Rachel bronson, Ph. D


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RACHEL BRONSON, Ph.D. 

Senior Fellow and Director

 Middle East Programs 

Council on Foreign Relations 

58 East 68

th

 Street 

New York, NY 10021 

(212) 434-9577 

rbronson@cfr.org 

 

 

EDUCATION: 

 

Ph.D. in Political Science, Columbia University (May 1997), doctoral courses in security studies, 

international relations, Middle East politics; M.A. in Political Science, Columbia University (May 

1992); B.A. in History, University of Pennsylvania (May 1990), course work in Diplomatic History 

and Chemistry. 

 

 



PRIMARY FIELD OF EXPERTISE: 

 

Dr. Bronson’s areas of expertise include U.S. national security and foreign policy; she has worked 



extensively with issues of regional security and politics, particularly in the Middle East.  She has 

written on issues related to U.S.-Arab state relations and U.S. policy towards the Arab/Israeli 

conflict.  In addition to Middle Eastern topics, she has written on issues of nation building, the 

security implications of NATO expansion and participated in an Interagency project on non-lethal 

weapons. 

 

 



PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 

 

Council on Foreign Relations. Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Studies (4/99-Present):  Dr. 



Bronson has recently completed her book Thicker than Oil:  America’s Uneasy Partnership with 

Saudi Arabia, forthcoming Oxford University Press (2006).  The work was funded in part by a 

Carnegie Corporation Scholars Award.  She co-directed the joint CFR and Baker Institute report 

“Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq.” It was the first major report issued on 

post-war planning, published in January 2003.  She directs the Council’s round table on “Islam and 

the Middle East.”    

 

Columbia University, Adjunct Professor, (Fall 2005):  Dr. Bronson leads a senior seminar on the 



International Relations of the Middle East and is a senior honors thesis advisor.  She taught Conflict 

and Peacemaking in the Middle East: Contemporary Arab Israeli Relations at Columbia in 1995. 

 

Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Senior Fellow for International Security Affairs (9/97-



3/99):  Dr. Bronson managed the Center’s Atlantic Partnership Program, which identified 

opportunities for U.S.-European cooperation in the research, development and production of next-

generation defense systems.  She examined what the revolution in military and business affairs meant 


for U.S.-European relations.  In addition, she managed the CSIS component of a Defense Special 

Weapons Agency contract assessing regional arms control and verification technology in the Pacific 

Rim and co-led the Strategy and Policy working group for a CSIS study on non-lethal weapons. 

 

Harvard University.  Center for Science and International Affairs.  Fellow (9/94-8/96):  She joined a 



team of scholars analyzing how domestic turmoil affects foreign policy.  Her area of responsibility 

included the Middle East and North Africa. 

 

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS 

 

BOOKS

 



Thicker than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia, (forthcoming: Oxford 

University Press, April 2006). 

 

R

EPORTS

 

 



Co-Director, Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq, Council on Foreign 

Relations, January 2003.  Report chaired by Ambassadors Edward P. Djerejian and Frank G. 

Wisner. 

 

T



ESTIMONY

 



 

“Are the Saudis Stopping the Money?” before the Congressional Anti-Terrorist Financing 



Task Force, October 17, 2005. 

 



“Challenges within the Muslim World,” before the President’s National Commission on 

Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (The 9-11 Commission), July 9, 2003. 

 



“Transforming Iraq’s Economy,”  before Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, June 11, 

2003. 



 

S

ELECTED 

A

RTICLES

 



“Rethinking Religion: The Legacy of the U.S.-Saudi Relationship,” The Washington 

Quarterly (forthcoming, Fall 2005). 

 



 “US Foreign Policy towards Saudi Arabia,” in Paul Aarts and Gerd Nonneman, Saudi 

Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Relations (forthcoming, New 

York University Press, September 2005). 

 

 “Where Credit is Due: The Provenance of Middle East Reform,” The National Interest



Summer 2005. 

 



Reconstructing the Middle East?” The Brown Journal of World Affairs Summer/Fall 2003. 

 



“More than Targets and Markets:  Recasting America’s Relationship with its Arab Partners,” 

Middle East Policy, December 2002. 

 



“When Soldiers Become Cops,” Foreign Affairs, vo.81, no.6, November/December 2002, 

pp.122-132. 

 

“The Reluctant Mediator,” Washington Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 4, Autumn 2002, pp. 177-186. 



 

“United States Policy towards the Persian Gulf:  A New Focus for a New Administration,” 



ORBIS, March 2001. 

 

“Syria: Hanging Together or Hanging Separately,” Washington Quarterly, vol. 23, no. 4, 



Autumn 2000, pp.91-105. 

 



“NATO’s Mixed Signals in the Caucasus and Central Asia,” Survival, vol. 42, Autumn 2000, 

pp.129-146, with Robin Bhatty. 

 

 “Alliances, Preferential Trading Arrangements, and International Trade,” American Political 



Science Review, vol. 91, no. 1, March 1997, with Edward Mansfield. 

