Ambassador Ivo Daalder

President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Picking Up The Pieces: U.S. Foreign Policy in an Election Year

About the Topic

On July 20, 2017, President Trump entered “the Tank,” a secure briefing room at the Pentagon. Assembled before him were Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis along with the nation’s top experts in foreign and national security policy. Their idea? To provide the new leader of the free world - and political novice - a tutorial on America’s long-standing global role since World War II. Over two hours, Trump argued with his briefers, “I don’t agree.” Since then, the President has up-ended the policies and practice of U.S. diplomacy ranging from allies in Europe to foes like Iran and North Korea. Determined to deliver on “America First,” Trump has led by “instinct,” his contradictory pronouncements confounding observers. Asked, “What's next,” he has been known to reply, “We’ll see what happens.” This past February, the Munich Security Conference issued a report entitled, Who Will Pick Up the Pieces? Addressing the assembled allies, former Vice President Joe Biden promised, “This too shall pass. We will be back. We will be back.” On the eve of the 2020 presidential election cycle, what are the challenges to picking up the pieces of a US diplomacy practiced since 1945? Has U.S. leadership shifted permanently to a grand game of winners and losers? And how might Trump’s exercise of foreign policy matter to voters?

About the Speaker

Ivo H. Daalder is president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as the U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2009 - 2013. Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Daalder was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, specializing in American foreign policy, national security, European security, and transatlantic relations. He also served as Director of European Affairs on President Clinton’s National Security Council from 1995 - 1997, followed by an appointment as research director at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies. He has authored and edited ten books, the most recent being The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership, with James M. Lindsay (2018).