our international students as they arrive on our campuses, and I’m wondering if you can reflect a little bit about how best our large contingent of international students might not only be integrated but might actually interact and shape our local community of first-generation students, of students of color, and so on. If you would, I’d appreciate it. Thanks. GORDON: Yeah. Excellent, excellent question. Let me start off by saying, for us, when we think of international students—well, not when we think of international students—but the process of the experience that our international students have operationally, if you will, in many ways it’s the flip of our students going abroad. We had a question earlier about how do we better ensure our domestic students are integrating once they’re in country. We’re just flipping that and saying that for our international students. So what we’re saying is that we want the same for both. We don’t want our international students to be seen as, hey, this is a revenue source. You’re here on campus. Now we’re done. No. We want them to be successful, and our international students embody the same identities that our domestic students do. They’re students of color. They’re first-gen, disabilities, come from different religious backgrounds, LGBTQI. They embody all these same identities that we’re trying to support with our domestic students and we want to do the same thing for international students. So and thinking of what that means is really asking the question is what does holistic support look like for our international students. Too often, our international students once they get on campus, they’re seen as that international student. I mean, simply, that’s their passport. That’s where you’re actually born. They need the same support, and then some additional at times, as our domestic students. Are we asking them, what contributions do you want in the classroom? Are we appreciating that our international students are coming from a different perspective during certain discussions and are we giving them space to be able to share those perspectives and honor the fact that it comes from a different perspective but that’s still important? Because that’s part of global learning that our domestic students benefit from as well when you have those rich discussions in the classroom, when you have a variety of different perspectives that are being shared, and we think about being able to hear that, analyze what’s being said, and develop your own sense of, OK, this is my thought on this topic or otherwise. But when we just have a conversation, for example, in the classroom that’s focused on domestic, even though we have a wide or very diverse population of students that—of international students in our classroom we’re really missing an opportunity to both engage with the international students, help them have a deeper sense of belonging on our campus and, frankly, for our domestic students and all students to be to be able to learn that much more so. The other part of the question I mentioned, and kind of tying back to what I mentioned a second ago of how our international students embody so much of that—so many of the identities of our domestic students, you know, when we have programs for first-generation college students are we just thinking about our domestic first-generation college students? Our international students can be the same way. When we think about our disability services, when we think about programs that are maybe related to race in ways, are we thinking intentionally about that? Yes, an African American and an international student from Africa who’s from Africa and who’s Black and has grown up in Africa their entire life very well are—some shared experiences, but very different. Are we thinking about opportunities for learning and growth from that way? So as I would say it’s the intentionality in the programming and the intentionality in thinking of what is our role in—and, obviously, helping our students be successful, but particularly from an equitable access to global education, we have all the ingredients to the salad, if you will. What’s our role in making sure that this comes together and this works in a way that serves our students, our domestic, our international students—frankly, serves the institution. And so there’s broader goals that we have in higher education around learning but also preparing a generation of citizens that are thoughtful not just about home but thoughtful about the relationship between home and abroad and how our world is broadly interconnected and reliant on each other. CASA: Thank you. Our next question comes from Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome, associate professor in the department of political science in Brooklyn College. Q: Good evening. I’m calling from Nigeria now. And I’m a professor, not associate. I was wondering if there is a two-way stream in terms of the way in which international education is conceived of thinking about students coming from foreign countries as exchange students, and I’m particularly interested in this from an African perspective. It’s unbelievably difficult for many African students to come to the U.S. as exchange students. They face formidable visa barriers, and for many of them that are from socioeconomic backgrounds where they are not flush with money it is actually an impossibility. So, I mean, is there any kind of thinking about how skewed the pool is that the educational institutions in the U.S. is joined from, given all the constraints that are put in the way of students from the Global South, especially Africa— GORDON: Yeah. Q: —who want to just come to the U.S. just like our students go to those places? GORDON: Yeah. Yeah. No. Wonderful, wonderful question, and I’d kind of bifurcate my answers. I think with respect to visas, I think that’s a question—offices handle that at State and I think there has to be a broader question of are we creating enough opportunities for students or making it easy enough for students or talented students that want to come take advantage of the rich diversity and the academic opportunities, some professional opportunities that exist in the U.S. Are we making it easy enough for those students to come to our shores? And I think that’s a question that—State has to continue to be evaluated from that aspect. I’m not by any means an expert with visas, so I’m going to—I’m going to stay in my lane to an extent. But I think, broadly speaking, is we do—I think as a nation have welcomed and want to