Feature Interview: Dame Minouche Shafik

For this issue, International Relations in a Post-Factual World,
STAIR Theme Editors Ivo Bantel, Anna Klose, and Katherine T.
Tyson, sat down with the economist and current Director of the
London School of Economics (LSE), Dame Minouche Shafik. The
conversation focuses on the role of experts in a world increasingly
structured by a lack of trust towards them. Looking towards the
future, Dame Shafik argues that there has to be a short-term,
and a long-term, solution to the rise of post-truth politics. In the
short-term, we need to get public discourse to a better place. In
the long-term, we have to understand the underlying issues of why
people are dissatisfied and how experts lost credibility.

An economist by training, Dame Shafik has spent most of her
career straddling the worlds of public policy and academia. Her
early research focused on the determinants of investment, the
environment and economic growth, the economies of the Middle
East and North Africa, and trade and migration. During her 15 years
at the World Bank, she became the youngest vice-president in the
organization's history at age 36. She returned to the UK in 2004
and rose to become the Permanent Secretary at the Department
of International Development. Dame Shafik subsequently joined
the International Monetary Fund in 2011 as Deputy Managing
Editor. From 2014-2017, she was Deputy Governor of the Bank
of England and sat on all of the Bank's major policy committees.
Dame Shafik took up the post of Director of the LSE in September


STAIR: Thank you for having us, Dame Shafik. We are very glad to be able to hold this interview with you. Due to your extensive experience as an expert advising in international institutions and now being the Director of the London School of Economics (LSE), you can provide us with some unique insights on the post-truth politics debate. What role do you believe experts play in international relations today, and how have we got to where we are today?

DS: In all the organizations I've worked for, experts have played a very critical role. They are there to pull together the facts, to synthesize knowledge, and to provide the best advice based on the current academic literature to inform decision-making. In all the organizations I have worked in there have also been very clear boundaries between what experts are supposed to do and what political actors are meant to do. In the civil service the rule of thumb is that civil servants advise and Ministers decide. At the World Bank and at the IMF, the expert staff are international civil servants and their job is to provide independent, rigorous advice based on global evidence. Their recommendations then go to a board consisting of political representatives from the 188 countries that were members of those organizations.  They did not always have to follow expert opinion because their job was to make a political judgement, but they had to at least listen to the expert opinion. To me, that distinction between the role of experts and the role of politicians is vital for making good policy that is both informed by evidence, but is at the same time democratically legitimate.

Where it often has gone wrong is when those boundaries got blurred: when experts tried to be politicians, and when politicians tried to be experts. There has been more blurring in recent years for a variety of reasons.


STAIR: What impact did this blurring of boundaries have on the relationship between experts and the public?

DS: It had a considerable impact: When experts try to behave like politicians, they undermine their own credibility since they are then seen to have an agenda as opposed to being objective and independent. However, experts rarely all agree on issues. In most fields, there are large areas with consensus among experts, but there are also areas of diverging views. Those divisions exist because people have analysed evidence and have come to different conclusions. It is not true that good academics do not have their own prejudices and biases, but allowing the blurring between being a politician and an expert has undermined credibility.


STAIR: Why do you think that post truth politics are on the rise, and are there specific technological or cultural roots that you see facilitating them?

DS: There have always been elements of post truth politics in history, so is not a completely new phenomenon. Yet today we witness this on a different scale due to social media and technology, and the degree to which it can spread globally. In the past, people had one local newspaper, and that's all they read. One could argue that currently, with the internet, people have access to a much wider array of information. Therefore, I don't think access to information is the issue. The problem is the algorithmic funnelling of people to information that confirms their own prejudices, and the manipulation of that information by vested interests. While this is not entirely new, this is again enabled by technology on a different scale than before.


STAIR: With that asymmetric information contributing to “echo-chambers,” what prospects do you see for liberal democracies with rising post-truth politics?

