Ethics & International Affairs Volume 5 (1991): Articles: The Decline of International Studies [Abstract]

Dec 2, 1991

In a recent report by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, "Education in U.S. Schools of International Affairs," Princeton's former president Robert F. Goheen presents several crucial factors in the apparent decline of international studies in the U.S. The private sector, which at first demanded broadly-educated professionals, have recently shown little enthusiasm for students of international affairs. This has resulted in lack of funding and lack of interest in the field of international studies. This is paradoxical primarily because the students of international affairs undergo a multidiscplinary curriculum, facilitating their adaptation to practically any field of work following graduation, contrary to those students who have chosen a strict and narrow profession. Unfortunately, much of the fault, according to the report lies with the universities and the graduates themselves, who fail to articulate properly their comparative essential advantage in the broad field of their education. Thompson expounds on a more serious ramification of the decline in interest in international studies: the imminent failure to foresee future international crises. As the case of Iraq's growing power in the Middle East has demonstrated, the U.S. looked the other way, toward the developments in the former Soviet Union, and was not able to act in time to circumvent Iraq's aggression. With the world looking to the U.S. for strategic leadership in ethics and power, Americans cannot afford to deny American youth a strong foundation and education in international studies.

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