Interview

Exit Interview: William J. Burns

The retiring deputy secretary of state sounds off on Putin's strategic weakness, the neglected continent to the south, and the state of American power.

Today, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State William J. Burns retires after one of the most distinguished tenures as a career foreign service officer in memory. Only the second career diplomat in history to ascend to the No. 2 job at the State Department, he served during over three decades as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to Russia, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, and ambassador to Jordan. He has also worked as a senior director on the National Security Council staff, as executive secretary to Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and has won an array of departmental awards in recognition of his service.

Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf sat down with him for an exit interview on the current state of the world, U.S. leadership in a time of crisis, and what may be just around the bend.

Today, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State William J. Burns retires after one of the most distinguished tenures as a career foreign service officer in memory. Only the second career diplomat in history to ascend to the No. 2 job at the State Department, he served during over three decades as undersecretary of state for political affairs, ambassador to Russia, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, and ambassador to Jordan. He has also worked as a senior director on the National Security Council staff, as executive secretary to Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, and has won an array of departmental awards in recognition of his service.

Foreign Policy‘s David Rothkopf sat down with him for an exit interview on the current state of the world, U.S. leadership in a time of crisis, and what may be just around the bend.

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf

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