DS: Post-truth politics is a huge challenge for democracy. Most people increasingly get their news from social media platforms and the internet in general. In order to protect democracy, I expect attempts to regulate the way social media and platforms operate. One step in that direction is making online platforms take responsibility for the information they publish, just like more conventional publishers. Whether that happens through self-regulation or legal regulation is still uncertain, but the status quo is not tenable. I am convinced that democracies cannot tolerate the current degree of risk and manipulation of the democratic process. Some of the platforms have understood this, and they are exploring different solutions, which is a good start.


As an example, consider fact checkers. Fact checking is similar to peer review in academia—an independent person checks to make sure that your data is good, your analysis is correct. However, while fact checking is a step in the right direction, the scale of the problem is very difficult to manage: fact checkers can't keep up with the volume of information out there. Another development is that you can now choose to be exposed to alternative views on Facebook, so that you're not channelled to those that coincide with yours, which is great and also part of the solution. Nevertheless, I suspect more will have to happen to protect the democratic process, and this issue will become particularly acute around elections in the future.


STAIR: Is there a problem with the way experts currently address the public and communicate their findings?

DS: Yes, there is a problem with the way experts communicate. Expertise is often defined around exclusion: to prove that you are an expert, you must have a certain degree or qualification, publish in certain kinds of journals, or sometimes have to be a member of a particular society or professional body. Thus, proving and earning your expertise is about excluding others. A major part of this is also using language that is exclusive to your discipline and that only other experts can understand. Of course, this adds further barriers for the public at large.

Thus, it is vital that experts  better engage with the public and explain what they do. There are great examples of how this has been done. For example, a study at the Bank of England highlighted how Dr. Seuss books are accessible to a wide audience because of their very low linguistic complexity—his objective was to encourage children to read. By contrast, Bank of England reports required an education of at least 13 years, which meant that more than half of the UK population could not understand our publications. If you are producing documents that are meant for public consumption, you must do a better job at using clear and simple language. By this, I do not mean dumbing it down. On the contrary, people who really know what they are talking about can explain things in very simple language.

Experts can also work with good storytellers who can help provide a bridge between experts and the public. For example, consider the contribution David Attenborough has made to environmental awareness. He has translated clear, rigorous thinking around the environment and the natural world, and has made it accessible to millions and millions of people.


STAIR: In your 2017 interview at the Hay Festival, you highlighted the difference between information and knowledge as crucial. Could you just perhaps elaborate a bit more on this distinction for us, and how it relates to politics as well?

DS: We are in an era of infinite information, yet knowledge is more elusive than ever. The challenge is sifting, sorting and digesting through tons of information, which can be difficult and time consuming. We all need better intermediaries who can do this for us. That is where experts need to find their niche, if they are to be seen as trustworthy. We must give people better tools to help them differentiate between genuine experts and charlatans. Consider the example of think tanks that digest information and put it in the public domain. Think tanks should be forced to publish who funds them, so that at least the public knows who is paying for these views. We need transparency, so that citizens can make informed judgments about who to trust and whose views to accept as credible.


STAIR: Moving on to discuss the spread of post-truth politics and responses to it: most of the debate on post-truth politics is centred on the western world, or at least the OECD. How do you think the post-truth movement has affected the global south?

DS: This is an interesting question. I don't know the answer, and I do not want to be an expert pretending to know what I do not know. I can think of examples, however, such as the Arab Spring, where social media played a big role in galvanizing and organizing, but there were also elements of post-truth: false rumours were spread, spurred by different political interests.


STAIR: With that example, would you say there could be a correlation of the proliferation of technologies with the rise of post-truth?

DS: We may have seen more cases of post truth-politics recently in advanced countries because internet access is greater, and social media platforms have higher penetration rates. However, access to technology is so widespread now, and I have no reason to believe that over time it would be that different in other countries.  


STAIR: How has the democratization of knowledge with the internet changed our views of experts?

