in cooperation with the American Ditchley Foundation
Context and why this was important
American, British and European politics remain bitterly divided. We met to consider what perhaps amounts to a crisis in the life of our democracies.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns and German Ambassador to the USA Emily Haber jointly chaired a group that included a wide range of political opinion and expertise.
What many see as a crisis in democracy, others in both Europe and the US view as its triumph and the return of hope. From the perspective of these people, the crisis is finally beginning to be addressed through Trump. From the perspective of the other side, the crisis began, or at least got much worse, with President Trump’s election. There are multiple reasons why people are angry and looking for radical and often simple solutions. Not all these reasons apply equally in different countries. Democracy’s current internal weaknesses – growing inequality; corruption; shaky adaptation to the impact of technology; fear of immigration and cultural change and a loss of identity and certainty; decay in meaning and mission – are ultimately more important than the external threats but they have opened the doors of division to those threats and made them potent. Both China and Russia pose challenges but of a different nature. If China is the slowly evolving but strategic challenge of climate change, then Russia is the disruptive local and tactical hurricane. Deterrence is important but so also is engagement. Democracy has to get better at adapting to technology’s impact on society. Technologists can no longer be complacent that their innovations will have only neutral or positive effects on democratic societies. A new partnership between government and technology is needed.
Responses – not consensus but ideas emerging
Listen to the people and stop portraying them as duped by “populists”. It only makes them angrier and is inaccurate. Think about creative outlets for that anger and ways it can be expressed and harnessed in a constructive way outside of party politics. Electoral reform is needed and the marriage of money and politics needs to be addressed. Start at the bottom and do not look for the hero leader to sort everything out. Growing relative inequality is in the end unsustainable for a democracy. We need to forge a new centre that is capable of considering radical ideas combining deregulation and some redress of inequality and especially inequality of opportunity. The case has to be remade for the intrinsic value of democracy, not just its efficacy. Democracy still has the best story and offers the best platform for the pursuit of liberty, prosperity and happiness. That is why people immigrate to democracies and not to authoritarian states. Democracy is also the essential defence of the citizen against the tyranny of the state – just ask the disappeared and the murdered.
The tech companies need help on regulation and defining new gatekeepers but the right regulation. This will demand partnership.
We have to deter and then engage Russia. We must engage China, whilst showing the vitality of our system and its capacity for self-renewal, rather than its weaknesses.
American, British and European politics remain bitterly divided. President Trump continues to question the validity of some of the institutions of state and to criticise democratic allies more sharply than authoritarian rivals. In Europe, right wing politics remains on the march and semi-authoritarian regimes are in power in at least two EU countries. In the UK, Brexit continues to dominate the national agenda with almost all other issues shelved and government ineffective. We met to consider what perhaps amounts to a crisis in the life of our democracies.
Ambassador Nicholas Burns and German Ambassador to the USA, Emily Haber, jointly chaired a group that included a wide range of opinions and expertise from conservatives; to Hilary campaign staffers; tech leaders; trade union bosses; academics; democracy campaigners; and influential journalists.
The threats to democracy from within
What many see as a crisis in democracy, others in both Europe and the US view as its triumph and the return of hope. According to this perspective, the alienated significant minority of 12.6 percent who voted for UKIP in 2015 (and received one seat only in a Parliament of 650 thanks to the UK’s first past the post system) were able finally to have a political voice through the Brexit referendum.
In the US, President Trump was able to mobilise a movement in opposition to both Democrats and Republicans, casting them as the establishment and himself as the insurgent true representative of “the people”. Trump’s core supporters see his election as the people’s response to an existing crisis in democracy. From the perspective of these people, the crisis is finally beginning to be addressed through Trump. From the perspective of the other side, the crisis began, or at least got much worse, with President Trump.
