- Young Professionals Summit
Session Descriptions 2015
(R)evolution: The last decade has seen striking changes on both sides of the Atlantic, and at the global level. Basic assumptions about economic and political stability, energy, security, social models, and the pace of innovation have been challenged, and in some cases overturned. Old competitions have returned, and new partnerships have emerged. Fundamental changes in the nature of power — and its distribution — are part of this equation. The 10th annual Brussels Forum will explore how the world has changed, and how it is likely to change further over the next decade. How much of this change is evolution? How much is revolution? What does it tell us about future trends — and shocks — and the meaning for transatlantic and global strategy?
- Brussels Forum Talk
- Zero-Sum? Russia, Power Politics, and the post-Cold War Era
- A Conversation with Michael Froman and Cecilia Malmström
- Start-Up Shake-Up: How Entrepreneurship is Driving Regional Growth and Innovation
- The National Security Dilemma: The Power of International Politics on Domestic Debates
- Europe Ten Years On
- Where will Economic Growth Come From?
- Countering the New Wave of Terrorism at Home and Abroad
- New Visions for Energy Transition: Balancing Energy Security, Climate Change, and Costs
- Global Competition, Transatlantic Economies: Can Europe Compete?
- Great Powers in Asia: Is Strategic Competition the New Normal?
- Governing the Web? Power, Law, and the Internet
- Conflict and Chaos in the New Middle East and North Africa
- The Future of Conflict
- Gender Parity and Diversity in the Transatlantic Realm
- Shifts in Global Leadership: New Roles for Asia and Europe?
- Sustainable Security: Leading Greater Social Cohesion
- Thought Experiment: The Brussels Forum Agenda in 2025
Brussels Forum Talk
We live in a world in which the key challenges faced by humanity are so completely globalized that they are beyond the reach of any single nation to resolve. Whether it is climate change, terrorism, inequality, poverty, drug trafficking, slavery, pandemics, water and food shortages, or economic instability, their scale is now global, and so only global collaboration can remedy them. And yet nations continue to devote far more time and energy to competing against each other than to cooperating and collaborating toward a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.
Clearly, something has to change. After 20 years of research and advice to more than 50 national governments, Simon Anholt published theGood Country Index, the first survey to measure what each nation contributes to humanity. He then launched the Good Country Party, which aims to cure the selfishness of nations by uniting the world’s 700 million natural cosmopolitans to establish the “Dual Mandate”: leaders are responsible not only for their own people but for the human race, not only for their own slice of territory but for the whole planet.
Zero-Sum? Russia, Power Politics, and the post-Cold War Era
While a narrative of confrontation has engulfed Russia’s relationship with Europe and the United States over the previous year, this development is indicative of a crescendo in dissonance between Russia and transatlantic powers over the better part of a decade. Since Vladimir Putin first took the presidency of Russia in 1999, that country’s foreign policy has taken on an increasingly confrontational posture in regional European security matters. Aggressive energy politics threatened the core of Europe in the mid- to late-2000s, and the 2008 intervention and de facto invasion of Georgia gave the Euroatlantic community pause regarding Russia’s willingness to use military force to achieve regional political gains. Most recently, the annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas in Ukraine have demonstrated an unprecedented boldness and disregard for the international security architecture in the post-Cold War era. As a consequence, transatlantic partners have responded by imposing severe economic sanctions, while some contemplate providing defense military aid to Ukrainians. All the while, Russia continues to play a very unhelpful role in the frozen conflicts of Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.
Although tensions between Moscow, Brussels, and Washington have increased, there have also been moments of détente and cooperation. This was apparent in Afghanistan, where NATO and Russia experienced significant cooperation in fighting the opium trade and in counterterrorism efforts. Russia also provided significant transit routes for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces in Afghanistan. Beyond Afghanistan, Russia was also a key partner in finding resolution to the crisis of chemical weapons in Syria.
However, while “resetting” the relationship with Russia and finding a constructive path forward was a clear priority at the start of the Obama presidency, Russian aggression and territorial violations in Eastern Europe have destroyed momentum in this regard. Additionally, the continued use of energy as a coercive policy tool and changes on mid-range nuclear weapons postures also raise real concern regarding the trajectory of power politics and the post-Cold War era. It is clear that although some may try to argue for win-win scenarios, Russia currently sees as a zero-sum outcome in Eastern Europe. Moving forward, a realistic assessment of the region is needed.
