Making Sense of a Midterm Election: Liberal Order Rescued?

SCRIPTS - Discussion

Midterms matter, to the US and, at least potentially, to the rest of the world. While the Republican Party has taken control of the House of Representatives, Democrats have retained the Senate. To make sense of the midterms’ impact on US politics and foreign policy, liberal democracy, and the liberal international order, the Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) invites foreign policy experts from academia, politics, and think tanks to rethink diverse scenarios and European and German policy options. Has the liberal order been saved by the election’s outcome?

A Discussion with Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Thomas Risse, Johannes Thimm, Dominik Tolksdorf and Sarah Bressan (Moderation).


Sarah Bressan (Moderation)
Research Fellow, Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin

Jessica Gienow-Hecht is a historian for international and American history and Chair of the Department of History at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin.  At SCRIPTS she is a Principal Investigator. A former Heisenberg-Fellow as well as holder of the Alfred Grosser Chair at Sciences Po (Paris), she has taught at numerous universities in Germany, France, the US and Japan. Her research focuses on the role of culture in international history -with a focus on the interplay between cultural projection and interaction in conjunction to geopolical influence from the early modern period to the present. In addition, she has worked as a journalist (FAZ, Die Welt, Süddeutsche, Neue Rhein-/Ruhr Zeitung, and others), and continues to appear in the media with contributions related to transatlantic relations and North America.

Thomas Risse is Professor em. for International Politics, Freie Universität Berlin, Senior Professor of the Cluster of Excellence SCRIPTS, and since 2019 Director of the Berlin International College of Research and Graduate Training. Until the beginning of 2022, he was Professor of International Politics and director of the Center for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy at the Otto-Suhr- Institute of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. From 1997-2001, he was Joint Chair of International Relations at the European University Institute's Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Department of Social and Political Sciences in Florence, Italy. In his research, he mainly focuses on Transnational Relations, Human Rights and Security Policy.

Johannes Thimm is currently Deputy Head of “The Americas” Research Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), a think tank that advises, among others, the German parliament and the federal government on foreign and security policy issues. Having obtained his PhD in political science at Freie Universität Berlin in 2009, he has published numerous articles on transatlantic relations and global governance. His research focuses on US domestic politics and its impact on US foreign policy, US foreign policy towards international organizations, and international law.

Dr. Dominik Tolksdorf 
Research fellow “US/transatlantic relations”, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin


The Cluster of Excellence Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS) is a research consortium that analyses why the liberal model of order has fallen into crisis despite its political, economic, and social achievements. Interdisciplinary research teams investigate why alternative concepts of social order are on rise, how these contestations differ from earlier contestation, and what the consequences are for the global challenges of our time. In operation since 2019, SCRIPTS is hosted by the Freie Universität Berlin and unites 8 major Berlin-based research institutions. In various forms and collaborations SCRIPTS regularly puts the core questions about the future of the liberal script in the wake of open antagonisms and competing ideas of political and societal orders up for public discussion.

Language: German

Tuesday, December 6
Doors: 6.15 pm / Start: 7 pm
Free admission