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 American Studies Participates in Energetic Event about US-EU-Russian Relations 

Submitted by Eric W. Fraunholz on Mon, 11/17/2014 - 09:25

In a room packed with over eighty people, American Studies Leipzig participated in an energetic debate about contemporary developements in US-EU-Russian Relations around the theme of Ukrainian indepedence and its place in transatlantic relations. The events was hosted by the Center for Central and Eastern European Affairs and the Friederich Ebert Foundation Office in Saxony. Professor Crister S. Garrett represented American Studies. The panel was moderated by Kostas Kipuros, Senior Editor for Foreign News at the region's largest daily newspaper, the Leipziger Volkszeitung.

Mr. Kipuros asked the panelists probing (and fair) questions about what was driving national decision making around the crisis in Ukraine. Other panelists included specialists for Ukrainian and Russian affairs. Professor Garrett was asked about what the United States really wanted to achieve in Ukraine. He observed that American policy in Europe has been relatively consistent ever since Woodrow Wilson worked for an independent Poland and other movements for national independence after World War I, namely the expression of national identity and freedom as a key builiding block for longer term stability in Europe (reducing resentment and potential conflict, as in the case of German unification after 1989). At the same time nations needed a larger architecture for constructive cooperation, a key conclusion behind the Marshall Plan and many other forms of American support for European integration.

The event was often tense and involved some participants even heckling the panelists and interrupting the audience and their observations. All the experts were challenged on their views, and it was clear that the audience had many diverse voices feeling strongly about Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and German interests, and what these might be. The event lasted almost thirty minutes longer than planned, reflecting the animated and overall very constructive and informative dialogue that took place. A loud and long round of applause ended the evening.

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