WCED Lecture. The West’s Democratic Challenge: Central Europe’s Variant and What America Can Do
What can we do? First, showing up is half the battle. The U.S. needs to be present with a strategic message of why the West and its values matter. The 100th Anniversary of the fall of empires in 1918 provides an excellent occasion, especially in Prague, Bratislava, and Warsaw. Second, we need a message to governments and societies that takes account of Central European concerns, especially their sensitivity toward their newly-regained national sovereignty, including in the context of Europe’s difficult debate on refugees. Patriotism and national pride are not the same as chauvinism, though they can degenerate into it. Third, we need to help the Central Europeans defend themselves against Russian aggression, both overt but more importantly aggression via disinformation and propaganda, about which America is learning much. Fourth, without unproductive lecturing, America needs to convey messages when governments in Central Europe put at risk democratic fundamentals. We need to be judicious, not shrill, in our tactics and selective in our battles. Fifth, American leadership in the West, and the Free World more broadly, remains indispensable: when we do not lead, others will fill the vacuum.
In his forty-year Foreign Service career, Ambassador Fried played a key role in designing and implementing American policy in Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. As Special Assistant and NSC Senior Director for Presidents Clinton and Bush, Ambassador to Poland, and Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (2005-09), Ambassador Fried crafted the policy of NATO enlargement to Central European nations and, in parallel, NATO-Russia relations, thus advancing the goal of Europe whole, free, and at peace. During those years, the West’s community of democracy and security grew in Europe. Ambassador Fried helped lead the West’s response to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine starting in 2014: as State Department Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, he crafted U.S. sanctions against Russia, the largest U.S. sanctions program to date, and negotiated the imposition of similar sanctions by Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia. Having retired from the Foreign Service in April, 2017, Ambassador Fried is currently a Distinguished Fellow with the Atlantic Council.
|Event Type:||Lecture / Discussion|
|Tags:||Democracy, European, International, Politics, Public Policy|
|Source:||Happening @ Michigan from Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, Center for European Studies, International Institute, Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia|
The Center for European Studies organizes a number of public events each year such as lectures, conferences, and films, many in collaboration with other U-M units. Please use our searchable events calendar for information about upcoming programs sponsored by CES including our signature Conversations on Europe series.
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