Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs
Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies
Ambassador Eric Edelman, Practitioner in Residence at Johns Hopkins SAIS and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Moderater: Thomas Mahnken, Senior Research Professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS and President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
February 3, 2017
The Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies hosted a discussion and book signing with author Eliot Cohen on his new release, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force. Cohen explained that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy, while acknowledging that the United States must be careful about why, when, and how it uses force. Panelists discussed how military power, even as only a silent threat and not in action, is key to effective diplomacy. The strategic importance of the United States’ alliances was a point of emphasis for the panelists, who expressed concern that America's commitment to these alliances is being questioned.
In the question and answer portion, Cohen explained that his book was completed before the 2016 US elections roiled our national politics. In light of growing populist and anti-globalist movements in the US and abroad, he shared updated analysis on the challenges of using military might and soft power to sustain the global order.