Ronald W. Pruessen has served as the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy’s Director for International Partnerships & Research and as Chair of the Department of History. His primary research and teaching interests are in 20th-century U.S. foreign policy and international relations. Early work focused on the Cold War (e.g., John Foster Dulles: To the Threshold, 1888-1952), but attention to both transatlantic relations and U.S.-China tensions led him toward research on the over-arching global perspectives of post-1945 U.S. policymakers as well as the historical roots of “globalization.” He has also developed a strong interest in the relevance of historical research and analysis to the definition of current global challenges and the design of policies to address them.
Current research projects include:
"Cake Walks with Tigers: Choosing War and Making Mistakes, From John Adams to Donald Trump". The book-length study places the Iraq and Afghanistan wars into a longer-term trajectory of misguided decisions, considering both the consequences and the sources of problematic policy-making. Particular attention is paid to a penchant for amnesia in American leaders and citizens – a resistance to seriously engaging with historic experiences when confronting new challenges.