U.S. Foreign Policy: Lead By Example

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Richard Haass  president of the Council on Foreign Relations, former director of policy planning for the Department of State and author of Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order (Basic Books, 2013) says the U.S. needs to fix its problems at home to regain credibility abroad.


Richard Haass

Comments [22]

Colin from Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Not flawless grasp or perfect knowledge but definetly a good authority given the level of experience. Being appointed to political position is irrelavent. One hopes that the elected officials making the appointments will pick people who are expert and competent in their respective fields. So do you think that all political appointees are on the same level as Michael "Heck of a job" Brown(ie), Pres. George W. Bush's FEMA Director??

May. 30 2013 03:56 AM

Dispite being a Democrat and having voted for President Obama, Richard Haass' comments about the gridlock and the need for presidential leadership seemed right on the money to me. The idea that more finger-pointing is going to solve anything is misguided. We need leaders who know what they want, AND know how to work with others. We Democrats must look at ourselves before we throw stones. After Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, Simpson-Bowles, Domenici-Rivlin, and the SuperCommitee, sequester is the best we can do? C'mon...

May. 30 2013 02:57 AM


Are you suggesting that Mr. Haass has perfect knowledge of geopolitical events and a flawless grasp of global risk simply because he was given a an appointed political position?

May. 29 2013 06:17 PM
Colin from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

@Henry from MD,

Perhaps you were not listening on who Richard Hass is. From his perch as president of the Council of Foreign Relation and through his various posts in the State Department in the service of Administrations from both sides of the aisle. He is all to well aware of the dangers to our country that who had described. But the overreaction in applying the full force of the state in blood and treasure to neglect of other state/government functions(such as education and infastruture) has not served us well these past twelve years. What do you propose that we do?? Raise up an additional ten army/marine divisions and bomb and invade any and all countries that has anybody in it that thinks cross to us??


I agree with you about these moderate Republicans applying false equivalencies to the political gridlock/dysfunction debate. How can you suggest that old age retirees(Social Security/Medicare recipents) and public employee unions are the same as the Tea Partiers and the Birthers?? At this point these out of power moderate Rupublicans i.e. Richard Hass, Oylmpia Snowne etc. need to do a couple of "Sista Soulja" moments before they can gain any credibilty in the debate.

May. 29 2013 01:44 PM
tag from new jersey

Thank you for putting Mr. Haass on the show. He was very balanced in his answers and I appreciate that. He gave both sides of the issues. The answers were not simplistic or partial. I wish some politicians would take the example and start to see things in a more open honest approach.

May. 29 2013 12:53 PM


#1 Haass's expected but disappointing answer that "both sides" are responsible for the gridlock in Washington.

#2 His cant-ian "we have to rein in public sector unions and entitlement programs." I am a state-employed college professor working without a contract for years now (with no agreement in sight), making well under 100K per year, with "health benefits" akin to Medicaid, i.e., our providers pay practically nothing for services. Mission accomplished! I am "reined in"! Now how about looking into "reining in" corporations who dodge taxes in all manner of "legal" ways, and people like Mitt Romney who pay maybe 14% in Federal tax on stratospheric income? And I've been working since I turned 16 years old, so yes, after 50+ years of continuous contributions, I feel "entitled" to both collect social security and benefit from Medicare.

May. 29 2013 12:33 PM
Henry from MD

Unfortunately we live in a time of the coexistence of two extremely dangerous factors racing toward each other: nuclear proliferation and extremist jihadist forces. Your guest seems to be comfortably unaware of this threatening catastrophe.

May. 29 2013 12:01 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Ok, either he cannot provide a non-partisan answer about the source of the gridlock. Or he confuses balance with false-equivalency. Either way, he does not answer the question, which, for a solution, is required.

May. 29 2013 11:48 AM

Brian, excellent opening question. Mr Haass does himself a disservice by predicating his ideas on the claim that we live is less dangerous times. It is a debatable question and distracting. True, we are no longer at the brink of nuclear war with Russia, but the current threats are far more dangerous.

Mutually assured destruction was a sufficient deterrent between the US ad Russia. In modern times, however, we have a growing population of people who welcome their own destruction -- either via a ticket to paradise for having tried to wipe out their enemy, or by willfully committing cultural suicide through misguided tolerance of malignant ideologies.

