US Foreign Policy

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    • 00:00


    • 00:16

      BRUCE JENTLESON: So when we thinkabout what US foreign policy is, it's kind of a-- itsort of bridges between international relationsand American politics, the way we thinkof political science courses in universities.It's basically the study of the US role in the world.And at least as I approach it, it has three main dimensions.

    • 00:37

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: One is theory.We try to think about how we can see patternsin American foreign policy that explain why the UnitedStates does what it does.And here you get into some of the main areas--same areas that students get into in introductionto international relations.Realism, idealism, liberalism, and the like.Second I think is history.

    • 00:58

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: It's very important.There's this engraving on the National Archives that says,the "past is prologue."And there is a tendency, I think, to think everythingis new, everything is different, the worldis changing, technology and all that sort of thing so quickly.But when you help students see a historical perspective,it helps them see patterns, and ithelps them see things that have been consistently driving

    • 01:20

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: American foreign policy, or ways wecan learn from both past successes and failures.And third is policy.It's probably true that some folksteach American foreign policy reallyas a very theoretical exercise.I think it's really important to connectthe theory and the policy.When students come into our major,into these kind of courses, they usually

    • 01:40

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: have things on their mind.It might be what's going on in the Middle East,it might be China.And to be different than just the newscastor reading the newspaper, you tryto help them understand policy and get perspectives on it,through the study of both the history and the theory,that cuts in at a different angle for themthan just what they sort of see online

    • 02:00

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: or in the media, and the like.So one of the debates among facultyis when we think of what the principal traditions areof American foreign policy, kind of what's our set, right?And there have been a whole different varietyof approaches.Some of them have been named for different presidents.

    • 02:23

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Is it a Jacksonian foreign policy?Others come out of the debate amongthe isms in international relations theory.Realism, liberalism, idealism, et cetera.I actually think of it in terms of what,in my American foreign policy book, we call the four Ps.Power, peace, prosperity, and principles.

    • 02:43

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And each of those is trying to figure outwhat the main drivers are.Is it pursuit of power?Is it trying to make peace in the world?Is it economic interests, the pursuit of prosperity,be it the interest of elites or corporations,or the overall economic interest of the country?Is it principles, the ideals that the United States oftenclaims?

    • 03:04

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: It's not to say that it's one or the otheror that all four can be satisfied at once.But the approach that I've really used,and a lot of students and faculty who use the booksay, I like the four Ps approach.They can kind of get a handle on it.It's a nice little alliteration to it toothat makes it a little easier for students to remember.

    • 03:29

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: With the rise of China, which we really kindof date from the end of the Cold War-- or at least,it wasn't caused by that, but you know,we're done with the Cold War now.There's a sense of what was next.Some scholars and some policymakersreally see this as the rise of another major power.International relations theory, the power transition theory.

    • 03:51

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And according to that, when one power's been risingand the other's been either staying the same or declining,it creates conflict.There's another view that says the rise of Chinais extremely important.It's becoming the largest economy in the world, largerthan the United States.Its military power is growing.And it probably is the other major, major power

    • 04:13

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: with global reach.Russia to a certain extent, but really China.But there's also a sense that that sortof two powers, two major powers doesn't reallydefine the world.We live in a global age, you know,where much more so than in history,this era is defined not only by competition or cooperationamong the major powers, but also by a host of other actors

    • 04:33

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: that don't necessarily break down as pro China or pro UnitedStates.You've got emerging powers like Brazil and India and Turkeyand Indonesia.So one of the debates is, should Chinabe central to the paradigm the waywe approach the 21st century?Or should it be important, but not essential?I really tend, as you probably can tell,

    • 04:54

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: towards the latter view.This country has always had issues with immigrationthroughout our history.And I think that the question of Mexican immigration,various proposals that have been made to build walls

