Robert M. Hathaway is Asia Program director emeritus and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Prior to his retirement in 2014, he served for nearly 16 years as director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program. Before joining the Wilson Center, he spent 12 years on the professional staff of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he specialized in American foreign policy toward Asia. Dr. Hathaway has also been a member of the History Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, and has taught at George Washington University and at Barnard, Middlebury, and Wilson Colleges. He holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from the University of North Carolina.

Project Summary

As strong nations have repeatedly learned, great power does not inevitably translate into commensurate influence over weaker states. Since the end of the Cold War, at a time when U.S. might has been unrivaled, numerous less powerful states – allies, friends, and adversaries alike – have successfully defied the United States. But Washington is hardly the only great power to find that enormous political, economic, and military strength does not necessarily persuade or coerce smaller nations, or enable the stronger state to impose its will upon the weaker. This project, using case studies from around the world, explores the interplay between power and “leverage”: how strong states use their power as leverage over weaker states; how weaker countries accommodate or deflect such attempts; and how weaker nations utilize their weakness to leverage stronger states.

Major Publications

    • The Leverage Paradox: Pakistan and the United States (Wilson Center Asia Program, 2017)
    • New Security Challenges in Asia, co-editor (Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013)
    • Empty Bellies, Broken Dreams: Food Insecurity and the Future of Pakistan, co-editor (Vanguard Books, 2011)
    • “Planet Pakistan,” Wilson Quarterly 34:1 (Winter 2010): 21-27
    •  Powering Pakistan: Meeting Pakistan's Energy Needs in the 21st Century, co-editor (Oxford University Press, 2009)
    •  “U.S. Domestic Politics and the China Policy Rollercoaster,” in Suisheng Zhao, ed., China and the United States: Cooperation and Competition in Northeast Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
    • “Leverage and largesse: Pakistan’s post-9/11 partnership with America,” Contemporary South Asia 16:1 (March 2008): 11-24


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