America the unexceptional: The foreign policy the American people want

The idea of “American exceptionalism” — and the worldwide military dominance that often comes with it — has long been seen as an untouchable third rail in U.S. politics. But recent polls from the Eurasia Group Foundation and the Chicago Council show that Americans, especially younger Americans, are increasingly skeptical of the idea that America is exceptional or needs to police the world. Join the Quincy Institute’s webinar on the public’s declining belief in American exceptionalism and the rise in their preference for a foreign policy based on military restraint. Why do Americans now want to be more like other countries? What does the changing electorate mean for future U.S. foreign policy? Trevor Thrall of the CATO Institute will moderate as Eurasia Group Foundation senior fellow Mark Hannah, Chicago Council senior fellow Dina Smeltz the Quincy Institute’s own Stephen Wertheim discuss these important topics. The panel will take place on November 18 from 1-2 pm ET.


Mark Hannah

Mark Hannah, Ph.D. is a senior fellow at the Eurasia Group Foundation, where he pursues a less militarized U.S. foreign policy. He is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a political partner at the Truman National Security Project. He is the creator and host of the foreign policy podcast, “None Of The Above.” Hannah teaches at New York University and previously taught at The New School and Queens College. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Politico Magazine, TIME, USA Today, PBS, Foreign Policy, NBC News, and elsewhere. His research has been cited widely, including by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and Foreign Affairs. He is the author of The Best 'Worst President' - What the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama (Dey Street/HarperCollins, 2016). Hannah studied at the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.), Columbia University (M.S.), and the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (Ph.D.).

Dina Smeltz

Dina Smeltz joined the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow on public opinion and foreign policy in 2012. She oversees the Council’s well-known annual survey of American attitudes toward foreign policy and has authored and coauthored many of the analyses based on that work. She also directs the Council’s collaboration with Russian, Mexican, Canadian, Australian, and East Asian research organizations. Smeltz has published commentary on public opinion and international issues in The Washington Post, RealClearWorld, Foreign Policy, and the Council’s survey blog (Running Numbers). As the director of research in the Middle East and South Asia division (2001-2007) and analyst/director of the European division (1992-2004) in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the US State Department's Office of Research, Smeltz conducted over a hundred surveys in these regions and regularly briefed senior government officials on key research findings. Smeltz has an MA from the University of Michigan and a BS from Pennsylvania State University.

Stephen Wertheim

Stephen Wertheim is Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is also a Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. Wertheim is the author of Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy (Harvard University Press, 2020) and has published scholarly articles on such topics as grand strategy, international law, world organization, and humanitarian intervention. He regularly writes about current events in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. He received a PhD in History from Columbia in 2015.

Trevor Thrall

Trevor Thrall is a senior fellow for the Cato Institute’s Defense and Foreign Policy Department, with expertise in international security and the politics of American national security. Thrall is also an associate professor at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government where he teaches courses in international security. Thrall’s research includes work on shifting American attitudes toward foreign policy, the role of arms sales in U.S. foreign policy, and grand strategy. Most recently he is the co‐​author, with John Glaser and Christopher A. Preble, of Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover) (Cato Institute, 2019). He also edited, with Ben Friedman, U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint (Routledge, 2018). Prior to working at George Mason Thrall taught at the University of Michigan‐​Dearborn where he directed the MPP and MPA programs. Thrall holds a PhD in political science from M.I.T.