    • 05:16

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: along the border and the like haveto do with a couple of things happening simultaneously.One is people coming from a developing country, whichis different for politics than if they were comingfrom another developed country like from European countriesin the 19th century.Although I will say that when the Irish came

    • 05:36

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: in the 19th century, there was a lot of biasagainst them, a lot of efforts to restrict them.In the late 19th and early 20th century,we put major restrictions on Chinese immigrants.So we do have this tradition throughout our history.But at a time in which we've had one seriesof economic challenges after another,there's been this sense of competition for jobs.And I think to a certain extent, a certain amount of racism

    • 05:58

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: in there.There's a sense, I think, of folkswanting to keep things the way that they have beenor maybe the way that they just remember them throughrose colored glasses.And so it's really made it very hard to have policy on this.If you go back to 2006, there was actuallyalmost a compromise between President George W. Bush

    • 06:19

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: and Democrats in Congress.And then some elements, the Republican Party,even though President Bush had supported it,wouldn't even live with that.And since then, we really have been wrestling with thisand demonizing it to a great extent.Particularly about Mexicans, but alsoabout other Latin Americans, many of whomcome seeking asylum from political repression in Central

    • 06:39

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: America, fleeing poverty.Unaccompanied children coming across the borderraises all sorts of difficult issues.And I don't think we as a country have reallywrestled with this in ways that live up to our truest values,as well as what's right for the immigrants.

    • 07:04

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: So in terms of the war on terror, when 9/11 happened,there were some, including President Bush who said,everything changed on 9/11.And in the immediate aftermath, that's understandable.The country was in shock.It really was the first attack of a major natureon mainland United States since the British burned the White

    • 07:27

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: House in the War of 1812.Pearl Harbor was offshore, and Hawaii was a territory then.So the psychological, the social aspect, the images on TVwere very traumatic.But I think what we found is that therewere a whole bunch of issues that were on the agendawhen we all went to sleep on the night of September 10, 2001.

    • 07:49

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: The effects of globalization and the economic challenges,climate change, which we weren't paying much attention to,the beginnings of concern about global public healthand pandemics.We had the Ebola epidemic in 2015,but there had been ones before that.How to deal with the Middle East.There was still no peace between the Israelis

    • 08:09

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: and the Palestinians.Issues with Iran.And so when we got to September 12,all those issues were with us plus the 9/11 issues.And I think the great challenge has been howto deal with this broad agenda.Terrorism is a significant threat.There's debates about how to deal with it.But here, I think we're just talking about how important it

    • 08:30

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: is, how much of the bandwidth of the policy debateshould it take up?And I think it's a mistake to believethat the only challenge we face is terrorism.Frankly, also because terrorism has roots,there's been a lot of concern about ISIS for veryunderstandable reasons.There wouldn't be an ISIS if there wasn't anarchy in Syria.

    • 08:50

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: They wouldn't have had the land to grow the way they didand part of the motivation as we've seen.So terrorism grows out of other issues, as well assome things that feed it itself, and we reallyhave to keep that perspective.Otherwise, we focus only on that issue,and we don't have much of a chanceto really think about and make good policy on the range

    • 09:11

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: of other issues on the agenda.So in terms of strategy on ISIS, Ithink it's probably more useful for studentsif I lay out what the debate is, rather than come downon one side or another.And the debate is shaping up.

    • 09:31

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: One position is, we've got to go out and defeat them.We've got to ratchet up the military operations.We've got to have others in the region for whom it's actuallya greater threat.It's a serious threat to Americans.It's existential to countries in the region.But it's a really military questionin which we've got to go out and ratchet up the military.

    • 09:52

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: President Obama has been criticizedby some for supposedly not doing enough militarily.The second argument is that you're nevergoing to make them go away.You're never going to defeat themso that there is zero ISIS.And frankly, even if you did, what's the next ISIS, right?We thought Al Qaeda was the challenge.We killed bin Laden, but that didn't make terrorism go away.

