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NATO at 70: Why Alliances Still Matter

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School of International Service, American University, Founders Room

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20016

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In honor of NATO's 70th anniversary, experts will discuss how critical multilateral alliances are to the United States and beyond.

About this Event

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered outside of the Western Hemisphere.

President Trump has expressed interest in the United States leaving the alliance. There are others who doubt NATO’s future, and others who worry about the tension of dealing with the rise of China. Debates continue to linger on both sides of the Atlantic as to whether NATO enlargement has enhanced or eroded European stability and whether continued expansion is the right course, despite the costs to the West’s relationship with Russia.

Experts will discuss the history of NATO, the important issues the alliance faces, and ideas for how NATO can adapt and endure into the future. The discussion will be moderated by SIS professor Garret Martin. Panelists include

Nora Bensahel – Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies and Senior Fellow at the Merrill Center in the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C.

Ian Brzezinski – Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and its Future Europe Initiative; Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy

James Goldgeier – SIS professor and former SIS dean; Robert Bosch Senior Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

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Biographies

Nora Bensahel is a Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies and Senior Fellow of the Merrill Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is also a Contributing Editor and Columnist for War on the Rocks, and an Adjunct Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. Before joining SAIS, Bensahel was a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the School of International Service at American University and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Earlier in her career, she worked at the Center for a New American Security, the RAND Corporation, and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Ian Brzezinski leads the Brzezinski Group, LLC, a consulting firm advising commercial and government clients on international security policy, government relations, business development and political risk. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and its Future Europe Initiative. Mr. Brzezinski’s background includes five years in defense industry as a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton providing policy and technical support to United States combatant commands and international military establishments. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy from 2001 to 2005 during which his responsibilities included: NATO expansion, Alliance force planning and transformation and NATO operations in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Brzezinski served for seven years on Capitol Hill, first as a Legislative Assistant for National Security Affairs to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Bill Roth, (1995–2000) and then as a Senior Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (2000–2001).

James Goldgeier is a Professor of International Relations and served as Dean of the School of International Service at American University from 2011-2017. He is also a Robert Bosch Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. He was a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2017-2019 and in 2018-2019, he held the inaugural Library of Congress Chair in U.S.-Russia Relations at the John W. Kluge Center. He also taught at the George Washington University and Cornell University. In addition, he has held appointments or fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brookings Institution, and the Center for International Security and Cooperation.

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School of International Service, American University, Founders Room

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20016

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