Credit: Brett Davis via Flickr CC License

The Siege of the US Capitol and the Future of US Foreign Policy

The insurrection on January 6 in Washington, D.C. painfully exposed to all that a country that ostensibly seeks to promote democracy around the world has a violent anti-democratic underbelly — and this anti-democratic sentiment is apparently shared by a significant portion of the Republican Party.

How might the Capitol Hill violence impact US Foreign Policy and International Relations?

I reached out to Ambassador Klaus Scharioth for an interview about this crisis because of something he told me last time we spoke.

Klaus Scharioth joined the German foreign service in the 1970s and served as the German Ambassador to the US from 2006 to 2011. He is now a professor of practice at The Fletcher School of Tufts University and dean of the Mercator College for International Affairs in Germany.

We spoke last in April 2018, around the time of Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. This was over a year into the Trump presidency and during that interview Ambassador Scharioth described his long admiration for America’s ability to self-correct; a lesson he initially learned as a young diplomat following the Watergate hearings. The implication was that he hoped the US would somehow right itself in response to the Trump presidency.

Given the events of January 6, I wanted to learn if he still held that view and also learn what he believes are some of the broader implications to US foreign policy of the insurrection at the US Capitol?  We kick off discussing how the violence in Washington, D.C. is being interpreted and understood in diplomatic circles in Europe; we then discuss what corrective measures the Biden administration can take to help restore America’s soft power. This includes, he says, re-joining multilateral agreements and institutions like the WHO, and paying American dues to the United Nations.

If you have 20 minutes and want to learn what a veteran foreign diplomat believes are the long term international implications of the riots in D.C., have a listen.


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