Choices Foreign Policy Issues in the 2020 Election

About the Choices Election Issues Series

The 2020 presidential election will present the American people with consequential choices around international challenges and the future of U.S. foreign policy. In the eight weeks leading up to November 3, the International Relations Council will offer a series of insightful conversations with notable experts on foreign policy issues relevant to this year’s election and what comes next. Rather than advocate a particular approach or outcome, the nonpartisan Choices series will serve to inform voters through a presentation of historical context and a detailed examination of the foreign policy platforms of the major-party candidates. We welcome diverse perspectives and encourage the community to join us in meaningful discourse around these issues of global importance.

Topics and Speakers

Tuesday, September 8 – Tariffs and Trade

Ambassador Ron Kirk is Senior Of Counsel in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices. Prior to joining the firm in April 2013, Amb. Kirk served as the 16th United States Trade Representative (USTR) and was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, serving as the President’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. Amb. Kirk successfully negotiated the conclusion and Congressional passage of trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea, and Russia’s entry in the World Trade Organization. He was also responsible for U.S. trade policy involving agriculture; industry; services and investment; intellectual property; environment; labor; development and preference programs.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, September 15 – The Transatlantic Relationship

Erik Brattberg is director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He is an expert on European politics and security and transatlantic relations. His current research at Carnegie focuses on U.S. foreign policy toward the EU and NATO, transatlantic cooperation in an age of great power competition, European approaches toward AI and disinformation, and Europe’s relations with China and Asia.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, September 22 – Peace in the Middle East

Ambassador Frank G. Wisner served as U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Egypt, the Philippines, and India during his diplomatic career, which spanned nearly four decades. He also served as undersecretary of defense for policy and as undersecretary of state for international security affairs. After retiring from his career at the Department of State, Wisner served as vice chairman of external affairs for American International Group and currently serves as foreign affairs advisor for Patton Boggs, LLP.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, September 29 – Energy, Environment, & Climate Change

Melanie Nakagawa is the Head of Climate Initiative with Princeville Global, an investment firm focused on backing rapidly-growing technology-related companies around the world. Previously, she served with the U.S. State Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation in the Bureau of Energy Resources, leading efforts to promote the global shift toward a low carbon economy as integral to economic development and addressing energy security and climate change. She was also on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff from 2013-2015, serving as a strategic advisor to Secretary Kerry and advancing efforts to elevate climate change as a foreign policy priority.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, October 6 – Military & Diplomacy

Melissa Dalton is a senior fellow and deputy director of the CSIS International Security Program (ISP) and director of the Cooperative Defense Project (CDP). Her CDP research focuses on reinforcing the principled foundations of U.S. defense policy and military operations. She also frequently conducts research and writes on security cooperation with allies and partners and U.S. defense policy in the Middle East. As deputy director, she advises the ISP director on a broad range of strategic and management issues. She manages the daily operations of ISP, including a team of 50 resident staff and an extensive network of nonresident affiliates.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, October 13 – Great Power Competition: China, Russia, & the U.S.

Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as President of CNAS from 2012-19 and as Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow from 2009-12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain and worked at the State Department, the National Security Council, and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, October 20 – Iran, North Korea, and Nuclear Proliferation

Suzanne DiMaggio is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East and Asia. She is one of the foremost experts and practitioners of diplomatic dialogues with countries that have limited or no official relations with the United States, especially Iran and North Korea. For nearly two decades, she has led these track 1.5 and track 2 conversations to help policymakers identify pathways for diplomatic progress on a range of issues, including regional security, nonproliferation, terrorism, and governance.

View the recording of the program here.

Tuesday, October 27 – American Leadership & Multilateralism

Oona A. Hathaway is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law and Counselor to the Dean at the Yale Law School. She is also Professor of International Law and Area Studies at the Yale University MacMillan Center, on the faculty at the Jackson Institute for International Affairs, and Professor of the Yale University Department of Political Science. She has published more than twenty-five law review articles, and she is the co-author of The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (with Scott Shapiro).

View the recording of the program here.

Supporting Series Sponsors

Thank you for the generous support from our sponsor of this event. For more information about sponsor packages, which support our programming and increase your visibility and impact, please contact Matthew Hughes.

Nancy C. MesserSeries Sponsor
University of Missouri
University of MissouriSeries Sponsor
Buttonwood Financial Group
Buttonwood Financial GroupSeries Sponsor