September 26, 1958 (age 57)
Yale University, Harvard University and American University
Project for the New American Century
Frederick Kagan, brother
Robert Kagan autograph-2.jpg
Robert Kagan (born September 26, 1958) is an American historian, author, columnist, and foreign-policy commentator. Kagan is often characterized as a leading neoconservative, but prefers to call himself a "liberal interventionist".
A co-founder of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, he is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Kagan has been a foreign policy adviser to U.S. Republican presidential candidates as well as Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, when Clinton was Secretary of State under President Obama. He writes a monthly column on world affairs for the Washington Post, and is a contributing editor at The New Republic.
Personal life and education
Robert Kagan is the son of historian Donald Kagan, who is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University and a specialist in the history of the Peloponnesian War. His brother, Frederick, is a military historian and author. Kagan has a BA in history (1980) from Yale, where in 1979 he had been Editor in Chief of the Yale Political Monthly, a periodical that he is credited with reviving. He later earned an MPP from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD in American history from American University in Washington, D.C.
Kagan is married to the American diplomat Victoria Nuland, who serves as Assistant Secretary of European and Eurasian Affairs in the Barack Obama administration.
Ideas and career
In 1983, Robert Kagan was foreign policy advisor to New York Republican Representative Jack Kemp. From 1984–86, under the administration of Ronald Reagan, he was a speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz and a member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. From 1986–1988 he served in the State Department Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Kagan co-founded the now-defunct Project for the New American Century with William Kristol in 1997. From 1998 until August, 2010, Kagan was a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was appointed senior fellow in the Center on United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution in September 2010.
During the 2008 presidential campaign he served as foreign policy advisor to John McCain, the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.
Kagan has also served on the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board under Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. He is also a member of the board of directors for The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).
Andrew J. Bacevich referred to Kagan as "the chief neoconservative foreign-policy theorist" in reviewing Kagan's book The Return of history and the end of dreams. A profile in the The Guardian described Kagan as being "uncomfortable" with the 'neocon' title, and stated that "he insists he is 'liberal' and 'progressive' in a distinctly American tradition". In 2008, Kagan wrote an article titled "Neocon Nation: Neoconservatism, c. 1776" for World Affairs, describing the main components of American neoconservatism as a belief in the rectitude of applying US moralism to the world stage, support for the US to act alone, the promotion of American-style liberty and democracy in other countries, the belief in American hegemony, the confidence in US military power, and a distrust of international institutions. Kagan describes his foreign-policy views as "deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans".
In 2006, Kagan wrote that Russia and China are the greatest "challenge liberalism faces today": "Nor do Russia and China welcome the liberal West's efforts to promote liberal politics around the globe, least of all in regions of strategic importance to them. ... Unfortunately, al-Qaeda may not be the only challenge liberalism faces today, or even the greatest."
Kagan is a columnist for the Washington Post and a contributing editor at The New Republic and the Weekly Standard. He has also written for the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, World Affairs, and Policy Review.