Haass has been the president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He believes that maintaining a consistent interventionist or conversely non-interventionist foreign policy would be a mistake and that each situation requires a custom-fit approach.
In May 2013, I reported on a World Affairs Council private reception for Haass, in San Francisco:
Yesterday, in San Francisco, I attended a World Affairs Council private reception for Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations.
Haass is out with a new book, Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order. Don't get too excited about the title of the book. It's not as though he thinks the US should mind its own business and stay out of the affairs of other countries. At the reception, Haass discussed his views and, although he wants to see a strong domestic economy, his idea of a "foreign policy that begins at home" doesn't mean he is against United States interventions globally. Though he does want to see a shift in regional focus.
During the reception he said that the United States should stop its fixation with the "Greater Middle East." He said there are no great powers in the Middle East, thus less focus needs to be given to the region. He said the focus needs to be "dialed down." On the other hand, he said the US should "dial up" involvement in Asia, with more of a military presence in the area and more diplomatic dialogue.
He said that the US can influence the area in a way favorable to its interests. He said, get this, "I don't want to leave Asia to the Asians." He compared Asia to early 20th century Europe, when Europe was the epicenter of world wars. He suggested the same could now occur in Asia. He implied that China was unstable and stated that more than 100,000 major protests are occurring in China each year.
He said Pakistan deeply troubled him, that the country has enormous problems. He contrasted the concern over Iran, which is just trying to build a nuclear bomb, and North Korea, which has 11 nuclear bombs, as minor compared to Pakistan, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons, some completed and others that soon will be completed...
Haass said there is nothing obvious that the US can do about the Syrian situation. He said that if Assad is taken out, the problem becomes one of a replacement and that given the various factions, a long civil war would be likely. He said he is against sending troops to Syria, but seemingly in contradiction to the complex problems he saw if Assad is overthrown, he said he was in favor of arming opposition to Assad.
BTW, Even Trump's answer on Afhgansitan and its importance because of its border with Pakistan suggests Haass influence.