- Are transatlantic partners resigned to a zero-sum outcome in dealing with Russia? Is there room for real cooperation and a growth in constructive engagement?
- Given the current destabilization of the Donbas and the annexation of Crimea, how do Russia, Europe, and the United States start down a path of de-escalation? What developments would constitute mile-markers or goals to signify the relationship is on a path to acceptable normalcy? Particularly in Ukraine, what do Europe and the United States expect as an acceptable outcome? How does this diverge from what is acceptable in Russia?
- As events in the post-Soviet space dominate the conversations surrounding Russia and the West, where does cooperation on combating terrorism, stabilizing Afghanistan, pursuing peace in the Middle East, engaging the Arctic, and helping negotiate a nuclear settlement in Iran fit? How do we move beyond a zero-sum conversation between Russia and Euroatlantic countries? How will a potential Russian economic recession affect its ability to sustain the current path of its foreign and security policy?
A Conversation with Michael Froman and Cecilia Malmström
Over the last decade, the global economic order has undergone considerable transformations, as traditional trade and investment patterns have evolved in unprecedented ways. The financial crises in the United States and Europe, the rise of new emerging market economies, and the growing importance of global value chains have all contributed to these changes. Negotiations for a transatlantic trade deal are in part a reaction to these developments and at the same time an attempt to maintain transatlantic leadership in this field.
They way mega-regional trade agreements like Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will affect the global trading system remains to be seen. After more than a year and a half of negotiations, a vigorous public debate about TTIP has developed in many European countries. In the United States, the focus has been on the debate around Trade Promotion Authority in the Congress.
- In light of these developments, what are the prospects of reaching an ambitious agreement and concluding trade talks in a timely manner?
- How can negotiators overcome contentious questions regarding transparency, food and safety standards, and investor protection clauses?
- How will the dramatically changing energy landscape and geopolitical challenges affect trade negotiations?
- Can trade agreements like TTIP and others serve a strategic purpose?
Start-Up Shake-Up: How Entrepreneurship is Driving Regional Growth and Innovation
As the United States and Europe continue to explore ways to grow their economies in the face of sluggish employment, deflation, and aging infrastructure, national policymakers can look to cities for innovative ideas and practices. Many U.S. urban leaders are making big moves to stimulate their local economies and boost their region’s global economic competitiveness with little support or involvement from the national authorities. While not every city can be the next Silicon Valley, many leaders are looking to entrepreneurship as an important strategy. By supporting collaboration between academic institutions, private companies, and financial institutions, governments can create and foster economic diversity and growth in the face of downturn. By stoking these collaborations and taking risks on new innovative technologies, many cities are creating thriving “ecosystems” for innovation for both start-up companies and traditional corporations. Still there is a debate as to whether starts-ups can attract jobs and investment back to declining regions, and what role government, at all levels, can and should play to support these start-up ecosystems.
This session will explore what it takes to have a truly innovative economy from the local, regional, and national perspectives. The panel will discuss the role of governments in building and implementing innovation policy in order to spur economic growth and prosperity for all levels of society.
- How has the entrepreneurship and innovation landscape changed since the great recession?
- What is the role of national policymakers vs. local leaders in framing the discussion around start-ups? How can they help communicate to financiers and the public sector that new ecosystems are major opportunities for economic growth and prosperity?
- What needs to be done in Europe to create a more innovation-friendly investment climate?
- Is there a recipe for success that is universal? What are the factors that need to be in place for entrepreneurship and innovation to occur in transatlantic cities?
The National Security Dilemma: The Power of International Politics on Domestic Debates
Over the past decade, Europe and the United States have experienced numerous economic, strategic, and political challenges that have profoundly stirred national security debates in the transatlantic world. The ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq, the National Security Agency spying scandal, the release of the U.S. torture report, the continued impact of the euro crisis, and the massacre in Paris are just a few events that have caused deep self-reflection and volatility in domestic discussions. Simultaneously, these events have influenced national psyches, opinions, and policies. Reflecting on priorities, challenges, and strategies through the lens of international events, policymakers seek to find a balance between freedoms and stability, protectionism and globalism, and engagement and isolationism. Often, this tension creates pressure to enact quick measures stirred by populist sentiment to assuage concerns “at home.” In practice, this can result in the rise of controversial immigration policies, deep divisions over data privacy, and disagreement on anti-terrorism policies.
