Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Paris, participated in the international conference on U.S. Politics organized by the French Institute of Foreign Relations in partnership with GMF and the U.S. Embassy in Paris on Friday, December 7. The conference, entitled “Obama re-elected – the best is yet to come?” took place at the IFRI center in Paris and brought together U.S. politics experts from America and Europe.
Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer moderated the foreign policy discussion with Thomas Rid from King's College London, Alexander Lennon from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Ely Ratner from the Center for a New American Security, participating as panelists.
Dr. Thomas Rid gave an insightful presentation on the risks of cyber security and the paradoxes of the U.S. strategy in cyber warfare. He argued that, while being the leading actor in offensive cyber technology, the United States was holding a hypocritical defensive position – at least in the official discourse – on cyber security. Dr. Ely Ratner addressed the multiple dimensions of the so-called ‘pivot to Asia’, listing the main components to the U.S. strategy and rejected the common confusion between the rebalancing to Asia and a potential containment strategy towards China. Finally, Dr. Alexander Lennon dealt with nuclear proliferation in the world and the U.S. response to this issue. He focused more specifically on Iran, portraying the short-term frame in which the U.S. strategy has to be designed as well as the limits of non-proliferation policies.
These presentations were followed by an open discussion with the audience. The speakers were given the opportunity to deepen their reflections and answered questions on, among other issues, the U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East, the foreign policy implications of defense budget cuts and the risk of escalation of territorial disputes in Eastern Asia. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer invited the participants to discuss the role of Europe in the U.S. foreign policy, and more specifically the potential for a European involvement in U.S. ‘rebalancing towards Asia’ strategy.
A large number of fellows were present in attendance, along with approximately 50 officials, academics, journalists and students.