“The people” were invoked also in our discussion through Jefferson’s famous quotation, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” But the people here are a democratic abstraction – the people are in reality “these people” and “those people” and everything in between. Many of the people today would certainly object to Jefferson’s patrician notion that their “wholesome discretion” should be corrected by education. They see themselves as having all the knowledge and education they need to know their interests, and their friends from their foes. They reject the argument that politics requires expertise or that politicians as a class have their best interests in mind. In fact they hold the exact opposite view, and can quote compelling evidence that politicians as a professional class often have their own interests in mind, rather than those of the people, but pretend otherwise. Many of them prefer President Trump because they see him speaking his mind without filters, even when that is not wise. His lack of diplomatic and civic polish is his greatest asset and he knows it.
It is the rule of law and free and fair elections that make the abstraction of “the people” democratic. These essential pillars of democracy are being disputed and challenged both domestically and from abroad, as much as the results of the elections. The crisis is a crisis of trust in elites and therefore in representative democracy, where the people are represented by a community that is seen as having become an elite in its own right, a priestly caste out of control, speaking in its own language. The rule of law is perceived as skewed by wealth, one rule for the rich and one for the poor. The electoral system is viewed by both left and right as pre-arranged to keep policy choices within a narrow centrist window, which happens to suit – from the perspective of the alienated – the priorities and preferences of a cosmopolitan, sophisticated, relatively wealthy and generally socially liberal elite, living in major cities that have more in common with each other than with their national hinterlands. The anger of a good portion of the people is not yet played out in the US, the UK or in Europe. We should expect politics to become yet more partisan and bitter before it gets better.
There are multiple reasons why people are angry and looking for radical and often simple solutions. Not all these reasons apply equally in different countries.
In the US, UK and parts of Europe, growing inequality, and in particular economic insecurity, is a major driver of discontent. Incomes, already stagnating before 2008 for many people, have not recovered since the economic crisis. Meanwhile, those with capital have done well with significant appreciation in stocks and properties. Relative gaps in income matter more than absolute values: people see others pulling ahead; better opportunities opening up for others’ children; despite all their efforts and work; and they resent it. A lot. The deal – the European deal but above all the American deal – is that if you work hard you will prosper. No matter where you begin your journey you will move ahead. Faith in the system ebbs away if this no longer appears to apply. The deal is also that you should get respect for honest work. Although the employment figures might look good, many of the jobs created are poorer quality and less stable than those they replaced and carry less social status. This results in a sense of humiliation and that in a turn to anger.
In some areas of some countries, immigration has also become a powerful driver of disappointment in democratic governments. Where economic conditions are tough and inequality is growing then there is a fear that immigrants will take the few jobs and opportunities that are available. Where the economy remains strong, for example in Germany, then the fear is more straightforwardly cultural – a fear of change and the dilution of identity and tradition. On a practical level, Germany had managed the hosting and integration of refugees brilliantly. But the popular reaction had been resentful and confused – “why don’t you integrate us?” In the UK, the Leave campaign tapped effectively into fears of both Muslim migration into the EU and UK and EU nationals taking jobs and welfare payments in the UK.
Within some countries, for some and especially amongst older sections of the community, it is the pace of social change, in fact a move to social justice, that is disturbing – the legalisation of gay marriage, the decline in organised religion, the decline of heterosexual marriage, the moves towards more genuine male and female equality, and the new focus on gender rights, for example. Added to this is unease and a lack of comprehension at the changes being wrought by technologies like social media and automation. Hyped expectations of the pace of change from AI and the automation of white collar work have added to half-formed but nonetheless pervasive worries about the future.
In Eastern Europe, demographic factors are at work in the rise of right wing authoritarian democrats. Many younger people, for example 50 percent of under 25s in Bulgaria, have emigrated in search of better opportunities elsewhere in the EU. This leaves elections and the agendas of political parties and politicians dominated by older people, often gripped by powerful nostalgia.
Most of us recognised a degree of complacency and arrogance in how democracy had reached this point. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, we spent a lot of money and effort promoting democracy abroad. Post 9/11 we sought to clear away dictatorial barriers to its emergence, with the long term results too early to call. We assumed that democracy at home was engrained in our institutions and unassailable. We forgot that democracy needs democrats. Patriotism and the determination to defend the West against attack perhaps obscured that not all was well at home. Local politics has atrophied. Most people no longer know personally the people engaged in the practice of politics. For many people the state is represented by the police and the tax authorities. Government services have moved online and lost their human touch.
