Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: American Power in a Fractured World and Global Instability


Session 1: American Power in a Fractured World
For the first session, Professor Paul Kennedy discussed the contemporary role in the 21st Century global community. His presentation touched on the themes particularly relevant to the international stage: ideological divisions, strategic decision making, globalization, and the implications and consequences of imperial diplomacy and hegemony.

Session 2: Global Instability
In the second session, global instability was the topic of focus. In the United States, the focus of concern is often threats to national security. Issues pertinent to global security and stability, however, are much more broad and numerous. Issues such as poverty, financial crises, disease, diminishing natural resources, weapons proliferation, unaccountable governance, and religious, ethnic, or nationalist conflict are especially relevant to global stability. Professors Tim Borstelmann, Paul Kennedy, Craig MacPhee, and David Rapkin discussed and debated a crucial question: What is the most important threat to world security and stability today?

This event was held in conjunction with the By the People Citizen Deliberation.

It was co-sponsored by PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications/NETV, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Research, and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.

Seminar Leader, Session 1
Paul Kennedy is currently the J. Richardson Dilworth professor of History and director of International Security Studies at Yale University, and internationally known for his writings and commentaries on global political, economic, and strategic issues.

Born in June 1945 in the northern-English town of Wallsend, Northumberland, Professor Kennedy obtained his B.S. at Newcastle University and his doctorate at the University of Oxford. He is a former fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, and of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, Bonn. Professor Kennedy holds many honorary degrees and fellowships, including that of the Royal Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He was made Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000 for services to History and elected a fellow of the British Academy in June 2003.

Paul Kennedy is on the editorial board of numerous scholarly journals and writes for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and many foreign-language newspapers and magazines. His monthly column on current global issues is distributed worldwide by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media Services.

Professor Kennedy is the author and editor of 13 books, including Strategy and Diplomacy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, The War Plans of the Great Powers, and The Realities Behind Diplomacy. His best-known work is The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, which provoked an immense debate upon its appearance in 1988 and has since been translated into over 20 languages. In 1991, he edited a collection entitled Grand Strategies in War and Peace. His latest book, published simultaneously across the globe, is Preparing for the Twenty-first Century. He helped draft a report for an international commission on “The United Nations in its Second Half-Century,” which was prepared for the 50th anniversary UN debate on how to improve the world organization.

Professor Kennedy has co-edited two large collections of papers relating to contemporary strategic issues: the first, entitled The Pivotal States: A New Framework for U.S. Policy in the Developing World, was published by W.W. Norton in 1999; and the second, entitled From War to Peace: Altered Strategic Landscapes in the Twentieth Century, was published by Yale University Press in November 2000. He contributed a chapter to The Age of Terror, an edited collection published by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. He is presently writing a book on the evolution of ideas about the UN, and another on international affairs in the twentieth century.

Seminar Leaders, Session 2
Tim Borstelmann is the Elwood N. and Katherine Thompson Professor of Modern World History at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. After graduating from the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, and receiving a B.A. in History from Stanford University, he worked as an environmental lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and then taught for four years in high schools in Washington State and Colorado. He returned to Durham to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Duke and taught in the Duke History Department for one semester before joining the History Department at Cornell University. Professor Borstelmann has authored or co-authored books on modern U.S. history and international relations, including The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena.

Craig MacPhee is the Paul C. Burmeister College Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has authored books on the medical equipment industry, foreign direct investment, and international trade in steel. His forthcoming book on the economics of the transition from communism to capitalism is entitled Roll Over Joe Stalin: Struggling with Post-Soviet Reform. The book is based on Professor MacPhee’s recent experience as chief economist with the University of Maryland Center on Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector in Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia (1998-99), and as senior economic advisor to the Georgian Ministry of Finance (1999-2001). Professor MacPhee has served as a consultant to the United States Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the Overseas Development Council, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization of American States, the United States Information Agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the United Nations. He represented the United Nations in consultations with the Commission of the European Communities in Brussels and in the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations in Geneva.

David P. Rapkin is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, where he does research and teaches in the fields of world politics and political economy, with emphasis on East Asia. His recent publications and ongoing research involve governance of the IMF, the prospects for a transition war with China in the 21st century, and how the US blocks global collective action. He is also a frequent visiting professor at Tsukuba University in Japan. His recent publications include Power Transition, Challenge, and the (Re) Emergence of China in International Interactions, 2003; Is East Asia Under-Represented in the IMF in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 2003; The United States, Japan, and the power to block: The APEC and AMF Cases in The Pacific Review, 2001; and a chapter in William Thompson’s 1999 edited book, Great Power Rivalries, entitled The Emergence and Intensification of U.S.-Japan Rivalry in the Early Twentieth Century.

In the news:
Yale Professor Talks of Threats to America. (2004-10-11). Daily Nebraskan