Intelligence Squared Debates: “It’s Time to Clip America’s Global Wings”
Former Bush Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams and Johns Hopkins Professor Eliot Cohen Convince a New York Audience American Foreign Policy is Not Overreaching
Debate to be broadcast on NPR stations nationwide and to be telecast on Bloomberg TV globally beginning April 11 at 8PM EST
NEW YORK – April 6, 2011 – With America’s recent intervention in Libya, what should our nation’s role be in the rapidly changing new world dynamic? Are we guilty of overreach or have we not been ambitious enough?
In the latest round in America’s premier debate series, Intelligence Squared Debates (IQ2US), Peter Galbraith, a diplomat, author and academic joined Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, in support of the motion, while arguing against the motion were Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Advisor of Middle Eastern Affairs in the George W. Bush administration and Eliot Cohen, who also served as Counselor to the Dept. of State under Condoleezza Rice.
This latest intellectual matchup was IQ2US’s fourth and penultimate debate in its themed season, “America’s House Divided,” moderated by ABC News Nightline’s John Donvan.
Key excerpts from the debate include:
“Now, if you’re going to clip our wings, and in fact many of those wings are being clipped, you have to make some assumptions about the world. You have to assume that there will be no war on the Korean Peninsula. You have to assume there'll be no war between Israel and Iran. You have to assume absolute stability in Asia despite the rise of China. You have to assume no 9/11 attack on the United States again, that we wish to respond to. Are you absolutely confident about all of that, confident enough to reduce American power, that in one, or two, or five, or 10 years we may need?”
“In many ways, we've entered a world which is a dangerous and difficult place, not just thinking of issues like nuclear proliferation or global warming. By the way, it's not clear to me that if you clip America's global wings, why doesn't that cover things like the United States taking the lead on global warming? But beyond that, we live at a time of tremendous movements in human history. In the last decade, hundreds of millions of Chinese have risen out of poverty. That is unambiguously a good thing.”
“America's global ambitions, particularly in the last decade, have far exceeded our capabilities. It is more than we can afford, more than a trillion dollars on two wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But beyond the fact that we can't afford it … the fact is we undertook massive nation building exercises, and we did not succeed. In fact, I will argue to you that we have not only not helped the United States, we have undermined America’s national security.”
“China is gaining because we’re bogged down in Afghanistan. They would love us to be there forever, keep spending all of this money and help their foreign policy objectives. They’re a free rider in the Middle East, okay? We’re doing -- and, oh, what’s China doing? Sitting back and taking advantage of it. So I think our point is that, you know, when you say clip your wings, you’ve got to work with the rest of the community.”
Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted with the following:
- 37 % of audience agreeing with the resolution
* 26 % of audience against the resolution
- 37 % undecided
After carefully considering the points, Elliott Abrams and Eliot Cohen won the debate -- the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.
- 47 % of audience agreeing with the resolution
- 44 % of audience against the resolution
- 9 % undecided
To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and post-debate, please visit our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Think2Twice
The showdown at NYU’s Skirball Center in New York City (566 LaGuardia Place) puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- To view transcripts and videos, download audio or video clips or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. please visit: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/index.php/debates/america-divided-us-politics/
- Bloomberg TV will air the debate M-F April 11-15 at 8:00pm EST with additional repeats ongoing throughout the weekend. To find Bloomberg TV in your area, please visit: www.bloomberg.com/intelligence-squared-debates
- NPR will air the debate on stations nationwide and the podcast will be available to download on Monday, April 11. Please check with your local NPR stations for additional details or visit: www.npr.org/intelligencesquared
- Dana Wolfe is the executive producer of Intelligence Squared Debates.
- 2011 marks Intelligence Squared Debates fifth series and is themed, “America’s House Divided.” IQ2US’ first debate of the spring season featured health care reform. The last debate for this season will focus on immigration on May 3. IQ2US’ 2010 fall season highlighted issues including: the treatment of captured terrorists, whether Islam is a religion of peace, big government, the war in Afghanistan and airport profiling.
ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED DEBATES (IQ2US)
Rethink your point of view with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), Oxford-style debates live from New York City. Based on the highly successful debate program based in London, Intelligence Squared, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented 47 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From global warming and the financial crisis, to Afghanistan/Pakistan and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues.
Since its inception in 2006, the goals have been to provide a new forum for intelligent discussion, grounded in facts and informed by reasoned analysis; to transcend the toxically emotional and the reflexively ideological; and to encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.
The Rosenkranz Foundation initiated the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series and continues to provide major support.
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