In June, Bill Emmott wrote a detailed assessment of the United States’ role as a world power. Five months and a potential war with Iraq later, Emmott updated his survey Tuesday.
Emmott, who serves as editor of The Economist, spoke in a panel discussion Tuesday afternoon at the Whitney Humanities Center. It was entitled “Whither the United States?: An Update on the Economist Survey” and also featured Diplomat-in-Residence Charles Hill and international studies professor Arjun Appadurai.
History professor John Gaddis chaired the discussion. He invited Emmott to speak at Yale under the guise of the International Securities Studies Department, which Gaddis co-founded.
Emmott said foreign policy developments have proceeded slowly since June but he believes three issues have been clarified. Emmott said that the objectives of the Bush administration have become clearer — pursuing and deterring terrorists and tyrants and cooperating with other world powers.
He said the administration has also chosen to work through the United Nations to implement its goals, and domestic political support has solidified but overseas backing has weakened.
“There is domestic support for the next stage,” Emmott said. “The Europeans still want to keep their distance, but in the end they will go along with it — It’s fair to say that opposition to the war in Iraq is shallow.”
Emmott said that the administration has not made great leaps toward its goals. He predicted that military action against Iraq will not occur until April or June of 2003.
Hill said that allowing the United Nations to play a key role in the war with Iraq should help to bolster the United Nations’ prestige.
“The U.N. has been virtually shattered over the past 10 years,” Hill said. “The Security Council must step up to [war with Iraq]. If [it] can’t do this, then we are at a League of Nations moment, and it’s curtains for the Security Council.”
About 75 graduates, undergraduates, alumnae and some faculty members attended the event.
Noah Heymann ’06 said he came to hear Hill and Gaddis speak but he did not find the discussion very captivating.
“I thought it didn’t have too much insight,” he said.
Kamal Sidhu ’04 said he did enjoy it.
“I thought it was extremely interesting, especially because of the different perspectives,” Sidhu said.
Vincent Teti ’61, a Friend of the International Security Studies department at Yale, said he appreciated the discussion.
“These are all great programs [with] a good blend of faculty and outsider opinion,” he said.