Yesterday, Amb. Robert Zoellick joined the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) for a conversation about his new book, “America in the World.” After an introduction from ISD Director Amb. Barbara Bodine, Zoellick discussed the book’s arguments and themes with SFS Dean Joel Hellman and Georgetown History professor John McNeill.
Zoellick discussed the history of U.S. foreign policy with McNeill, arguing that it has evolved over centuries to respond to international events. “I felt from the start the U.S. has had a notion of special purpose in the world. It’s my thesis that the nature of the purpose changed, firstly to survive as a republic in a world of empires and then to preserve the union,” he said.
Hellman questioned Zoellick about the future role of the U.S. in the world, which Hellman said was an especially important consideration for the upcoming presidential election. Zoellick advocated for an approach based on action rather than intention: “The question we face today is: how will we see our purpose in the world going forward? It’s important to get things done…I make a case for imperfect results in a far-from-perfect world.”