Former US Congressmen and -women visit IFSH

Six former members of Congress discussed with young students at IFSH. (c) IFSH

IFSH was one of the first stops on their trip to Germany: Six former American members of Congress learned about the work of the Hamburg Peace Research Institute and exchanged ideas with students of the Master's program in Peace Research and Security Policy. In particular, the politicians wanted to know how young Germans perceive current world events: What worries them, how do they view the upcoming US election campaign and the increasing great power rivalry between the United States and China?

The wars in Ukraine and Gaza, the rise of populists and political extremists on both sides of the Atlantic and, last but not least, the climate crisis: the students and former members of Congress agreed when it came to naming the biggest security policy problems. The men and women from the delegation looked back on political careers spanning decades in some cases, with one of them having served in Congress under US President Ronald Reagan, witnessed the Cold War and ultimately its end and the fall of the Berlin Wall as a politician. Listening to their comments and assessments was a great source of knowledge for the IFSH students. 

The former US MPs, who belonged to both the Democratic and Republican camps, were unanimous when it came to the possible re-election of former President Donald Trump: The transatlantic partnership, which has already been a central guarantor of security for the past 75 years, is more important than ever, they said. Democratic values, which had come under pressure in the Trump administration, should not be taken for granted. "We must protect our institutions and democracies so that they are not undermined by right-wing populists," appealed one of the former MPs. 
The Russian aggression against Ukraine shows that security threats can also have an integrating effect on the Western alliance. NATO, concluded another former congressman, is stronger than ever.