Resolving these debates remains the responsibility for transatlantic legislators and leaders at the forefront of national debates. To move a national security agenda forward, it is imperative to reconcile domestic policy divisions with geopolitical realities. Moreover, connecting the impact of international developments with domestic policy outcomes can be challenging, but is necessary to achieve the effective outcomes in both the international and domestic spheres. This requires a long-term strategic view, which also addresses the immediate needs of a particular population.
- How do leaders effectively integrate the number of different policy topics that affect the national security debate “at home,” such as terrorism, data privacy, immigration, energy security, and prices? Beyond integration, how do leaders think strategically and holistically about these priorities, while remaining responsive to electorates and avoiding the trap of enacting short-term policies that may exacerbate rather than solve the challenge at hand?
- How do transatlantic partners effectively connect the strategic international importance of these issues for the domestic debate?
- How do national leaders craft overarching strategic agendas that can be flexible enough to respond to internal domestic debates about priorities and practices of the government?
- Is there room for transatlantic cooperation in strengthening or underpinning these conversations that take place on the national level? How do transatlantic partners avoid situations in which developments on either side of the Atlantic highlight divisions within specific national psyches? Can this be avoided?
Europe Ten Years On
Ten years ago, the direction of the European project seemed clear. The declaration made by the signatories of the 1957 Rome treaties to work toward an “ever closer union” went largely unquestioned and the goal of further European integration was shared by policymakers across the continent. Certainly, referenda in France and the Netherlands rejected the idea of a Constitution for Europe in 2005, but just a year prior, ten new member states had joined the European Union. And, early in 2005, Ukraine and the EU signed a joined Action Plan, agreeing to intensify political, security, economic, and cultural relations.
Ten years on, the situation has shifted in dramatic fashion. The experience of the euro crisis, which repeatedly brought the common currency to the edge of a break-up, is still fresh and the crisis not fully overcome. While additional member states have joined the EU and some have adopted the euro, disintegrative tendencies are visible in the United Kingdom and in the rise of right-wing populist parties throughout the continent. The situation on the Union’s eastern boarder has deteriorated rapidly, following events in Ukraine and Russia.
- In light of these developments, what measures are needed to return the European project to the path towards “ever closer union”?
- What mistakes were made over the past ten years, and what lessons can be learned from them?
- Are disintegrative tendencies and existential challenge to the European Union or just a reflection of short-term integration fatigue that can be overcome?
Where will Economic Growth Come From?
Seven years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world’s economy is still struggling with the legacy of the greatest economic downturn in decades. As part of the fallout of the crisis, economic growth levels have varied across many regions. This is increasingly the case for the transatlantic partners, where uneven growth trajectories on respective sides of the Atlantic, are leading to a decoupling of transatlantic economic policies.
In Europe, the European Commission has raised its economic outlook and expects all EU member states to grow in 2015, but the pace of the recovery remains slow and vulnerabilities remain. Growth prospects are especially wanting in the euro area where economic performance varies significantly across countries and the legacy of the crisis — elevated unemployment rates, low demand, and high debt figures — continue to restrain many regions.
Meanwhile, growth figures for emerging economies, though still high, are expected to be lower than projected just a few years ago. For countries like China, this is widely regarded as a healthy and normal development as the economy shifts to a more sustainable path. Still, concerns over a “hard landing” of the Chinese economy and potential implications for the global economy remain.
Against this background, the question of (sustainable) short- and medium-term growth prospects for the global economy — and especially Europe — remains crucial.
- What are sources of potential growth in Europe and worldwide?
- What role can monetary policy continue to play?
- Which institutional changes remain necessary for the eurozone to spark growth?
- Given the close ties between the transatlantic partners, is the divergent economic trajectory on respective sides of the Atlantic sustainable?
- How can Europe prevent a lost decade and continued stagnation like that of Japan?
- How serious is China’s economic slowdown and what are the risks of a crash?
- What repercussions will a lower Chinese growth trajectory have for the global economy?
