Thomas Wright

Director, Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution

PATRON EVENT: America's Alliances: A Framework for the 21st Century

About the Topic


For the past year, the Brookings Institution has conducted quarterly polls evaluating U.S. relations with its steadfast ally: Europe. Respondents include Brookings experts and other scholars. The most recent Trans-Atlantic Scorecard rated “U.S-European relations overall” at 3.9, on a scale of 10. The low score is a reflection of historical fact: President Trump is the first president in modern times who is hostile to Europe and endorses dictators and autocrats. North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, “...has a great vision for his country.” Advocating for Putin at the G-7, “Russia should be in this meeting … it may not be politically correct but we have a world to run.” Writing in The Atlantic, Thomas Wright, warns, “At this particular moment, it is not sufficient to say that the free world is without a leader. He has actually defected to the other side.” Former Defense Secretary James Mattis urges a return to leadership with a “strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with...” or face “increasing risk in the world.” In the 21st century, can the U.S. remain a liberal superpower? What framework might shape America’s alliances as autocrats challenge the rule of law and press for territorial expansion? In the growing competition for global power, what measures exist short of armed conflict or war?

About the Speaker

Thomas Wright is the director of the Center on the United States and Europe and a senior fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. He is also a nonresident fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia. His areas of expertise include U.S. foreign policy and grand strategy, national security, Europe, and Asian security. Wright has also served as executive director of studies at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and a senior researcher for the Princeton Project on National Security. Broadly published in journals and news media, Wright is the author of All Measures Short of War: The Contest For the 21st Century and the Future of American Power (2017).