March 12, 2018

Column: Toward a civil discourse on foreign policy

By Julianne Smith

Tampa Bay residents were surprised recently when Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual address, showed an animated video that had multiple warheads raining down on what appeared to be their region. Putin never mentioned Florida by name in his two-hour address, but his message was simple: Russia is developing an array of new weapons to counter America’s missile defense system and Americans, particularly those in the Tampa Bay area, should take note.

Whether Putin already possesses the five doomsday weapons he mentioned or has the resources and know-how to produce them remains unclear. But Putin’s speech and accompanying video served as a stark reminder that foreign policy can easily touch local communities.

The bipartisan Center for a New American Security is bringing a small delegation of Americans and Europeans to Tampa on Thursday and Friday to talk about foreign policy. The trip is part of a three-year project called "Across the Pond, in the Field" (CNASIntheField.org), which is designed to engage new audiences and listen to fresh perspectives on a variety of foreign policy topics from trade to security to migration. Why? Foreign policy discussions don’t necessarily need to be confined to the Situation Room at the White House or large conference tables at Washington think tanks. Given the fast-moving, far-reaching and dynamic nature of the foreign policy challenges we face today, Washington insiders need to step outside the bubble and do more to engage the rest of the country.

Read the full article in the Tampa Bay Times.

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