Robert Kagan in Warsaw on April 17, 2008
|Born||September 26, 1958 (age 55)
|Alma mater||Yale University, Harvard University and American University|
|Known for||Project for the New American Century|
|Relatives||Frederick Kagan, brother|
Robert Kagan (born September 26, 1958 in Athens, Greece) is an American historian, author, columnist, and foreign policy commentator at the Brookings Institution. A co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He been a foreign policy advisor to several U.S. Republican presidential candidates as well as to Hillary Clinton, when she was Secretary of State under President Obama.
Personal life and education
Robert Kagan is the son of Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University and a specialist in the history of the Peloponnesian War. His brother, Frederick, is a military historian and author. All three are signatories to the Project for the New American Century manifesto titled Rebuilding America's Defenses (2000). Kagan has a BA in history (1980) from Yale, where in 1979 he had been Editor in Chief of the Yale Political Monthly, a periodical that he is credited with reviving. He later earned an MPP from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD in American history from American University in Washington, D.C. Kagan is married to long-time career diplomat Victoria Nuland, who is currently serving as Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Barack Obama administration. The couple has two children.
Ideas and career
In 1983, Robert Kagan was foreign policy advisor to New York Republican Representative Jack Kemp. Between 1984 and 1986, he worked at the State Department Policy Planning Staff and was a speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz. From 1986 to 1988, he served in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs at the State Department. In 1997, he co-founded and served as a director for the now-defunct Project for the New American Century.
Kagan spent 13 years as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, before joining the Brookings Institution as a senior fellow in the Center on United States and Europe in September 2010. During the 2008 presidential campaign he served as foreign policy advisor to John McCain, the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.
Kagan also serves on the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, originally under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is also a member of the board of directors for The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).
Because of his association with PNAC and his early endorsement of the Iraq War, Kagan is widely considered a neoconservative foreign-policy theorist. Kagan rejects that label, however, now preferring to call of himself a realist. In a tongue-in-cheek article published in the neoconservative Weekly Standard, he admitted that some of his best friends were followers of Leo Strauss but maintained that he himself had never been a Straussian, "since I have never understood a word the political philosopher wrote. I mean not a single word. Nor have I been very good at understanding his disciples". Kagan went on:
I can recall, their biggest point of contention was whether Plato was just kidding in The Republic. Bloom said he was just kidding. I later learned that this idea – that the greatest thinkers in history never mean what they say and are always kidding – is a core principle of Straussianism. My friend, the late Al Bernstein, also taught history at Cornell. He used to tell the story about how one day some students of his, coming directly from one of Bloom's classes, reported that Bloom insisted Plato did not mean what he said in The Republic. To which Bernstein replied: "Ah, Professor Bloom wants you to think that's what he believes. What he really believes is that Plato did mean what he said."
sounds themes reminiscent of the great American realists Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr. Kagan once professed to believe that "there is something about realism that runs directly counter to the fundamental principles of American society." But now he deploys realist principles to explain the world.
For his part, Kagan describes his foreign-policy views as "deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans".
In 2003, Kagan's book, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, published on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, created something of a sensation through its assertions that Europeans tended to favor peaceful resolutions of international disputes while the United States takes a more "Hobbesian" view in which some kinds of disagreement can only be settled by force, or, as he put it: "Americans are from Mars and Europe is from Venus." New York Times book reviewer, Ivo H. Daalder wrote:
When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways, writes Mr. Kagan, concluding, in words already famous in another context, '"Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus."
Kagan's book, Dangerous Nation: America's Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century (2006), argued forcefully against what he considers the widespread misconception that the United States had been isolationist since its inception. It was awarded a Lepgold Prize from Georgetown University.
Kagan is a columnist for the Washington Post and a contributing editor at The New Republic and the Weekly Standard. He has also written for the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, World Affairs, and Policy Review.
Kagan's essay "Not Fade Away: The Myth of American Decline" (The New Republic, February 2, 2012) was very positively received by President Obama. Josh Rogin reported in Foreign Policy that the president "spent more than 10 minutes talking about it...going over its arguments paragraph by paragraph." That essay was excerpted from his book, The World America Made (2012).
