Former CFR head: US the greatest threat to global security

Published 14 July 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Richard N. Haass, longtime head of perhaps the most influential US geopolitical think tank, CFR.

Richard Haass recently stepped down as president of one of the most influential geopolitical think tanks in the U.S. and the world, the Council on Foreign Relations.

But after a long career in foreign policy and global strategy, it is not world developments that concern Haass the most. The danger that keeps him up at night is now the United States itself: “It’s us”, he said in an interview with the New York Times.

Richard N. Haass believes that the collapse of the American political system means that the internal threat now exceeds the external one, and points out that the country has become the greatest source of instability for the U.S. itself and the world.

Our domestic political situation is not only one that others don’t want to emulate, he said in a recent interview. But I also think that it’s introduced a degree of unpredictability and a lack of reliability that’s really poisonous. For America’s ability to function successfully in the world, I mean, it makes it very hard for our friends to depend on us.

In his recent book, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens, he outlines advice such as “Be informed,” “Remain civil,” and “Put country first” as ways for Americans to heal their own society.

Despite periods of division and internal political strife in the U.S. in the last century, with Haass citing McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal, he believes the current situation is considerably worse.

These were not threats to the system, the fabric. That’s why I think this is more significant.

Haass now wants to expand the message of his book and help refocus the country on the core values of the Declaration of Independence as the document’s 250th anniversary approaches in three years.

When I go around speaking about this topic, people know there’s something wrong with American democracy he says. They know it’s going off the rails. And we may not necessarily agree on how to fix it. But there’s a real openness to the conversation.


Facts: Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an influential globalist lobbying group that has often been described as a de facto permanent government-like institution in the United States. For many years, the CFR has brought together the most influential politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties to discuss policy issues with financial and business leaders.

Richard Nathan Haass, born in 1951, is an American diplomat who has been Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003, a position he left in June. Previously, he was advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department.