September 13, 2023

The Future of Democracy Featuring Richard Haas

The Center for Global Affairs’ very own Associate Dean, Dr. Carolyn Kissane, sat with President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Richard Haass, to discuss the future of The United States' democracy. Dr. Haass is a respected veteran diplomat and scholar of international relations. His career achievements include being special assistant to President George H.W. Bush, chairing the multidisciplinary party in Northern Ireland, and he is a New York Times Bestselling author with fourteen books on American foreign policy, American democracy, and related topics. Given his experience, Dr. Haass formed the perfect interlocutor in the discussion with Dr. Kissane on the appeal of democracy, the future of foreign relations, and current world events and their effects on The United States.

In his introductory remarks, Dr. Haass stressed the reality of our future saying, "If you're not worried, you're not paying attention." regarding the current events of today and tomorrow. Haass continued, "rather than going into retirement, I actually think people should be doubling down. This is a time for citizens to try to make a difference," in reference to his decision to come out of retirement in light of the current state of American democracy. Dr. Haass also discusses the deep polarization of American politics by making the analogy that national security is a two-sided coin. One side of the coin is the public's thoughts on national security, more specifically, what goes on outside of the nation and our effect on it, and the other side is "what goes on here at home," Haass says. He believes if America models a good representation of democracy, " works", it will inspire other nations to respect and emulate the idea of a democratic government.

The event wrapped up with a discussion on current policy issues, the representation of a good democracy in The United States, and how this impacts other countries. Dr. Haass emphasizes that citizens have the obligation to get involved and get informed. "It's up to us, citizens, voters, to hold them to that'' referencing the public’s duty to hold our politicians accountable. Haass concludes that having some background in civics and being a good citizen is the backbone of a functional democracy.

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