 

 

O

P

-E

DS

 

 



 “Saudi System is the Problem,” The Dallas Morning News, Sunday, May 7, 2005, with Isobel 

Coleman. 

 

“The U.S.-Saudi Love Affair Predates Bush,” Los Angeles Times, Friday, July 9, 2004. Also 



ran as “Recall, Reagan had Riyadh to Thank,” The Daily Star, Saturday, June 19, 2004. 

 



“Terror in Saudi Arabia: Does the Government have a Grip?” New York Newsday, Sunday 

June 6, 2004, with Rachel Abramson. 

 

“Why the President should not Withdraw Troops from Iraq,” Dallas Morning News, Sunday, 



June 6. 

 



“Talk is Cheap, a Marshall Plan Isn’t,” The Los Angeles Times, Monday, August 4, 2003. 

 



“Swing from Fighting to Policing,” The International Herald Tribune, Tuesday, April 15, 

2003. 

 

“No Containing Iraq,” New York Newsday, Thursday, March 13, 2003. 



 

Countdown Iraq: A Matter of Time,” San Diego Union Tribune, Sunday, November 17, 

2002. 

 



“Questions of War and Timing,” The New York Times, Sunday, November 10, 2002. 

 



“Don’t Back Saudi Arabia into a Corner,” The International Herald Tribune,” Friday, August 

16, 2002. 

 

“Taba on the Table,” New Jersey Star Ledger,” June, 16 2002. 



 

“Law and Order in Afghanistan Give Peace a Chance,” New York Newsday, December 18, 



2001, with Arthur Helton. 

 



“What Game Are We Playing in Yemen?” Los Angeles Times,  November 8, 2000. 

 



“Think It Over: Indicting Today's Dictators Is Not a Good Idea,” International Herald 

Tribune, December 3, 1999. 

 



“Strategic Planning: When Saddam Blinks the U.S. had Better be Ready,” Chicago Tribune

February 6, 1998. 



 

O

N

-L

INE 

D

EBATES AND 

D

ISCUSSIONS

 

 



How Does the Saudi Relationship with the Bush Family affect U.S. Foreign Policy? 

Slate.com, July 6-8, with Craig Unger. 

 



“Reaction to President Bush's speech on Iraq” Salon.com, May 24, 2004. 

 



Have participated in a number of “Question & Answer” sessions on Washingtonpost.com and 

NewYorkTimes.com. 

 

L

ETTERS

 

 



“A Call for Public Diplomacy,” Letter to the EditorWashington Post, Dec. 11, 2002. 

 



“Bargainer Beware,” Letter to the Editor, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2002. 

 

AWARDS AND HONORS: 

 



Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Scholar recipient (6/2003-2/2005). 

 



“New Directions in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Regime Change to Nation Building” address 

chosen to appear in Representative American Speeches (Atlanta: H.W. Wilson, 2004), an 

annual publication highlighting the most important speeches given during the year. 

 



One of Glamour Magazine’s April 2002 “Wow Women” 

 



Smith Richardson Foundation.  Pre-doctoral Fellowship (9/96-5/97). 

 



Harvard University, Center for Science and International Affairs.  Pre-doctoral Fellow (9/94-

5/96). 

 

Columbia University.  President’s Fellow (9/94-5/96). 



 

Women’s Caucus of Political Science. Alice Paul Dissertation Award (9/95). 



 

Columbia University. Fellowship for Language and Area Studies in Arabic (5/94-8/94). 



 

Middlebury College.  Arabic Language Fellowship (5/94-8/94). 



 

CONSULTING WORK: 

 

NBC News.  (2003-2005):  Provided background and live reports to all NBC outlets on American 



politics towards the Middle East, especially around Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

CENTRA.  (2002-2003): Dr. Bronson provides background to CIA analysts working on issues 



related to the Middle East. 

 

Center for Naval Analyses.  Consultant (1/99- 1/01): She consulted on Middle Eastern security topics 



that concern the U.S. Navy.  She co-wrote the report Mine Counter Measures in the Arabian Gulf:  

The Political Impact of a Higher Level of U.S. Presence (The Center for Naval Analyses, 1999) and 

has briefed senior Admirals on route to the Persian Gulf. 

 

Troy Systems.  Consultant (1/98- 1/00):  She served as senior advisor for China Change and 



Challenge: A View About Ballistic Missile Defense (Troy Systems, 1998). 

 

 



MEDIA 

 

Dr. Bronson has appeared on hundreds of television and radio programs including: CNN, NBC, BBC, 



The Jim Lehrer News Hour, The Charlie Rose Show, al-Jazeera and The Daily Show with John 

Stewart.  She has also conducted interviews with newspapers including the New York Times, USA 

Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, al-Hayat and Rolling Stone Magazine.   

 

 



OTHER 

 

Dr. Bronson has traveled and presented papers throughout the Middle East, as an independent 

scholar, as part of the U.S. State Department’s “Speakers and Specialists Program,” and as a member 

of a high level bi-partisan delegation. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.   



 

SECURITY CLEARANCE:  Secret; issued by DoD (lapsed). 

 

 




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