In the United States especially, the intertwining of money and politics has grown closer and closer with both parties hooked on campaign finance. Some blame also the blocking of electoral reform and note the increasing polarisation of the primaries, with candidates encouraged to take extreme positions likely to appeal to the committed minority of activists who get involved. Democrats cited the increasingly extreme rhetoric of Republicans and drew an arc from Newt Gingrich’s end of civilisation rhetoric to President Trump. Republicans blamed what they saw as UnAmerican policies pushed through by decree by President Obama and his rainbow coalition, with racial resentment simmering in the background.
Finally, there was a sense that the democracies were struggling for meaning, mission and confidence. Having stepped back from transforming the world in our image, we are now nervously set on protecting what we have but it is hard to turn this into an inspiring call to arms without resorting to nostalgia for a lost golden age. President Trump’s great-again America makes steel, goes to the drive-in in big, all-American cars and emotionally lives in the 1950s. It is unclear how this vision will translate into the technologically driven future that is emerging.
The impact of technology
Most politicians as yet have no clue how to use social media and we lack role models on how this new direct form of communication between the Executive and the people can be used to build consensus around balanced and constructive policies. President Trump has, however, shown how the medium can be used to destabilise opponents, energise supporters and challenge previous certainties. The new medium has created an equality of voices on the one hand and the ultimate bully pulpit on the other, if a President is prepared to mix it in tweet-to-tweet combat as President Trump is. Power no longer needs the press as intermediaries. It is possible and often more effective to speak directly. The old gatekeepers no longer have a deciding role and as yet effective new ones have not yet emerged. Trump supporters see this positively – sacred cows are being slaughtered and new possibilities examined. Trump opponents deplore the breaking of decades old norms.
Information used to be scarce and is now abundant. This is producing less rather than more certainty. It is increasingly difficult to separate what is real from what is fake. This is made worse by numerous techniques (“Astro-turfing” and “sea-lioning” to name two) that exploit abundance of information and voices to fake popularity and to paralyse authoritative voices. Fake accounts seek the company of real people to make it harder to discount them. We do not know yet how to live in a world awash with information and blurred by anonymity.
It was expected that the Internet would spread democracy across the world and give voice to the people. In a way it has but not as imagined. All moderate and calm voices tend to sound alike and therefore merge into one another. All angry, dissatisfied and disturbing voices are angry in their own way and occupy much more bandwidth as a result, swamping the mainstream. Extremes are amplified. Anyone with a half decent budget – ISIS, the alt-right, the far left – can produce superficially excellent quality online content that appears similar to the landing page of a major news agency. Technology has arguably made the practice of mainstream democratic politics more difficult and the practice of extremism easier. The virtualisation of wealth has certainly made effective national tax regimes more ineffective and this is a long term challenge to the viability of governments that fail to adapt to the digital age.
Conversely, technology has made the practice of surveillance easier for authoritarian regimes. The same tracking techniques that drive hyper-targeted advertisements are powering China’s social credit score that aims at influencing citizens to adopt collectivist, rather than individualistic, behaviours. Huiga homes are being bar-coded. Technology has also returned some advantages to long derided and inefficient central planning, for example in setting down the rules for networks.
There is a risk that authoritarian regimes may be able to adopt some technologies more quickly and more effectively than democracies, for example through freedom to collect, combine and mine private data to train AI algorithms; or through unfettered bio-engineering and genomics experiments. Developed unwisely, technologies like genomics could undermine the very foundations of democracy – the assumption that each human being has the same right to a voice and vote.
The external threats to democracy
It is a mistake to conflate the Chinese and Russian threats but both are real. The Chinese threat is “like climate change” – a slow growing but ultimately strategic challenge to the West. China aims to combine authoritarian rule underpinned with advanced technologies, along with vibrant market capitalism. It is making the argument forcefully that this is a better way to run much of the world than representative democracy and the claim for greater efficacy is getting some traction in Africa and other parts of the developing world.
