After a lifetime of work in foreign policy, I know how people around the world aspire to better lives and how all too often governments fail them. US foreign policy has shaped our world and theirs. Economic policy, international and domestic, determines who’s up and who’s down, who gets to educate their kids, who has heat in winter and whether we’re going to eat cat food when we get old. Most often, figuring out the economics is a lot easier than making reform happen, as the OECD puts it.
I’ve accumulated experience around the world –from Peace Corps in Senegal to 32 years representing the United States and then almost four years working as Deputy Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)– trying to accomplish policy goals in difficult environments. I’ve come to focus on the junction of foreign policy and economic policy. Over the years, I’ve talked with rich and poor in developed and developing countries, and participated in the events that shaped modern history: the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen, Balkan Wars, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the rise of emerging market economies, economic crises in Asia and the US. All along I’ve been fascinated by the U.S. role in the world and how people provide for themselves and their families, not just in theory but in practice. Making good policy, as a Spokesman, an Ambassador or in the Washington policy process, was never easy, but we’ve learned lessons on how we can make better policy, more effectively
Since I finished at OECD at the end of August 2013, I’ve started to teach, speak and write about foreign affairs, diplomacy and political economy with a focus on people around the world. I’ve taught courses on Diplomacy & Economic Influence at Brown every fall, and also at the Ford School in Michigan and at George Mason. I’ve also taught a Survey of US Policy and a seminar about Skills for Future Diplomats, where we do an exercise or simulation in every class. For me, teaching is tons of fun and we learn how diplomatic actors produce outcomes and how economics influences their results.
I’ve put up my bio for those who might want me to come speak to their group.
I’ll also post thoughts and ideas on this blog and look forward to your comments.