continue to welcome talented folks from all over the world to be able to come. And then I think the second part of the question, what’s the role of institutions, I think similar to our—to domestic students, we know who our students are. We know what the challenges they have and being able to access opportunities that we have. And so we say—going back to what I mentioned earlier, we say we know what these—we know the benefits of these kind of opportunities. We’re the gatekeepers to that. We know who our students are, and we know the challenges they have and this includes international students that are interested in coming, be it exchange or otherwise. How do we in higher education create more opportunities for talented students to be able to take advantage of these opportunities that we’re very clear the benefits to them? And so from an exchange standpoint, looking and saying are we building exchanges—do we have the infrastructure, are we investing in the infrastructure so that we can have more exchanges with the Global South? Because many times exchanges, while not always cost neutral, is usually much more cost neutral than a paid study abroad or otherwise. So are we creating those kind of opportunities? Again, realizing that that benefits the student—the international student, the domestic student. It benefits our campus community and our broader community as a whole when our international students are out and engaging with the broader community around the universities and otherwise. So are we investing in that? And then when it comes to fully matriculated students, whether at the undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate level, are we doing enough? Is there more we should be doing to ensure that if funding is a challenge that the funding is—funding schemes that are available to better create opportunities for students to be able to come, and then also like we’ve mentioned in the last question is our campus infrastructure—our campus set up in such that our international students feel like they belong, the campus is thinking about them, and this is a place where they want to, frankly, stay and contribute their knowledge or insights, their experience, and otherwise, which, again, benefits them, benefits the campus, and benefits the community and the nation as a whole. Q: Next we have a comment from Pamela Waldron-Moore, a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana. You have touched on this topic but you might want to go a little deeper. She writes, as a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana, I know that this is a helpful conversation. One area of global education that does not seem to have had much exposure is the opportunity for national institutions to provide exchange opportunities that allow low-income students to appreciate diverse education. For example, students can learn much from institutions located in naturally global environments—New York, DC, California, et cetera. Many U.S. institutions are teeming with international students who are happy to interact with a wider body of learners. GORDON: Yeah. I’ll just comment on that briefly, and I know Xavier does great work with our national exchange as well as with international. But your point is right on. When we think of the globally diverse cities that exist in the U.S., they’re learning labs. I’m from the Bay Area. I like going to San Francisco. I go to places in Oakland and otherwise. These are learning opportunities. I think when you think of the flow of migration to certain areas within the country, there’s so much to learn there for our domestic students as well as for our international students. And so when we think of global learning holistically, as much as—I started Diversity Abroad based on study abroad. I’m a fan of study abroad, absolutely. But I think when we think about global learning, we have to get—mobility from the standpoint of getting on a plane, crossing an ocean, and using your passport is not the only way. And when we think about the institutions, where our institutions exist, what does the community look like? How globally diverse is our local community? Are there opportunities for us, thinking of co-curricular activities, to better engage with our local communities as well, because part of the broader goal that we talked about, the benefits of global learning, those benefits can be gained—different benefits, different places, in different ways, but can be gained locally but also can be gained abroad. So, an excellent point. CASA: Again, as a reminder, please click the raise hand icon on your screen if you would like to ask a question, or write it in via the Q&A icon. Andrew, can you talk a little bit about the specific activities that Diversity Abroad engages in as an organization? GORDON: Yeah. Absolutely. Happy to. So Diversity Abroad founded in 2006. We’re a member-based consortium, around three hundred and fifty colleges and universities. As I mentioned, it ranges from small liberal arts to community colleges, Ivies to R-1s, and, really, we—our focus is looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion within internationalization and global education. And so what does that mean? We look at four key areas of our work. It’s education abroad, international students, global learning at home, and then career and organizational advancement, and we—the actual practices of the work that we do focuses heavy on learning and development. So everything from our annual conference, Global Inclusion, to our DEI certificate for folks who are engaged in global education or are interested in global education, as well as a leadership certificate for student leaders who want to embed DEI, global, into their leadership. We publish a set of good practices called the Global Equity Inclusion Guidelines, it’s a set of policy practices for embedding DEI into a campus’s global education operation, and then there’s a ton of thought leadership that we do, collaboration with organizations. We have a phenomenal team that is always working to continue to push this conversation forward, and maybe more than moving the conversation forward, to push forward resources, learning opportunities, and otherwise to ensure that, frankly, as a field a decade from now we’re not having this same conversation but that we’ve made some real tangible progress in going forward. So, much harder to execute on a daily and weekly basis than to kind of go over in a couple of seconds. But I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing and always interested