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A Conversation with Council on Foreign Relations President, Dr. Richard N. Haass

May 3, 2021


Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
Eliot A. Cohen, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS

President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard N. Haass, joined the school for a discussion on the future of US foreign policy. Haas began the conversation by recalling his past experiences including working as the Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department and serving as a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University. Haas then spoke about his disillusionment with the current Republican party, and how he now views himself as a ‘genuinely non-partisan’ individual. This was fueled by his rejection of Trumpism, as well as parts of President Biden’s domestic agenda.

Speaking on US foreign policy, Haas called for the US to end its strategic ambiguity, and openly ally itself with Taiwan. Furthermore, he noted that there should be clear and outright signals, that the US will defend Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan from China. This, he believed, is necessary to limit nuclear proliferation among the Asia-Pacific countries. Haas also argued that Xi Jinping is going through a process of ‘Putinization’ and is a dangerous leader. Still, Haas urged caution in regards to recognizing Taiwanese independence, which he believed would lead to a Chinese declaration of war. Haas then spoke of American leadership throughout the Cold War, but emphasized that unlike the Soviets, the Chinese are a globally connected economic power. He noted that China should be rolled-back and contained.