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The Journal

Putin Fell Prey to His Own Propaganda

Russian artillery rocket launchers said to be abandoned in Ukraine as Russia stalls its advance. Photo from the Ukrainian General Staff’s Twitter. Low morale has historically plagued the Russian military. Yet, during the current invasion of Ukraine, Russian resolve is especially weak. [1] When faced with resistance, Russians have abandoned their expensive equipment, fled to...

Nuclear Fission: The Political Polarization of Nuclear Weapons Issues

By virtually any measure, American domestic politics are at their most polarized point in decades. Members of Congress are increasingly unwilling to compromise, the national media landscape is fractured, and public opinion is fragmented. Recent scholarship suggests that foreign policy issues have taken on a similar polarized character.[1] However, a select few issues, such as...

Coming of Age as a Hamiltonian

Review of JFK: Volume 1: 1917-1956 by Fredrik Logevall (Random House, 2020). In February 1951, a thirty-three-year-old Congressman named Jack Kennedy appeared before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations. Handsome, articulate, and reputed as an emerging authority on American foreign policy, he had just returned from a five-week tour of Europe, and by the...

Pursestrings as a Power Play

The real reward for a loan shark is what the victim will have to cough up once they realize they cannot pay up what they owe. China is a seasoned loan shark. One instance where the gravity of the nation’s Belt and Road Initiative: the infamous international lending program focused on cultivating political influence within...

Carrots Sans Sticks? No Bite

It has become fashionable to call for diplomacy separate from military action. During the 2020 Democratic primaries a number of candidates overwhelmingly endorsed “diplomacy” as an alternative to force. Candidate Donald Trump, too, called for restraint in use of force and expressed a preference for “negotiation,” bragging about his deal making skills and claiming that...

Compared to What? A New Strategic Rorschach

There is a reason that Alexander Hamilton was known for both economic and foreign policy; the two are connected by a common question: Compared to what? Thomas Sowell has popularized thinking of “compared to what?” as the fundamental economic Rorschach because it prompts people to think about trade-offs.  All too often in economic policy discussions,...

The New (Domestic) Voice of America

The prospect of returning to a prolonged period of successful American leadership in the world remains uncertain—regardless of the fact that America can correctly be considered “back” to playing its historical role. Long-overdue arguments are rightfully being debated within the foreign policy community about how to reframe what an active and engaged U.S. foreign policy...

The Nuclear Bubble: Rethinking Deterrence

Review of The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press (Cornell University Press, 2020) The defining characteristics of the nuclear age are terror and peace.” [1] For Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, international relations scholars at Georgetown and Dartmouth, respectively, this is the defining paradox...

The Nehru of the Arab Spring

Review of Revolutionary Constitutions: Charismatic Leadership and the Rule of Law by Bruce Ackerman (Harvard, 2019). Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often...

Much Ado (and to Do) About Illiberalism

America  has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” This Henry Kissinger quote is a perennial favorite of American realists, informing decades of American grand strategy. In recent years, from threatening to withdraw from NATO to praising Kim Jung-Un in search of a blockbuster nuclear deal, the Trump Administration ruthlessly implemented this adage, with the...
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