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Name: Campbell, Kurt
Current Position: Previous Assistant Secretary

United States policy toward the troubled and perilous region of East Asia–home of volatile conflicts between North and South Korea, China and Taiwan, and the military junta of Burma and its own people–is now the province of a highly esteemed academic and international relations specialist, Dr. Kurt Campbell. Campbell was confirmed by the Senate on June 26, 2009, as the new Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Perhaps a harbinger of political conflicts to come, conservative Republican Kansas Senator Sam Brownback had put a hold on Campbell’s nomination as a way to press the Obama administration to consider imposing more restrictive economic sanctions on the military dictatorship ruling Burma (also called Myanmar). 

 
Born in 1957, Campbell earned a B.A. in Science, Technology, and Public Affairs from the University of California, San Diego, a certificate in music and political philosophy from the University of Yerevan in Soviet Armenia, and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University in 1985. As an officer in the U.S. Navy, Campbell served as an assistant on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and between 1987 and 1995 as a reserve naval officer in a special Chief of Naval Operations advisory unit in the Pentagon. Early in his career, he worked as a stringer for The New York Times Magazine in southern Africa.
 
In his academic career, Campbell has been an Olin Fellow at the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, a Lecturer in International Relations at Brown University, and, from 1988 to 1993, he was associate professor of public policy and international relations at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Assistant Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, both at Harvard University. Campbell is the author or co-author of numerous books, including Difficult Transitions: Why Presidents Fail in Foreign Policy at the Outset of Power; Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security; and To Prevail: An American Strategy for the Campaign against Terrorism. He is the editor of Climatic Cataclysm: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change and Nuclear Tipping Point. He has also written numerous scholarly articles and opinion pieces on a wide range of international subjects. 
 
Campbell has been a member of a number of think tanks, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Wasatch Group. He has also been a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation. In the early and mid 2000s, he served as Senior Vice President, Director of the International Security Program, and Henry A. Kissinger Chair in National Security Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From January 2007 through June 2009, Campbell was the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the centrist-Democratic Center for a New American Security. He concurrently served as Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Washington Quarterly, and is the Founder and Principal of StratAsia, a strategic advisory company focused on Asia, especially Japan.
 
Campbell served in several capacities in government during the Clinton administration, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific, Director on the National Security Council Staff, Deputy Special Counselor to the President for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and as a White House fellow at the Department of the Treasury
 
A Democrat, Campbell was Hillary Clinton’s chief adviser on Asian affairs during her campaign for the presidency in 2008. Since 2004, he has contributed more than $28,000 to Democratic candidates and causes, including $6,900 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, followed by $4,600 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign after the former’s withdrawal from the Democratic nomination contest. He had previously donated $4,100 to Senator Clinton’s 2006 re-election campaign. 
 
Campbell is a member of the advisory boards of Aegis Capital Corporation, Civitas Group, STS Systems, PLC, the O’Gara Group, New Media Strategies, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is on the board of the US-Australian Leadership Dialogue, the Advisory Committee of the International Relations Program at the College of William and Mary, and the policy advisory board of the Asia Society
 
Campbell is married to Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs nominee Lael Brainard, and they have three daughters. 
  
The Power of Balance: America in Asia (by Kurt M. Campbell, Nirav Patel, and Vikram J. Singh) (PDF)
US Stalling May Have Ramifications (by Kurt Campbell, Taipei Times)
History Lessons from Eisenhower and Nixon on Quitting a War (by Kurt Campbell and Vikram Singh, Financial Times)
China in the International System (by Kurt Campbell, Trilateral Commission) (PDF)
The New Tribalism: Cliques and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy (by Kurt Campbell and Derek Chollet) (PDF)
The National Security Election (by Kurt Campbell and Derek Chollet, Washington Quarterly) (PDF)
Pyongyang Sustains the Unsustainable (by Paul Nash, Asia Times)

 

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