The Impact of the 2020 U.S. Election on NATO: A Moderated Discussion

On September 29, 2020, the NATO Association of Canada hosted a discussion with Jim Townsend, Darrell Bricker, and Anessa Kimball moderated by Vincent Boucher. These four experts addressed the upcoming U.S presidential election and its potential repercussions on American foreign policy as well as its implications for NATO. 

Meet our speakers: 

Jim Townsend is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program and was recently elected President of the Atlantic Treaty Association. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European and NATO Policy, Jim Townsend completed more than two decades of work on European and NATO policy in the Pentagon, at NATO and at the Atlantic Council. Through his work, he has helped execute US military engagement in almost every conflict from the Gulf War to the reintroduction of US forces into Europe to deter Russia. He also played critical roles in NATO enlargement, NATO reform, and helping to build bilateral defense relations with the new democracies coming from the breakup of the Soviet Union. 

Before becoming DASD in 2009, Jim also served as a Vice President in the Atlantic Council of the United States and Director of the Council’s Program on International Security. He joined the Atlantic Council in 2006 after a distinguished Civil Service career at the Pentagon and at NATO. In the 1990s, Jim was the Principal Director of European and NATO Policy, the Director of NATO Policy and the Director of the Defense Plans Division at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.

Prior to working on Europe and NATO, Jim worked in Foreign Military Sales at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) as a Country Director for European security assistance and as the assistant to the DSCA Comptroller. Jim’s early career also included work in the Department of State, in the Office of Congressman Charles E. Bennett and in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).

He was an adjunct professor of international studies at American University and has lectured in the US and overseas at Universities, War Colleges, think tanks, and at the Foreign Service Institute. He has also provided commentary in the international press on TV, radio and in newspapers. 

Dr. Darrell Bricker is the Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, a polling, research, marketing, and analysis company. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Carleton University, and a BA and MA from Wilfrid Laurier University. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by Wilfrid Laurier University, which named him one of their top 100 graduates in the last 100 years. Darrell is also a Research Fellow with the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario. 

Darrell has written seven national bestselling books. His latest, NEXT: Where to Live, What to Buy, and Who Will Lead Canada’s Futureis a major release with Harper Collins Canada.

Dr. Bricker is a popular public speaker who regularly engages with audiences around the world. He’s written articles for publications as diverse as Canada’s Globe and Mail and France’s Le Monde. He has also appeared on television and radio with all of Canada’s major national networks, and around the world with news broadcast organizations such as CNN, the BBC and NPR. 

Anessa L. Kimball is an associate professor of political science at Université Laval. Professor Kimball is Director of the Centre for international security at the École supérieure d’études internationales at Université Laval as well as co-director, Security, of the Canadian Defense and Security Network (2019-2026). Kimball employs quantitative methods to study international defense and security cooperation as well as the design of defense and security agreements using rational institutionalist and delegation approaches. Her research on international alliances has appeared in the Journal of Peace Research and International Journal. In 2018, Kimball contributed a chapter legal/institutional features of the NORAD agreement and its adaptation for strategic defense in the 2018 edited volume North American defense in the 21st century by Hughes, Leuprecht & Sokolsky (eds.) with Springer-Verlag Press. Her most recent publication (2019) examines NATO at 70yrs and appears on the University of Calgary, School of Public Policy Research Paper series.

Vincent Boucher is PhD candidate in political science at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) and a research fellow at the Center for United States Studies of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies (UQAM). His research focuses on U.S. foreign policy decision-making, the U.S. Congress, and Canada-U.S. relations. He is the co-author of the upcoming book National Security Entrepreneurs and the Making of American Foreign Policy(McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020).

About NATO Association of Canada

The NATO Association of Canada strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and NATO’s goal of peace, prosperity, and security. The NATO Association of Canada ensures that we have an informed citizenry able to contribute to discussions about Canada’s role on the world stage.