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Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?: Open to Debate and CFR Record Live Debate March 28 in NYC

Debaters include John Mearsheimer, Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Heather Conley, Lt. Colonel (Ret) Daniel L. Davis


On March 28, nonpartisan debate series Open to Debate (formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S.) in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations is taping a live debate in New York City on the question “Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?”

Arguing YES are political scientist John Mearsheimer, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and retired Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, awarded two Bronze Stars during his 21-year service in the U.S. Army. They argue the war is unwinnable for Ukraine and continuing aid diverts necessary resources that could go toward domestic priorities, such as curbing immigration. They also question whether the funds are being used efficiently and whether providing military aid is genuinely contributing to a path toward peace.

Arguing NO are German Marshall Fund president Heather Conley, who has also held positions at the American National Red Cross and the State Department, and and Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Vice Chair, Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy & Security. They believe that the U.S. has a moral obligation to support Ukraine in its time of need, it sustains alliances while serving strategic interests, and it demonstrates the U.S.’s support of democratic values and sovereignty.

The debate will tape in front of an invite-only audience on March 28, 2024 at 6:30 PM (cocktails at 6:00) at the Council on Foreign Relations’ office in New York City. Media are invited to attend and can email for access.



* John Mearsheimer: Political Science Professor at the University of Chicago
John Mearsheimer is a political scientist and the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Chicago. Before joining the University of Chicago, he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs. He was also the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations during the 1998-1999 academic year. Mearsheimer is the author of seven books, including “Conventional Deterrence”, “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics”, the New York Times best-seller “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (with Stephen M. Walt), and his most recent book “How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy” (with Sebastian Rosato). He has also written many articles that have appeared in academic journals like International Security, and for newspapers and magazines including Foreign Affairs, London Review of Books The New York Times, and the Financial Times, among other publications. He is the recipient of the James Madison Award from the American Political Science Association, received honorary doctorates from universities in China, Greece, and Romania, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

* Daniel L. Davis: Retired Lieutenant Colonel; Senior Fellow and Military Expert at Defense Priorities
Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis is a retired four-time combat veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 21 years. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor at the Battle of 73 Easting during the Gulf War in 1991 and awarded a Bronze Star Medal in Afghanistan in 2011. At Defense Priorities, Davis is a senior fellow focusing on American foreign policy, international security, military analysis, and other related subjects. Davis is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” His articles on defense, foreign affairs, and social issues have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, TIME, Politico, and other publications. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, Fox Business News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, and other television networks. Davis was also the recipient of the 2012 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-telling.



* Heather Conley, President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States
Heather Conley is the president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a non-partisan public policy organization that seeks to promote cooperation and understanding between North America and the European Union. She most recently worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she served as senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic, and as director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program, and developed the “Kremlin Playbook” series. She has held other positions at the American National Red Cross, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the State Department. She also established the Enhanced Partnership in Europe (e-PINE), a forum for senior-level U.S. dialogue with the eight Nordic and Baltic states. Conley frequently appears as a foreign policy analyst and Europe expert on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, and PBS, among other prominent media outlets. Conley is a member of the Board of Directors at The American Ditchley Foundation and the recipient of two State Department Meritorious Honor Awards. She holds a bachelor's degree in international studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master's degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

* Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs; Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Vice Chair, Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy & Security
Ambassador Paula Dobriansky is a diplomat and foreign policy expert who specializes in national security affairs and has three decades of experience across senior levels of diplomacy, business, and defense. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council's Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. During the Bush administration, she served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs and as the President’s Envoy to Northern Ireland for which she received the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal for her contributions to the historic devolution of power in Belfast. As a Reagan Administration NSC Director of European and Soviet Affairs she crafted US policy toward Central/Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations (where she was the first George F.Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies) and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Dobriansky served on the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and was Chair of EXIM bank’s Council on China Competition. She is a Trilateral Commission Trustee, a member of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service's Board, and is Co-Chair of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Ukraine's Economic Reconstruction. Dobriansky received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.

Open to Debate addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. We are the nation's only nonpartisan, debate-driven media organization dedicated to bringing multiple viewpoints together for a constructive, balanced, respectful exchange of ideas. Open to Debate is a platform for intellectually curious and open-minded people to engage with others holding opposing views on complex issues. We know debate works to find common ground: On average, 32% of the Open to Debate audience changes their mind on contentious topics after hearing a debate. That’s the power of debate done right, and at scale, it can change the direction we’re headed in America. Open to Debate is broadcast as a weekly public radio program, carried on NPR stations including WNYC (#1 in the nation). Open to Debate is made available as a podcast, video series, and digital platform, and records episodes with live audiences nationwide. Visit to become a member, access an archive of more than 220 debates, and attend live events.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on policy issues and has no affiliation with the U.S. government. All views expressed in its publications and on its website are the sole responsibility of the author or authors.


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