DS: I sometimes use the example of restaurant reviews to illustrate this. In the past, you would buy a book by a restaurant critic to choose where to eat. Today, you can go on TripAdvisor and read the restaurant reviews of thousands of your peers, and then aggregate those to decide what restaurant to pick. The democratization of knowledge means you do not need to listen to one expert who spent his or her life eating at good restaurants, but you can consult the views of thousands of people. For many, this is also seen as a more legitimate, reliable source of knowledge than the expert alone. I think this is a very big change, enabled by social media and the internet, but it has also changed the way people see experts: the wisdom of crowds is seen as just as credible as someone who has spent their life studying a particular issue.


STAIR: Looking into the future, how can experts still carve out a space for themselves with the seeming “oversupply” of facts?

DS: Experts need to be the voice of rigour and reason in the cacophony. They need to be humble about how much they know and resist media pressure to be simplistic and aim for headlines that are attention-grabbing but may be inaccurate. Their role is to be independent and to be conscious that they are speaking in the name of their expertise, rather than in the interest of any particular group or body or institution. They also need—and this is a particularly important role for universities—to be open about the possibility of different viewpoints on a given issue, and that they can all have legitimacy as long as they come to different judgements based on evidence and rigorous analysis. Being independent, humble, and being open to evidence-based debate is the niche that experts need to occupy.


STAIR: What do you think of the idea that the current post-factual backlash is a reaction to the idea of “no alternative” that has been used by some policy circles to justify policies that have hurt many poor and disenfranchised?

DS: This is an example of a case when, as an expert, you have to be frank that in most policy areas, there is always an alternative. The alternatives just have different costs and benefits. So, for politics this means there are genuine choices to be made. The idea of “no alternative” is just not true. And presenting evidence of a policy alternative can be a valuable part of the policy-making process. It may make messages more complicated but, in the long run, it is better for experts to be honest that there are trade-offs in any set of policies. When I said that part of the problem is the blurring of boundaries between experts and politicians, experts arguing that there is no alternative and only one answer to a problem is an example of this. That is a very dangerous approach since, in the end, you undermine credibility of expertise by being too simplistic.


STAIR: With that in mind, what role do you think experts will play in international politics following the post-truth politics? Not as politicians but needing to work with media to be able to get their information out there so it can be disseminated for the general public. How do you specifically envision that to happen in any given that academia is becoming increasingly specialised?

DS: Intermediaries are crucial, especially the responsible media that reflect different points of view, those that collect facts and research. We also need to educate people to make them better consumers of expert opinion. There is a very strong correlation between levels of education and engagement with post-truth politics. So both raising education levels in general, but also raising digital education and media awareness is necessary. A recent study with young people at various levels of education in the United States found that, when shown sponsored content, most of them were unable to see that the content was produced by a lobbying group, or to differentiate between a news story and an advertisement.  Better education can help empower people to make better judgements about the information they are getting.


STAIR: What role specifically should experts play outside of the media and the public with politicians sometimes deriding expert opinion?

DS: People who are genuine experts live and die on the integrity of their reputation. Experts and universities need to do what they have been traditionally doing even more rigorously: maintain academic standards, maintain rigorous peer review, insist on the transparency of data, identify any conflicts of interest. These are core principles of academic life, and are more important now than ever before.


STAIR: We now turn to specific recent examples, starting with Brexit. What is your view on Brexit in the context of post-truth politics?

DS: There was a lot of misinformation during the referendum. The best example is the famous NHS number of £350 million a week being paid to the EU that could go to the NHS. The head of the Office of National Statistics publicly refuted that number. And while this surely should have carried weight, the number was in the public domain, and so widely quoted that it had become accepted as fact. The lesson is that you must get out there very quickly to challenge false information. The Brexit referendum was not the finest hour for UK public debate. There was exaggeration taking place on all sides.


STAIR: Moving on to the EU, much of the anti-expert discussion in Europe is focused on the EU and so-called “technocrats” in Brussels. Does the push-back against Brussels reflect the failure of the EU to effectively communicate its role, or is there actually some truth to some of the critiques against technocrats?