    • 10:14

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: ISIS came.And there'll be another one.And so here, the approach is really two-fold.One is, how do you contain them, limit their advances,reduce their capabilities through a varietyof instruments of power?Yes, some military, but also some political strategiesand diplomatic strategies.And then at the same time, how do you deal with the issues

    • 10:36

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: that feed ISIS?You know, in good political science terms,we think of ISIS as the independent variable thatcauses threats, but we also need to thinkof it as the dependent variable and what's causing that.And that gets to issues like the conflict in Syria.Frankly, while the Saudi Arabia is allied with the United

    • 10:56

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: States in a lot of ways, their Wahabiism,their very extreme fundamentalist form of Islam,actually feeds more terrorism than Iran or even ISIS does.So we really need to look at all aspects of this.ISIS captures television with its horrific actsin terms of beheading and things.But the strategy has to, in some ways for policymakers,

    • 11:20

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: take a deep breath and not just respond to every provocation,to have a strategy that you can put together in a sustainableway.The question of US policy and strategy towards democracyin the Middle East engages the four Ps framework

    • 11:43

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: that I use in my book.Power, peace, prosperity, and principles.And while we often claim that we have been for democracythrough our foreign policy, you know,if you look at policy for much of our history, or at least,say, since the '30s and '40s in the Cold Warwhen we've really been involved in the Middle East,it's been a situation in which, frankly, we

    • 12:05

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: have not prioritized democracy.We've supported quite a few dictators,whether it's the Saudi monarchy or Mubarak in Egypt,or a variety of others that we'vesupported because we gave preference to our powerinterest over our principles.When the Arab Spring happened in late 2010, 2011,

    • 12:29

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: it created new challenges.You know, it was very dramatic.You saw people in Tunisia and Egyptand elsewhere going to the streets.And the Obama administration madea decision to basically not say to Mubarak,we're here to help you, we'll keep you in power,and didn't necessarily support the opposition,but didn't support Mubarak.And then things ran their course through the actions

    • 12:52

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: of Egyptians.And that was a major shift in policy, I think.To be fair, the Bush administration,the George W. Bush administrationhad the so-called freedom agenda.But when elections were, let's just say, not fair in Egypt,they went to the old game plan of just stickingwith the guy who's been our friend on foreign policy,

    • 13:15

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: so that their external support for uswas a reason for looking the other wayon their internal behavior.But then in Egypt, you had elections,and the Muslim Brotherhood won.And then the Muslim Brotherhood made some mistakesin its governing, and was overthrownby the Egyptian military.

    • 13:36

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And there, the policy became much more ambivalent.The Obama Administration didn't really want to call it a coup,but it was a coup.It was done by the military.True people protest in the streets.But since then, it's sort of beentrying to figure out whether it prioritizes principlesor power.It limited some military aid to the Egyptians,it's put some pressure on while at the same timeit didn't do as much as human rights groups wanted to do.

    • 13:58

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: In Bahrain, another country that waspart of the Arab Spring, which has a monarchy, a Sunnimonarchy, but the population is about 70%Shia and 3% Sunni, there too-- and we have a big naval basethere.Very important to the American military presencein the Persian Gulf.You know, there, same thing.When the Sunni monarchy cracked down on the Shia opposition,

    • 14:19

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: including the moderate opposition,we didn't really take a stand on that.And so we continue to have this tension between the powermotivation and the principles.And it's not that other countries don't.But we make the claim that we stand for values.In the Cold War, to a great extent we did in Eastern Europeand with Soviet dissidents.

    • 14:41

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: But that was consistent with our power interest, right?So there really wasn't a choice there.Whereas in much of the third world in the Cold War--Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and Asia--we more often than not prioritized our power interestover principles.Great dilemma in American foreign policy that continues.

