AMERICA IN THE WORLD: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

America in the World

On August 26th, 2020, Robert B. Zoellick introduced his new book in a virtual event hosted by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation in partnership with the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

The Public Servant

Andrew Natsios, who serves as the Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, moderated the conversation. The duo discussed the many historic years Mr. Zoellick spent as a public servant. His government service began in 1985 at the Department of Treasury where he served in several positions. Most importantly, he served as Counselor to Secretary James Baker. In August 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed Zoellick White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President until President Bush departed the White House. After spending a few years in business and academia, Mr. Zoellick returned to the political spectrum as a foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush. In 2001, Zoellick became a U.S. Trade Representative. In 2005, he became Deputy Secretary of State. Finally, in 2007, President Bush appointed him President of the World Bank. He remained in that position until 2012. 

Zoellick’s extensive history led to a discussion on current events and the relationship the United States has with Russia and China. The conversation inescapably turned to the pragmatic diplomacy of President Bush. “Bush 41 was the paradigm of an Alliance and Global Leader,” Zoellick stated. “It’s respectable to have imperfect results in a far from perfect world. Every accomplishment you have doesn’t mean that the world is going to be peaceful and prosperous for all time.”

About the Book

Released in early August 2020, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy applies history to the American experience and American ideas on foreign policy. The book presents five themes that focus on people and episodes that exemplify the practical work of diplomacy. Zoellick exclaimed, “[The book is] partly trying to also help people understand the legacy that President Bush left for a longer time period. I hope that one of the benefits of the book was that it will help that part of his reputation as well.”

Mr. Zoellick concluded the evening by discussing what his book might mean for future generations. “One of the reasons I wrote the book was for younger generations to read a little bit about this history so they can apply these ideas to the next generation’s problems.”


Robert B. Zoellick’s book AMERICA IN THE WORLD: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy can be purchased through the George Bush Museum Store. For a limited time, those who purchase the book from our museum store will receive a signed bookplate from Mr. Zoellick.

800px Zoellick, Robert (official portrait 2008)


Robert B. Zoellick has served as Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, and Counselor of the State Department; Ambassador and U.S. Trade Representative; Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury; Deputy Chief of Staff at the White House; and President of the World Bank.  His experience spans six U.S. Presidencies-during the Cold War, in its closing chapter, and into the first decades of the 21st Century. Zoellick is now a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he contributes to the “Applied History” project.

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