Pearl Harbor and the End of Isolationism

Seventy-five years ago this morning, the United States was firmly isolationist. Widely disillusioned by the aftermath of the “War to End All Wars,” the American public turned its attention inward after WWI, first preoccupied with the financial glitter and gains of the Roaring 20s, then plunged into social introspection and cross-examination by the Great Depression. In 1941, America was deeply divided as to whether to rescue Europe again, however dire the situation there. Only the huge shock of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941 —  “a date which will live in infamy” — jolted the nation from its isolationist stance.

 
Since that fateful day, the international landscape has been entirely reshaped, largely as a result of the hard-fought efforts by Roosevelt to create a new post-war world order: one that would link the world in an interconnected web of economic, political and social cooperation and prevent us from slipping back into the slumbers of isolationism. From FDR’s Fourth Inaugural Address:

 
“Today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons – at a fearful cost – and we shall profit by them. We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other Nations, far away… We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community. We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that, ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.’”

 
And, in fact, the world we live in today is largely that of Roosevelt’s vision. But as of today, the 75th anniversary of the trigger for the North Atlantic Alliance, cracks have appeared and deepened in the shining façade. Public mistrust of trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — on both sides of the Atlantic — threaten to derail economic cooperation. Reluctance among some Americans to maintain NATO in light of sometimes lackadaisical European allies portends trouble for the military alliance, illiberal ideologies and anti-immigration populism are on the rise, and the related resurgence of isolationism in the United States menaces U.S. foreign relations.

 
Does America, and the West broadly, have the will to to maintain the post war order over the next 75 years? Or will something new, or old, replace it?

Inequality: Canada vs USA

Interested in comparisons between Canada and the USA? Worried about inequality? Thinking of moving? Then don’t miss tonight’s lecture and reception at Adams House!

COMPARING INEQUALITY IN CANADA AND THE US
Tonight, Monday, November 21, 5-7 p.m in the Upper Common Room

Join Canadian students from across Harvard as we hear from Professor Krishna Pendakur, Harvard’s William Lyon Mackenzie King Visiting Professor at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Professor Pendakur, who is visiting from Simon Fraser University, specializes in inequality economics. He will provide attendees with a comparative analysis of inequality in the United States and Canada, followed by reception to meet fellow Canadians and our friends across Harvard University. Wine and cheese will be served.

Talk and Reception hosted by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Canada Program and Canadian Students’ Associations of Harvard University

The event is public and open for all. Please RSVP on Facebook:

http://programs.wcfia.harvard.edu/canada_program/event/canada-program-special-event-1?delta=0


Foreign Intervention, Domestic Disturbance: Brexit, Trump, Beijing, Moscow, and the Future of the West 11/2

Philippe Le Corre has been a Visiting Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution since 2014. He is also a Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and Sciences Po Paris and is the co-author of a recent book, China’s Offensive in Europe (Brookings Institution Press, 2016). His background includes a stint as a senior adviser to France’s defense minister and as deputy mayor of a small coastal town in France, in addition to 15 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe. He was a 2003-2004 Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, and chaired the Harvard Club of France from 2010 to 2012.

 

Reception with the Consul General of Canada to New England, David Alward 9/27

canflagHosted by Canadian student organizations at Harvard University (invitation only)

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Time: 5-7pm
Location: Coolidge Room (Randolph Hall, Adams House), 53 Bow St, Cambridge
The Consul General will give welcoming remarks on Canada-US relations, the Boston consulate’s activities, and engaging with the Canadian community in New England. We will have the rest of the time to meet fellow Canadians and our friends, undergraduate and graduate, across Harvard University.
Light refreshments and snacks will be served.

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Réception à Harvard avec le Consul général du Canada en Nouvelle-Angleterre, David Alward
Organisée par les groupes d’étudiants canadiens à l’Université Harvard
Date: mardi le 27 septembre 2016
Heure: 17 h à 19 h
Lieu: Coolidge Room (Randolph Hall, Adams House), 53 Bow St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Le Consul général adressera quelques mots de bienvenue sur les relations canado-américaines, les activités du consulat à Boston, et participer dans la communauté canadienne en Nouvelle-Angleterre. Le reste du temps est ouvert pour rencontrer des collègues canadiens, de premier cycle et des cycles supérieurs, de toute l’université. Des rafraîchissements et des amuse-gueules seront servis.

Aiding Information Professionals in Finland

The FDR Foundation Outside the Ivory Tower:
Aiding Information Professionals in Finland

Disinformation is dangerous. In the United States we’ve seen disinformation campaigns denying the dangers of smoking and the existence of climate change. We’ve seen popular, utterly false narratives circulate about the measles vaccine causing autism and the federal government establishing “Obamacare” “death panels.” There are real consequences to disinformation: it can affect policy decisions, distract or disgruntle the electorate, even alter the outcome of elections.

Generally, “disinformation” refers to distributing information that one knows is false. “Propaganda” is an older term that used to mean “propagation of the truth” but lost positive connotations, especially after WWII. Disinformation could be part of a propaganda or “public diplomacy” campaign but is generally a more specific term.

Globally, the past couple of years have seen an increase in systematic disinformation campaigns worldwide. Finns, along with citizens of many if not most countries, are targets of disinformation campaigns. That’s why, in January 2016, the Finnish government partnered with the FDR Foundation to educate more than 100 officials from 20+ ministries and departments in responding to foreign “Information & Influence.”