    • 15:05

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: So in July of 2015, the United States--and not just the United States, but the so-called P5+1,which are the permanent members Security Council--Britain and France are the democracies,and Russia and China-- as well as Germany.And Germany because-- not because they're on the SecurityCouncil, but they've been involvedin these negotiations with Iran for a long time,

    • 15:25

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: signed this nuclear nonproliferation agreementwith Iran.And by the way, it was very interestingthat even with their differences with Russia over Ukraineand our differences with China over cyber and the South ChinaSea, we cooperated on these issuesbecause we had shared interests.The agreement really tried to set uplimits on the Iranian nuclear program verification procedures

    • 15:49

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: through the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA,and pass forward its supporters of the agreement-- which I'vebeen one-- believe was the best way to dealwith the prospect of Iran trying to build nuclear weapons.The question was, is that the only issue?First of all, there's the question of whether or notit will be implemented by both sides and whether it will hold.

    • 16:14

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And time will tell on that.But it also opened the question of whether or notthere are other areas in which the US and Iran could possiblywork together.And President Obama, when he announced the agreement,talked about-- I think his expression wasopening the door to this.And even on Syria, he made the statementthat Iran needs to be part of the conversation.We've been on opposite sides of this, but a sense

    • 16:36

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: that maybe we both see that our strategies aren't working,and we and the Russians might come to a little bitmore common ground.Iran has been really our principal adversaryfor over 30 years.It has killed American soldiers and others in Iraq.It has been behind many instances of global terrorism,including ones aimed at Americans.

    • 16:58

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: It has supported Hezbollah and Hamas, both of whichare sworn to the destruction of Israel, which is an ally.And it continues to-- many in Irancontinue to see us as the great Satan.So on the one hand, they say in the financial world,past performance doesn't predict future performance,and foreign policy's kind of interesting.Does that mean that that past performance predicts that Iran

    • 17:19

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: will stay the same way?I think it's very important in foreign policy--we did this with China in 1971 wherewe explored an opening, even though wehad a lot of differences.We did this with the Soviets, includingwhen Ronald Reagan was president, even though hecalled it the evil empire.It led to major-- really to the end of the Cold War,working with Mikhail Gorbachev.I think that's really important to see what other areas.

    • 17:40

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Because if there could be an improvement of relationsbetween the United States and Iran--it's not that we'd switch sides and not be for our allies.But that could cascade through the regionin ways that would be very much helpful to American interests,as well as helpful to our allies.One has to be cautious, but one alsohas to think about both the risks of so-called being

    • 18:03

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: too soft and the risks of missingan opportunity for improvement.It'll be very interesting to see.Both sides have their politics.Iran has its so-called hawks as wellthat don't want to see improvement relationswith the United States for ideological reasonsor for vested economic interests.But the nuclear issue is very important,but the overall relationship will be continuing on as

    • 18:26

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: to where that goes.And it's not going to be solved overnight.And it could go back to just being bad, justa nuclear agreement.But I think it really opens the door.It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.United States and Israel have been allies for a long time.

    • 18:51

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Not always.Back in 1956 when Israel with Britain and Franceinvaded Egypt over the Suez Canal,we actually opposed the invasion,including by our allies, the British and the French.But really, for the last four decades or so,including when the United States hasplayed a crucial role in moving the peace process along.

    • 19:13

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: President Carter with Egyptian President Anwar Sadatand Israeli Prime Minister MenachemBegin in the Camp David agreement, whichwas peace for Egypt and Israel.The Oslo Accords that did make progress between Israeland the Palestinians and led to a peace agreementin 1994 between Israel and Jordan,US played a crucial role.We have had a number of differences

    • 19:34

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: with Israel in recent years.It's not the first time.In 1981 during the Reagan administration,there was differences over the United States saleof what were called AWACS, which was an air defensesystem to the Saudis.The Israelis were against it.The Reagan administration did it.In 1990, '91, the George H.W. Bush administration

    • 20:00

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: put sanctions on loan guarantees that Congresswanted to give to the Israelis to finance further buildingof the settlements.That was a big issue.So it's not new.Some people think it's all about Obama, and it's not.There have been tensions.I think right now, the future of Israeli relationsis a mix of where our interests are sharedand where they're not.