Countering the New Wave of Terrorism at Home and Abroad
The tragic evolution of the ongoing conflict in Syria and the vacuum of effective governance in Western Iraq have fuelled a dangerous uptick in fundamental extremism throughout the Levant and devolution within Syria and across the Iraqi border. The self-proclaimed “Islamic State,” commonly referred to as ISIS, is at the forefront of this surge. Despite drawing rebuke from other extremist groups for their ruthless and ultraviolent interpretation of jihad, the circulation of ISIS propaganda and the use of intimidation, coupled with military successes and territorial gains, have garnered support for their cause. As the international community faces the prospect of wider regional destabilization, nations are increasingly concerned about the radicalization and recruitment of their citizenry to the banner of ISIS-led jihad, as well as other extremist groups in the region. Moreover, the return of battle-hardened and radicalized veterans of Syria into their societies poses a tangible security threat. From the U.K., to France, to the Balkans, the number of European foreign fighters participating in the wider Syrian conflict is alarming, presenting a significant policy dilemma for the continent. While the Department of Homeland Security has signaled that the group does not pose a significant threat to the U.S. homeland, the continued targeting of U.S. citizens in the region, coupled with the U.S. foreign fighters that have joined the conflict, have created a real security policy problem. The challenges, domestic and abroad, for transatlantic partners regarding the new wave of transitional violent extremism are palpable.
- To what extent do returning ISIS fighters pose a threat to Western governments, and how can this threat be effectively mitigated? Moreover, as Western nations have considered ways to combat the threat posed by foreign fighters returning from the conflict, how do leaders balance policies regarding the flow of peoples, freedom of speech, and other liberal democratic rights with the concrete security threat posed by veterans of the wider Syrian conflict and those potentially leaving to join the conflict?
- What tools are available to combat ISIS propaganda, and what are the implications of their use? How do European and U.S. policymakers discourage individuals from joining the conflict in the first place?
- Given the global threat posed by the spread of violent extremism, how do transatlantic partners engage actors outside of the transatlantic space to help combat extremism in their own countries, particularly as methods, policies, and values may differ greatly?
- With so much attention focused on ISIS, how do transatlantic partners ensure that other extremist groups beyond ISIS, such as the al-Nusra Front, al Qaeda beyond the Levant, the Taliban, and Boko Haram, do not gain in size and capacity while the United States and Europe remain so focused on the immediate destabilization of the Levant?
New Visions for Energy Transition: Balancing Energy Security, Climate Change, and Costs
Breathtaking energy transformations are underway across the globe, dotting landscapes with wind turbines and solar panels. New technologies are expanding our ability to tap into the Earth’s resources. When the Brussels Forum began ten years ago, no one imagined that shale gas and oil would make the United States a foremost energy producer. And the European Union had yet to embark on its ambitious 2020 goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand renewable energy.
This year presents high stakes for the energy sector. For many, the 2015 climate change summit in Paris is a chance to achieve what the 2009 Copenhagen meeting did not: a true agreement on climate change. The United States’ recent climate change agreement with China could suggest that a major accord on reducing global emissions standards is possible.
This year has also heralded a new energy vision for the European Union. By launching an Energy Union, the EU seeks to connect European energy infrastructure, speak with a single voice internationally, and invigorate energy innovation. In the context of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, this is also a striking foreign policy endeavor.
Clearly, 2015 can produce big advances in energy security, climate change, and innovation. But each of these aims faces numerous challenges.
- With crude oil prices plummeting, many are questioning the low-carbon evolution of the global energy system. Will plentiful and inexpensive oil and gas resources undermine climate change ambitions? Will oil prices stymie European efforts to bring about a smart energy system? Or is this the perfect moment for low-cost renewable technologies to prove their economic advantage?
- The crisis in Ukraine has brought about unprecedented efforts to improve energy security. But how feasible is it for the EU and its neighborhood to cut dependence on energy imports from Russia?
- With limited political capital, what is the right political balance between energy security and climate change this year?
Global Competition, Transatlantic Economies: Can Europe Compete?
The financial and economic crises have reshaped the transatlantic economies and have also reshuffled the cards of global economic power. Emerging economies are now directly competing with both the United States and the European economies. More than challengers, they are competitors. In this context, the post-war global economic system is shaking from its traditional foundations.
In this evolving global economic environment, can the United States and Europe exercise the political will required to build new social and economic frameworks to allow trade to flourish and economic growth to occur? What is the role and what are the prospects for these economies? Some predict and dread that Europe, a key member of this region, might be at the edge of a lost decade. Others see in the current sluggish recovery an opportunity to deeply reform social contracts and move toward smarter regulations. Concern is rising about increased income inequality in the United States, and many are wondering where the “good” jobs will come from. All agree that whichever path its leaders choose, the transatlantic community’s ability to compete globally will dramatically change economic relations at large.
