YTN Berlin U.S. Presidential Election Panel Marks 25th Anniversary of Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall”
To mark the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Tear Down this Wall'' speech on June 12, GMF’s Young Transatlantic Network hosted over 100 guests for a panel discussion on the U.S. presidential election and its implications for transatlantic relations. U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Philip D. Murphy opened the evening with welcoming remarks. The event was a collaboration between GMF, Berlin Stories, the Embassy of the United States, and Allianz SE.
Speakers included Kristen Silverberg, GMF Residential Fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union; John Kornblum, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany; Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow with GMF; and Eric Westervelt, Europe Correspondent for NPR News. Dr. Michael Naumann, former editor-in-chief of Cicero magazine, moderated the discussion.
The panelists discussed a variety of issues including the positions of President Barack Obama and Republican contender Mitt Romney on social and economic policy. While there was a consensus that international affairs are unlikely to dominate in the election, the discussion highlighted the links and interdependencies between domestic and foreign policy. Mr. Westervelt noted that the lack of foreign news coverage in the U.S. media was partly to blame for the low interest in foreign affairs as many stations reduce their international presence. Dr. Stelzenmüller warned that the risk of transatlantic economic contagion is now a serious threat. She pointed out that, for the first time since the Second World War, the West is unable to base its foreign and security policy on the assumption of functioning and growing political economies. Ms. Silverberg emphasized the importance of pressing U.S. domestic issues including the economy, the U.S. debt crisis, and health care. John Kornblum brought up timely remarks concerning the state of U.S. political culture, acknowledging strengths and weaknesses of both party candidates and their platforms.
The event ended with a roof-top reception overlooking the Brandenburg Gate and the U.S. Embassy, only a stone's throw away from the place where President Reagan gave his historic speech 25 years earlier.