    • 20:22

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: The two major contentious issues havebeen Israeli-Palestinian issues in the prospectsfor a two-state solution.Not just the Israelis.It's not only the Israelis that have been the problem in movingthis forward.The Palestinians have-- President Abbashas not been as forthcoming, I think,as many in the United States would like him to be,including President Obama.And on Iran.

    • 20:42

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: The nuclear issue was a huge issue.The Israeli prime minister invested quite a bitof political capital in trying to defeat this agreement.I think it was a big mistake on his part.And also, by the way, was not a total consensus in Israel.While the debate on the Iranian nuclear agreement was going on,you had, among others, one of the former headsof the Mossad, a guy named Efraim Halevy and one

    • 21:03

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: of the former heads of the Shin Bet, their internal securityservice, [INAUDIBLE], come out for the agreement.But clearly, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his ambassadorweren't happy about it.And so those two issues are areasof differences that we have to keep working on.And to the extent that they differences,we have to manage them.Because at the same time under the Obama administration,

    • 21:26

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: military aid and intelligence cooperation to Israelhas been higher than ever before, whichreflects a fundamental commitmenton the part of this administrationand I think future ones to the security of Israel.Israel really faces a real security threat.Some of it you can argue are caused by their own policies.But since its founding, you know,it has been surrounded by many neighbors sworn

    • 21:48

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: to its destruction.Very few countries face that in the world.And it's important that we stand by Israelin those fundamental ways.But at the same time, it doesn't meanwe will support every position the Israeli government takes.

    • 22:09

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: So when we as professors really often want our studentsto understand theory-- and there'ssome importance to that, because it helps you see patterns.If you believe in realism, then yousay that American foreign policy has primarily been motivatedby power considerations.If you take liberalism, it's more

    • 22:30

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: motivated by considerations of buildinginternational institutions, promoting peace.And it helps people with patterns.Frankly, to be honest, I think oneof the tensions we face as professorsis most of our undergraduates aretaking our courses because they care about the world.They don't really care that much about the ismsdebates in political science, and some of my colleagues

    • 22:52

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: won't agree with this.So I think you want to use it in a way thatprovides a lens for students to understandforeign policy better.But I don't think it's very useful to say,are you a realist, or are you a liberal,or are you a constructivist or a Marxist?Because the answer, I think, is that different issues havedifferent explanations, that a lot of these variables

    • 23:14

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: are at work.And I actually push back sometimesagainst too much use of theory in our undergraduate courses.PhD students are different.We are doing some socialization into the discipline.But I think we have to have a balance there.And I know from students that sometimes theyfeel that it's more about the ismsthan it is about the history and the policy.They're like, hey.

    • 23:34

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: I'm just a political science major.I'm going to take this in a different direction.In terms of my own work, you know,I have always believed in analytic eclecticism, which isnot sort of moral relativism.But I've never subscribed just to one school.I will say that Hans Morgenthau was a big influence,and people often consider him the classic realist.

    • 23:55

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: But when you read Morgenthau closely-- two examples.One is he really understands the role of values.Sometimes he's portrayed as, you know, it's all about powerand it's not about values.I mean, you read him, he actually understood this.And secondly, even though he's a realist,he didn't assume that every problemyou should use military force.

    • 24:16

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: So during the Vietnam era, Morgenthauwas one of the earliest critics of the Vietnam War, notfor the same reasons, say, as Jane Fonda or AbbieHoffman, who was-- students may not remember, but was oneof the radicals-- but because he believed that Vietnam wasn'tworth the cost.And his argument was if it's a concernabout showing credibility to the communist bloc,

    • 24:39

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: it's very simple.You say Berlin is important, Saigon is not.So I think that's a very interesting differentiationthat's missed by some people thatsort of have uni-dimensional view of Morgenthau.And I probably would also say my mentorwhen I was in graduate school at Cornellwas Professor Peter Katzenstein, whodoesn't work on American foreign policy per se.