in collaborating with professionals and institutions that share—frankly, share our vision of equitable access to global educational opportunities. CASA: Great. Our next question comes from Krishna Garza-Baker from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She’s assistant director of experiential learning. Q: Hello, Maria and Andrew. Thank you so much for this conversation. I’m actually a current member of Diversity Abroad and absolutely love all their resources. I’m there on a daily basis. So I would like to reflect back to the idea on promoting the benefits of global learning. As much as I promote the benefits of global programs to my students—I work specifically with business students at the Alvarez College of Business—what are some ways in which you have seen or experienced navigating the topic of the financial investment into educational experience and what are some other barriers to global learning that you have seen for domestic students? GORDON: Krishna, thank you for that comment and happy to have you as part of the Diversity Abroad community. So finance is interesting. Without question, finances can be a barrier to students engaging in global educational opportunities, particularly mobility-based ones. What’s interesting, though, is that at times when you ask a student, are you interested in studying abroad, for example? They say, no, I can’t afford it. And I was, like, well, do you know how much it costs? Well, I’m not actually sure. Are you sure how your financial aid works and how your financial aid can support? It was, like, no, I’m not actually sure. So you have students sometimes that see study abroad and there’s an interest, but for a variety of other reasons, maybe they’re becoming a little bit more hesitant, and finance is an easy one to go to say, oh, I can’t afford it. And so I think it’s important for, one, us to understand, from a financial standpoint, A, is the students—can they really not afford it? How are we addressing that? Or is this a question of, I’m interested and I’m on the fence and so on and so forth and I’m just kind of saying financial. I think for the aspect of students not being able to afford it, as an institution, again, we have to go back and say what’s the value of global educational opportunities. We know that students who are statistically—we’re saying that students who study abroad graduate sooner, graduate with higher GPAs as well. So that is hitting part of a broader goal that we have of higher education about persistence and completion. And so as an institution are we investing in the kind of activities like global education opportunities that are supporting the broader goals that we have as an institution around persistence and completion, and that is something that’s strategically at institutions that—are questions we have to ask ourselves. We say, you know, yes, global, you know, the importance of all these opportunities to study abroad and so on and so forth. Are we investing in it in a way that any of our students that are interested finance is not going to be the barrier that pushes them back? Now, I think, on the other aspect of it with respect to finance and being able to talk with students and their families, students and their families who are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. They’re on campus, and they’re on campus, in a way, because they’ve seen being a student at your campus as an investment, something that is valuable enough to either, personal finances—going out and fundraising in a variety of different ways because they see the value in that. The question, I think, that we have as—in higher education and particularly in international education are we positioning global education as this is an investment? And this goes back to a comment that was made a little bit earlier about, hey, you know what, we’re sending these students abroad. They’re not really engaging with the populations. It’s kind of like it’s just vacation. OK. Well, if I’m a serious student and I’m concerned about finances, and I have to make choices about what I invest in, if study abroad is positioned as, you know, go have fun abroad I’ll say, well, listen, I’ll go on vacation at another point in my life. I’m focused on getting in school, doing the kind of things that’s going to position me to be able to thrive, support family, and otherwise. So in education abroad and study abroad, the onus is on us to make sure that the way we’re talking about these opportunities, the way that opportunities are actually taking place, is such that a student that has to make that decision looks at study abroad or other global opportunities and says, you know what, this is where I want to invest my time, my resources, and otherwise because this is something that’s going to help me continue to grow with the broader goals that I have. CASA: Our next question comes from Maggie Mahoney, director of global engagement at the University of Houston. Q: Good afternoon, Maria and Andrew. Nice to talk with you. Hello from Houston, Texas. Andrew, my question is about our teams, because we want to bring the best of our teams to our students. We know that burnout is an ongoing issue. We’ve had the pandemic. We’ve had the murder of George Floyd that kind of shifted things even more for the bigger focus of DEI and that has become exhausting, not to mention in Texas we face our own Texas state issues and now inflation changing. So there’s a lot of stress on our teams, and in institutions of higher ed we should have offices that mirror the diversity of our students. But we don’t always have that. Do you have any recommendations for our diverse staff team members and their self care in the face of this burnout and too often being turned to in the support of DEI efforts whenever we should all be doing the work? And do you have any recommendations for team leaders on how to continue doing our work while supporting our diverse team members, as we know they’re overwhelmed? GORDON: Yeah. Thank you for that comment. And that’s—I think a very important point is that we can’t ignore—when we think of—we think of some of the organizations that we’ve looked AT and say, hey, these are great companies or great organizations that I’ll support. The folks who are at the table many times come from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and in international education if we want the work that we do to have the kind of impact, we want to make sure that we’re drawing the best and brightest, most diverse folks that say, hey, higher