February 27, 2023
Former Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In a time of economic and geopolitical uncertainty, American politicians and diplomats have the unique responsibility of shaping the road ahead.
Amid precarious global relationships, three distinguished government officials who play key roles in carrying out America’s foreign policy shared their insights on bipartisan support for foreign policy during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce InSTEP event. They also discussed the complexities of relationships with other geopolitical players and how the U.S. can manage global relationships to help preserve human rights and freedoms.
Despite Domestic Disagreement, There Is Bipartisan Support Within Foreign Policy
Though some may believe the United States is deeply cleaved in terms of domestic politics, culture wars, and our definition of rights and freedoms at home, the panelists agreed that policymakers are more united than ever on international issues.
“We [have to] be present in the relationship with China, and I feel bipartisan support from both parties in Congress, from the House, and the Senate,” said Nicholas Burns , U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. “It's very important that we maintain that because China will try to divide us at home as they have tried to do in the past.”
“The U.S. has contributed more than $30 billion to the security, economic prosperity humanitarian situation in Ukraine,” added Victoria Nuland , the Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. “You can't do that without overwhelming support of both parties in Congress.”
As Israel Continues to Change, the U.S.-Israel Relationship Faces New Challenges
Amid ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and an uncertain political climate, the enduring relationship between the United States and Israel faces new challenges.
“There's no question Israel is going through a transitional period,” explained Thomas Nides , U.S. Ambassador to Israel. “They have a vibrant democracy – 72% of the country voted for the fifth time in two years. The challenge Israel has is not only the threats they have from a military perspective … but they also have a continuation of a country which is changing demographically.”
Nides also pointed out how tensions in the West Bank in Gaza, including the February 27, 2023, attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, continue to drive what happens in the region.
“The idea of bipartisanship is alive and well, as it relates to the state of Israel and its surrounding neighbors,” Nides emphasized. “Working together in a bipartisan way … is the name of the game for [navigating the relationship with] Israel and this region.”
The U.S. Must Manage Relationships to Balance Dynamics of Important Players on the Geopolitical Stage
The U.S. sits in a unique position amid other global players when trying to manage conflicts and deepen partnerships to best address the challenges of the world. Amid these transatlantic relationships, some countries in Asia are concerned about posturing with Russia. Further complicating the U.S.’s relationships is the recent balloon incident with China, which, in the words of Nides, “was an outright violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the United States.”
“Frankly, we've received a lot of support from our allies and partners from every part of the world for our position that we had to stand up to the Chinese on this issue,” he added.
To help balance the dynamics of these major players and manage the complex relationships between them, Nuland noted the U.S. is focusing on the larger picture.
“The conversation is, of course, about the individual issues that we're working on — but fundamentally, it's about defending the UN charter of defending sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, defending peaceful resolution of problems, and standing up to coercion,” said Nuland. “[We’re] using all of the tools in our toolkit to do that.”
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