In his April visit to Stanford University, Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of Finland and current member of the Finnish Parliament spoke on the state of geopolitics following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. A self-described "liberal internationalist", Stubb argued that no matter what happens in the world, it is important to "remain cool, calm, and collected" as people have a tendency to exaggerate the events of the time in which they live. In order to understand the current epoch, Stubb highlighted the importance of three key dates and two key events. The first date, 1945, marked not only the end of World War II, but also the beginning of the structure of international organizations that prevails today and the beginning of bipolarity. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the end of bipolarity, broader and deeper integration within the structure of international organizations, and a reconciliation of East and West. The final date, 2016, is significant because of its two key events: the British vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States. These two events constituted a shock to the international order and symbolized a repudiation of the prevailing liberal international order. These two events, Stubb argued, have weakened the West. Brexit, he stated, will not only be an event of historical significance, but it is an inescapably lose-lose situation; both the European Union and the United Kingdom will be weakened as a result of Brexit. Trump's election, in his view, while a shock to the international order, is likely to be less damaging than Brexit as his term is limited and American institutions are remarkably resilient. However, Trump's presidency has ushered in the greatest instability in foreign policy that we have seen in decades. Stubb argued that the events of 2016 are likely to result in an international power vacuum.
In the remainder of his talk, Stubb explored whom would be likely to fill this power vacuum. His answer pointed to different entities taking leadership in different domains. In the realm of free trade, Stubb hypothesized that China will take the lead, and was quick to note the irony of a communist state becoming the global leader in free trade. He stated that U.S. military power will not disappear. Rather, he expects that the U.S. and Russia will jointly lead the world militarily. Finally, he argued that the values power vacuum is likely to be filled by the EU, particularly under German leadership. Yet, this would have been far less likely if Marine Le Pen had prevailed in the second round of the French presidential elections. He made clear, however, that the international system is still quite messy and these anticipated outcomes are far from certain.
To listen to this talk, please visit the FSI podcast station "World Class" on SoundCloud.
Alexander Stubb has served as Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade and Europe Minister of Finland. He was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004-2008 and in the national government from 2008-16. He was the Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 2014-16 and is currently a Member of the Finnish Parliament. Stubb's background is in academia and civil service. He holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has published extensively. His expertise includes European and International Affairs, Foreign and Security Policy, and the Euro and the Global Economy. His current interests include Brexit, global affairs, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (digitalization, robotization and artificial intelligence), and health and exercise science. Stubb is a frequent commentator on international affairs for many global news channels and writes a regular column for the Financial Times and for Dagens Industri, the Swedish business journal.
We would like to introduce you to some of the graduate students that we support and the projects on which they are working. Our featured graduate student this month is Anne Duray (Classics). Anne is a Ph.D. candidate in Classical Archaeology in the Department of Classics at Stanford University.
In her research, Anne is interested in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in the Aegean, as well as the history of archaeology in Greece, and the relationship between archaeological practices and knowledge production, interpretation, and narrative creation. In her dissertation, preliminarily entitled The Idea of Greek (Pre)history: Archaeological Practice and Knowledge Construction in the Case of Early Greece.”, Anne examines both final publications and archival material in order to understand the relationships between archaeological fieldwork, interpretation, and historical narratives during the period of transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age (c. 1200-950 BCE) in Greece, which has been viewed as a pivotal turning point in Greek history. Using a framework that draws upon the field of science studies and reflexive approaches to archaeological fieldwork, she focuses on the specific community of practice of Anglo-American scholars and their excavations during the 1950’s-1970’s. Her working hypotheses are, first, that archaeological practice and disciplinary development during these decades was in some ways a response to late-19th to early-20th century legacies, but at the same time laid the groundwork for the study of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in the following decades into the present and, second, that difficulty in reaching consensus and the nature of the discourse surrounding understanding the Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age transition is a result not only of disciplinary divides, but also of the specific way and period in which they converge.
Please join us in congratulating the winners of The Europe Center Spring 2017 Graduate Student Grant Competition:
Please visit our website for more information about our Graduate Student Grant program.
May 12-13, 2017
Iberian Studies Program Conference
Inscribed Identities: Writing as Self Realization
Stanford Humanities Center
Please visit our website for more information.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, the Stanford Humanities Center, and The Europe Center's Iberian Studies Program.
May 25, 2017
9:30AM – 12:30PM
"From Emigration to Post-Migration and the “Refugee Crisis”: Historical Perspectives on Migration in Austria and Germany"
Open to Stanford faculty, students, visiting scholars and staff.
RSVP by 5PM May 24, 2017.
Please visit our website for more information.
Save the Date: June 5, 2017
11:30AM - 1:00PM
Daniel Stegmuller, University of Mannheim
Room 400 (Graham Stuart Lounge), Encina Hall West
No RSVP required.
This seminar is part of the Comparative Politics Workshop in the Department of Political Science and is co-sponsored by The Europe Center.
Save the Dates: Wednesdays, June 14, 2017 – September 6, 2017
7:00PM – 9:30PM
SGS Summer Film Festival
“Finding Place: Immigration, Refugees and Borders Across the World "
Save the Date: May 15, 2017
12:00PM - 1:15PM
Ivo Daalder, Former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO
Oksenberg Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
RSVP by 5:00PM May 10, 2017.
May 22, 2017
12:00PM - 1:15PM
Mark Leonard, Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations
"The Connectivity Wars: European Security and the Weaponization of the Internet, Trade, Migration, and International Institutions"
Reuben Hills Conference Room, Encina Hall, 2nd Floor
RSVP by 5:00PM May 17, 2017.
We welcome you to visit our website for additional details.