In this world of tomorrow, a strong transatlantic economy is still needed. There are lessons to be learned from each other, as well as other countries, that have had to adjust their own role in the global economy over the last two decades. In particular, policymakers need to learn from businesses whose globalized activities have redefined the way people exchange and interact. In a time of uncertainty, there is an ever-greater need to define new rules for new economies.
- Given current challenges, can Europeans alone find the right internal balance for a competitive European economy? What role should leading economies such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and France play in restoring Europe’s global competitiveness? How should the Americans contribute?
- To which extent would embracing smart regulation contribute to unleashing the full potential of transatlantic economies? And how transformative would such a process be on policymaking throughout on both sides of the Atlantic?
- What reforms are needed to boost competitiveness at home and abroad? Which new economic and social constructs can help solve the problems of the past while at the same time creating opportunities for tomorrow?
- How disruptive would this be for traditional industries and business models? How can policymakers and businesses address the potentially negative spillover effects of structural and institutional reforms on existing labor and investment frameworks? What do businesses need to thrive?
- How can Europe and the United States work together in support of transatlantic economic leadership?
Great Powers in Asia: Is Strategic Competition the New Normal?
Asia continues to witness a high degree of economic dynamism, with the likes of China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and India all experiencing high rates of growth. Politically, Asia’s major powers — China, India, and Japan — are led by powerful leaders with popular mandates, all eager to undertake sweeping reforms in their countries.
China’s President Xi Jinping is leading a widespread anti-corruption campaign and is eager to transition his country into a high-income, consumer-driven economy. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to turn India into a manufacturing powerhouse, alleviating poverty in the process. And his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, is attempting to revitalize Japan’s economy through structural reforms. China’s evolution into a high-income country, India’s into a poverty-free, middle-income state, and Japan’s into a dynamic and innovative economy could all mark minor revolutions for those countries, the region, and the international community.
Elsewhere — in South Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam — political developments are just as closely tied to economic growth prospects. Across the Asia-Pacific, new trade deals are being negotiated and new multilateral institutions are deepening cooperation and dialogue.
But Asia is also experiencing intensified security competition. Tensions involving China, Japan, and South Korea over disputed islands in the East China Sea have diminished but not disappeared. Similarly, the South China Sea has several countries advancing overlapping and contesting claims. And China and India have a simmering unresolved border dispute over territory the size of Greece.
- Will Asia’s near-term future be marked by intensified great power strategic competition, to the detriment of these countries economic prospects? Or will competition be limited by integration and diplomatic cooperation?
- What are the implications for the international order and global economy?
- What role can — and should — regional powers, the United States, and Europe play?
Governing the Web? Power, Law, and the Internet
The Internet has altered global society in ways we are only beginning to understand. The ability of average citizens to send vast amounts of information at low cost, nearly instantly, to anywhere on the planet with a Web connection has altered the nature of human relations. With this digital revolution have come positive and negative consequences. On the positive side, it has enabled a freer flow of ideas, enhanced trade and innovation, and helped build prosperity. On the negative side, it has enabled governments and corporations to monitor the lives of citizens in great detail, facilitated the growth of transnational criminal and terrorist networks, and led to a clash of different cultures and social systems in cyberspace. In the end, the Internet is a tool — a very powerful one — that can be used for good and bad.
The purpose of law, both domestic and international, is to clearly delineate a line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior as well as to provide a means for dispute resolution and punishment of infringements. In so doing, it creates order by guiding, restraining, and channeling the exercise of power and influence by corporations, governments, and citizens. Domestic laws reflect the traditions, values, and social norms of each nation-state. International laws are much harder to create and enforce given that different states have different interests and varying conceptions of order and justice. Due to the Internet’s global reach and borderless nature, behavior that is legal and acceptable in one country can easily affect the citizens of other countries where that same behavior is illegal and potentially offensive to their sense of morality. Moreover, even within nation-states, there are many unresolved legal questions about the proper use of the Internet, partly because it is still in its infancy and partly because it has created a novel space where it is not always clear how to enforce legal principles because the physics and engineering of cyberspace present new dilemmas.