DS: Part of it is the so-called democratic deficit problem, where people feel very disconnected from European institutions. Part of it is because politicians themselves have created the perception of the Eurocrats in Brussels imposing policies upon us. That is a very unhealthy dynamic. There have been many attempts to try close the democratic deficit by giving more power to the European Parliament, for example, but that has not created confidence among most citizens. I do think that Europe needs to think hard about how to enhance the democratic credibility of the European Union.


STAIR: The 2008 Financial Crisis has come up again and again as being the start of the backlash against experts. With the economics discipline having been in turmoil since the crisis, what is at stake here?


DS: I do not think the real issue at stake is that economists failed to predict the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Predicting the future is a very difficult business. Instead, what was really problematic is this: for many years much of the economics profession held the view that the policies in place pre-crisis would deliver prosperity and economic stability. However, the crisis revealed deep flaws in the way we regulated our financial system and in how the benefits of greater prosperity were being shared.


STAIR: In the last decade, has the elite managed to gain back some of the trust that was lost, or has the last decade worsened perceptions of the failure of the system as a whole?

DS: The jury is still out. In areas like financial regulation, we have gone some way to learning the lessons and putting in place better policies, although there is constant pressure from vested interests to reverse those.  However, we have yet to address the fundamental issues around what technology and globalisation have done to income distribution and the fear that many are being left behind. Those questions are still to be answered, and it is particularly worrying because we know more change is coming—automation will further disrupt labour markets, ageing populations will have to work for much longer in jobs that have not yet been invented. We also know that most countries have limited fiscal space to invest in the education and infrastructure to help people adjust to this new world. How we make our economic system work in a way that benefits everyone is still an open question.


STAIR: Thank you very much for the interview. Do you have any concluding remarks?

DS: There must be a short-term and a long-term solution to the rise of post-truth politics.  In the short term, we need to get public discourse to a better place by challenging falsehoods, regulating platforms, and giving people tools to differentiate fact from fiction. In the long-term, we need to understand why people are disgruntled and divided. At the LSE, we are trying to tackle this agenda under the banner of “Beveridge 2.0.” Seventy-five years ago, one of my predecessors as Director of LSE, William Beveridge, tackled the “five giants” of want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness and created the modern welfare state.  Those giants have their modern day equivalents – poverty and inequality, health, education, urbanisation, and unemployment – but with very different implications in an era dominated by the digital revolution and globalisation. Over the course of this year, all of us at LSE will try to find answers to these challenges, and find ways to engage the public in that process as our contribution to making the world a better place. 

Feature Interview: Dr. Richard Haass in Conversation with STAIR

Negotiation is one of the most fundamental tools of statecraft, and is as important today as ever before. With ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen, continuing violence in Israel/Palestine and Eastern Ukraine, and brewing tensions in the South China Sea, policymakers need to be able to more effectively conduct, mediate, and facilitate bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Consequently, the challenge for academics must be to dive deeper into negotiation as a tool of statecraft, and supply the knowledge and insights policymakers require to successfully conclude negotiations. The hope is that, in the twenty-first century, more disputes will be resolved through agreements, such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which recently put an end to the dispute between the P5+1 and Iran over the country’s nuclear programme.

George Kailas and David Hagebölling sat down with Dr. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, to discuss his personal experiences as a US negotiator and mediator, his thoughts on ongoing negotiations and crises, and how he believes academia should teach the art of negotiation to the next generation of policymakers.

STAIR: Our first question relates to your personal experience as a policymaker and as someone who has engaged in mediations and negotiations. When you were asked to mediate a crisis, or engaged in negotiations as a policymaker, you had a limited amount of time to prepare. How did you prepare for your role?

RH: You read everything from the statements of the various protagonists involved, whatever analysis you can get your hands on, produced either within the government or simply by smart observers. Early on, to get going, you immerse yourself in the realm of history. I often spent some time reading books on this or on previous negotiation to get a better understanding of what is a part of peoples’ intellectual and psychological DNA. You just want to know what people are bringing to the table. If you are in government, you would also read through cables and other things you have from relevant embassies; you also have access to intelligence, if that plays a role. I’d also go speak to people who have been involved. It’s always useful in the case of a negotiation to speak to your predecessors. So you are constantly updating your intellectual account.

