Nafiul Khalid | Contributing Writer
On Nov. 28, to address a pressing public policy issue—how foreign policy considerations might impact the 2024 election—a panel discussion was held at the Earlene and Albert Dotson Pavilion (MARC) at 11:30 a.m., by the Office of Public Policy Events.
Moderated by Willard Shepard, a six-time Emmy award-winning journalist and former NBC 6 Miami news anchor, the event featured insights from two distinguished speakers: Marie Harf, the Executive Director for External Relations and adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, and Morgan Ortagus, a prominent television commentator and founder of POLARIS National Security.
Shepard guided the discussion with his questions and navigated the complexities of foreign policy, ensuring a proper exploration of the topic.
In the panel, the role and impact of foreign policy in shaping the next American presidency was the theme. Both of the speakers concluded that the impact of foreign policies can be minimized by ensuring the maximum participation of voters in the election.
“Existential threats to the USA and internal threats don’t help,” said Marie Harf, drawing on her extensive experience in external relations and also offering a nuanced perspective on the intricate relationship between foreign policy decisions and their resonance with the American electorate.
After referring to a few foreign policy events of the USA – Russia-Ukraine, Hamas-Palestine, Iraq– Marie concluded that despite all these issues, the economy is still the primary priority of America.
“So much of our country is still healing from 20 years of war. Fighting at home has hurt USA when tackling issues above. Economy is the most important and daily-life choices are more important than Israel or Ukraine.”
“As a military now we are entering a phase that most of the generals or admirals have not been a part of in building up against the Soviets,” said Morgan Ortagus, known for her expertise in national security and an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy reserves. Within the discourse, she highlighted the successful negotiation and implementation of the Saudi-Israel Deal as a primary consideration for focused attention in 2024.
Marie Harf added on by saying “When a war is over and our veterans come back to America, we are dedicated to providing our best support—be it in terms of education, housing, healthcare, security, or any other necessities.”
She recommended the book ‘The Fighter’, and the website Institute for the Study of War and The Foundation for Defense of Democracies to the youngsters for war updates and to get familiar with the American Military.
“How to defend things I disagree with? Sometimes we have to admit we messed up. We need to maintain credibility and how to maintain values and not freelancing. Credibility is built, built through knowing inside out,” said Morgan Ortagus, referring to her television career. She mentioned that while covering foreign policy and political reports, sometimes the news contradicted their beliefs, and sometimes the flow didn’t conclude as expected.
In response to an audience query about the role and impact of social media and news media, Morgan Ortagus mentioned about the perspective of the world.
“World is watching us. Dont just rely on one source of information. In our time, we had just two-three news sources, but this generation has hundreds. Inform yourself,” Morgan Ortagus said in response to an audience query about the role and impact of social media and news media.
“Twitter or TikTok is a shadow of what Twitter could provide in 2010-11 during the Arab Spring,” said Marie Hard.
“Media is not black and white. We have a chosen circle in social media. So we get what they post and engage with. Check the facts before reposting or commenting. Remember, we are more alike than we are different.”
The discussion touched upon issues ranging from diplomatic initiatives to national security strategies, shedding light on the multifaceted aspects that could influence voters’ choices.
The speakers highlighted the need for voters to critically assess candidates’ foreign policy stances and the significance of global issues in shaping the future of American governance. The speakers requested and recommended gathering as many people to vote as possible in Election 2024 for a peaceful power transition.