    • 24:59

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Works more broadly on international relationscompared to politics.But Peter really always helped his graduate studentsbe the best scholar we could be, and wasone who really subscribed-- the term analytic eclecticism isfrom some of his work, that you haveto have a general sense of what you think drives the worldand drives American foreign policy.

    • 25:21

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: But if you're a realist and you onlysee that part of the elephant every time,it actually limits your intellectual insight.One of the ways the field has changed in recent yearshas been the rise of NGOs and non-state actors.

    • 25:42

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: We tended to think of this very much in terms of nationstates, international institutions.And now you have a very important roleplayed by non-state actors.For example, during the Ebola crisis,probably the crucial actor was not the WHO,World Health Organization, not the US government,but Doctors Without Borders that wereon the ground on the issue.

    • 26:04

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Similarly, more broadly, you think of the roleof the Gates Foundation.And That's not to say that everythingthey do-- it has its critics.But their role in many of these issues,you know, preventive issues on global public health,they're a non-state actor.Also if you catch the umbrella justin terms of the generic sense, Al Qaeda's a non-state actor.

    • 26:25

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: ISIS tried to be a state, but it's a non-state actor.And so the role that they play goes way back in history,but the scope and magnitude has changed.Another big change is the scope of the international agenda.So it's not just about war among major powers,but things like climate change.

    • 26:46

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Climate change is a security issue.It's an economic issue.It's potentially a survival issue.And to teach American foreign policy justabout China, Russia, the Middle Eastreally leaves out a huge dimension.So we've had to broaden the agenda.We've had to include different kinds of actors.And we've had to deal with, I think,living through a transitional period, which in some ways

    • 27:06

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: is really interesting.Because you could say for the sake of discussionin the Cold War, we kind of knew what the questions were,and we debated the answers.You know, is it deterrence?Is it this or that?Is it arms control?In this era, we're not even sure what the questions are.And I think, for somebody that's been involvedin this a long time, makes it really interestingboth for students and professors.

    • 27:28

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And it's always this mix of-- it's not that everything's new.History has continuity.But what's the mix of changing continuity?And I think that in this era for technology,the emergence of not just non-state actors,but a whole range of international actors, a senseof the international institutionscreated after World War II is still around, but maybe notfunctioning as well as they did then,

    • 27:49

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: it really opens up the exploration of,what are the questions we should be asking,and where do they lead us?Major academic debates here in terms of foreign policyare at a couple different levels.One is the isms debate.

    • 28:10

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Which paradigm most explains American foreign policyin an issue area, in a period, and over time historically?I don't think that that's the most interesting debate,because I think the answer is mixed.I think the most interesting debate for studentsin the United States is, what role should the United States

    • 28:30

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: play in the 21st century?And here I think that in an election year,we will be seeing a debate that will talk about thingslike so-called declinism.Is the United States in decline?I urge students not to pay attention to that,because it's really-- it's a little bit self-indulgent.

    • 28:51

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: You know, the issue is the world has changed.And so therefore, America's role will change,and our role is not as central as it was in the Cold Warbecause it's a different world.And so if you get into that, it's kind of a denialism.It turns you away from the changes in the world.Also leadership.Both Democrats and Republicans say,it's about American leadership.

    • 29:12

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: If you look at the Obama administrationnational security strategy, it uses leadership or variationsof the word, I don't know, 50, 60 times.That's a substitute for saying, what do you mean by leadership?How do you do it?And I don't mean going down to sortof bullet pointed PowerPoint presentations.But some sense of, what's-- you know, where's our leverage?What are our priorities of interests

    • 29:34

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: we have to pay attention to?And I think the question of, what's our role in the worldand being comfortable with the notion thatto say it's different doesn't meanthat you don't value the past.But people also talk about American exceptionalismand have this frankly over-glorified view of the rolewe played in the past.

