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Episode 637: Can You be Realistic About the Real World - with Emma Ashford

  • Broadcast in Military
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A nation’s foreign policy is driven by more than just the whims and desires of the Chief Executive. Through government, academia, institutions, and individuals of influence there are a variety of different schools of thought on what should underpin the decision making process.

Well known general descriptors of these schools include “interventionist,” “isolationist,” “internationalist,” and even well known sub-species of the major schools who are known by the actions they wish to take - usually that involve the use of military power - “Responsibility to Protect,” to “Nation Building” to the old saw from over a century ago, “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”

One long-standing school that has gained attention and influence after the experiences of the last two decades from Afghanistan to Ukraine is, “Realism.”

What is the history of a “realist foreign policy,” its advocates, its intellectual foundations, and what does it have to offer the United States today?

Our returning guest for the full hour is Emma Ashford.

Emma is a Senior Fellow with the Reimagining US Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center. She is also a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. 

Her first book, Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates, was published by Georgetown University Press in 2022.  

She was previously with the Atlantic Council’s New American Engagement Initiative, and the Cato Institute. She holds a PhD in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. 

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