May. 29 2013 11:48 AM
Michael from NJ

What is is thought on the role redistricting plays in gridlock?

May. 29 2013 11:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The US caused the "shift of economic" power when we demanded that Russia, China and their satellites give up Communism, open up their markets to capitalism and free trade. We did it.We wanted it, and we got it. We freed billions of people from Communist and socialist slavery and turned them into free, capitalist workers.

In fact, the US has been a leader in opening up Asia since 1853 when Commodore Perry forced the Japanese to open up to trade with the US.

May. 29 2013 11:41 AM
jf from REALITY


May. 29 2013 11:39 AM
jf from reality

the corporate mafia is a existential threat to the whole world all health and all life on earth.

May. 29 2013 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Oscar again,

I don't care what OTHER people believe. To the Jewish nation, David was Melech Yisrael, or King of Israel. Least of all, do I care what Muslims think. They are just occupiers of Jewish soil.

May. 29 2013 11:35 AM
oscar from ny

To jgarbuz
I think David was a prophet even if he was king...ppl are confused ..the old Jews believe in Moses ..the neocons jews belive in David ..the Christians in Jesus and Muslims to Muhammad.. the Indians and Chinese in Sheba or Buddha ..well they were all prophets..Jesus was more than a prophet only..anyways god is pissed off because the ppl have forsake him..he's jelous and will get his revenge..
in order:

May. 29 2013 11:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Oscar

David was not a prophet, except to Muslims maybe. David was the King of the Jewish state in 1000 BC.

May. 29 2013 11:06 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


Head Start, which started in 1965 during the LBJ administrations Great Society Program, effectiveness has been questioned.

May. 29 2013 10:52 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

oscar from creedmore,

You forgot the triangles that are on the sides of the pyramids.

May. 29 2013 10:24 AM
Nate from NYC

Mr. Haass' appearance on last night's PBS NewsHour was excellent. Can't wait to read the book; from what he said on TV it sounds like his prescriptions for a US fix are spot on.

To be competitive internationally, we MUST get serious about high quality early childhood and K-12 education. We must teach our kids to work collaboratively in a project-based environment, getting them excited about science and technology, as that is how we will innovate in the future.

Plus, we simply MUST maintain and re-build our failing infrastructure. We will not be able to compete on the global stage with a third-world infrastructure, and with our ailing power grid. Unfortunately the Republicans don't want to spend money on this, so it doesn't get done. Then when it breaks and there's a catastrophe they blame it on a federal government unable to do anything right. Instead of maintenance and repairs of the infrastructure, Republican intransigence is putting us in the position of responding only when there's a collapse or crisis. We won't get international investment if our infrastructure remains in the 20th century.

Finally, in the richest country in the world, it's a scandal that we do not take better care of those who are unable to care for themselves -- (poor) children, the disabled and the elderly. Cutting food stamps and Head Start when billionaires pay no taxes? Shameful!

In any case, thanks for having Mr. Haass on, Brian. He's fab!

May. 29 2013 10:23 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

America needs to fix problems at home.

Enforce borders.
Voter ID.
Balance the Budget.
Bring jobs back home.
Teacher evaluation.
Energy Independence - Screw OPEC.
Continue monitoring and disrupt murderous plots by those who preach and plot attacks (Boston Marathon, 1993 truck bombing of the WTC) against America from within its borders.

May. 29 2013 09:18 AM
oscar from ny

No country believes anything from America except maybe Israel and that's because America has become their backyard, I mean they even put up a shrine were the twins towers were...they think their so slick..if you haven't noticed they are triangles shaped just like the star of David ...Israel or America are infatuated with triangles (obtuse angles for children to play with)..I wish those that worship David the prophet would also know that he was a sinner also...but anyways that's why the world doesn't trust us..we have individuals that make their own policy and most are in the policy to steal, obstruct,kill,...let's get real..

May. 29 2013 08:54 AM

Note that this segment isn't mentioned in the synopsis of today's show on the BL home page.

"Honor the dead, heal the wounded, stop the wars." ( )

May. 29 2013 06:28 AM

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