One country that recently laid the foundation of a new legal framework for cyberspace is Brazil, through its 2014 Marco Civil law, but it continues to grapple with complex questions of new jurisprudence for the digital era. Other countries have looked to Brazil’s experience as an example, but there are countless variations in legal approaches to resolving similar problems.
The Internet lacks an adequate legal framework to manage and adjudicate a complex system of overlapping social norms, legal traditions, and local imperatives. There are also many unanswered questions about how to protect public safety and ensure security without harming other social goods, such as privacy. Given that all of humanity is acting in the same open space, conflict is inevitable and harder to resolve due to sheer complexity.
- Where should we draw the line between public and private in cyberspace?
- How can law enforcement efficiently track and monitor transnational criminals who use the Internet without excessively infringing on the rights of the innocent?
- How can the international community be more effective in developing the legal system for the Internet?
- How do you protect the positive aspects of national sovereignty and self-determination while also reaping the benefits of one global, open Internet?
- What role should global tech companies be expected to play on questions of local jurisprudence and law enforcement
Conflict and Chaos in the New Middle East and North Africa
The unfinished revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa have left the region embroiled in conflict and chaos; only a handful of Arab states have managed to avoid it. Most of the traditionally strong states across the region are under siege, leaving them with a declining capacity for effective governance. This vacuum is being filled by other actors, including the so-called Islamic State, with terrible consequences for regional and human security. The turmoil in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, in particular, show little sign of abating. Neighboring states, including Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and countries across the Mediterranean face the very real prospect of years, perhaps decades, of crisis on their doorstep. Clearly, protracted chaos in the Middle East and North Africa will have serious consequences for transatlantic partners, and stakeholders in other regions, including Asia. Against this backdrop, the debate over Western disengagement from the region in the face of competing priorities elsewhere seems unrealistic.
- How did the regional order collapse? What has led to the unfinished revolutions?
- What are the key drivers of crisis and conflict in the new Middle East and North Africa? Demographic pressures? Political Islam? A widespread crisis in governance?
- How might a Western détente with Iran change the picture?
- To what extent can U.S. and European policies help to stabilize a deeply troubled region? What are the appropriate strategies? What should transatlantic partners avoid?
The Future of Conflict
Since 2001, much thinking about military strategy and force structure has been driven by concerns about irregular warfare. To be sure, risks in East Asia have kept questions of major conflict and conventional forces on the agenda, and nuclear forces continue to shape aspects of global security and strategy. But there has been a persistent assumption that low-intensity conflict, counter-insurgency, and counter-terrorism, all broadly defined, will continue to set the stage for the strategic environment in important ways. These elements have not waned, but recent events have underscored the enduring risk of higher intensity conflict. Questions of strategic stability, escalation, deterrence — and extended deterrence — are all part of the equation.
Thinking through the nature of conflict today and over the horizon, two aspects merit special attention. First, in multiple setting around the globe, strategists and planners face the prospect of protracted civil conflicts and durable zones of chaos in which intervention will be difficult, success hard to measure, and public support uncertain. Second, in the wake of Crimea and Ukraine, it has become fashionable to talk about “hybrid warfare” — a traditional feature of conflict, but with new twists introduced by the prospect of cyber war and increasingly sophisticated information operations.
Understanding the future of conflict will be critical to informing decisions about defense spending, procurement priorities, and coalition strategies at a time of competing security priorities across multiple regions. NATO strategy will reflect the changing balance among territorial defense, expeditionary warfare, and homeland security. But these considerations will also be part of the calculus in other regional settings, including Asia.
- What does recent experience tell us about the nature of conflict and changes in warfare?
- How do we avoid “fighting the last war again”?
- How will global security actors balance the demands of irregular warfare and the revival of larger-scale challenges?
- What key defense investments are required to meet the evolving requirements of deterrence and defense in Europe and elsewhere?
- What are the implications for national and coalition strategy?
Gender Parity and Diversity in the Transatlantic Realm
At a time of numerous policy challenges, economic crisis, and changing demographics and political constituencies, there is a need to recast the policy agenda. Leaders in politics, business, media, and society at large must provide more distinct and new ideas and perspectives on solutions that reflect the demographics of society writ large and provide innovative approaches to challenges. This session will explore what gains have been made in advancing gender parity in Europe and the United States and will shed light on the roles policies and leadership have played and what lessons can be learnt to promote further inclusion to also consider age, ethnicity, region, faith, and socioeconomic status.
