American Foreign Policy: Where Are We Headed?

Jeremi Suri / The University of Texas at Austin

The United States dominated international affairs for the second half of the twentieth century. But now, quite a bit has changed. Although the U.S. remains the most powerful international actor, its predominance can no longer be taken for granted. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan show the limits of American military capabilities. Russian military and cyber-aggression reveal holes in American defenses. A more assertive China challenges American leadership in Asia and many other parts of the globe, as well. American foreign policy faces more resistance and uncertainty than in any period since before the Second World War.

This timely presentation will address the nature of the contemporary challenges to American foreign policy and the possible pathways forward. Professor Suri will discuss how we should define current American national interests, and how to pursue them. Special attention will be given to alliances, international institutions, and public diplomacy as assets for a renewed foreign policy, and will conclude with a discussion about the future of democracy as a component of our international standing.

Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University’s Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. The author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy, his most recent is entitled: The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Office. In 2007, Smithsonian magazine named him one of America’s “Top Young Innovators” in the Arts and Sciences. In 2018, Suri received the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas, and the Pro Bene Meritis Award for Public Contributions to the Liberal Arts.

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