Sun & Star | Scott Hawkins Lecture: Strategic Dilemmas in American Foreign Policy

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (5:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Great Hall, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall (map)


Why does the most powerful country in the world have such a hard time getting its way in international politics? Or, to put it in terms used in the current presidential campaign, why does it seem that the United States “doesn’t win anymore”? Although the reasons are multi-faceted, part of the answer is that outcomes in international politics are not just the product of our interests and choices. Rather, we are involved in strategic interactions in which other actors have interests and options as well. In this talk, I will discuss three dilemmas that have bedeviled contemporary US foreign policy in dealing with challenges arising from insurgency, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation. All of these dilemmas have a common flavor: that the preferences and strategies of other actors render our power ineffective or counterproductive. Appreciating these dilemmas is important to understanding the possibilities and limits of American foreign policy.

Ken Schultz
Ken Schultz

Kenneth A. Schultz is professor of political science at Stanford University.  His research examines international conflict and conflict resolution, with a particular focus on the domestic political influences on foreign policy choices.  His most recent work deals with the origins and resolution of territorial conflicts between states.  He is the author of Democracy and Coercive Diplomacy (Cambridge University Press, 2001), World Politics: Interests, Interactions, and Institutions (with David Lake and Jeffry Frieden, Norton, 3rd ed., 2016), as well as numerous articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.  He was the recipient the 2003 Karl Deutsch Award, given by the International Studies Association, and a Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given by the Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences.

Discussant: Joshua RovDSC_7285ner is the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair of International Politics and National Security, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Director of Studies at the Tower Center for Political Studies. Before coming to SMU, he was Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy at the Naval War College, and he also taught at Columbia University and Williams College.

Dr. Rovner writes extensively on strategy and security.  He is the author ofFixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press, 2011), which won the International Studies Association Best Book Award for security studies, and the Edgar S. Furniss Book Award, presented by the Mershon Center at Ohio State University. He has written about intelligence before and after the September 11 attacks, strategy in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and possible responses to nuclear proliferation. In addition to his continuing research on intelligence, he is currently working on the history of strategy and grand strategy, the future of U.S. military force in the Persian Gulf, and the international politics of cybersecurity.

Dr. Rovner received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his doctoral thesis won the Lucian W. Pye Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Political Science.  He also holds an MA in political science from Boston College and a BA in political science from U.C. San Diego.

HirokiModerator: Professor Hiroki Takeuchi is director of the Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia at the Tower Center. He received his B.A. of economics from Keio University in Japan, his M.A. of Asian studies from University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. of political science from University of California at Los Angeles. He is currently an associate professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. Previously, he taught at UCLA as a faculty fellow of the Political Science Department and at Stanford University as a postdoctoral teaching fellow of the Public Policy Program.

Professor Takeuchi’s research and teaching interests include Chinese and Japanese politics, comparative political economy of authoritarian regimes, and international relations of East Asia, as well as applying game theory to political science.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.


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Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program

The Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program aims to increase awareness of the economic, historical, political, and social trends of Japan and East Asia that affect the future of China, Japan, Korea, East Asia, and the world, including the United States.  Through the Sun & Star Symposia and lecture series featuring scholars, practitioners, journalists, and government officials, students and other participants learn about the challenges and opportunities in each country’s domestic politics and economics, the region’s relationship with the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific, and the international relations of the globalized world.

Click here to visit the Sun & Star Japan and East Asia Program webpage.



Co-sponsored by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute