News: Robert Bell Presents on Bureaucratic Politics in IR Theory Class

Robert Bell Presenting in the IR Theory Class

Posted December 2, 2019

On Monday, November 11, Robert Bell, distinguished professor of the practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, visited Professor Katja Weber's graduate seminar on International Relations (IR) Theory.

The IR Theory topic that evening was bureaucratic politics. Bell talked about his experience as National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Defense Policy & Arms Control, 1993-99, & NSC counselor (1998-99). He explained how national security decisions were made in the Clinton Administration, elaborated some of the critical dynamics, how he perceived the role of the players, institutionally and individually, within the inter-agency as well as outside. He also discussed the intervening influences on the President by Congress, the media, and other world leaders. His case study was the decision-making by Clinton in 1993 on the objectives, terms, and duration of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test.

Drawing on his first-hand experiences as a Special Assistant to President Clinton for National Security Affairs and as the NSC Senior Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, Bell provided the students with an eyewitness account of the bureaucratic politics involved in attempting to pass the Conventional Nuclear Test-ban Treaty.

Robert Bell, a security and defense specialist with 45 years of experience in the United States government, joined the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs in 2018.

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