On April 6, 2016, the National Committee's 21st Century Leaders Council hosted a luncheon for Patron and Sponsor members of the NCAFP on the subject of "Wars, Walls and Trade: The Upcoming Elections and U.S. Foreign Policy." The afternoon featured journalists David Rohde, National Security Investigations Editor for Thomson Reuters, a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic and a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Nicholas Thompson, NCAFP 21st Century Leader and the Editor of NewYorker.com.
David Rohde is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a former reporter for the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor. He has covered the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kosovo and Bosnia. He made national headlines when held captive by Bosnian Serb forces following his investigation of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, and entered the national spotlight again in 2008 when he was captured and subsequently escaped from Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Nicholas Thompson has been editor of NewYorker.com since 2012, during which time the number of site readers has more than quintupled. He is also a contributor for CBS News, a technology contributor at CNN International, and a co-founder of The Atavist, a software company and digital magazine whose investors include Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Andreessen-Horowitz, IAC, and The Founder’s Fund. His book, The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War, was published in 2009 and hailed as “brilliant” by The Washington Post and “brimming with fascinating revelations” by The New York Times. The Washington Times said it “may be the most important political biography in recent memory.”
The two speakers opened the luncheon with candid remarks regarding their assessment of how U.S. foreign policy may be impacted by the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. Each of the remaining candidates were analyzed before the speakers shifted the conversation toward the audience. A number of colorful views were expressed, including particular dissatisfaction at the role the media has played thus far in the electoral process, and dismay with how the prospects for domestic instability negatively impact perceptions of the United States abroad.
In spite of the general sense of pessimism present among many of those in attendance, both speakers appeared to convey an optimistic outlook for both U.S. foreign policy and the upcoming elections. If having done nothing else, the speakers believe that the current electoral cycle has rejuvenated an interest in America's democratic process and the role that the government of the United States plays domestically and around the world, for better or for worse.