Geopolitics and Global Hot Spots for the New Administration
Wednesdays with Woodward webinar
February 3, 2021
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this webinar are the speakers own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Travelers Companies, Inc.; the Travelers Institute; and their representatives, subsidiaries and affiliates.
The new administration faces a host of geopolitical and foreign policy challenges in 2021. Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Rogers joined the Wednesdays with Woodward series to take us around the world to discuss global hot spots, pressing foreign policy issues, cybersecurity threats and takeaways for the business community.
Admiral Rogers addressed the state of U.S. foreign policy, including his view of former President Donald Trump’s more unilateral approach, as well as his perceptions and predictions for the Biden administration. In Admiral Roger’s assessment, President Joe Biden believes a multilateral approach to issues is most effective and enters the office with a very defined set of priorities (responding to COVID-19, improving the economy, addressing issues that have divided the nation) that will make major foreign policy breakthroughs early in the administration unlikely.
With that context in mind, Admiral Rogers provided his opinion of key foreign policy considerations that the new administration faces.
Admiral Rogers views the current U.S.–China relationship as competitive, but cautioned that there is the potential for further deterioration if it is not handled appropriately.
Admiral Rogers explained that recent approaches toward China focused on leveraging U.S. strength in trade and technology to stall the country’s emergence into the global system. Looking ahead, he anticipates that the Biden administration will work to keep China in the global system, while also confronting the nation on other issues through a global, multilateral approach.
Further, Admiral Rogers urged today’s leaders to continue to consider areas for collaboration, such as the COVID-19 response.
Admiral Rogers emphasized that President Biden should find areas to cooperate with Russia, applauding the administration’s February 2021 extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). However, he also reiterated the importance of applying pressure when needed. Admiral Rogers, who served as Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency, pointed out that the 2017 NotPetya cyber incident and the 2020 SolarWinds attack were “the two biggest cyber incidents in world history.”
The United States’ objective with North Korea has been to stop them from developing and being able to launch nuclear weapons, according to Admiral Rogers.
He does not expect President Biden to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and rather feels that, “The best we can hope for is to continue to isolate them and convince them that going any further down the road [to nuclear capabilities] is a bad idea.”
Admiral Rogers expects President Biden to resume conversations with Iran, with the goal of taking the “nuclear issue off the table.” However, Admiral Rogers does not believe it is realistic to think that the United States can return to the agreements in the Iran Nuclear Deal, which the United States withdrew from in 2018, without Iran expecting additional concessions.
Admiral Rogers expects President Biden to pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and noted that the relationship dynamics between the United States and Israel will be different compared to the last four years. Still, Admiral Rogers does not believe President Biden will move the U.S. embassy back to Tel Aviv after its relocation to Jerusalem in 2018.
Presented by the Travelers Institute and the Partnership for New York City.