education, international education, specifically, this is a place where I want to go work. Our faculty members who may potentially be leading programs abroad, there’s a lot that our faculty members can be doing over the summer when we say, you know what, I want to lead a study abroad program because this is—not only the impact this could have on students, but I know I’m going to be supported by the international office and otherwise as I’m going abroad. So what I would say is a couple of things. One is from a team leader perspective, and I think what you pointed out being something that is really a very salient topic. You know, DEI work cannot fall on folks of color or folks who we look at and say, OK, well, you represent XYZ identity so, yes, diversity worked for you. All that does, as stated, is it leads to burnout and it doesn’t lead to us moving the needle. So, organizationally, are the practices or the policies in place. So, operationally, DEI is just embedded into what we do and regardless of what your role is, the DEI tasks that are there, is there for you to do. So regardless of what your background is, whatever the DEI tasks are connected to your role, those are there for you to be able to do. And so that’d be one aspect of it, really looking operationally from that perspective. But then another question is asking ourselves whether it’s at the department level within an office, like a global education office or whatever it may be, are we building a climate of belonging. Are we building a climate where our staff that come from historically marginalized backgrounds feel like, hey, we can come—we can come here. We can be ourselves. When we’re having challenges we’re being supported and otherwise because, again, then we’re able to be able to do the work that’s needed to increase participation in global educational opportunities, being able to work with the faculty members to think through how do we better embed global themes into the curriculum, being able to support our international students. Which is saying none of this happens automatically. It is run by people, on people power, and we’ve got to take care of our people. If we don’t take care of our people, all the other things that we want to do, ultimately, we won’t be as successful as we’d like. CASA: We have a question now from Professor Waldron-Moore from Xavier. She says—she asks, how can we generate interest in study abroad from the classroom? Shouldn’t we address seriously ways to motivate students to learn more about diversity in order to raise their awareness about higher education? We need to get the excitement about other countries and people going before we grow an interest in study abroad or a study exchange. GORDON: Yeah. So that’s—I would say it’s not an either/or but I would say they very much work in tandem. So the more—and to the point, the more that we—the more that global themes are presented to our students, the more interest that will start to generate with our students. If you have a population of students that from the time they set foot on campus they know they’re going to study abroad and so and so forth, that’s great. We want those students. But you have another population of students who maybe that’s not the case, and so how are we embedding global themes into the curriculum regardless of what our fields may be? What are—are we finding opportunities to embed global themes into the curriculum so that, one, we’re helping to promote the idea of there’s a lot to learn outside of the shores of the U.S. as well, but, two, for our students—and every student’s not going to study abroad. For our students who aren’t going abroad are we finding opportunities to ensure that they still have access to global learning themes within the classroom. And so they very much play off each other, and I will say that now much more so for the students who, ultimately, decide not to participate in a study abroad or a formal study abroad program it’s an opportunity for them to still get access to global learning opportunities. But I will say—one other thing I want to bring up and I started bringing this up in my earlier comments, I think when we’re thinking about global education and diversity, equity, and inclusion, definitely thinking of it through, say, two lenses. One is the lens of what we’ve primarily been talking about of how are we supporting our historically marginalized students, supporting our staff and our faculty, our people, as they’re engaged in global education, and that many times, again, are folks in historically marginalized populations. But when we think about learning global DEI competencies, all of our students need to access that. DEI is not just populations to support or competencies to be learned—to learn. So inside the classroom, when they’re participating in study abroad or otherwise, are we thinking through how we position our students to learn the kind of competencies that can position them to be better citizens, to be better—that much more thriving in their professional careers and otherwise. And, again, that takes place—many times that takes place in the classroom. CASA: Our next question is also written and comes from Wendy Kuran, associate vice president for development and alumni engagement at Duke Kunshan University. Actually, she has two questions. The first is, following up on the earlier question and Andrew’s great answer, is the career and self-development value proposition of study abroad clear to diverse students? Is there credible, accessible research about the value? What could we, at universities, including students, do to help make that case in new ways more effectively? And the second shorter question, do you ever work in secondary education intercultural exchange programs and, if not, are those in your ecosystems? Are there those in your ecosystems who do? GORDON: Yeah. So I’ll start with the second question first. We work with some secondary institutions and organizations that support secondary students at that level. I would not say that that has been the traditional group of professionals or organizations or institutions that have come to us. But we are seeing some growing traction there. So I’m always interested in connecting with folks who have interest with that. With respect to career, I would say there are definitely institutions who have been at the forefront of centering the connection between global education and career, and I think as the field of global education that’s work that’s improving. But there’s still work to do, I think, particularly