Although China is an insider player and does not want to break the international system, it also wants to reorder its priorities in China’s favour. Looking to the future, it aims to establish a parallel system of influence through the belt and road initiative and by laying down the infrastructure to absorb vast amounts of digital data (as it believes the West to have done also). China’s interference in US politics may be subtle and indirect at present but this is no longer the case in Australia and, closer to home, China’s influence is all pervasive.
The threat from Russia is more “like a hurricane”: immediate, unruly and disruptive. Vladimir Putin’s Russia sees the West as out to get it and is responding in kind, aiming to sow dissension of all kinds. Russian troll farms and fake accounts are sowing their poisoned seeds in fertile ground due to the vulnerabilities of democracy covered above (although whether or not this was enough to swing the election remains highly contested). We have failed to deter Putin and this is culminating for the UK in political assassinations as information operations, designed to send the message to others that Russia’s reach is long and cannot be contained. Some argued, though, that by giving Russia’s information operations too much credence and airplay we do their work for them. Russia wants to divide the West, not to unite it against Russia and this should ultimately limit what Russia is able to do.
Responses – not consensus but ideas emerging
The political establishment needs to send a message to the people that the message has been received; that all this is not just their fault for not understanding what will ultimately be good for them; or for being duped by the simple claims.
Politicians of all hues need to listen more and preach less. We should be exploring what is going wrong, not assume that we know. People need outlets to express their anger and frustration. Ideas were floated for a people’s assembly; different forms of conference; and other such devices.
One way or another, growing inequality has to be mitigated and people need to have a renewed sense of optimism in their future and that of their children. The social contract has to be renewed. There must be a new deal (and some felt it should be called “the new deal”). This would likely need policies from both the right – deregulation – and the left – solutions to declining equality of opportunity.
To enable this we need to forge a new centre capable of absorbing these inputs from right and left. Some thought neo-liberalism broken and beyond repair. Finding a new way forward might mean a radical reshaping of political parties.
Campaign finance must be made more transparent and the role of opaque Political Action Committees addressed in the US. Working through states might be a means to break the logjam on electoral reform, for example by more states repealing the “sore loser” rule which blocks politicians defeated in primaries from standing as independents. This might see more centrists returned.
Renewal has to begin from the ground up and work through institutions at all levels – city, state and national. Leadership is important but we should resist the impulse to search for a “big man” to get us out of this mess.
There is a case for more education on what central government (and multilateral organisations) actually do with the funds they receive – addressing for example “where roads come from” and the claims of a lack of efficacy for democracy. We should consider grand projects, like the exploration of space, or the move to renewable energy, that only the state can really achieve and that the people can get behind.
More importantly though, it was argued, the case must be remade for the value of democracy in itself as the realisation and protector of human liberty. Democrats should speak up for democracy as the essential defence of the citizen against the potential tyranny of the state, rather than praise the efficiency and effectiveness of authoritarians abroad. Democracy is valuable because it still creates the best environment for human liberty, creativity, ambition and innovation to flourish. In Russia you can be a billionaire and framed or murdered if you displease the leader. In China you can be Fan Bingbing and have sixty million social media followers and disappear.
We need new gatekeepers to help frame a reasonable online debate. The companies cannot do it on their own but nor can government without support from non-governmental organisations and other companies. Newsguard was cited as an example. There were some calls to reconsider the absolutism of the First Amendment.
We need to think carefully about the implications of the new technologies (for example AI and bioengineering) for our democracies. We do not need premature and paralysing regulation and worse legislation but equally we should not assume that there will be no consequences or that the effects will only be positive. There are no grounds for complacency in our recent experience.
There was debate whether on China we should have confidence in own power to out-innovate the authoritarian challenge, or whether we should be putting more barriers in place to protect our intellectual property. The two analyses deliver divergent policies – if we are confident that in the end the creativity enabled by a democratic and market-driven environment will see us pull away then we can be more open and trust in ourselves. If we are embattled and doubtful, then we will have to build more walls. This does not have to be a zero-sum game. China has genuine shared interests with the West in the effective functioning of markets and dialogue should be possible.
