International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast Bret Stephens December 19, 2014
In December 2011 the last American soldier left Iraq. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” boasted President Obama. He was proved devastatingly wrong less than three years later as jihadists seized the Iraqi city of Mosul. The event cast another dark shadow over the future of global order—a shadow, which, Bret Stephens, Deputy Editorial Page Editor and Foreign Affairs Columnist for The Wall Street Journal, argues, we ignore at our peril.
America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder identifies a profound crisis on the global horizon. As Americans seek to withdraw from the world to tend to domestic problems, America’s adversaries spy opportunity. Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to restore the glory of the czarist empire go effectively unchecked, as do China’s attempts to expand its maritime claims in the South China Sea, as do Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Civil war in Syria displaces millions throughout the Middle East while turbocharging the forces of radical Islam. Long-time allies such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, doubting the credibility of American security guarantees, are tempted to freelance their foreign policy, irrespective of U.S. interests.
Mr. Stephens argues for American reengagement abroad. He explains how military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was the right course of action, foolishly executed. He traces the intellectual continuity between anti-interventionist statesmen such as Henry Wallace and Robert Taft in the late 1940s and Barack Obama and Rand Paul today. And he makes an unapologetic case for Pax Americana, “a world in which English is the default language of business, diplomacy, tourism, and technology; in which markets are global, capital is mobile, and trade is increasingly free; in which values of openness and tolerance are, when not the norm, often the aspiration.”
In a chapter imagining the world of 2019, Mr. Stephens shows what could lie in store if Americans continue on their current course. Yet we are not doomed to this future. Mr. Stephens makes a passionate rejoinder to those who argue that America is in decline, a process that is often beyond the reach of political cures. Instead, we are in retreat—the result of faulty, but reversible, policy choices. By embracing its historic responsibility as the world’s policeman, America can safeguard not only greater peace in the world but also greater prosperity at home.
DC Young Lawyers Chapter and The Alexander Hamilton Society
- Bret L. Stephens, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Foreign Affairs Columnist, The Wall Street Journal
The Federalist Society's DC Young Lawyers Chapter and The Alexander Hamilton Society co-hosted this event on October 22, 2014, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
- John Bellinger, Partner, Arnold & Porter and former Legal Advisor to the Department of State (2005 -2009)
- Steve Bradbury, Partner, Dechert LLP and former Head of the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice (2004-2009)
- Moderator: Rachel L. Brand, Member, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, United States Chamber of Commerce; and former Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice
- Introduction: Sarah Hawkins Warren, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and President, DC Young Lawyers Chapter
The Mayflower Hotel International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
From the time he entered office after being tapped by Boris Yeltsin to succeed him, President Vladimir Putin’s overarching objective was to consolidate power – at home and abroad. From earlier focuses on the Russian economy and quashing internal rivals, President Putin now seeks to recover geo-strategic assets lost in the Soviet collapse, which he called “the greatest geo-political catastrophe of the 20th century.”
President Putin's adventurism in the “post-Soviet space” was previously limited to cyber-activities in the Baltics, widespread regional economic and security pressure, and the 2008 invasion of Georgia. But in 2014 he aimed far higher by invading and annexing Crimea and then destabilizing eastern Ukraine. The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine has caused the West to re-assess its overall approach to Russia.
What is President Putin up to? How far will he go? What should the United States do to deter President Putin's ambitions to make Russia the dominant power in Eurasia? And what are our European allies willing to do?
International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
- Hon. Brian H. Hook, Founder, Latitude, LLC and former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
- Ms. Heather Hurlburt, Senior Fellow in National Security, Human Rights First
The world today is overwhelmed by wars between nations and within nations, wars that have dominated American politics for quite some time. Point of Attack?: Preventative War, International Law, and Global Welfare calls for a new understanding of the grounds for war. In this book, University of California at Berkeley School of Law Professor John Yoo argues that the new threats to international security come not from war between the great powers, but from the internal collapse of states, terrorist groups, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and destabilizing regional powers. In Point of Attack, he rejects the widely-accepted framework built on the U.N. Charter and replaces it with a new system consisting of defensive, pre-emptive, or preventive measures to encourage wars that advance global welfare. Professor Yoo concludes with an analysis of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, failed states, and the current challenges posed by Libya, Syria, North Korea, and Iran. Professor Yoo and Ohio Northern University College of Law Professor Michael W. Lewis explored the premises of Professor Yoo’s book and the ways super powers might respond and adapt to the changing geopolitical landscape.
- Professor John C. Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and author of Point of Attack
- Professor Michael W. Lewis, Professor of Law, Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law