Rachel Bronson

Senior Fellow for Global Energy

Rachel Bronson is the senior fellow for global energy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she directs the Council’s activities on the changing US energy landscape and its implications for US foreign policy, national security, and economic competitiveness.

Prior to this, she served for seven years as the Council’s vice president for studies, and programs and studies. In that capacity she regularly raised over a million dollars a year to support the Council’s policy research, recruited top-flight strategic thinkers, and helped put the Council onto the University of Pennsylvania’s 2013 global think tank ranking–including #11 “think tank to watch” and #5 “best policy study / report by a think tank.”

Prior to her coming to Chicago, Bronson served as senior fellow and director of Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Earlier positions include senior fellow for international security affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and adjunct professor at Columbia University. Dr. Bronson's book, Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia (Oxford University Press, 2006), has been translated into Japanese and published in paperback in June 2008.  

Her writings have appeared in publications such as Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Chicago Tribune. She has commented widely on foreign affairs in outlets such as NPR, CNN, PBS NewsHour, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Dr. Bronson has served as a consultant to NBC News and the Center for Naval Analyses. She has testified before the Congressional Anti-Terrorist Finance Task Force, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, and the 9/11 Commission. 

In 2012, Dr. Bronson was named by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine as one of 100 Women to Watch. She was named by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of 20 Women to Watch in 2008. In 2003, Rachel was named a Carnegie Corporation Scholar. She earned a BA in history at the University of Pennsylvania and a MA and PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1997.

Follow her on Twitter @RachelBronson1.

Recent Publications


Pay Attention to this Gas Deal"Pay Attention to this Gas Deal," Commentary by Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson's in The American Interest9/16/2014 

Kerry Faces Tall Order in Organizing Regional Coalition against ISIS"Kerry Faces Tall Order in Organizing Regional Coalition against ISIS," Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson on NPR's All Things Considered9/12/2014 

Should Western Countries Ally with Syrian President Assad to Fight ISIS?"Should Western Countries Ally with Syrian President Assad to Fight ISIS?," Rachel Bronson's Commentary on CBC's The Current8/26/2014 

Militarily, the Focus Should Be on Defeating ISIS in Iraq"Militarily, the Focus Should Be on Defeating ISIS in Iraq," Rachel Bronson's Commentary in The New York Times Room for Debate8/22/2014 

Assessing US Involvement in Iraq"Assessing US Involvement in Iraq," Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson on WTTW's Chicago Tonight8/12/2014 

Costly Cleanups, Devastating Spills? Without Investment, This Is Our Energy Future"Costly Cleanups, Devastating Spills? Without Investment, This Is Our Energy Future," Commentary by Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson's in Crain's Chicago Business6/11/2014 

The United States in the Middle East: Bound by Growing Energy Demand"The United States in the Middle East: Bound by Growing Energy Demand," Senior Fellow Rachel Bronson's Commentary in Middle East Policy Journal5/27/2014 

In Germany, Chicago Energy Experts Find Lessons for Midwest"In Germany, Chicago Energy Experts Find Lessons for Midwest," Chicago Council Energy Trip in Midwest Energy News12/2/2013 

Swapping Riyadh for Tehran Is Not the Answer"Swapping Riyadh for Tehran Is Not the Answer," Rachel Bronson's Commentary in The New York Times Room for Debate11/26/2013 

Energy Tour 2013 Travel LogBrussels, Berlin, and Leipzig Energy Tour 2013 Travel Log11/8/2013 

Misinterpreting the US-Saudi Rift at the UN"Misinterpreting the US-Saudi Rift at the UN," Commentary by Rachel Bronson10/29/2013 

Friend or Foe? It Depends on the AgendaRachel Bronson's Commentary in The New York Times Room for Debate8/21/2013 

Winning Americans' Trust on Immigration ReformThe Washington Times, Rachel Bronson and Dina Smeltz11/30/2012 

If NATO Didn’t Exist, We’d Create ItRachel Bronson’s op-ed in the Chicago Tribune5/16/2012 

Editorial: A primer on what’s at stake at NATO SummitRachel Bronson and Richard C. Longworth are quoted in The Chicago Sun-Times5/15/2012 

In Support of Canadian Oil Sands"In Support of Canadian Oil Sands" Commentary from Rachel Bronson and Steve Brick11/4/2011 

Will Mubarak's Trial Unite or Divide Egypt?Rachel Bronson's Commentary in The New York Times Room for Debate6/9/2011 

Saudi Arabia's Intervention in Bahrain: A Necessary Evil or Strategic Blunder?Rachel Bronson's commentary in a bulletin released by the Foreign Policy Research Institute3/18/2011 

Reasons for AnxietyRachel Bronson's Commentary in The New York Times Room for Debate3/14/2011 

Tense Days for Saudi LeadershipRachel Bronson interviewed by cfr.org3/11/2011 

Could the Next Mideast Uprising Happen in Saudi Arabia?Rachel Bronson in the Washington Post2/27/2011 

"Saudi Arabia's wayward extremists," The Washington Post, December 13, 2009 

"Trip Report from the Leadership Study Mission to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia (PDF)" by Rachel Bronson, February 2009
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