Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Chas Freeman ─ America in Distress: The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change

Thursday, February 20, 2020

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

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In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice.  Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior.  The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States.  With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not. 

China Initiative
War or Peace

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America’s Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat’s Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.