Book Forum

The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy Is Failing

(Basic Books, 2007)

February 13, 2007 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST


Featuring the coauthor, Stefan Halper, Senior Fellow and Director of the Donner Atlantic Studies Programme at the Centre of International Studies, Cambridge University; with comments by Chester A. Crocker, James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies, Georgetown University, and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1981–89); Martin Walker, Editor Emeritus, United Press International and Director of the Global Business Policy Council; and Thomas Omestad, Senior Writer/​Diplomatic Correspondent, U.S. News & World Report.

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What has happened to American foreign policy? Coauthors Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke argue that the members of what used to be called the foreign policy establishment are no longer doing the job of keeping our foreign policy informed and rational. Instead, hungry to coin the next Big Idea, they are in the business of advancing simplistic, glib mythologies. The result is that Americans are often presented with a fantasy world of nightmare scenarios rather than with explanations that lead to rational choices. The authors argue for a revival of integrity within our foreign policy elite so that America’s standing in the world can be restored.

Please join Professor Halper and a panel of distinguished commentators for a discussion of this provocative and timely work.