Who Will Prevail in the Clash of Our Time? A Conversation with Congressman Mike McCaul

Congressman Michael McCaul, Lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses U.S. global leadership with foreign diplomats.

“The diplomats are the first line. If the diplomats fail, that’s when you go to war.” Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, discussed the importance of continued support for diplomacy at a time when many are attacking American diplomats and the rate of departures from the State Department is at a startlingly high level 

In a conversation facilitated by Meridian President & CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Congressman McCaul had a lively and frank discussion with an audience of 60 diplomats and members of the press at Meridian International Center on December 5, 2019.  

On China, Congressman McCaul discussed the history of the relationship and the folly in the past approach by many in the U.S. government in viewing China as a foil against Russia. This slow creeping realization allowed the “intellectual property theft, the espionage…the largest transfer of wealth in human history” that has resulted in a “superpower” that is a larger military and economic threat than any other facing the United States. He pointed specifically to the development of digital infrastructure by China in many countries that will result in data and intellectual property theft. To compete against China, McCaul counselled that the U.S. must invest more in developing nations, and in high technology fields. “Whoever gets to quantum [computing] first will win,” he said, and suggested that public-private partnerships must be utilized to win the race.  

With the backdrop of the recent NATO summit, Holliday and McCaul discussed the current state of the NATO alliance. We can’t let the burden-sharing overshadow the importance of NATOMcCaul said. Congress places a high value on NATO, especially with Russian aggression and reach as widespread as it is. “Our allies are extremely against these threats that are growing and it is incumbent that we stand with our allies against this.”  He cautioned against letting the “petty fights” that have recently erupted with world leaders get in the way of vital alliances.  

“We have to be engaged across the globe with other nations and talk about the ideals that make this country…and all democracies great,” McCaul said. “What I see as a clash, a modern-day clash today, between these authoritarian dictatorship oppressive countries, versus democracy, freedom of religion and speech. And that is the clash of our time, and who is going to prevail is the ultimate question.”  

The discussion also tackled the increase of troops in the Middle East, the protests in Irannon-state threatscounterterrorism, support for combatting childhood disease and the importance of bipartisanship in the development and implementation to U.S. foreign policy.  

Insights@Meridian and other Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement programs serve to provide the international diplomatic corps with a better understanding of U.S. domestic policies from multiple perspectives. For more information, please visit meridian.org/diplomacy. 

webcast of the event is available here 

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