U.S. Foreign Policy Monitor: What Allies and Partners Need to Know - January 22
Welcome to the U.S. Foreign Policy Monitor where every week we track the “who,” “what,” and “so what” for the new U.S. administration and Congress. This week, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Sign up here to receive every Friday in your inbox.
As the transition period comes to an end, the work of staffing the incoming administration continues. While confirmation hearings for major cabinet positions have begun on Capitol Hill, the last few days have seen an array of announcements in the foreign policy realm. With China policy one of the biggest foreign policy priorities of the new administration, the new China team continues to take shape. After Kurt Campbell was announced as White House Indo-Pacific coordinator, this week saw the German Marshall Fund’s own Laura Rosenberger (more below) named as senior director for China at the National Security Council. In addition, President Biden tapped his long-time aide Ely Ratner to be the chief China advisor at the Pentagon. Over the past years, Ratner served as the executive vice president at the Center for New American Security. Last summer, he laid out his views of the U.S.-China relationship in an article for the Washington Post, arguing that we are not facing a new Cold War, but something entirely new. For more on the administration’s approach to China, read this recent Foreign Affairs article authored by Campbell and the Brookings Institution’s Rush Doshi.
Who to Watch
We profile two of our own among the new appointments this week.
Derek Chollet will serve as counselor of the Department of State. He previously served as executive vice president and senior advisor for security and defense policy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). From 2012-2015, Chollet was the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, where he managed U.S. defense policy toward Europe (including NATO), the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. In that role, he was a senior advisor to two secretaries of defense, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel. Prior to joining the Pentagon, Chollet served at The White House as special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning on the National Security Council Staff. From 2009 to 2011, he was the principal deputy director of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policy planning staff. From November 2008 to January 2009, he was a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. During the Clinton administration, Chollet served as chief speechwriter for UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and as special adviser to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. From 2002 to 2004, he was foreign policy adviser to U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC), both on his legislative staff and during the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. Chollet began his career by assisting former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, as well as Holbrooke and Talbott, with the research and writing of their memoirs.
- Chollet has a book coming out soon, The Middle Way: How Three Presidents Shaped America’s Role in the World. Purchase your copy here.
- To get a better idea about Chollet’s thoughts regarding NATO and the future of transatlantic security, check out this report that he co-authored on the alliance’s “2 percent” guideline.
- In 2016, Chollet published an influential first draft of history about the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy. Purchase your copy here.
- Look here for a list of recent interviews, articles, and publications by Chollet.
Laura Rosenberger will serve as a senior director for China on the National Security Council (NSC). Rosenberger previously worked as the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at GMF. Before she joined GMF, she was foreign policy advisor for Hillary for America, where she coordinated development of the campaign’s national security policies, messaging, and strategy. Prior to that, she served in a range of positions at the State Department and the NSC. As chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and later senior advisor to him in his deputy national security advisor role, she counseled on the full range of national security policy. In her role at the NSC, she also managed the interagency Deputies Committee, the U.S. government’s senior-level interagency decision-making forum on the most pressing national security issues. Rosenberger also has extensive background in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Northeast Asia. She served as NSC director for China and Korea, managing and coordinating U.S. policy on China and the Korean Peninsula, and in a variety of positions focused on the Asia-Pacific region at the Department of State, including managing U.S.-China relations and addressing North Korea’s nuclear programs. She also served as special assistant to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns, advising him on Asia-Pacific affairs and on nonproliferation and arms control issues. Rosenberger first joined the State Department as a presidential management fellow.
- Rosenberger recently co-wrote this article in Foreign Affairs which discusses how democracies can compete with authoritarian regimes.
- To better understand how Rosenberger will think about the challenges posed by China, check out this recent event she moderated about countering China’s malign influence efforts in Europe.
- In light of the threat posed to American democracy during the recent election, Rosenberger wrote in The New York Times about protecting the U.S. electoral system.
- Look here for a list of recent interviews, articles, and publications by Rosenberger.