STAIR: In one of your past interviews, discussing the role of mediators, you said that a mediator can only contribute to five or ten percent of a mediation’s success and that ultimately the outcome of the negotiation depends on the parties themselves. In this context, are there cases in which the mediator can play a larger role?

RH: I’ve written that I think the role of mediators is important, but rarely critical. What matters most in any negotiation is the willingness and the ability of the principal protagonists to enter into a compromise. Willingness is a question of their predisposition, while ability is often a reflection of the political situation; that is, whether they are strong enough to enter into an agreement that involves compromises, whether they see it as in their overall political interest to enter into an agreement. This is all another way of saying that in my experience, and I’ve been involved with Cyprus, I’ve been involved with India/Pakistan, I’ve been involved in the Middle East, and I’ve been involved in Northern Ireland, very rarely is the toughest part of a negotiation the actual content of the “deal.” That is often material that has been massaged for months, years, and decades. I don’t mean to dismiss it, but again, that’s usually the part of the equation that people focus on most. What is often far more significant is the willingness and ability of the critical actors to enter into a deal along those lines. And, when I wrote a book years ago about ripeness, that was the conclusion that emerged loud and clear from my analysis, and that was also the conclusion that emerged from my own work as a practitioner: More than anything else, it is these two measures of willingness and ability that most determine the outcome of a negotiation.

STAIR: One of our papers in the upcoming issue addresses how, in today’s world, there are more vehicles for conflict and dispute resolution than ever before, such as ad hoc fora, supranational organisations, regional organisations, among a number of others. In your experience, did having so many options available to mediators complicate or facilitate negotiations?

RH: Those types of vehicles are pretty irrelevant. Again, that is putting way too much emphasis on who is doing the mediation. Whether it is a supranational organisation, a government, multiple governments, or an NGO is secondary. What counts far more than who is doing the negotiation is, again, the willingness and ability of a protagonist to enter into an agreement. That said, one thing an outside party can do is affect the calculations of the conflict parties. You can do this with incentives, inducements, you can do it with rewards, you can also do it with threats. Depending on the situation, outsiders often have in their pocket factors that can influence the calculus of the protagonists. If a protagonist, for example, is worried about entering into an agreement, one of the questions is if you can give him some tangibles, maybe something on the economic side or political side that is unrelated to the agreement but which can help that actor survive politically or sell things. Or maybe it is the opposite. That you can let a person know, “look, you may not be thrilled with this package, but you should know that if you do not accept it, here is what we are prepared to do to you rather than for you.” So, that is where, depending upon the situation, governments or other outside parties can often influence the calculation that one of the principal protagonists will bring to the table. Again, however, it doesn’t particularly matter if it is the representative of the UN, or a regional organisation or a government or an NGO. What matters is the essence of the situation and what factors, if any, this outsider can bring to shape peoples’ calculations.

STAIR: Another one of our authors argues that, over time, it is harder to find common positions in negotiations. Yet at the same time, we see today how the great powers were able to reach an agreement on, for example, the Iranian nuclear deal. In your experience, do you believe that coming to common positions has become more difficult or easier over time?

RH: The short answer is neither. It all depends on the specifics. A lot depends on the desire to have an agreement. What mattered in the Iranian agreement was that, for different reasons, both the US and Iran thought an agreement was desirable compared to the alternatives. That is what made it possible. In the case of Syria, it is likely to take a long time for an agreement to emerge, simply because most of the parties involved are not yet prepared to put forward the sort of compromises that are required, and it is not clear whether the outsiders are willing to use the influence they have to force a compromise. Somewhat amending what I said, the one way things may have become slightly more complicated is that, because of this world we live in, there are now more third parties that can affect outcomes. If you have some dispute, it is not just the immediate parties to the dispute. You probably have far more outsiders, whether it is governments, organisations, rich individuals or NGOs of one sort or another. In Syria you have all sorts of terrorist organisations and militias. You have all of these outsiders who are in a position to affect things. Depending on the conflict, it is possible that the simple fact that many situations have more players than has been the case in the past probably complicates things and makes it all a bit more difficult. It also makes it more difficult if the governments or organisations involved are themselves divided, and if they are not able to speak with a single voice. In such situations, often those most involved in the dispute can play one side off of the other.

