Thursday, April 17, 2008

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I'm going to be a little busy this week

Blogging will be be light for the next two days, as I'll be running a conference here at the Fletcher School on the Past, Present, and Future of Policymaking:

2007 marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. This agency, housed in the State Department, is unusual in two respects. First, it will forever be associated with its first director, George Kennan, and the successful doctrine of containment that he originated. Second, the mission of Policy Planning is, according to its own website: “to take a longer term, strategic view of global trends and frame recommendations for the Secretary of State to advance U.S. interests and American values.” This goes against the grain of a 24/7, real-time, rapid-reaction era when government policymakers define the long term as two weeks from the present.

As the United States prepares for the 2008 election, there is a yearning for a new approach to foreign policy. Containment is dead and gone, the Bush doctrine has been unpopular at home and abroad, and isolationism is not an option. In a world of complex, overlapping and asymmetric threats, the need for policy planning has never been greater. Both policymakers and scholars need a better grasp of how to craft viable, long-term strategies for the 21st century....

Moving forward, the future of policy planning – in both the abstract and bureaucratic senses – is open to question. What are the proper ideas orient American foreign policy? Is the Policy Planning Staff, as currently organized, influential enough to improve American grand strategy? Is it even possible for any planning agency to retain its relevance in the modern era?

Click here for a look at the conference program. The event is open to the public, so Boston-based readers can register their attendance by clicking here.

For those of you not in the Bosto area, don't fret -- if all goes well, all of the sessions will be webcast in real time.

posted by Dan on 04.17.08 at 08:06 AM


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