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U.S. Foreign Policy and Ukraine: A Conversation with Ambassador William B. Taylor

November 19, 2020


Ambassador William B. Taylor, Vice President of Strategic Stability and Security, U.S. Institute of Peace

Moderated by Eliot A. Cohen, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS

The school hosted a discussion on US-Ukraine relations with former US Ambassador to the Ukraine, William B. Taylor.

Taylor began the discussion by recalling his West Point education, where he gained awareness on world affairs while serving as a young lieutenant in Vietnam. Taylor recalled how his military background helped give him an edge on understanding the US military, which was particularly useful when he was assigned to oversee reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Union.  

Taylor went on to recall his time serving as the US Ambassador to Ukraine under the Trump administration, where he made clear to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo that he would only serve if US policy would support Ukraine. The Ambassador noted that many of the policies he had worked on resulted in failure, including those pertaining to Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, but he was still hopeful for success in Tunisia and especially in Ukraine. 

In response to a question from Dean Cohen regarding the impact of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, Taylor recalled how the Germans told him ‘it will be difficult to ever fully trust America again,’ and that it would take a very long-time to reestablish America’s lost influence and prestige around the world.