Dialogue should remain open with Russia too but the majority view was that we have to re-establish some deterrence to the worst examples of Russia attacking the rule of law and democracy, for example through political murders or through direct interference in elections. Our responses should be asymmetric, choosing ground where we are strongest rather than necessarily responding in kind through cyber. We should demonstrate the unity of the democratic powers on this issue.
But the most powerful response to threats from abroad lies at home in the renewal of institutions, national solidarity, and the dream of a system where all are equal before the law and opportunity is open and innovation constant. This has to be underpinned by economic growth which takes us back to effective innovation, coupled with open and increased global trade.
We should take confidence in the fact that people in the developing world and the authoritarian world want to move to the democracies, not to Russia, and not in fact to China. For all of our problems, the democratic story remains the most compelling and the possibilities for life the most expansive. We should not allow our political differences to lead us to demonise each other, as if there were a bigger gap between the US and Germany, than between the US and Russia; or as if the erosion of norms in President Trump’s America has got anywhere close to undermining the fundamental rule of law. We are frustrated with our electoral processes but we should take comfort that at least we have elections and do not know who’s going to win. It is that uncertainty that underpins democracy’s capacity for renewal as well as its moments of crisis.
This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.
Ambassador Dr Emily Haber
Federal Foreign Office (1984-): Ambassador of Germany to the United States of America (2018-). Formerly: State Secretary, Federal Ministry of the Interior (2014-18); State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office (2011-14); Political Director (2009-11).
Ambassador (Ret) Nicholas Burns
Harvard Kennedy School: Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations. Formerly: Member, Secretary of State John Kerry's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, U.S. Department of State (2014 17); Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2005 08); U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001 05); to Greece (1997 2001). Vice Chair, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Ivan Krastev
Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia; permanent fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, IWM Vienna; Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress (2018‑19); founding board member, European Council on Foreign Relations; Board of Trustees, International Crisis Group.
Mr Jean‑Louis Dufresne
Special Advisor, Canadian National; Associate Professor, Executive School, HEC Montreal. Formerly: Chief of Staff to Quebec Premier, Philippe Couillard, (2013‑17); Vice President, BCP Consultants, Montreal (1996‑2013); Director, Government Operations, Quebec Premier's Office (1994); Political Attaché, Office of the Leader of the opposition, National Assembly of Quebec.
Professor Peter Loewen
Professor of Political Science and former Director of the School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto; consultant to several public and private organisations. Formerly: Director, Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs.
The Honourable Preston Manning PC CC AOE
Founder, Manning Centre for Building Democracy, Calgary, Alberta. Formerly: Member of the Canadian Parliament for Calgary Southwest (1993‑2002); Leader of the Opposition (1997‑2000); Founder and Leader (1987‑2000) of the Reform Party of Canada, one of four major populist political parties produced by Western Canada in the twentieth century.
Mr Ian McCowan
Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Governance), Privy Council Office.
Mr David Parker
Managing Director, Parker & Associates; policy adviser, Federal Conservative Party of Canada and the United Conservative Party; convenor, public and private sector meetings within Canada's space industry. Formerly: Head, Office of Minister of International Trade; Policy Advisor to Minister of Canadian Heritage; Regional Advisor for the Prairies to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Dr Undine Ruge
Head, Strategy and Policy Planning/Digital Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (2017‑). Formerly: German Federal Chancellery: Head, Coordination of European Policy Unit, Department for European Affairs (2014‑17); EU Institutional Issues Unit (2005‑11 and 2012‑14); Horizontal Issues and Interinstitutional Relations Group, Secretariat General, European Commission (2011‑12).
Ms Anja Manuel
Founding Partner and Principal, RiceHadleyGates LLC (2009‑); Lecturer in International Policy Studies, Stanford University (2009‑); author, 'This Brave New World: India, China and the United States' (2016, Simon & Schuster); advisory board member: Flexport Inc., Synapse Inc., Center for a New American Security, Governor Brown's California Export Council; member, Council on Foreign Relations, Aspen Strategy Group for South Asia. Formerly: Special Assistant for South Asia to Under‑Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State (2005‑07). A member of the Board of Directors of The American Ditchley Foundation.