What to Read
ON PEOPLE AND THE TRANSITION:
Yellen vows to set up Treasury team to focus on climate, in victory for advocates, ZACHARY WARMBRODT, Politico.
“Treasury secretary nominee Janet Yellen on Tuesday pledged to create a team to focus on climate change, in a move that's likely to put the powerful agency at the forefront of the Biden administration's efforts to combat what she called an ‘existential threat.’”
Austin pledges 'competent civilian control' of the military as defense secretary, CONNOR O’BRIEN, Politico.
“Lloyd Austin…promised on Tuesday to reinvigorate the principle of civilian control of the military amid bipartisan concerns over installing a recently retired general at the head of the Pentagon for the second time in four years.”
General education: What Austin can learn from Mattis’s rocky relationship with Congress, Joe Gould, Defense News.
“For Austin, the selection of career Pentagon civilians such as Kathleen Hicks for deputy defense secretary, Colin Kahl for undersecretary of defense for policy and Kelly Magsamen for Austin’s chief of staff seems to reflect a sensitivity to concerns about how Mattis formed his team… [He] could build trust and help congressional oversight by hiring staff from the team of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s ranking member, Sen. Jack Reed, and other Democrats.”
Intelligence Community’s Biggest Challenge Is Restoring ‘Trust and Confidence,’ Biden’s ODNI Pick Says, Patrick Tucker, Defense One.
“China is a ‘competitor’ to the United States and an ‘adversary’ to the Director of National Intelligence — but the intelligence community’s biggest challenge is restoring others’ ‘trust and confidence’ in it, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the community told her Senate questioners on Tuesday.”
The sound of a shifting power structure, Robin Givhan, The Washington Post.
“[Vice President Kamala] Harris is a first — and as she has so often repeated, she doesn’t plan to be the last. But she alone is not transformative. Just as there was no post-racial America following the election of Barack Obama, there is no post-gender America now.”
What to Expect in Biden’s First 100 Days in Foreign Policy, ROBBIE GRAMER, AMY MACKINNON, JACK DETSCH, CHRISTINA LU, Foreign Policy
“Now, the reversal of Trump’s reversals is coming, as President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to unwind major Trump-era policies to contend with a massive array of new national security threats, from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to a surge in U.S.-China tensions to an Iran nearing the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon.”
Four Ways Biden Can Boost the Global Economy, JAYATI GHOSH, Project Syndicate.
“Biden does not need congressional approval to implement measures that would have far-reaching benefits for Americans and the rest of the world.”
A Democracy Summit Is More Urgent Than Ever, ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Foreign Policy.
‘After this year’s tumultuous transition of power, some might question whether the United States even has the moral authority to sit at the head of the democratic table. In my view, the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 and Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election make the need for such a summit, hosted by the United States, all the greater.”
Court paves path for Biden on power plant climate rule, ALEX GUILLÉN, Politico.
“Biden will launch his presidency on Wednesday with the most ambitious climate change plan ever sought by a White House, and the new ruling will make it easier for his administration to create rules that help drive the nation's power grid toward net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2035, a goal that Biden has laid out.”
Biden to propose overhaul of immigration laws on first day in office, Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post.
“President-elect Joe Biden will roll out a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws the day he is inaugurated, including an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status and an expansion of refugee admissions, along with an enforcement plan that deploys technology to patrol the border.”
The Real Threat to Civilian Control of the Military, Risa Brooks, Foreign Affairs.
“Simply put, the prevailing culture of military professionalism undermines U.S. national security. The most important question about the future of civilian control, accordingly, is not whether Austin does or does not receive the congressional waiver that would allow him to serve. It is whether Austin or any other secretary of defense can catalyze a culture shift in the U.S. military.”
What’s Happening @GMF
- Seizing the Biden Moment: What the New U.S. Administration Means for Europe (Event)
- A Transatlantic Agenda for the Biden Era by Bruce Stokes (Article)
- The Future of Transatlantic Security: Leaders' Roundtable (Upcoming Event)
- Building Back Better with Distributed Computing by Reed Hundt and Karen Kornbluh (Article)
The views expressed in GMF publications and commentary are the views of the author alone.