Michael Oppenheimer.png

Clinical Professor
Michael F. Oppenheimer

Visiting Fellow, CASSIS

New York University
Center for Global Affairs
School of Professional Studies


Telephone: (917) 860-5676
E-Mail: mo41@nyu.edu


Michael F. Oppenheimer leads the IR Futures concentration at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, teaching courses on International Relations, The Future of International Relations, and U.S. Foreign Policy. He also oversees an ongoing research and consulting project for the UN Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate, which involves students directly in advising the UN system on counter terrorism policies and practices. He writes and speaks publicly on U.S foreign policy and on the future of international relations. He has had a varied career, beginning with several years with the U.S. government, then in strategic consulting for government policy makers and private firms, and-since 2005-teaching and research at CGA. His particular specialty is how potential future changes can be incorporated into the foreign policy process, in order to improve foresight and agility.
He is the originator and director of the Carnegie Corporation funded work on alternate scenarios for pivotal countries, which has published six reports, China 2020, Russia 2020, Turkey 2020, Ukraine 2020, Pakistan 2020, and Syria 2018. An outgrowth of this work was his book, Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. His  “Hard Times Ahead for U.S. Soft Power”, is the lead chapter in Soft Power and the Future of US Foreign Policy, edited by Hendrik Ohnesorge of Bonn University, published by Manchester University Press in June of 2023.
He also consults on futures-oriented policy analysis for the US foreign policy and intelligence communities and for think tanks. He has published on a wide range of topics, including scenario planning and foreign policy, Europe’s future, international trade distortions and U.S. trade policy.  He is credited with expanding the use of scenarios and alternative analyses in the US intelligence estimates process, having worked for the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council in establishing the method and process, and in facilitating the scenarios for Mapping the Global Future. He has conducted workshops for The Brookings Institution on legitimacy and the potential use of force against Iran, for the Council on Foreign Relations on early warning and conflict prevention and for Stimson Center on India-Pakistan nuclear interactions. He has been a US delegate for a track two dialogue with Iranian experts, sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He has also conducted live webcasts in cooperation with the New York Times, on future challengers to U.S. primacy.
Professor Oppenheimer is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a frequent speaker on the origins and leading indicators of conflict, domestic sources of foreign policy, and new approaches to thinking about the global system. Before he joined the NYU faculty, he was President of Global Scenarios, a New York based consulting company, and previously was Executive Vice President at The Futures Group, a Connecticut based international research and consulting company with government and corporate clients.

Research Interests

US foreign policy | international relations | foreign policy process | domestic politics and foreign policy | strategic foresight | US soft power | Transatlantic relations | global consequences of the war in Ukraine

Research Projects

  • Changing nature of soft power
  • Transatlantic soft power
  • US soft power and consequences of its decline
  • Ongoing project for the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate on emerging terrorist threats and member state responses

Selected Publications

  • Hard Times Ahead for U.S. Soft Power, lead chapter in Soft Power and the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy, edited by Hendrik Ohnesorge, Manchester University Press, June 2023.
  • The Future of International Relations, chapter one in The Future of Global Affairs, Palgrave Macmillan, November 2020.
  • Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures, Oxford University Press, December 2015.
  • From Prediction to Observation, in SAIS Review of International Studies, Volume 32 Number 1, Winter-Spring 2012.
  • The U.S. and Europe Face the BRICS: What Kind of Order? in Transatlantic 2020, Hamilton and Volker eds., Johns Hopkins University, Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2011.
  • The End of Liberal Globalization, World Policy Journal, Spring 2008.  
  • Non-tariff Barriers: Effects on Corporate Strategy in High-Technology Sectors (with others), Westview Press, 1987.
  • Non-tariff Barriers to High-Technology Trade (with others), Westview Press, 1985.
  • The Caribbean Basin to the Year 2000:  Demography, Economic and Resource Use Trends in Seventeen Caribbean Countries (with others), Westview Press, 1984.
  • The United States and Multilateral Diplomacy:  A Handbook (with others), Oceana Press, 1984.
  • The U.S. Export- Import Bank:  Policy Dilemmas and Choices (with others), Westview Press 1984.
  • US High-Technology Trade with the Middle East (with others), Westview Press, 1983.
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