Was John Quincy Adams a realist? A debate
John Quincy Adams famously said that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” A diplomat, secretary of state, as well as the sixth president, Adams is often described as a “realist,” and as the founder of American foreign policy realism. But did his own policy choices square with that doctrine of restraint? Recently, President Obama has described his own views in explicitly realist terms; Hillary Clinton is widely viewed as a more ardent believer in the active use of American power; and the Republican candidates seem more eager to build walls than to engage the outside world.
On April 11, the Brookings Project on International Order and Strategy (IOS) hosted a discussion between Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan and James Traub, columnist and contributor at foreignpolicy.com, lecturer of foreign policy at New York University, and now the author of the new book, “John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit” (Basic Books, 2016). Kagan and Traub debated whether Adams was a foreign policy realist and whether his approach to foreign policy can still inform the policy choices facing the United States today. Brookings Fellow Thomas Wright, director of IOS, moderated the discussion.
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Brookings Senior Fellow and former U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Climate Todd Stern spoke at the US Climate Action Center, at the COP 24 UN climate negotiations, on the future of the Paris Agreement in Katowice, Poland on December 10, 2018.
[On the U.S. negotiating team at the COP 24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland] They work seriously, effectively and knowledgeably. There is only this technical negotiating team, not a political one.
[John Bolton’s statement that the North Koreans “have not lived up to the commitments” made in Singapore] totally cuts Secretary of State Pompeo and the special representative, Steve Biegun, at the knees. What is the incentive for North Korea to actually talk about the meat-and-potatoes of denuclearization with the special representative and with the secretary of state if the national security adviser has said nothing is happening so we have to go straight to the top?