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Stephen Schlesinger
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Stephen Schlesinger is an Fellow at the Century Foundation in New York City. He is the former Director of the World Policy Institute at the New School University in New York City (1997-2006). Mr. Schlesinger received his BA from Harvard University and his JD from Harvard Law School. In the early 1970s, he edited and published The New Democrat Magazine. Thereafter he spent four years as a staff writer at Time Magazine. For twelve years, he served as Governor Mario Cuomo’s speechwriter and foreign policy advisor. In the mid 1990s, he worked at the United Nations at Habitat, the agency dealing with global cities. He is coeditor of "The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger Jr." published by Random Hiouse in 2013 and of Journals 1952-2000 by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. published by Penguin in 2007. He is also the author of three books, including Act of Creation: The Founding of The United Nations which won the 2004 Harry S. Truman Book Award; Bitter Fruit: The Story of the U.S. Coup in Guatemala (with Stephen Kinzer), which was listed as a New York Times "Notable" book for 1982 and has sold over 100,000 copies; and The New Reformers. He is a specialist on the foreign policy of the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations. He is a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation Magazine, and The New York Observer. In 1978, he was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He has appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, "The Daily Rundown" with Chuck Todd, The Today Show, CNN, Fox TV, NPR and other media outlets. His website is: He can be reached at

Entries by Stephen Schlesinger

Today's Empire Builders

(19) Comments | Posted November 1, 2014 | 8:08 AM

Empire builders appear to be back in style. They are with us today both in reality and in fantasy. They present the world with the same dilemma that has troubled victims in the past -- how does the rest of the planet deal with them.

One of the recurring...

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Turkish Leader Erdogan's Misstep in NYC

(111) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 9:11 PM

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has a problem. Through his battles at home in recent years to ward off criminal investigations of his administration, his insistence on dismissing wiretaps that show he and his aides involved in backroom threats against opponents, his decision to fire or imprison police...

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NATO Sobers Up

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 8:27 PM

Last week's NATO meeting in Wales showed an unexpected and sobering realism on the most pressing issue it has faced in some years, namely the Ukrainian crisis. Despite many pressures on the body to take some sort of decisive action to counter the Russian threat to Ukraine -- beyond sanctions...

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Obama's Hidden-Hand Foreign Policy

(103) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 10:18 AM

Over six years of his presidency, President Obama has pursued a down-sized foreign policy that has mixed diplomacy, sanctions and force in varying measures to protect American national security interests abroad -- without involving US ground forces. Obama began this approach from Day 1 of his presidency when he negotiated...

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A Few Words of Praise for the UN

(2) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 11:07 AM

When the world goes into crisis, the United Nations, despite its sometimes fitful reputation, magically reappears as a place of last resort for solving its most pressing problems. In the two major crises that have faced the planet over the last few weeks -- the tragedy of the Malaysian Flight...

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What to Do About Robert Kagan?

(3) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 7:05 PM

I am befuddled what to make of the piece in this week's New York Times on Robert Kagan. The "so-called" historian of foreign affairs and noted neo-conservative advocate and champion of the now tottering Iraqi invasion of 2003 is suddenly our newest foreign policy savant apparently because he wrote a...

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Iraq's Final Hours

(112) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 11:46 AM

The United States has already sacrificed enough of its soldiers and treasury for Iraq during its eight years of involvement in that nation's so-called struggle for freedom. From the beginning, the war was based on a falsehood, namely the notion that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction. There turned out...

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What's So Terrible About Obama's Foreign Policy?

(115) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 9:06 AM

The latest round of attacks on President Obama's foreign policy by his right-wing critics are ginning up the notion that Obama has lost credibility because of his failures to resolve the Ukraine crisis. In Op-Ed pieces, congressional statements, issues papers and media appearances, neo-conservatives and hard-line Republicans have hammered Obama...

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Randy Mastro Strikes Out

(23) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 9:11 PM

You know that you've failed when a Republican like Joseph Scarborough, host of the MSNBC show Morning Joe, says on his program that Randy Mastro, the so-called "independent" lawyer investigating Gov. Christie's bridge-closing scandal, sounded like Baghdad Bob at his press conference Thursday, and the political writer, Al Hunt --...

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Finally, the UN Exercises Moral Authority

(1) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 3:37 PM

In the last 48 hours or so, the United Nations has acted in ways its founding fathers would have hoped for when it wrote the UN Charter. In the face of immense pressures, several of its organs have taken public positions on controversial issues that have advanced the goals of...

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Ban Ki Moon Is MIA on Crimea

(29) Comments | Posted March 21, 2014 | 5:24 PM

UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon's trip to Moscow to meet with President Putin yesterday was, at best, an exercise in pro forma UN diplomacy. It seems mostly designed to show to UN member-states that Secretary-General was acting expeditiously to resolve the Crimean crisis but without really advancing any innovative or...

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The Rogue CIA

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 12:53 PM

How surprised can anybody really be that the CIA surreptitiously attempted to thwart an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the agency's torture of al Qaeda militants? The CIA is a body that has long believed that it can act unilaterally without consideration for normal constitutional principles or democratic...

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Obama Borrows From the JFK Playbook on Ukraine

(35) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 12:40 PM

President Obama appears to be using a strategic approach to the Ukrainian situation that is similar in many respects to that employed by his Democratic Party predecessor, President John F. Kennedy, in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. In both cases, the two leaders were dealing with secret, unexpected, armed missions...

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Mr. Mayor -- They're Not Going to Give You a Break!

(26) Comments | Posted February 23, 2014 | 4:08 PM

Mayor De Blasio has been in office just about eight weeks -- and you'd think he was already on the skids after reading the NYC newspapers and watching local TV news broadcasts. He's been assailed for the ways he eats pizza (sometimes with a knife and a fork), for not...

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Democrats Still Solid for Obama

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 8:11 AM

I appeared on Al Jazeera America's morning TV news show yesterday and was asked about what Democrats think of Obama as he enters the second year of his second term. Most observers, I said, are keenly aware of the pitfalls of a second term -- Eisenhower's U-2 incident that blew...

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Five Angry Letters to the Editor (EXCERPT)

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 6:56 PM

As revealed in The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, Democratic Party activist, and presidential adviser (1917-2007) wielded his pen as a literary weapon -- for criticism, for influence, for chiding, for self-advancement, for righting wrongs and for waving the flag of progressivism. In the following letters from the...

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The Schlesinger Legacy

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2013 | 9:38 AM

My father, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., spent his life in a struggle to help shape a liberal society in the United States. As a public intellectual, a Democratic Party stalwart, and a renowned American historian, he plunged into the ideological battles of his day in an effort to push for progressive...

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Fresh Hope for Change in Cuba

(6) Comments | Posted October 22, 2013 | 10:37 AM

Yoani Sanchez, the 38-year-old blogger from Cuba, received her long-delayed Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia University last night. She had originally earned the honor in 2009 for her fearless reports on conditions in Cuba but the Cuban government barred her from traveling to New York City to get it....

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The UN's Re-emergence on the World Scene

(5) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 3:08 PM

Undoubtedly the UN in the last few weeks has emerged strengthened as an universal security organization by the events in Iran and Syria despite warnings about its imminent demise. But there is nothing new about the UN's emergence as a peacemaker. Like a fire station, it often remains silent for...

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Obama: Every Country Is Exceptional

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 9:37 AM

Given the withering critique from Russia's President Putin in his recent op-ed piece in the New York Times about President's Obama's claim that America is an "exceptional" nation, I think it is worth pointing out that Obama never claimed the mantle of "exceptionalism" solely for the United States, but has...

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