Center for the Future of Liberal Society
The Center for the Future of Liberal Society (CFLS) aims to influence the public and policy discussion on a set of extraordinary and interrelated challenges. With the advent of rapid technological change, the United States faces an extended economic and social transformation. Virtually every institution from the family to the state to the corporation can expect wave after wave of challenges. These changes are not confined to the United States; they are taking place around the world, and in the United States as elsewhere, the uncertainty and upheaval associated with these changes threatens to undermine support for the principles of liberal society. Additionally, the political consequences of these changes weaken public support for liberal society in the United States and abroad, and in the United States they contribute to an erosion in support for America’s role as the centerpiece of world order.
Meanwhile, with the ‘end of the end of history,’ the world has entered a new period of geopolitical competition and great power rivalry. Major powers like China and Russia seek to overturn the post-Cold War world order. Smaller powers like Iran and North Korea seek to weaken the international system as well. From within and without, liberal societies face growing challenges that require new thinking and a renewed commitment.
CFLS believes that these problems are interconnected. To be strong and united enough to resist the forces of revisionist and authoritarian global challengers, the liberal and democratic world must adapt to technological change in ways that promote human flourishing. Researchers and potential collaborators interested in related projects should contact the Center’s Research Associate, Mike Watson.
The center currently features three programs:
1. Mead Dialogues
Few international scholars have written about the nature, capabilities, and motivation of American foreign policy with as much insight as Professor Walter Russell Mead, whose book Special Providence serves as a classic exposition of America’s foreign policy tradition. At the Mead Dialogues on American Foreign Policy and World Affairs, Professor Mead brings his unique perspective to bear in informal and informative public discussions with important voices in American foreign policy. In addition to its public events, the Dialogues facilitate occasional off the record conversations between American policymakers and officials of both parties and foreign officials.
In the past, Professor Mead has interviewed leading legislators like Senators John McCain, Cory Gardner, and Chris Coons, as well as Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Topics typically include national security, economics, international affairs, and civil society—anything significant to the pursuit of America’s national interests.
The Mead Dialogues were founded on the belief that American leadership is essential to a liberal world order anchored by a strong network of allies. As social change and technological advances remake the world around us, the Dialogues seek to interpret developments with an awareness of their historical context.
2. The Ambassadors Series
The Ambassadors Series is a public interview series affiliated with the Center for the Future of Liberal Society at Hudson Institute. The series features conversations between Hudson Institute Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead and current and former foreign ambassadors to the United States. It aims to shed light on the challenges facing America’s bilateral relationships by viewing those relationships from the perspective of America’s international partners.
Global upheaval is currently reshaping America’s position in the world order and calling the terms of its international relationships into question. As America’s historical ties evolve, public discussions with official representatives will serve as a necessary starting point for sustaining and deepening our international relationships.
The series’ extended interview format fosters this necessary dialogue by allowing for a wide-ranging discussion of the diverse policy questions that shape America’s relationships with other states. Most recently, the Ambassadors Series kicked off by hosting Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, for a conversation on immigration policy, NAFTA, American tariffs, narcotics trafficking, the Mexican election, and other aspects of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. We look forward to similarly valuable conversations with other ambassadors in the coming months.
3. Study Group on Liberal Internationalism
The Study Group on Liberal Internationalism is a study group affiliated with the Center for the Future of Liberal Society at Hudson Institute. Geared primarily toward young professionals in the Washington area, the Study Group meets once a month to discuss notable works of history, politics, philosophy, international relations, and literature, with the aim of better understanding the role of liberalism on the world stage. To that end, the group has engaged in fruitful discussions about key works like: The French Revolution by Thomas Carlyle, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi, and The Armada by Garrett Mattingly.
This Next Generation project, started by Distinguished Fellow Walter Russell Mead, aims to create connections between young scholars and prominent members of the D.C. professional community. To help bridge the gap between the professionals of today and those of tomorrow, guest speakers are invited to provide insight into the selected reading. Notably, Michael Lind recently joined the group to discuss The Cousins’ Wars by Kevin Phillips.
If you are a young professional in Washington, DC, interested in joining the Study Group on Liberal Internationalism, please submit an application through this form and the group’s organizer will get back to you in a timely manner.
Policy Center News
Walter Russell Mead’s WSJ column is referenced in a New York Times article on President Trump’s France trip.
German Amb. Emily Haber’s remarks are cited in Buzzfeed News on whether the midterm election outcomes will affect US foreign policy.
French Amb. Gerard Araud’s remarks at Hudson quoted by U.S. Naval Institute
Walter Russell Mead cited by Providence Magazine on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and US-Saudi relations
Walter Russell Mead profiled in Politico
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The Nation on Japan’s nuclear ambitions
Walter Russell Mead quoted by Politico on the legacy of President Andrew Jackson
Walter Russell Mead quoted by Eurasia Review on Japan’s nuclear ambitions
Walter Russell Mead quoted by Newsmax on U.S. policy in Asia
Walter Russell Mead quoted by Newsday on North Korea’s challenge to the American position in East Asia
Walter Russell Mead quoted by Yahoo News on the crisis in the Pacific
Walter Russell Mead quoted by National Review Online on nationalism and American democracy
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The New York Times on the lessons of the Truman administration
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The Tuscaloosa News on Presidents Truman and Trump
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The Washington Times on Qatar and Al-Jazeera
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The Tower on Israeli diplomacy in the Gulf, Africa, and Asia
Walter Russell Mead quoted in The Washington Post on the recent private Trump-Putin meeting
Walter Russell Mead quoted in The Washington Post on President Trump’s foreign policy
Walter Russell Mead quoted in The American Interest on the rise of Silicon Valley corporations
Walter Russell Mead quoted in National Review Online on Egypt-Gaza relations
Walter Russell Mead quoted by The Washington Post on college campus political activism
Walter Russell Mead mentioned in The Hill on Trump supporters’ Jacksoninan approach to foreign policy
Walter Russell Mead quoted in the Straits Times on the disconnect between the establishment and voters
Walter Russell Mead quoted in CNBC on Trump’s campaign promises versus his presidency
Walter Russell Mead quoted in The New York Times the benefits of a president threatening unspecific consequences
Walter Russell Mead quoted in Town & Country Magazine on presidents using ambassadorships as rewards
Walter Russell Mead quoted in The Economist on progressive politics liquidating the Jacksonian influence in American life
Walter Russell Mead quoted in U.S. News and World Report on changes to the presidential nominating process
Walter Russell Mead quoted in Bloomberg News on Europe’s approach to dealing with Russia
Walter Russell Mead quoted in Washington Post on Saudi women getting to vote for the first time
Walter Russell Mead quoted in New York Post on Jacksonians
Walter Russell Mead quoted in USA Today on the Syrian refugee crisis
Walter Russell Mead quoted in Wall Street Journal on how Russia, Iran and China see the American-backed world order
Walter Russell Mead, Author of “Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World” (Alfred A. Knopf), announced as the 13th winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize.
Walter Russell Mead and Arthur Herman featured in Foreign Affairs’ Best of 2014 Compilation
Walter Russell Mead
Ravenel B. Curry III Distinguished Fellow in Strategy and Statesmanship
Associate Director, Center for the Future of Liberal Society
In the MediaView all
Walter Russell Mead testifies before British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, May 15, 2018
Walter Russell Mead on NPR's All Things Considered, May 1, 2018
Walter Russell Mead on the Global Politico Podcast, January 22, 2018
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