    • 29:54

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: I mean, just on the question of promotingdemocracy and human rights in the Cold War,there's a fundamental difference between whatwe did for the Soviet Union and its blocwhere we did help dissidents, and wedid promote democracy and [INAUDIBLE] rights,but it was also consistent with our securityinterests, our power interests.And in much of the third world where much more often than not,

    • 30:16

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: we look the other way at them.And so to say that we always have this great tradition--it's not being honest with ourselves about our past.And therefore, if you're not honest about your past,you can't really carry it forward to the future.People can take pride in the role we play.But we have to use this notion of exceptionalismas a stimulant, not an anesthetic.How can we be as great a country as we'd like to be,

    • 30:39

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: and how can we play the most constructive rolein the world for us and for the rest of the world?There's a lot of debate about research methods.And when we-- not just among scholars for publishingin scholarly journals or books, but when

    • 30:59

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: we set our students out on research papers--and I think that's one of the most important thingsin any course in American foreign policy.I mean, I often tell my students somewhat facetiouslythat at the end of the course, I don't reallycare if you learned anything.This was really an effort to develop your researchwriting and analytic skills.Because whatever you go out to do in the world,

    • 31:21

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: those are going to be really important.And of course I care that they learn the information too,but there's a point to be made there.And so it's really important, and also to help themknow how to do research.And it's not that you have to do ittotally the old fashioned way.But googling is not the same as doing research.Googling tells you what's used most often, not necessarilyquality.And it's a real effort to push people to look past that

    • 31:44

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: and to learn the value.I mean, I often require my students-- say, look.Here's six or seven categories of sources.Here's government documents.Depending upon the work, there may be primary source documentslike presidential papers.There are scholarly journals, there are policy journals,there are books, there's journalism and there's blogs.

    • 32:04

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Then I want you to have a certain number of sourcesfrom-- certain number of sources from every oneof those categories, because each one has a value added.And, you know, they'll say, but whydo I have to read a book when I can get-- you know.And I think it's just an important exercise,because there really is-- there'sdifferent types of information.I don't do quantitative work.Some people's research projects will be very data heavy.

    • 32:26

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: My work is much more qualitative and really basedupon using qualitative methodologies and the like.There's no particular right way.Some of it has to do with what the nature of the question is.Some of it has to do with people's training.And different ones bring different things to the table.Sometimes there is a tendency in the disciplineto privilege quantitative work just because it's quantitative.

    • 32:49

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: I'm not sure that that should be there.I think the question should be open.What's the best way to approach a problem and to get an answer?And sometimes using interviews with policymakers,which can be fun for students.They can actually get the experienceof conducting an interview.They can gather information.So I really try with my undergradsto give them the opportunity to develop research skills,including working for me as an RA,

    • 33:10

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: but also in the foreign policy courses themselves.My own research, I'm currently working on a book.And the Library of Congress Henry Kissinger Chairthat I have for the 2015-16 year was

    • 33:31

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: based upon a research competition,a proposal I wrote.It's actually interesting.It's a book on world leaders in the 20th century whomade the major breakthroughs for global peace and security.And what was the role of leadership?In the scholarly debate, the individual levelanalysis and where that matters more than institutions

    • 33:51

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: or systems or processes.But at the beginning of the book,I actually tell the story about teaching big foreign policycourses when I taught at the University of California Davisin the 1980s.And 150, 200 students and sort of saying towards the end, OK.Tell me what you think's going to happen in the world?And one of my students would raise their hand and say,Professor Jentleson, I think the Cold War's going to end,

    • 34:13

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: the Soviet Union's going to end peacefully,and there's not even going to be a Soviet Union anymore.And I'd think to myself, that's really nice and sweet.It's good to be a naive Californian, right?And then another would say, oh, Ithink South Africa will have majorityrule, African black rule, peaceful resolution.Nelson Mandela's going to-- same kind of thing.Well, both those things happened.And they happened for a lot of reasons,

    • 34:34

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: but it also got me thinking about the unique rolethat individuals play.You know, Mandela and Gorbachev.And I started thinking about that and saying,we have a canon in the discipline where we sometimesspend too much time on institutions and processes,and we needed to look at the roles of leaders.And so I'm writing this book.Working title is called Transformational Statesmanship.