Leaders from government, the think tank sector, business, and media will share leadership strategies for shaping inclusive societies and discuss ways to allow for meaningful change and innovative ways to do policies — and business.
- Which policies and forms of advocacy have most effectively empowered women?
- How do the challenges for gender equity differ within Europe and across the Atlantic?
- How has implementing these policies worked in practice? What insights can be gained into how these strategies can also be applied to achieve gains in terms of other diversity factors such as age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status?
- What kind of leadership is needed to enact real change?
Shifts in Global Leadership: New Roles for Asia and Europe?
Is the United States the global leader it once was? Years after the so-called “unipolar moment” and coming on the heels of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some U.S. leaders believe their country should be more selective in its international engagements. But while there may be political, budgetary, and ideological reasons for the United States to intervene less in international affairs, critics argue that it has come at a cost, as recent developments in Syria, Nigeria, and Libya, among other places, illustrate.
At the same time, the U.S. government has made clear its strategic priorities, continuing the “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia, with more resources being allocated to engagements across the Pacific. Europeans and Asians are both concerned about what exactly that might mean. Some question whether the United States can commit to evolving its Asia-Pacific posture given the growing influence of Asian powers. Others fear that a lower profile for Europe and the Middle East in U.S. policymaking could have destabilizing effects.
- Who will lead the evolving international order?
- How do Asian powers view the future of U.S. power, and how does that alter their own calculations?
- What might the perception of the United States “leading from behind” mean for Europe’s role as a security actor in Africa and the Middle East?
- How should the international community’s responses to major crises be better coordinated in an era of power shifts?
Sustainable Security: Leading Greater Social Cohesion
Exclusion — whether of minorities in the suburbs of Paris or in the city of Ferguson, Missouri — exacerbates social tension and generates instability. Nowhere is this impact felt more keenly than at the local level on both sides of the Atlantic. Unchecked, a growing income divide and lack of political empowerment, economic opportunity, and social connection can undermine democracies in the West. Local leaders have a key role to play in reversing this trend by creating pathways for social, political, and economic inclusion in their cities and regions. Managed effectively, localities bring people together and offer pathways for advancement for all, evolving and changing through positive leadership, rather than through the kind of demonstrations and, in the worst case, riots that result from unresolved issues and tensions. Through this lens, subnational leaders are high value players in developing sustainable security strategies. In this panel, city and regional leaders reflect on their strategies for inclusive governance, inclusive economies, and inclusive policing, and the possibilities for mitigating the cumulative effects of isolation and inequality over periods of years.
- What is an example of a cutting edge innovation that city leaders can use to engage their constituencies fully in civic life and urban decision making, not leaving people out? How does this change the dynamic within cities?
- In the area of security, what is a best practice that is particularly effective in building positive relations between police and the communities they serve?
- The idea of resilient cities has been criticized as assuming that a city is somehow supposed to make due with little and demonstrate that despite the odds, it can persevere. How should a given city define resilience? Is there a way to describe the strength of an ideal city?
Thought Experiment: The Brussels Forum Agenda in 2025
Ten years on, Brussels Forum has taken up some of the key policy challenges in transatlantic relations and global affairs. From the future of Europe to U.S. politics, from NATO strategy to the future of democracy, from revolutions in the Middle East to geopolitical competition in Asia, from trade and finance to energy security — the list is long and evolving. The Forum itself has also evolved. Geo-economic questions have acquired greater prominence, and the level of participation and visibility has steadily increased. Not least, Brussels Forum is now more diverse in terms of individuals and sectors represented. What has not changed is the character of the debate — open, informal, and lively.
This “thought experiment” will identify the key challenges that lie ahead for the transatlantic partners in the next decade. It will focus on the dynamics currently at play between citizens and their governments, the role of digital technologies in changing business and societal paradigms, the new role of international organizations in global political and economic affairs, the global role of regional powers, and the evolution of the global liberal order. With these issues in mind, this session will discuss what the issues are that will, or should, feature on the Brussels Forum agenda in ten years — and who should address them.
- How will ongoing (R)Evolutions affect the future agenda?
- What questions will matter to the transatlantic community in 2025?
- What are the “wild cards”? What will disappear from our agenda?
- Who will be the stakeholders, from citizens to global partners?
- Who should be part of the debate?
- How may the relevance and format of events such as Brussels Forum change over the next decade?