Carnegie Mellon University

CIRP Policy Forum Fall 2019


David McCormick, "Economic Statecraft and National Security"

Tuesday, September 10, 2019; Simmons B, Tepper Quad, 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

David McCormick is Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, responsible for overseeing the firm’s strategy, governance, and business operations in partnership with Co-CEO Eileen Murray. David joined Bridgewater in 2009 and previously served as the firm’s President, before becoming Co-CEO in 2016. Before joining Bridgewater, David was the U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration during the global financial crisis. Prior to that, he served in senior posts on the National Security Council and in the Department of Commerce.


Ariane Tabatabai, "Iranian Global Relations: Strategic Thinking in the 21st Century"

Tuesday, September 17, 2019; Margaret Morrison 103, 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Ariane M. Tabatabai is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation and an adjunct senior research scholar at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She is also a Truman national security fellow and a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) term member. 


Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, "Understanding and Countering Russian Social Media Influence"

Tuesday, October 29, 2019; Margaret Morrison 103, 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

In January 2017, the US intelligence community released a public report detailing a Russian influence campaign, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to disrupt the US presidential election. Part of a larger multifaceted approach, this campaign included social media-based disinformation spread by both automated bots and paid trolls. Russia's strategy was to push several conflicting narratives simultaneously, deepening existing divisions within American society and degrading trust in Western institutions and the democratic process.

While it is unknown what impact the campaign might have had on the 2016 presidential election, or on individual opinions, it is clear that Russia's efforts reached many Americans through a variety of social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The Russian "disinformation chain" that directs these campaigns starts from the very top — from Russian leadership, to Russian organs and proxies, through amplification channels such as social media platforms, and finally to US media consumers. This presentation will categorize and analyze different approaches and policy options to respond to the specific threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States. Dr. Bodine-Baron will also present a method to map and assess the information environment, using a specific example of Russian propaganda in Eastern Europe.


John Mueller, "Has the United States been necessary for 'Pax Americana'? Peace as an independent variable"

Wednesday, November 6, 2019; Margaret Morrison 103, 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Despite some notable setbacks, there has been a substantial increase worldwide in economic development and political freedom since 1945, and major war has been avoided. Credit for this is often given to policies and efforts by the United States. However, the positive developments would likely mostly have happened anyway.

The US did keep South Korea independent, and it may also have helped stabilize Europe and Japan after 1945 (though most of that was done by the locals). But the costly Cold War policy of deterrence was not necessary, and international Communism mostly collapsed because of its own internal inadequacies, not because of containment policy. Gradual agreement that international trade should be more free and open was not an American invention, and the spread of democracy did not require much participation by the US.

For the most part, world order developed not from the machinations of the reigning superpower, but from the peace—or aversion to international war—that was embraced especially by developed countries.


Michael Horowitz, "Power, Ethics, and International Competition in an Age of Artificial Intelligence"

Tuesday, November 19, 2019; Margaret Morrison 103, 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

World leaders, CEOs, and academics have suggested that a revolution in artificial intelligence is upon us. If they are right, what will advances in artificial intelligence mean for international competition and the balance of power? How will it influence moral and ethical issues surrounding international politics? This presentation discusses how developments in artificial intelligence (AI) — advanced, narrow applications in particular — could influence power and international politics. As a potentially general purpose technology like electricity or the combustion engine, AI could have wide-ranging consequences for the world. This is particularly true given that the locus of innovation is coming from the private sector, not the defense world. What will this mean for international politics and topics ranging from first mover advantages to ethics and war to the balance of power?