    • 34:57

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: Difficult, because it's difficult.Possible because it's been possible and necessary,that looks at leaders in the 20th century.Dag Hammarskjold is the only secretary general of the UnitedNations that really made, I think,the institution work, and one of the lessonsof the 21st century.At the same time, I'm doing researchon Middle East regional security and issues

    • 35:18

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: like genocide prevention that are much morespecific to a policy area.But I'm really excited about this area,because-- and not just political science,but in business schools, everybodytalks about leadership, how it's really important.What is it?Well, you go in a bookstore, there'sall sorts of shelves dedicated to it,but it's hard to get a handle on it.So I'm hoping this will give some insights

    • 35:40

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: both to Statesmanship and more broadly to the broader societaldebate about the nature of leadership.So as we look to the future, I thinkif there's any lesson of so far in the 21st century

    • 36:00

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: is that there's a tremendous amount of uncertaintyin this era.There was in the Cold War.I mean, big issues like, would there be a nuclear war?But the trajectories, as you study it,were fairly similar for four decades.Competition with the Soviet Union,dealing with the emergence of new nationsin the so-called third world, and you

    • 36:22

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: know, what was nationalism?How did that fit in the bipolar competition?Here in the 21st century, if you just think about it,9/11-- we went through a decade after the fall of the BerlinWall and the end of the Cold War where peoplewere saying history was over.Then we found out that history's with us.I mean, 9/11 in part is about historical issues.

    • 36:42

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: And then we've had the broadeningof the agenda much more concernedabout climate change and global health.I think that the challenge is an era of transition whichis different than any other historically,or it's not going to be dominatedby a single power like Britain did historicallyor Spain and Portugal in their era,

    • 37:03

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: or Germany attempted to do, or the UnitedStates and the Soviet Union did for almost a half century.It's a very different era.And which of our concepts, which of our models, whichof our historical lessons help us get a handle on that?And where do we need some innovative kind of thinking?The US will continue to play a central role in all this.

    • 37:25

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: It will not be a world that revolves around the UnitedStates.But arguably, we will have more impactthan any other single country.Not enough to determine or not as muchas we did during the Cold War.And I think as people go through our coursesand they go out in their careers,and they go to law school, business school,you know, the NGO world, all of these things

    • 37:46

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: relate to international affairs.I teach a different course that'scalled globalization and governance,and one of the things I tell the students there is it'sabout the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.So when people talk internationally,it's not world government, but it'sglobal governance and how all these efforts kind ofcome together.So it's very dynamic.I think the good news is nobody has a single paradigm that

    • 38:09

      BRUCE JENTLESON [continued]: dominates thinking.And so there's an open ideas market out therefor people to compete in, as one shoulddo in a marketplace of ideas.[MUSIC PLAYING]

US Foreign Policy

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Professor Bruce Jentleson discusses U.S. foreign policy through theory and history. U.S. foreign policy is the role of the United States in the world, plus the connection between international relations and American politics. Jentleson discusses his history in the field, the war on terror, and what the future looks like for U.S. foreign policy.

SAGE Video Experts
US Foreign Policy

Professor Bruce Jentleson discusses U.S. foreign policy through theory and history. U.S. foreign policy is the role of the United States in the world, plus the connection between international relations and American politics. Jentleson discusses his history in the field, the war on terror, and what the future looks like for U.S. foreign policy.

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