CNN Global Affairs Analyst & Middle East Expert
Aaron David Miller is currently a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he focuses on American diplomacy and US foreign policy. For more than two decades he served as a State Department Middle East adviser, analyst and negotiator for both Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. Read More >
on Israeli High-Stakes Election
On Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal
Landing in Oz, Dorothy said to Toto "I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore." She might very well have been talking about the world America is navigating in the second decade of the 21st century. The US must learn to operate effectively in a new multipolar landscape where its dominance and influence can no longer be taken for granted and where an increasing number of determined and assertive and competitive nations are projecting their power. Washington can neither transform the world nor withdraw from it. The course it must follow is one based on smart transaction where it identifies its core interests, correlates means and ends and finds the right balance between risk-readiness and risk-aversion when it comes to projecting American power. The US remains the still the most consequential power in the world today with a better balance of military, political, economic and soft power than any other. The challenge is how to use it wisely and effectively.
When Aaron David Miller left the Department of State in 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell gave him two pieces of advice: don’t try to come back and try not to look back. The first piece Miller happily accepted; the second he categorically rejected. And since then, he has spent the last couple decades examining why we succeeded and failed in our negotiating efforts. Along the way, Miller discovered that diplomacy is a lot like life, and he learned a dozen invaluable lessons that surprisingly not only applied to foreign policy but to success in politics, business and personal relationships.
The word “I” is mentioned only once in our Constitution. And that’s because the Founders embedded the president’s Inaugural Oath in the document to remind us that all that the office is subordinate to the sovereignty of the people and belongs to all of us. And yet, we are strangely removed from the realities of the modern day presidency, expect too much and somehow insist on great Presidents when good ones may well be all we can hope for. Why has greatness in the presidency seem to have gone the way of the dodo; and can and should we aspire to have another one?
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