Peter J. Katzenstein is the Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. Recently, Katzenstein was ranked by The Economist as the most influential scholar in international political economy.

Born on February 17, 1945, Katzenstein was educated in his native Germany. Receiving degrees from the London School of Economics, Swarthmore College, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, Katzenstein’s contributions to the study of public diplomacy have been numerous. Much of his work addresses issues of political economy, security, and culture in both Europe and Asia, with a developed focus on Germany and Japan. His past work has brought new insight on the impact of domestic political structures on foreign policy and the influence of worldviews and causal beliefs on decision-making. Katzenstein’s current research interests focus on concepts of anti-Americanism, religion and popular culture, with further work on world regionalism and German politics.

Public Diplomacy

In 2006, Katzenstein, along with Princeton University Professor Robert Keohane, will release their latest publication Anti-Americanisms in World Politics. On May 15th, 2006, Mr. Katzenstein and Mr. Keohane joined a panel discussion on their latest work with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. In defining anti-Americanism, Keohane offered that, “in ordinary parlance [anti-Americanism is] simply the expression of unfavorable attitudes toward the United States, as in the Pew polls that are so famous. The problem is that this really conflates two very different sorts of views. One is negative opinions about what the United States does -- for example, opposition to American policy in a variety of ways -- and the other side of it would be bias; that is, very strong views that are opposed to what the United States is.�? Katzenstein further elaborated this point by noting that these attitudes are used by political leaders to stabilize and sustain a position of power, bolstered by public sentiment. He suggests, “That’s the definition we use in order to study it, but anti-Americanism is also political currency on the table, which politicians use in order to maintain or leverage themselves into power. And often we are the incidental target or the object which will have been used for totally different purposes.�? Katzenstein further elaborates that while studying anti-Americanism, one must recognize that throughout the years, there has been plenty of Pro-American thought as well. Using his own experience as a German immigrant to the United States, he notes that it is important to realize that these sentiments experience waves of rising and falling trends. Yet Katzenstein worries that as policies converge with these attitudes, the possibility of deep resentment building among US allies may lead to a fundamental change in American foreign relations.

Following September 11, 2001, Katzenstein wrote a commentary on the attacks to his colleagues regarding the immediate responses of the US government. He claims that the Bush Administration’s immediate framing of the issue as “war�? requiring both a prolonged and difficult time-frame will prove ineffective in confronting the real concerns of the nation. Rather, Katzenstein suggests that we must look at the issue of terrorism in a frame of “policing and intelligence augmented by covert action.�? His past work on Japanese and German terrorist organizations reveals hard military action can indeed eliminate terrorists, yet their ability to regenerate spontaneously makes such efforts futile. Katzenstein notes that there is much more at risk for the nation than just the visibly evident physical attacks.

"The soft power of America lies in the openness of its society. It is the ground on which this war will be fought, possibly for decades. The experience of the IRA, the Sikhs, the Kurds, Hamas and numerous other organizations suggests that terrorist organizations have global reach particularly when they can operate from within the richest and strongest state in the world. Terrorism is not only a competitor with but also parasitic on state power. What we cherish most, our diversity, now constitutes a risk. Others suffering terrorist attacks have pointed this out to us for years. Now we are confronting the unpleasant truth ourselves."

"Does one fight an unending war with oneself? When “their�? Arabs kill “our Arabs�? now, just as “their�? Japanese were beating “our�? Japanese in the late 1980s, the framing of the issue in terms of “war�?, military now and trade then, becomes deeply problematic. Powell and Rumsfeld to be sure are important. But this is the hour — and the decade — of John Ashcroft."

"I hope that an opposition in Congress will soon reappear. The sooner the framing of the issue is changed the sooner that day will come. We are not, primarily, fighting enemies “over there.�? We are, primarily, choosing the terms of living in diversity “in here.�?

Resources Used

Publications, Speeches, & Statements regarding Public Diplomacy

Other Suggested Readings

  • Religion in an Expanding Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (2006), coedited with Timothy A. Byrnes.
  • Beyond Japan: East Asian Regionalism (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006), coedited with Takashi Shiraishi.
  • Rethinking Security in East Asia: Identity, Power, and Efficiency (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).

PbWinter 16:36, 30 May 2006 (PDT)

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