Ambassador (Ret) Kai Eide
Ambassador to the OSCE (1998‑2002), to NATO (2002‑06), to Sweden (2014‑17). UN Representative to the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia (1993‑95), Special Representative of the UN Secretary‑General to Bosnia‑Herzegovina (1997‑98) and to Afghanistan (2008‑10). UN Special Envoy to Kosovo (2005). Currently Chairman of the Board, Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers and the Norwegian‑Swedish Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Rafael Behr
Political Columnist, The Guardian. Formerly: Political Editor, The New Statesman; Chief Leader Writer, The Observer; foreign correspondent, The Financial Times.
Mr Matthew Clifford MBE
Co‑Founder and Chief Executive, Entrepreneur First, London (2011‑); co‑Founder and Non‑Executive Director, Code First: Girls (2013‑); Trustee and Non‑Executive Director, techfortrade (2013‑); Advisory Board member, Silicon Valley Comes to the UK, Cambridge (2012‑).
Mr Paul Hilder
Co‑founder and Chief International Officer, Crowdpac. Formerly: candidate for General Secretary, UK Labour Party; co‑founder, Freedom From Facebook with the Open Markets Institute; Vice‑President of Global Campaigns, Change.org; Executive Director and MD, Incubation Strategy, Purpose; Campaigns Director, Oxfam; Campaigns Director, Avaaz; co‑founder, 38 Degrees and openDemocracy.
Ms Bronwen Maddox
Director, The Institute for Government (2016‑); Non‑Executive Board Member, Law Commission; Visiting Professor, King's College, London. Formerly: Editor and CEO, Prospect Magazine (2010‑16); Chief Foreign Commentator (2006‑10), Foreign Editor (1999‑2006), U.S. Editor (1996‑99), The Times; Leader Writer, Financial Times; Director, Kleinwort Benson Securities (1991‑96). A Member of the Council of Management and a Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Frances O'Grady
General Secretary (2013‑), formerly Deputy General Secretary (2003‑12), Trades Union Congress; Member: Commission on Economic Justice, National Retraining Partnership. Formerly: Low Pay Commission; High Pay Centre; Commission on Living Standards, Resolution Foundation.
Dr Catherine Wills
Art Historian. A Governor and Member of the Council of Management and Programme Committee, The Ditchley Foundation; a Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.
The Hon. Robert Wills
Founder, Collective Capital, London (2016‑). Formerly: Corporate Finance/Strategy, Jardine Matheson (2007‑15).
Ms Elizabeth Linder
Executive Director, Global Communications and External Affairs, Beautiful Destinations (2018‑); Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House (2017‑); Chair, Kinross House Meetings (2016‑); Founder, Conversational Century (2016‑). Formerly: Facebook spokesperson and founder of the Politics and Government division EMEA (2008‑16) and Google/YouTube Global Communications and Public Affairs (2007‑08). A member of the Ditchley Foundation Programme Committee.
Mr Michael Abramowitz
President, Freedom House (2017‑); member: Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: Director, Levine Institute for Holocaust Education, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; National Editor, then White House correspondent, Washington Post; fellow, German Marshall Fund; fellow, Hoover Institution.
The Hon. John Bellinger III
Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, DC; Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law, Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC (2005‑09); Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (2001‑05); Counsel for National Security Matters, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (1997‑2001); Of Counsel, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1996); Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence (1988‑91). A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Heather A. Conley
Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic and Director of the Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC. Formerly: Executive Director, Office of the Chairman of the Board, American National Red Cross (2005‑08); Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2001‑05); Bureau of Political‑Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
Dr Larry Diamond
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; founding co‑editor, Journal of Democracy; Senior Consultant, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy; author, 'Ill Winds: Saving Democracy From Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency (forthcoming). Formerly: Director, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University; Peter E. Haas Faculty co‑Director, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University.
Professor Beverly Gage
Yale University: Professor of History and American Studies; Brady‑Johnson Professor of Grand Strategy; and director, Brady‑Johnson Program in Grand Strategy; author, 'The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror,' 'G‑Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century' (forthcoming); contributing writer, New York Times Magazine.