for being able to make the case for students who, for a variety of reasons may be hesitant about study abroad. What we find in engaging with students, yes, research is important. Using more factoids are important. Firsthand experiences being important of students who embody similar identities and otherwise that can say, I had this kind of experience. I went from point A to point B to point Z. I know when I’ve had an opportunity to go to campuses and speak and otherwise telling a little bit about my own personal trajectory from doing accounting consulting to becoming an entrepreneur and otherwise and how study abroad impacted that, that’s one of the things that attract students is really wanting to understand, OK, you look like me. You had a similar experience. How did you do that? So which is to say particularly with that—the part of your question asking about historically marginalized student populations, are we telling the stories of success? Are we telling the stories of how our students from historically marginalized backgrounds have been able to leverage global opportunities to advance in their career? For them to be able to say very concretely, I had this experience and then I’m working in this job and this is how this experience helped me and so on so forth. Again, that is intentional work, yes, by our global education offices but also, frankly, in collaboration with our career centers, our offices that are doing career development on campus. How are we working with them to be able to bring them back to connect with the students, the alum, and otherwise to be able to tell those stories, which, again, is part of the broader ecosystem of what does engagement look like to be able to increase participation and the success of students who are interested in study abroad? CASA: Have you been able to develop dedicated assessment and evaluation tools for success or gauging the success or the results of study abroad programs? GORDON: So we, ourselves, have not. There are some tools out there and some studies that are out there. Gosh, I’m trying to think of his name right now at the University of Georgia. There was a study in the early kind of 2000s called the Glossary Study. It was just recently built—they built upon that with a new study that showed the connection between academic success. I wouldn’t say that for me, I’m familiar with a survey or research that goes as deep on the career success aspect of it. But I know there are some resources out there that talk deeper about the connection between career development and—study abroad and career development. CASA: And do you have thoughts on how global education and study abroad contribute to U.S. foreign policy creation and international relations? GORDON: Yeah. Well, in part, I mean, I think there’s an aspect of just civics that’s connected to every time you get on a plane, you travel, and you flash that green—I always say green—that blue passport, why is that so easy? Because even being able to understand the ability that you have to travel to the vast majority of the world without having a visa, without—and, frankly, other countries aren’t able to do that. So almost, certainly, encourage deeper appreciation for the privilege that we have as U.S. citizens, being able to travel as freely as we do for most of the world, but also being able to engage, I think, for students of—U.S. students to be able to engage in other populations, hear their perspective. You know, sometimes there’s perspectives that are critical to the U.S. Sometimes there are perspectives that are wildly in love with the U.S., and that’s great. It’s important to hear all of that, to hear how you’re perceived, and then you bring that back home with you. Now you’re thinking about your role as a citizen, what that does to you to be able to understand positionality of the U.S. and the rest of the world and what role that you personally want to take with that. And so I—and I guess I say for myself having a deeper appreciation for the, frankly, benefits of being a U.S. citizen by traveling and having had the opportunity to travel as much as I do and interact with folks all over the world. And so I think for all of our populations I think the populations that maybe haven’t been as civically engaged or as deeply civically engaged it creates that many more opportunities to have that appreciation for. CASA: Yes. GORDON: And then, frankly, just people-to-people. I would just say—this is the last thing I’ll say. It’s funny, I mean—I mean, people-to-people exchanges, what they say it’s hard to hate someone you know. (Laughs.) I mean, it’s true. I mean, and I think that it’s easy to turn on the news and hear XYZ about any number of people and locations in the world. I think when you sit down you break bread and you have coffee, whatever it may be, with folks from other parts of the world it does develop, I think, a deeper appreciation, really helping push us down that road of embracing difference and, I think, developing a deeper empathy, which we could all use more of that. CASA: Great. Well, we’ve come to the end of our time and, Andrew, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, and to all of you for your questions and comments. You can follow Diversity Abroad on Twitter at @DiversityAbroad. You will be receiving an invitation to our next Higher Education webinar under separate cover. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow at @CFR_Academic on Twitter and visit,, and for research and analysis on global issues. I hope you’re all having a great summer, and thank you again for joining us today. We look forward to your continued participation in the Higher Education Webinar Series. (END)
  • 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, 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, and 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, 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—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—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,, and 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, 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,, and 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, 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 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,, and 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 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,, and 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 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 roo