This week, Project Syndicate catches up with Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of the think tank New America and Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Project Syndicate: By effectively giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the green light to attack northern Syria’s Kurds, America’s most effective ally against the Islamic State (ISIS), US President Donald Trump has once again handed a victory to an authoritarian leader. You’ve underscored the danger of that approach with regard to Hungary, a far less strategically significant country than Turkey. What immediate and longer-term risks do you foresee arising from Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and how might they be mitigated?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: The United States effectively has two foreign policies at the moment. Trump admires strongmen around the world and cultivates personal relationships with them. This often results in his taking impulsive and dangerous decisions that are deeply adverse to US interests – as defined by the State Department, the Pentagon, and even his own National Security Council.
Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria and clear the way for a Turkish invasion falls into this category. It was a victory for Turkey, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Russia, Iran, and ISIS. And it was a loss for the US, which surrendered much of its influence in the Middle East and betrayed both its allies and its values.
We ask all our Say More contributors to tell our readers about a few books that have impressed them recently. Here are Slaughter's picks:
by David Wallace Wells
Climate change is the existential threat of our time. This book assembles the science on the vast array of consequences of climate change – food shortages, refugee emergencies, resource conflict, and economic devastation – in a way that drives home the true urgency of the situation.
by Shoshana ZuboffWe tend to think of surveillance in terms of cameras, images, and facial recognition. Zuboff forces us to expand the concept to large-scale data capture by the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon. She compellingly describes how such data are bought and sold, and ultimately exploited for behavioral modification. (And this is to say nothing of the intense debate over privacy.) Surveillance comes in many different forms, and it behooves us to ponder the implications of how it is done in the US, as well as in other countries, such as China.
by Annette Gordon Reed
A decade after recounting Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his slave Sally Hemings, Reed wrote the story of the family that resulted from that relationship. The book is a reckoning, especially for someone like me, who grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Jefferson-worship is a way of life. Equally important, it is an account of an American family, just as American as the Jefferson’s “official” white family. It reminds us that the history of all Americans – regardless of race, class, and legal status – is American history.
From the PS Archive
Slaughter called for shifting the focus of the movement for women’s equality to the role of men. Read the commentary.
Around the web
In one of the most-read articles in The Atlantic magazine’s history, Slaughter refuted the notion that women truly can “have it all.” Read the essay.
A year later, Slaughter expanded on her ideas, explaining how shifts in work culture, public policy, and social mores can lead to greater gender equality. Watch the TED talk.
In 2017, Slaughter answered The Economist’s questions about how network theory could be applied to global problems. Listen to the podcast.