2016’s Disruptions Force Atlantic Community into Changed Reality
Trump Likely to Drop TTIP
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MARRAKESH (December 14, 2016) – The opening day of the fifth edition of The Atlantic Dialogues in Marrakesh, Morocco, confronted resurgent nationalism, the rise of populism, slow economic growth, and increasing inequality on all sides of the Atlantic Basin.
The geopolitical world has seen tectonic change in the span of only a few years. What was once unthinkable in global politics has become a reality. International Broadcaster Nik Gowing remembered in 2014, “in NATO they all had an idea that Putin might invade Crimea and seize it, but they didn’t believe it would ever happen.”
Ambassador Kerry Buck, permanent representative of Canada to NATO, argued that though international organizations like NATO have seen and adapted to changes in the security landscape through the years, more effort should be made to address the feeling of “disaffection” among citizens.
“If you take [a] human-centered approach and start to talk to people and listen to people and frame it that way, I think that even at the national level, you might be able to retool some of those political pitfalls that are gutting the center,” said Buck.
As the conversation continued, it became clear that the Atlantic community will need to be more inclusive all around. Indeed, lack of inclusivity seems to be the cause of the current populist movements across Europe and the victory of the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Carlos Lopes, professor at the University of Cape Town and visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, points out that, “if we don’t prepare for the change, we are going to face incredible unpreparedness to this disruption, the demographic disruption.”
Strong leadership is key. Co-founder of Transparency International Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili says, “There is a leadership void. And that’s going to haunt our civilization. There has to be a way that core conversations can happen. Do we have the quality of leaders that would source these conversations? That’s now going to be an issue.”
The new leadership in the United States will likely not be good for globalism, and Donald Trump has signaled a rapprochement with Russia warns Paulo Portas. He also argued leaders should not think classically about the President-elect, “There is nothing classical about him.” If the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) wasn’t already dead, the panelists unanimously agreed it will not be revived under his administration. Though many participants maintained a positive outlook on Trump’s ability to make bilateral deals, the President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics Adam Posen did not agree, going as far as to say trading, “bilaterally is stupid and won’t work,” except possibly with Mexico.
If protectionist leaders break international trade, the current economic order could face a situation of global collapse. Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Dominican Republic Juan Montás sees the European Union as a model of regional cooperation because “the big challenge in South America is not just to reduce poverty, but to reduce inequality to have inclusive and coherent societies.”
South America and Africa currently have surprisingly low levels of bilateral trade. But Former President of Argentina Eduardo Alberto Duhalde sees opportunity and said, “the great richness that we have … among Atlantic countries should be leverage to boost growth. And this is where I believe my country will open to Africa and create important relations or relationships with African countries.”
In conjunction with the conference, The German Marshall Fund of the United States and the OCP Policy Center held The Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders Program and launched this year’s edition of Atlantic Currents, a unique annual review of developments around the wider Atlantic.
The Atlantic Dialogues agenda provides a mix of on-the-record public sessions that are open to media coverage, as well as private, off-the-record sessions for participants only. The latest agenda will always be available on The Atlantic Dialogues website.The Atlantic Dialogues is a partnership between The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and OCP Policy Center. Gathering for the fifth time, The Atlantic Dialogues is designed to broaden the transatlantic dialogue to include issues and voices from around the Atlantic Basin and to reinforce North-South and South-South Atlantic dialogue.
Atlantic Currents seeks to understand the trends and issues that affect the wider Atlantic space from many different perspectives in an effort to move away from rigid North-South divisions in international political debates. By focusing on the entire geographical space of the Atlantic Ocean and the continents that surround it, the publication enables a different type of conversation, as does Atlantic Dialogues. This third volume of Atlantic Currents asks how the international community can more openly engage in sensitive debates around the role of religion in diplomatic discourse as well as the implications of the post-Paris push for low-carbon, climate-resilient development models.
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