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Katrina vanden Heuvel has been The Nation's editor since 1995 and publisher since 2005.She is the co-editor of Taking Back America--And Taking Down The Radical Right (NationBooks, 2004) and, most[…]

Katrina vanden Heuvel on global interdependence.

Question: Who are the big thinkers in foreign policy today?vanden Heuvel:    I think there are thinkers who are on the fringes of power, particularly in the economic foreign policy area.  For example, like Joseph Stiglitz is someone who thinks broadly about both the interconnection of economic and foreign policy, and he is someone who I had hoped would be in the Obama administration.  There are people like Andrew Bacevich, again an interesting thinker who understands the limits of military power in the 21st Century.  There are people like Ben Barber who also understand the interdependence of the world in ways that don’t get expressed fully at the highest levels of our government.  But, in general, there are many smart foreign policy thinkers, international thinkers, who aren’t considered hard headed enough to be in government.  Hard headed, I mean, you know, this idea that you’re tough.  I’ve always thought hard headed, you know, no ideas enter your head, but until we change the predicate of our foreign policy, which again I come back to, is so built, even with the election, the selection of the foreign policy national security team still reflects old think, in m mind.  It doesn’t engage the changes in the world where the world, in some ways, has found its own bearings.  For example, Latin America, or even the Middle East, or China and Russia and India, they haven’t been that wedded or subservient to American power or might in these last eight years.  They have moved on to form their own regional coalitions, to develop their own foreign policy, and we would do well to rejoin the international community as one of many, not just, not the superpower, but understand that we would be better as a partner in a constructive way and not come in as the, you know, we are the leader of a new world, bearing hope and freedom.  Humility is in order.