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January Reading Group

  • 17 Jan 2019
  • 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
  • 7729 E Greenway Rd, Suite 300, Scottsdale, AZ 85260


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Topic of Discussion: 

"The Chess Board and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World"
Anne-Marie Slaughter


7729 E Greenway Road, Suite 300
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(one block south of Greenway Hayden off 73rd St)

In June 2015, China and 49 other nations created the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB. The U.S. had urged all its allies not to participate because it saw the AIIB as competition for the Asia Development Bank, which it had created in 1966…The AIIB was an effort by the Chinese government to create its own international financial institutions as alternatives to the Bretton Woods institutions---the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

This quote is the introduction to Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter’s The Chess Board and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World, next session’s recommended book by Professor Keith Brown, PCFR member and Director of the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at ASU. Professor Slaughter’s book is the culmination of the Henry L Stimson Lectures at the Center for International Studies at Yale University. Professor Slaughter is a distinguished political scientist, former dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and served in Hillary Clinton’s state department. Professor Slaughter is currently president of the New America think tank.

Serge Schmemann, author of the April 12, 2017 New York Times book review, writes that the book “is meant as a guide for foreign policy in this new world”. Schmemann paraphrasing Slaughter, says that Slaughter argues that today all nations are connected, but United States foreign policy is still conducted in an out dated two dimensional fashion. Schmemann describes Slaughter’s foreign policy strategy as being based on three pillars: “open society, open government and an open international system”.

According to Professor Slaughter, an outdated U.S. foreign policy strategy has resulted in such poor decisions as attempting to block the creation of the AIIB, our involvement in the Syrian civil war and countless other foreign policy errors.

Professor Slaughter uses the chessboard as a metaphor to explain past U.S. foreign policy. She says that U.S. foreign policy experts have been taught “…to view the world as a chessboard, analyzing powerful states and anticipating rival state’s reactions…competing…in any given bilateral …global game…a map with boundaries”. Professor Slaughter recommends that foreign policy experts should visualize a world without boundaries.

According to Schmemann, “In the new order, in which competing states have been replaced by networks, openness means participation, transparency, autonomy and resistance to controls or limits on information.” and not “…the political movements du jour that have led to the election of President Trump or to the rise of authoritarian and nationalist movements in Europe and elsewhere…”.

But if open society foreign policy is so desirable, then we must ask why so many nation’s today are moving toward undemocratic closed societies?

As a special gift to those interested, Professor Slaughter will be giving a presentation explaining her “Grand Strategy” for U.S. foreign policy at ASU on January 30th 2019.

Don’t miss this very exciting book review session!!!

Exploring Leading Foreign Policy Issues


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