Dr. Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a position he has held since July 2003. He is the author or editor of eleven books on American foreign policy, including War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars (Simon and Schuster, May 2009). He is also the author of one book on management: The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur: How to Be Effective in Any Unruly Organization (Brookings, 1999).
From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Richard Haass was director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he was a principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate to hold the rank of ambassador, Dr. Haass also served as U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process. For his efforts, he received the State Department's Distinguished Honor Award.
Dr. Haass has extensive additional government experience. From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H. W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1991, Dr. Haass was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contributions to the development and articulation of U.S. policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Previously, he served in the Departments of State (1981-85) and Defense (1979-80) and was a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.
Dr. Haass also was vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, the Sol M. Linowitz visiting professor of international studies at Hamilton College, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Haass holds a BA from Oberlin College and the Master and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Oxford University. He has received honorary doctorates from Hamilton College, Franklin & Marshall College, Georgetown University, and Oberlin College.
Dr. Richard Haass was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Question: Will a worldwide recession breed new wars?
Richard Haass: When you look around the world, the deteriorating economy could cause massive problems in terms of state failure throughout parts of Africa. I also worry about the absence of economic growth, what it would mean for countries say like China and its potential stability. I think also the lack of trade, the fact the trade is now contracting around the world rather growing has I think unfortunate not just economic consequences but political consequences.
The only upside I can see on the economic side finally off is the fact that some of the energy depending economies which are essentially cash cropped economy like around in Venezuela to some extent Russia are going to have that luxury of enormous treasuries and as a result in the case of Russia they may actually have to develop a real economy which wouldn’t be bad news.
And in the case of places like Iran or Venezuela, they won’t have all these extra resources to cause mischief and indeed to the contrary they may have to be more responsible to their own citizens for the delivery of essential services and a standard of living but by and large those are the exceptions and I think the struggling world economy you’ll see the growth of friction within and between states because of it and it’s not an immediate crisis but over time it could be a real drag if you will on global stability.
Recorded on: May 08, 2009