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Age of iron: The past, present, and future of conservative foreign policy

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Few can deny that President Donald Trump has drastically shaken up the American foreign policy establishment, on everything from how the US treats its allies to its approach toward sovereignty and global institutions. But where does Trump’s foreign policy fit into American history and, in particular, the conservative tradition?

In his new book, “Age of Iron: On Conservative Nationalism” (Oxford University Press, 2019), Colin Dueck tells the story of Republican foreign policy since the 20th century. He describes the shifting coalitions and priorities that have shaped policy and argues that conservative nationalism is actually the oldest democratic tradition in US foreign relations.

Please join AEI for a discussion with Colin Dueck and Hal Brands on how Trump fits into this history and the outlook on conservative foreign policy in the era of renewed great-power competition.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


3:45 PM

4:00 PM
Introductory remarks:
Colin Dueck, AEI

4:15 PM
Hal Brands, AEI
Colin Dueck, AEI

4:45 PM

5:00 PM

Hal Brands is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies US foreign policy and defense strategy. Concurrently, Dr. Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. Dr. Brands has previously worked as special assistant to the secretary of defense for strategic planning and lead writer for the National Defense Strategy Commission. Dr. Brands is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including “The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order” (Yale University Press, 2019); “American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump” (Brookings Institution Press, 2018); “Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post–Cold War Order” (Cornell University Press, 2016); “The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft” (Brookings Institution Press, 2016); “What Good Is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush” (Cornell University Press, 2014); “Latin America’s Cold War” (Harvard University Press, 2010); and “From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post–Cold War World” (University Press of Kentucky, 2008). In addition to his regular Bloomberg column, Dr. Brands has been widely published and interviewed in the popular print and broadcast media. His work has been published in Commentary, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Security, The American Interest, The National Interest, The Washington Quarterly, The Weekly Standard, and other policy and academic journals. Dr. Brands graduated from Yale University with a PhD, MA, and MPhil in history. He also received a BA in history and political science from Stanford University.

Colin Dueck is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is focusing on the interconnection between US national security strategies and party politics, conservative ideas, and presidential leadership. He is also a professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, where he is the faculty adviser for the Alexander Hamilton Society. A senior nonresident fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, he has also served as a foreign policy adviser on several Republican presidential campaigns. Dr. Dueck is the author of three books on American foreign and national security policies: “The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today” (Oxford University Press, 2015), “Hard Line: The Republican Party and US Foreign Policy Since World War II” (Princeton University Press, 2010), and “Reluctant Crusaders: Power, Culture, and Change in American Grand Strategy” (Princeton University Press, 2006). He has testified before Congress and has been published in academic journals and the popular press. These include International Security, Orbis, Political Science Quarterly, the Review of International Studies, Security Studies, World Policy Journal, The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, RealClearPolitics, and National Review. A Rhodes scholar, Dr. Dueck has a PhD in politics from Princeton University and an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University. He was also awarded a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellowship in national security studies by Harvard University. His earlier degrees in history were obtained from the University of Saskatchewan.

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