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Founded in 1951, The Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations (CCFR) is a civic, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of informed discussion of American foreign policy and international affairs.

It has achieved a distinguished record of bringing together concerned citizens in our area with leading authorities on world developments. The hallmark of CCFR is the creation of opportunities for in-depth exchanges on major international issues that increasingly affect our lives.

Professor Jeremi Suri

"The Impossible Presidency and Trump’s Impossible First Year"

Thursday December 14,2017

The American President is the most powerful person in the world; he is Commander in Chief of the largest and most sophisticated military ever, as well as the head of a large and complex bureaucracy that regulates our financial systems, our transportation systems, our environmental regulations, and so much more.  The US President can influence more people than any other figure in history. And yet, our speaker for December, Jeremi Suri, argues that, despite all this power, the position of the President has become impossible to execute well. Professor Suri will discuss how the presidency has changed and how leadership and diplomacy in today’s world, particularly as practiced by Donald Trump, is more challenging than in the past.
 
Donald Trump was elected in part because of great dissatisfaction in the country with how government was performing, or not performing. Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington, DC, repeal the current healthcare law, reduce our trade deficits, reform our tax code, and grow our economy at a rate  much  higher  than  in  recent years. Almost a year into his presidency Trump has failed to deliver on any of these promises despite Republican control of both houses of Congress. His foreign policy objectives of renegotiating trade agreements, terminating the Iran nuclear agreement, and ending the North Korean nuclear program, all seem to be mired in difficulties; and his initiatives appear to have alienated many of our international friends. Is all of this difficulty due to the challenges of an “impossible presidency” or is it attributable to Mr. Trump’s approach to leading?
 
In today’s world is it impossible to please the electorate while at the same time serving the best interests of the country? And is the job too complex and overwhelming for anyone?
 
Our speaker in December is Professor Jeremi Suri of the University of Texas at Austin. Suri is the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs and a Professor of Public Affairs and History. Prof. Suri joined the University of Texas in 2011 after 10 years at the University of Wisconsin where he was the E. Gordon Fox Professor of History and the Director of UW-Madison’s European Union Center of Excellence.
 
Prof. Suri is the editor and author of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy. His most recent book is “The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall  of  America’s Highest Office.” His other books include “Henry Kissinger and the American Century” and “Foreign Policy Breakthroughs: Cases in Successful Diplomacy” (with Ambassador Robert Hutchings). In “The Impossible Presidency,” Suri traces changes in the office of the President and argues that the power and responsibilities of today’s presidency make the job too huge for any leader. Suri also writes for numerous newspapers and magazines including the NY Times, Washington Post, and Foreign Affairs.
 
Professor Suri earned a Ph.D. in history at Yale, an MA from Ohio University, and an AB from Stanford University.
 
 6:00 Cocktails 6:45 Dinner 7:45 Address and Discussion
 

Meal A: Garlic and Herb Shrimp
Meal B: Filet Mignon
Meal C: Vegetable Lasagna