STAIR: As you alluded to, unfortunately, there are more current conflicts than just Syria and Iran. Of the crises that are currently ongoing, if you were involved, is there one in which you would do something differently perhaps as a policymaker?

RH: Well, in virtually every crisis that one can look at in the world, the key to success is rarely ever the substance of the deal. Rather, the key to success lies in influencing the calculations of the parties to the dispute. So, if your goal is to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons voluntarily, that is only going to come about if China plays a major role, and puts economic pressure on North Korea. That would be the requirement. If you are looking at Syria, diplomats are unlikely to succeed absent one of two things. Either outsiders are going to have to change their calculations, meaning Russia in particular or conceivably Iran, or you have to see a different situation on the ground. Again, negotiations never take place in a vacuum. Negotiations always take place in context. So, often what will determine the ultimate fate of a negotiation is not the clever ideas introduced at the table, but whether you are able to shape the context in ways that alter the calculations of one or more parties to the conflict. In some cases it may take a shift in the military balance to create a context in which negotiations prosper. In another case, it may take sanctions or economic rewards. I cannot give you an all-purpose, one size fits all answer. All I am saying is that diplomats are not magicians. Diplomats tend to succeed or fail depending on the context. One part of the context is, as I mentioned, the willingness and ability of the immediate participants to enter into a compromise. The other is the alternative to an agreement, and whether the particular parties see themselves as better served without an agreement or feel pressured to have one. Ironically enough, what can determine the fate of diplomacy might be instruments other than diplomatic ones; it can be economic, military, or others.

STAIR: One of our writers poses a dichotomy in negotiations between peace and justice in the outcome of negotiations. In your experience, have you found there to be this dichotomy, that one is emphasised more than the other? Are the two mutually exclusive? Does this dichotomy exist at all?

RH: That is a complicated question. There is a difference between peace and justice obviously. Peace is easier to measure. Justice is by definition more subjective. To the extent that negotiations involve compromise to get to peace, it almost invariably means that justice was compromised. So, in most situations, I would put an emphasis on peace. But I do think that if you cannot address at least some elements of justice, it could very well mean that any peace will be short-lived. To put it another way, it is a derivative of the writings of someone like Henry Kissinger; in order for settlements to endure, you have to have not just a balance of power that can create conditions of at least non-belligerency, but you also want to have a sense of justice, what Kissinger called legitimacy. You want to have the parties buy into the agreement. You want to have them accept it even if they do not necessarily love every element of it. And the more an agreement is enforced not simply by a balance of power, but by a degree of acceptance, the more it is likely to prove resilient over the passage of time. But if an agreement is simply there because of a balance of power, and there is very little or no acceptance or sense of justice, if one or more parties feels their interests were ignored, that suggests to me that any agreement was essentially imposed because of conditions. That means the agreements will last only so long as those conditions remain in place, and that as soon as the balance of power changes, those who feel their core interests being challenged will change the arrangement. So, I think it is important in agreements to try to address questions of peace as well as justice, but I think by definition you can almost never have a situation where everyone feels an agreement is completely just. As a result, you get into this debate whether a particular agreement is sufficiently just. And to the extent it is seen that way, it is more likely to prove resilient.

STAIR: One of our last questions touches upon the relation between academia and practice. What is interesting about talking to you is that you have both participated in negotiations as a policymaker as well as worked as an academic, for example, as a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. What do you think about the way negotiation is taught in universities today, and, if you could change anything, what would that be?

