Destler is a scholar who specializes in the politics and processes of US foreign policymaking. He is co-author, with Ivo H. Daalder, of In the Shadow of the Oval Office (Simon and Schuster, 2009), which analyzes the role of the President's national security adviser from the Kennedy through the George W. Bush administration. His American Trade Politics (Institute for International Economics, 4th edition, 2005) won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book on U.S. national policy. Over 100,000 copies of this book are now in print, including Japanese and Chinese translations. Other recent Destler works include Misreading the Public: The Myth of a New Isolationism (Brookings Institution Press, 1999, with Steven Kull), and Protecting the American Homeland, (Brookings Institution, 2002 and 2003, with co-authors).
Destler is also a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (IIE), Washington, DC, where he conducts research on the political economy of trade policymaking. He has consulted on government organization for economic and foreign policymaking at the Executive Office of the President and the Department of State, and held senior research positions at IIE, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Brookings Institution. He is the recipient of the University of Maryland's Distinguished International Service Award for 1998. Destler teaches trade policy, American foreign policymaking, and political institutions.
- US foreign policymaking