U.S. Foreign Policy after the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections
On November 26, GMF Warsaw Office hosted a roundtable on “U.S. Foreign Policy after the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections.” Guest speakers included Ambassador Victor H. Ashe, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and former U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Ambassador Janusz Reiter, president of the Center for International Relations, and Eugeniusz Smolar, senior fellow of the Polish Institute for International Affairs. The debate was moderated by Andrew A. Michta, director of the GMF Warsaw Office.
Participants focused on potential changes in the global and regional issues, as well as those particularly important for Poland. One of the first questions posed was whether Europe matters at a time when pivoting to Asia is on the agenda. According to Ambassador Reiter, the pivot was driven by long-term considerations and that those who believe that U.S. foreign policy is driven by economic interests are in the wrong. Mr. Smolar said that the pivot is not a strategic repositioning; the problem is that there is a lack of bipartisanship and therefore it is important that the position of the allies is strengthened. Middle East will be on the agenda for the years to come; oil and energy independence will remain on the agenda.
On the question of the potential U.S. involvement in the Balkans and the Middle East, Ambassador Ashe said that the U.S. has diplomatic ability, but because of defense budget cuts it will have fewer troops to put on the ground. A Polish participant added that this issue is in conflict with the mainstream thinking in the U.S. and the problems in the Middle East seem to be considered a European issue.
Also on the agenda was the Euro crisis and its importance for the EU to establish strategic partners. Panelists remarked that because of the crisis Europe may matter less to the world, but its trade agreements, trade routes and other regulations remain of great importance.
Regarding the future of Poland-U.S relations Ambassador Ashe expressed his optimism that the relationship will continue to improve. It is especially important to put security issues on the agenda. The question of redesigning the EU’s security framework has to be addressed by the U.S. as well. Mr Smolar added that the Polish-American Energy roundtable and Democracy Dialogue might have a future, but as the visa issue is not symbolic for the Polish public, they will play their role in the relationship with caution.