RH: It is hard for me to answer this question. I work at a think tank, but not in academia. It has been about twenty-five to thirty years since I taught the subject at Harvard. So I do not think I am qualified to pass judgment on how negotiation is being taught. I would simply say that, to the extent the subject is taught abstractly, I would worry. And to the extent that it is taught by simulation, I think that would be healthy because I think that is an inevitable process in give-or-take quality,. But I do think, and my own writings have reflected that, that there is an important analytical component to negotiation. I wrote about it when I taught, and I try to practice it, but when you do a negotiation you have to make an assessment on ripeness, and you have to ask yourself whether the situation is ripe for the sort of agreement you want. And if it is not, you have a choice. You either have to shrink what you are trying to accomplish. You cannot be more ambitious than the context will allow. Otherwise, you have to figure out a way to modify the context, to basically make it more supportive of what it is you are trying to bring about. I think there is an essential place for analytics even if you are a practitioner. I do not know if, at Oxford or anywhere else, negotiation is being taught in this way. I hope so. And if it is, then I think it is useful in understanding why negotiations succeed or fail, and it also would be good preparation for would-be diplomats or mediators. However, if it is not taught this way, if it gets too theoretical, my instinct would be to question its relevance.

STAIR: Finally, for the interested reader, and for those who want to learn more about negotiation, in the sense you understand it, if there was one book you could recommend, what would it be.

RH: I would probably stay away from books that are preoccupied with techniques. There are an enormous number of books written on the techniques of negotiators, and I am skeptical because I think all of that is secondary, maybe even tertiary. I would focus more on analytics, on history. My favorite book for people going into the foreign policy world is the book written by Richard Neustadt and Ernest May, “Thinking in Time,” which is about the use of history for decision-makers. I find this to be the most relevant book, which tries to take what is done in the academic world and apply it to the world of analysis and practical foreign policy decision-making. It is not explicitly about negotiations. Nevertheless, if asked to think of one book that non-practitioners should look at, in order to get a sense of how to connect the world of academia and the world of policymaking, I would probably start with Neustadt and May. A second book would probably be some of the work in the same area by an American academic called Alexander George, who wrote a series of works about bridging the gap between the two worlds. I am a great believer in reading case studies and histories about various negotiations. Before I did the Northern Ireland negotiation, I read books by George Mitchell and others about their experience. Anyone who goes to the Middle East would be foolish not to read Henry Kissinger, but also other people who have written more recently on the region, like Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk. I think you would also be foolish not to read the work of recent practitioners. The only book I have written about negotiations is a book called “Conflicts Unending”, which was my attempt to develop a theory of ripeness, and to take five case studies (Cyprus, Northern Ireland, India/Pakistan, the Middle East, and South Africa) , and to try to show how an analytical framework could be useful for a real-world undertaking. Even though all the specifics have changed in every one of these cases, I think the basic template still applies.

STAIR: Dr. Richard Haass, thank you very much for speaking with the St. Antony’s International Review.


Dr. Richard Haass is in his thirteenth year as president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, non-partisan membership organisation, think-tank, and publisher dedicated to helping people better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.


In 2013, he served as the chair of the multi-party negotiations in Northern Ireland which provided the foundation for the 2014 Stormont House Agreement. For his efforts to promote peace and conflict resolution, he received the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award.


From January 2001 to June 2003, Dr. Haass was director of policy planning for the US Department of State, where he was a principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Confirmed by the US Senate to hold the rank of ambassador, Dr. Haass also served as US coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan and as US envoy to the Northern Ireland peace process. In recognition of his service, he received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award.


Dr. Haass has extensive additional government experience. From 1989 to 1993, he was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1991, Dr. Haass was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for his contributions to the development and articulation of US policy during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Previously, he served in the Departments of State (1981-1985) and Defense (1978-1980) and was a legislative aide in the US Senate.


Dr. Haass was also vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution, the Sol M. Linowitz visiting professor of international studies at Hamilton College, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Haass holds a BA from Oberlin College and Master and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Oxford University. He has also received numerous honorary degrees.


Dr. Haass is the author or editor of twelve books on American foreign policy and one book on management. His most recent books are “Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America’s House in Order”, and “War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars”.