Mr Nathaniel Gleicher
Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, Inc. (2018‑); Senior Associate, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (2016‑). Formerly: Head of Cybersecurity Strategy, Illumio (2015‑18); Director for Cybersecurity Policy, National Security Council, The White House (2013‑15); Senior Counsel, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, U.S. Department of Justice (2010‑13).
Ms Jennifer Griffin
Fox News (1999‑): National Security Correspondent based at the Pentagon (2007‑); co‑author, ‘This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli‑Palestinian Conflict’ (2011, co‑author Greg Myre). Formerly: Jerusalem Correspondent; Middle East correspondent, National Public Radio and U.S. News and World Report; journalist, The Sowetan, Johannesburg.
Ms Brittan Heller
Director for Technology and Society, Anti‑Defamation League (2016‑). Formerly: Honors Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (2011‑15); postdoctoral fellow, Afghanistan Legal Education Project, Stanford Law School (2010‑11); Luce Scholar, Korean Public Interest Lawyers' Group (2009‑10); member of the prosecution team, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague (2008‑09).
Professor David Kaiser
Author: ‘American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War’, and ‘No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War’. Formerly: Stanley Kaplan Visiting Professor of History, Williams College (2006‑07 and 2012‑13); Professor, Strategy Department, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island (1991‑2012); Associate Professor, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University (1983‑91); Assistant Professor and Lecturer, Department of History, Harvard University.
Mr Cary A. Koplin
Managing Director, Investment Management Division, Neuberger Berman, LLC (2000‑). Formerly: Managing Director, Schroder Wertheim & Co. Inc./Wertheim & Co. (1966‑2000). President, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Julius Krein
Editor, American Affairs.
Mr David Nassar
Vice President for Communications and Publisher, Brookings Institution (2012‑18). Formerly: Founder & CEO, Hotspot Digital (2009‑12); Vice President for Strategy, Blue State Digital (2009); Political and Issue Based Campaign Leadership Roles (2000‑09); National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (1995‑99).
Mr George M. Newcombe
Member, Dean's Council, Columbia University School of Law; Board of Overseers, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Member, The American Law Institute; Advisor, American Law Institute Privacy Principles Project; Director, ConvergentAI, Inc. Formerly: Senior Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (1983‑2012). A member of the Board of Directors of The American Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Laura Rosenberger
Senior Fellow and Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund of the United States (2017‑); term member, Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: foreign policy advisor, Hillary for America (2015‑16); chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (2015) and Senior Advisor to the Deputy National Security Advisor (2013‑15); Director for China and Korea, National Security Council (2012‑13); Foreign Affairs Officer, Department of State (2004‑12).
The Hon James P. Rubin
Senior Counselor, Ballard Partners, Washington, D.C.; Contributing Editor, Politico. Formerly: Senior Media Advisor for National Security Affairs, Hillary for America 2016; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs; Visiting Professor, London School of Economics; Lead News Anchor, World News Tonight, Sky News (2005‑06); Senior Advisor for National Security, Kerry‑Edwards Campaign (2004); Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Chief Spokesman for Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (1997‑2000); Senior Advisor and Spokesman for the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine K. Albright (1993‑96); Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (1989‑93).
Mr David E. Sanger
New York Times (1982‑): National Security Correspondent; adjunct lecturer in public policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Senior Fellow in National Security and the Press, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University; member, Council on Foreign Affairs and Aspen Strategy Center. Formerly: The New York Times: Chief Washington Correspondent; White House Correspondent; Chief Washington Economic Correspondent; Correspondent, Tokyo Bureau Chief. Member of three Pulitzer Prize‑winning teams, best‑selling author of 'The Inheritance' (2009), 'Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power' (2012) and 'The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age' (2018).
Ambassador David Thorne
Vice Chairman, Adviser Investments, Inc.; Member of the Board, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Formerly: Senior Advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry (2013‑17); U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino (2009‑13); co‑founder, Adviser Investments. Member of the Board of The American Ditchley Foundation.