Hillary Clinton and Ben Bernanke: Part of the Top 10 American Foreign Policy Thinkers of 2012

Foreign Policy recently put out a list of the top 100 "global thinkers" in the world today.

Here is a list of my top ten most influential American thinkers who have most shaped American foreign policy over the last year.

1) President Barack Obama (Foreign Policy pick #7)

Few people truly understand the three “L’s” of the American presidency: its limits, its liability, and its loneliness. This is particularly true with regards to foreign policy. No other office in the world has as many global problems placed at its doorstep as does the American president. Obama's greatest accomplishment over the past year has been the extent to which he has changed the tone of American foreign policy while simultaneously urging shared responsibility by other great powers in the international system.    

2) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (Foreign Policy pick #15)

The most important American in the world next to the president, Chairman Bernanke’s policies have been instrumental in the decline of the value of the world’s reserve currency.

3) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Foreign Policy pick #3)

In addition to an incredibly busy year, Secretary Clinton’s summer announcement in Afghanistan ensures that the U.S. will remain in Central Asia post-2014. 

4) John Brennan (Foreign Policy pick #56)

The Obama administration’s point man on counterterrorism and drone warfare, his steady defense of the policy may finally result in it be codified in law.

5) Abraham Karem and William McRaven (Foreign Policy pick #17)

An Israeli-born engineer, Karem is the architectural father of the modern drone. McRaven’s tenure as the head of U.S Special Operations Command has been the one of the most momentous in recent history.

6) Robert D. Kaplan

Mr. Kaplan’s most recent book, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate, highlights one of the most neglected yet pivotal factors of international politics: geography.  

7) Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (Foreign Policy pick #64)

Acemoglu’s and  Robinson’s refreshing piece on what makes nations successful, “Why Nations Fail," may one day stand alongside Adam Smith’s classic.  

8) Martin Feldstein (Foreign Policy pick #52)

Once a voice crying out in the wilderness, his views on monetary unions between nations is now the consensus view.

9) Senator Rand Paul (Foreign Policy pick #71)

Speaking of a voice crying out in the wilderness, Sen. Paul (R-Kentucky) hopes to pick up where his father left off. His recent amendments in the Senate are changing the terms of the foreign policy debate in Washington (which is much overdue).  

10) General Martin Dempsey (Foreign Policy – Not rated)

The sometimes outspoken Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has emerged as a major force in Washington’s Israel-Iran debates. His timely interjections have, from time to time, proven to drag the Beltway discourse away from the edge.

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Jonathan Tkachuk

Jonathan received his M.A. in Diplomacy (Concentration in Counter Terrorism) from Norwich University and his B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University. An independent professional, Jonathan resides in Northern Virginia.

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