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Trump's America on the World Stage

John Donvan
Thursday, September 20, 2018

For those of you fascinated by, worried about, or puzzled by the challenges the United States faces abroad in the era of “America First,” there are two gatherings taking place in Manhattan this week that might shed light on where we are going. But you can only get tickets to one.


While the United Nations General Assembly convenes on the east side, we’ll be on the west side, debating some of the basic assumptions used to guide our government’s interactions with that world out there. This Thursday, we’re launching our fall series with an evening of debate on the state and future of American national security. (Get your tickets here.)


For this one, we’ll be deploying the “unresolved” format that we invented a few seasons back, one that lets us take on a series of resolutions, debated by five speakers who are all flying solo. Here are the resolutions we’ll be debating:


It’s Time to Take a Hard Line on Iran.

NATO Is No Longer Fit for Purpose.

The Russia Threat Is Overblown.


We’re thrilled at our debater lineup: Kori Schake of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and a veteran of the George W. Bush administration; Reuel Marc Gerecht, a one-time CIA case officer now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; the University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer; Derek Chollet, who held senior foreign policy positions under President Obama before joining the German Marshall Fund of the United States; and Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NYU and Princeton. (More about the debaters here.)


This is the inaugural debate of our 13th season, launching at a time when smart, civil, and light-shedding discourse has never been more critical. That we are debating against the backdrop of the United Nations gathering, one of the largest assemblies of world leaders there is, makes the timing of this debate that much more exciting, not to mention relevant. It’s the starting point for what I suspect will be our most energized and informative season ever.


I hope you’ll join us.


Yours truly,


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