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The USA's place in the world

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 07 July 2012

In the run up to the American presidential election, we present a special edition of The Forum from the Aspen Festival of Ideas. How do Americans think their place in the world is changing? Does the United States still see itself as the most powerful player in the world? With a unique leadership position? Or is it in retreat, its influence on the world shrinking?

Bridget Kendall is joined by a former senior advisor to President Bush, Richard Haass, who thinks US foreign policy should rely less on military force. Anne-Marie Slaughter, former senior advisor on President Obama’s foreign policy team, argues America’s greatest asset is its place as a central node in the global network. We also hear from New York Times columnist David Brooks. He argues America is still pre-eminent, not least because other countries are even less popular than the USA.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: Is America responding to the dark clouds of global economy by turning away from the reset of the world?


2 items
  • Part 1

    The Forum in Aspen Part 1

  • Part 2

    The Forum in Aspen Part 2

  • Dr. Richard Haass

    Dr. Richard Haass

    Dr. Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has also advised several Republican administrations including President Bush, both father and son. He is the author or editor of eleven books on American foreign policy, including War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars. He advocates a doctrine of restoration which cuts military spending while ensuring America remains the most important participant in global politics.

    Photo credit for all photos: Michael Brands

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter

    Anne-Marie Slaughter

    Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Until recently she was Director of Policy Planning in the State Department, working for President Obama. Dr Slaughter is interested in the power of networks and the value of connectivity. She argues that America’s key role is in bringing countries together – shaping choices – instead of determining outcomes.

  • David Brooks

    David Brooks

    David Brooks is the author of various books of cultural commentary and is a regular columnist for the New York Times. He has been posted in Brussels, covering Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs. He argues that the USA’s position in the world isn’t shrinking because there is no other country to replace it.

  • Forum Presenter Bridget Kendall

    Forum Presenter Bridget Kendall

  • Aspen 1

    Aspen 1

    Senior producer Radek Boschetty on stage behind presenter Bridget Kendall and our three panellists.

  • Aspen 2

    Aspen 2

    Forum executive producer Emily Kasriel addresses the audience at Aspen.

  • Aspen 3

    Aspen 3

    The audience at The Grand Ballroom at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen.

  • Aspen 4

    Aspen 4

    Anne-Marie Slaughter and David Brooks on stage.

  • Aspen 5

    Aspen 5

    Richard Haass on stage.

  • Aspen 6

    Aspen 6

    In the waiting area behind the scenes.

  • Aspen 7

    Aspen 7

    Presenter Bridget Kendall leads the way to the stage at the Grand Ballroom.

  • Aspen 8

    Aspen 8

    Smiles behind the scenes at Aspen.

  • Aspen 9

    Aspen 9

    Laughs on the stage during the recording of the programme.

  • In Next Week’s Programme:

    As the world prepares to travel to the 2012 London Olympics, the Forum visits an experimental lighthouse in the UK capital to discuss navigation in the past, present and future. With Nick Ward of the General Lighthouse Authorities, Margarette Lincoln from the National Maritime Museum and Ukrainian writer Andrei Kurkov.



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