A Grand Strategy? Re-imagining America's Foreign Policy for the Next Administration
April 18, 2016
From the collapse of the Soviet Union to the rise of ISIS, the U.S. has pursued at least three distinct grand strategies: democratic enlargement (Clinton), assertive primacy (Bush), and restraint and rebalancing (Obama). Given the changeability of strategy after 45 years of containment and deterrence, what’s next? Despite wide differences among the candidates, does the nature of the unfolding world and our resource limits allow us to make educated guesses about the posture of the next President? Can U.S. foreign policy be more coherent and effective -- responsive to both opportunities and threats -- in the next decade and beyond?
NYU Washington, DC welcomed CGA Clinical Professor Michael Oppenheimer in conversation with Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer and Brookings Vice President Bruce Jones on the alternative paths for managing American strategy abroad.
Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group
Ian Bremmer is the President and Founder of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. He is a prolific thought leader and author, regularly expressing his views on political issues in public speeches, television appearances, and top publications, including Time magazine, where he is the foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large.
Dubbed the "rising guru" in the field of political risk by the Economist, he teaches classes on the discipline as a global research professor at New York University. His latest book, Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World, was released in May 2015.
In 1998, Bremmer established Eurasia Group with just $25,000. Today, the company has offices in New York, Washington, London and Tokyo, as well as a network of experts and resources in 90 countries. Eurasia Group provides analysis and expertise on how political developments and national security dynamics move markets and shape investments across the globe. As the firm's president and most active public voice, Bremmer advises leading executives, money managers, diplomats, and heads of state.
Bremmer is credited with bringing the craft of political risk to financial markets - he created Wall Street's first global political risk index (GPRI) - and for establishing political risk as an academic discipline. His definition of emerging markets - "those countries where politics matter at least as much as economics for market outcomes" - has become an industry standard. G-Zero, his term for a global power vacuum in which no country is willing and able to set the international agenda, is widely accepted by policymakers and thought leaders. Said Larry Summers, "Global political economy has no sharper or more prescient analyst than Ian Bremmer."
Bremmer actively discusses the intersection between politics and markets in speeches and the media. He has published nine books, including the national bestsellers Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World and The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? He is a regular columnist for the Financial Times A-List and has written hundreds of articles for many leading publications. He appears regularly on CNBC, Fox, Bloomberg, CNN, the BBC, and other networks.
Bremmer earned a PhD in political science from Stanford University in 1994 and was the youngest-ever national fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 2007, Bremmer was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, where he is the founding chairman of the Global Agenda Council on Geopolitical Risk. He is the Harold J. Newman Distinguished Fellow in Geopolitics at the Asia Society Policy institute and serves on the President's Council of the Near East Foundation, the Leadership Council for Concordia and the Board of Trustees of Intelligence Squared.
Bremmer grew up in Boston and currently lives in New York and Washington.
Bruce Jones, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution
Bruce Jones is vice president and director of the Foreign Policy program at Brookings and a senior fellow in the Institution's Project on International Order and Strategy. He is also a consulting professor at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University.
His research focuses on U.S. policy on international security, global order, international conflict management, and fragile states. His most recent books, both from 2014, are Still Ours to Lead: America, Rising Powers, and the Tension between Rivalry and Restraint and The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution.
Michael Oppenheimer, Clinical Professor, M.S. in Global Affairs, NYU
As a clinical professor for the M.S. in Global Affairs program at New York University, Michael Oppenheimer draws upon his expertise in international relations and foreign policy to help his students to find connections between essential academic theories and their practical applications on the global stage.
"The link between theory and practice is central to how I see the world, and to how I have used the depth of my knowledge to deliver relevant content in the classroom," he asserts. "I try to impart in my students, a deeper appreciation for ideas, and I strive to illustrate the real leverage they provide in understanding a complex international reality." He is author of several books, most recently Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures, published by Oxford University Press in December 2015.
For nearly four decades, Oppenheimer has provided research, consulting, and policy advice for the U.S. foreign policy and intelligence communities. As an expert on international conflict, global economics, U.S.-European relations, and national security strategy, he has imagined, speculated, and created solutions to conflict, through the use of scenarios and alternative analyses, free of political motivation.
His commitment to integrating theory and practice in the learning environment is best exemplified by his development of the CGA Scenarios Initiative, which is a mediated workshop series that is designed to produce cross-disciplinary, forward thinking about countries and issues that are critical to U.S. national interest. Scenarios workshops bring the world’s top experts and policymakers to the CGA, where they interact with NYU School of Professional Studies faculty members and students. Also valuable in this regard, is Oppenheimer’s scenarios-focused course, The Future of International Relations: Forces for Change and Alternate Scenarios, in which students build alternate scenarios around emerging forces for change and potential ‘wild card’ events.
Oppenheimer‘s dedication to helping his students launch or advance their careers in global affairs does not end in the classroom. As director of the international relations concentration, he advises students on their career paths, helps identify internship opportunities, and brings leading experts and policy makers into direct contact with them. Many of his former students have built successful careers working at foundations, in government agencies, or in NGOs, including the Council on Foreign Relations, the UN Association of the United States, the Asia Society, Council of the Americas, and the Clinton Foundation.