Has the United States been a force for liberty around the world? Should it be? And if so, how? To answer these questions, Christopher A. Preble traces the history of U.S. foreign policy from the American Founding to the present, examining the ideas that have animated it, asking whether America's policy choices have made the world safer and freer, and considering the impact of those choices on freedom at home.
Preble explains the need to question the assumptions that drive American foreign policy in the modern era―especially the assumption that American politicians can and should forcibly remake the international order to suit their desires. He asks readers to consider whether America and the world would be safer and freer if U.S. foreign policy incorporated libertarian insights about the limitations of government power.
Christopher Preble serves as co-director of the New American Engagement Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. In this role, he leads a team of scholars who challenge prevailing assumptions surrounding US foreign policy, and who offer a range of policy options that go beyond the use of force and coercion. His own work focuses on the history of US foreign policy, contemporary US grand strategy and military force posture, alliance relations, and the intersection of trade and national security.
Preble is the author of four books, including Peace, War, and Liberty: Understanding U.S. Foreign Policy (Cato Institute, 2019); and The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free (Cornell University Press, 2009). He co-authored, with John Glaser and A. Trevor Thrall, Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse and How We Can Recover (Cato Institute, 2019), and he has also co-edited several other books and monographs, including A Dangerous World? Threat Perception and U.S. National Security (Cato Institute, 2014), with John Mueller. His work has appeared in major publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, Survival, Foreign Policy, National Review, and The National Interest, and he is a frequent guest on television and radio.
In addition to his work at the Atlantic Council, Preble co-hosts the “Net Assessment” podcast in the War on the Rocks network, and he teaches the US Foreign Policy elective at the University of California, Washington Center. He has also taught history at St. Cloud State University and Temple University. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Before joining the Atlantic Council, Preble was vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute from 2011 to 2020, and director of foreign policy studies from 2003 to 2011. Preble was a commissioned officer in the US Navy, and served aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CG-47) from 1990 to 1993.
Preble graduated from George Washington University in 1989 and received a PhD in history from Temple University in 2002.