In this episode of Talks at GS, Robert Zoellick, former president of the World Bank, discusses his book, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and the traditions that have defined American foreign policy throughout its history.
On how Alexander Hamilton shaped American foreign policy: “I think what was most striking about Hamilton… [was] he had a sense of how the pieces related to the whole and how the whole could be greater than the sum of its parts. So, he actually looked at the Bank of England and its creation, but he realized that he wanted to try to achieve not only a strong credit for the new US dollar, but the larger political and social and economic ends that grew from that… And so, he understands something that sometimes Americans take for granted today, which is the credit of the United States, is a huge asset, gives us a huge amount of power.”
On the US-China relationship: “I think from the United States’ point of view, your strength always starts at home. So, the strength of our own society I believe that's related to our openness to people, goods, ideas, capital technology, our university system. Second, our alliance and our partnership relationships… that'll make us stronger and, frankly, give us more leverage in dealing with China. And frankly, I think there are still forces within China that recognizes that the strong state-owned sector is actually going to be a limit for them.”