February 22, 2005

Rice Chooses Cornell Grad

Print More

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Stephen Krasner ’63 to the position of director of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department last week. Serving as a policy advisor, Krasner will work firsthand with Rice.

According to the official website, the Policy Planning Staff’s mission is to “take a longer term, strategic view of global trends and frame recommendations for the Secretary of State to advance U.S. interests and American values.”

The Policy Planning Staff’s work includes analysis, special projects, policy coordination and articulation, liaison and planning talks. According to Peter J. Katzenstein, W.S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of International Studies and a close friend of Krasner’s, one of the new appointee’s responsibilities will be to define the mission of the office.

Krasner has had previous government experience as a member of the Policy Planning Staff in 2001 and as director for governance and development at the National Security Council in 2002, working on the Millennium Challenge Account.

The Policy Planning Staff was started in 1947, with George Kennan as the first director. Kennan developed the foreign policy of containment, the main U.S. policy implemented toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Other former Directors of Policy Planning Staff include Paul Wolfowitz ’65, Paul Nitze, Anthony Lake, Dennis Ross and Richard Haass.

“He should bring the proper qualities to the Policy Planning Staff Directorship — intelligence and the ability to take a longer-range view,” said Walter F. LaFeber, the Andrew H. and James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor, history, who knew Dr. Krasner as a student. A history major at Cornell, Krasner went on to get a PhD in political science at Harvard, MA in international affairs at Columbia and teach at Stanford University in the Political Sciences department.

“He was a brilliant student, one of many,” said Theodore J. Lowi, the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions, government, who taught Krasner at Cornell. According to Lowi, Krasner was afraid of, and had to walk out of, horror movies; “that’s why I can trust him in foreign policy, he hates horror,” Lowi said.

Krasner’s research and interests include sovereignty, American foreign policy, the political determinants of international economic relations and failed states.

Failed states, explained Katzenstein, need help from outside organizations. In addition to lacking stability, they have the potential to be a real problem for the U.S. because they could provide safe havens for terrorists.

At the time of his appointment, Krasner was Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, and Deputy Director of the Stanford Institute for International Studies. Krasner and his new boss, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, were both professors in the Political Sciences Department at Stanford.

Archived article by VANESSA HOFFMAN
Sun Staff Writer