- A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990. (1996)
- Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order. (2003) ISBN 1-4000-4093-0
- Dangerous Nation: America's Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. (2006) ISBN 0-375-41105-4
- The Return of History and the End of Dreams. (2008) ISBN 978-0-307-26923-2
- The World America Made. (2012) ISBN 978-0-307-96131-0
- Stelzer, Irwin (2004). The neocon reader. New York: Grove Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-8021-4193-5. "Robert Kagan... Co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)."
- PNAC. "Robert Kagan". Retrieved 18 March 2012. "Robert Kagan is co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century."
- "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". www.cfr.org. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- Donnelly, Thomas; et al. (September 2000). "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New American Century" (PDF). Project for the New American Century. p. 78. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
- "Robert Kagan '80 follows father but forges own path". Yale Daily News. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
Robert W. Kagan, who has been deeply involved in the Reagan Administration's policy on the rebels in Nicaragua, will be leaving the State Department next month to become a fellow at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, where he will write a book on the Central American country. Mr. Kagan has been a close friend and deputy to Elliot Abrams, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, who is the principal architect of the Administration's Central American policy. As he leaves Washington for Newport, Mr. Kagan will also be gaining new experience in commuter marriage. His wife, Victoria Nuland, a career officer in the Foreign Service, will be leaving next month to open a United States consulate in Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia.("Washington Talk, New York Times, March 3, 1988.)
- Steinhauer, Jason (21 February 2014). "Three-Part Lecture Series at the Kluge Center Looks at Foreign Policy Through the Lens of Realpolitik". Library of Congress. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
- "About PNAC". newamericancentury.org. 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Robert Kagan joins Brookings
- Profile on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace site
- Robert Kagan, "I Am Not a Straussian", Weekly Standard 11: 20 (February 6, 2006)
- "Robert Kagan Follows Father but Forges Own Path", Andrew Mangino, Yale Daily News
- Robert Kagan profile on "Right Web"
- Foreign policy: 2 camps seek McCain's ear - International Herald Tribune
- Reynolds, Paul (2008-04-29). "Not the end of history after all". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Current Board Members", State Department webpage. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Inaugural Meeting of Secretary Clinton's Foreign Affairs Policy Board". Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Directors and Staff". The Foreign Policy Initiative. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- Robert Kagan, "Present at the Re-Creation: A Neoconservative Moves On, Foreign Affairs, July-August, 2008.
- Beaumont, Peter (2008-04-26). "The Observer Profile: Robert Kagan". The Guardian (London: GMG). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Dionne, E.J. (2011-02-02). "A conservative split aids Obama on Egypt". The Washington Post (Washington DC: WPC). ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- DeSantis, Mark (2012). "'The World America Made': Robert Kagan for the defense". old.post-gazette.com. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Robert Kagan, "I Am Not a Straussian: At Least I Don't Think I Am", Weekly Standard 11: 20 (February 6, 2006).
- Bacevish, "Present at the Re-Creation, Foreign Affairs, March 18, 2012.
- Colvin, Mark (2004). "America still capable of military strikes: Robert Kagan". abc.net.au. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Ivo Daalder, Books of the Times, March 5, 2003.
- "Georgetown Awards 2007 Lepgold Book Prize". Georgetown University. 2008-09-17.
- Robert Kagan (11 January 2012). "Not Fade Away: The myth of American decline.". The New Republic. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- Josh Rogin (26 January 2012). "Obama embraces Romney advisor's theory on 'The Myth of American Decline'". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Robert Kagan|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Kagan.|
- "The End of the End of History: Why the twenty-first century will look like the nineteenth." Kagan in The New Republic, 23 April 2008.
- Video debates featuring Kagan on Bloggingheads.tv
- Audio: Robert Kagan in conversation on the BBC World Service discussion show The Forum
-  The Politic interviews Robert Kagan on Russian foreign policy at the beginning of Barack Obama's first presidential term—April 2009
- Booknotes interview with Kagan on Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, February 16, 2003.
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Kagan, March 4, 2007
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Kagan, March 4, 2012
- Hey, What's the Big Idea? by Michael Crowley Time.com, Feb. 02, 2012
- Lest We Forget: Neo-conservatives and Republican Foreign Policy, 1976-2000