Robert Zoellick | September 29, 2020
Professor Bruce Jentleson joined Robert Zoellick in a discussion of his new book America in the World: A History of US Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.
Summary by Darren Janz:
On September 29, the Duke University Program in American Grand Strategy was honored to host former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick for a discussion of his newly-released book, America in the World: A History of US Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Zoellick is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs whose lengthy career has included previous service as president of the World Bank, managing director of Goldman Sachs, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State. Professor Bruce Jentleson joined him in discussing his book and analyzing recent events pertinent to the role of U.S. foreign policy in a rapidly-changing global system.
Former Deputy Secretary Zoellick gained inspiration for his book from his decades of experience implementing American foreign policy goals. His work has ranged from German reunification and the Darfur conflict to involvement in issues of climate change and global trade; based on this experience, he noted the importance of connecting policy to the study of history, although he found that most literature and knowledge relating policy to history dealt solely with European cases. He discussed his aim to use the American experience as a new framework of analysis for the relationship between policy and history, employing the stories of individual Americans and historical episodes alike that shaped the American diplomacy of today. Deputy Secretary Zoellick particularly emphasized the need to study the pre-World War II history of an America that engaged on the world stage without the contemporary system of global alliances, pulling from cases as diverse as the pivotal roles of Henry Clay and Charles Evan Hughes to the impacts of the Monroe Doctrine and the First Moroccan Crisis.
The discussion concluded with a question-and-answer session, engaging with the audience to explore the themes of his book, his diplomatic career, and the most contentious foreign policy issues of today. The American Grand Strategy program and the Duke community are incredibly grateful for former Deputy Secretary Zoellick for joining us for an excellent discussion on America’s role in the world.