In the final week of the Political Studies Program, fellows will turn to the study of America and the world.

Fellows will consider the multiple, competing foreign policy crises America faces today – from great-power competition to authoritarian alternatives to democracy and other scourges that were presumed to have been safely consigned to the ash heap of history.

Image Credit: Globe, Ryan Gacayan, via Flickr

Vance Serchuk interviews Gen. Petraeus on leadership & biography.


Matthew Kroenig

Matthew Kroenig is a Professor in the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. A 2019 study in Perspectives on Politics ranked him as one of the top 25 most-cited political scientists of his generation. He has served in several positions in the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community in the Bush and Obama administrations.

Vance Serchuk

Vance Serchuk is Executive Director of the KKR Global Institute and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining KKR, Mr. Serchuk served for six years as the senior national security advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut).

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session


  • Robert Kagan, The World America Made (2013)
  • Matthew Kroenig and Ash Jain, Present at the Re-Creation, Atlantic Council, (2019), pp. 1–29
  • Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, White House, March 2021
  • Fact Sheet: 2022 National Defense Strategy, U.S. Department of Defense, March 28, 2022

Discussion Questions:

  • What are the key features of the U.S.-led international system?
  • What have been the results for the American people and the world?
  • Would an alternative system have produced better results?


  • H. R. McMaster, Battlegrounds, Chs. 3–4
  • Matthew Kroenig, The Return of Great Power Rivalry, Ch. 12 (entire book optional)

Discussion Questions:

  • Is the U.S. government correct in characterizing China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security?
  • Do the United States and its allies have a clear strategy to compete with China?
  • How could U.S. and allied strategy be strengthened?


  • H. R. McMaster, Battlegrounds, Chs. 1–2
  • Matthew Kroenig, The Return of Great Power Rivalry, Ch. 11
  • Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development, February 4, 2022

Discussion Questions:

  • Did the Russian invasion of Ukraine usher in a new phase of great-power politics?
  • How should the West revise the European security architecture?
  • Can Washington deal with Russia and China at the same time, and if so, how?


  • H. R. McMaster, Battlegrounds, Chs. 7–10
  • Matthew Kroenig, “Time to Attack Iran,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 2012)

Discussion Questions:

  • Why does Washington oppose a nuclear-armed Iran?
  • Was the Iran deal successful in stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions?
  • How can the U.S. and its allies and partners improve strategy and policy toward the Middle East?


  • Matthew Kroenig, “The Special Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons,” Issue Brief, Atlantic Council, September 2021
  • Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr., “The New Nuclear Age,” Foreign Affairs (May/June 2022)

Discussion Questions:

  • How has great-power competition changed the deterrence environment for nuclear weapons?
  • How should the U.S. meet the challenge of “strategic tripolarity,” where it faces two near-peer nuclear powers?
  • Is limited nuclear war more likely? How can the U.S. deter such a war, and what options does it need to fight one?

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