Are We Blaming Others for America’s Self-Generated Problems?


It seems that the number of American fingers pointing abroad to explain developments at home is large and growing.  For many, Trump’s 2016 presidential victory was the product of Russian thumbs on our electoral scales.  Others blame job losses in the US heartland on predatory Chinese mercantilism and unfair labor practices.  Even the COVID-19 pandemic is regarded in some circles as the intentional or inadvertent byproduct of Chinese biological warfare research.  How accurate are these accusations?  And what costs, if any, do they impose on our ability to solve internal problems and manage relations with foreign competitors? 
On November 19, 2020, the Center for the National Interest assembled a distinguished and diverse group of panelists for a discussion of these issues: 

  • George Beebe is Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest, former director of Russia analysis at the CIA, and former staff advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney. 
  • Colin Dueck is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is focusing on the interconnection between US national security strategies and party politics, conservative ideas, and presidential leadership. He is also a professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.
  • Paul Heer is a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for the National Interest and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  He previously served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia.  
  • Danielle Pletka is a senior fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and teaches US Middle East policy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Before joining AEI, Ms. Pletka was a senior professional staff member for the Middle East and South Asia for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
  • Jacob Heilbrunn, the editor of The National Interest, moderated the discussion.