Wednesday, May 31, 2017

President Trump did not inherit a country that is failing

Ambassador (Ret.) Nicholas Burns, presented the annual George Herbert Walker Jr. Lecture in International Studies at Yale University on May 3, 2017 entitled “The Trump Administration’s Global Foreign Policy Challenges.” 

“I think America is in good shape as a global power,” he said. “We are the world leader economically. We should be the world leader in the next digital age that is coming. We are certainly militarily still the strongest country in the world.”

Ambassador Burns concluded his remarks by discussing China. He related a story of the late Ambassador Stephen Bosworth coming into his classroom at Harvard and telling his students that the most daunting international challenge is to “find a way to be partners with China and then not to be dominated by China.”
 “In many ways, China is not our enemy, China is our partner,” he said. “How can you be successful in the modern world without working with China?” Yet, Ambassador Burns continued, China is bullying five sovereign nations in the South China Sea and has pursued international strategies that the United States cannot ignore.
“It would be catastrophic to go to war with China,” he said. “Here’s the question – have we ever had a relationship in American history where our strongest partner is our strongest competitor? That’s a difficult question that requires leadership that is historically minded, that is sophisticated, that is nuanced, that has a great deal of credibility.”
“If these are the big challenges, boy we better have good leadership in Washington,” he continued. “You need people with that depth, experience, gravitas, personal credibility, honesty, that’s what we need in Washington. And I don’t want to be unfair to the Trump administration, but they started in a very awkward position.”

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