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Journal

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...

Fuel, Fire, Basic R&D

Two decades into the twenty-first century, the U.S. national security agenda is once again dominated by great power competition, as rivals are “contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor.” [1] In a sharper key, this registers as alarm bells. Repeated, recent war games evidence real possibilities, if not...

Great Power & ‘The Manpower Thing’

Review of One Billion Americans by Matthew Yglesias (Penguin, 2020). In 1776, the burning policy question of the hour was what to do about slaves. Would freeing them lead to economic growth, or hinder it? In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith took the affirmative, writing that “The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it...

Chinese-Athenian Coincraft

As John Adams is purported to have said, the methods for conquering nations take two forms: debt and sword. [1] Though Adams said this in 1826, ancient Athenian foreign policy exemplified rule by the sword millennia earlier – as noted in Thucydides’s The History of the Peloponnesian War. By coming to the aid of distant...

(Enlightened) Self-Interested Idealism

Review of Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America’s Alliances by Mira Rapp-Hooper (Harvard, 2020). So often do critics pillory this country’s alliance system. And so often do their advocates fail to mount a compelling defense. Mira Rapp-Hooper takes up the challenge and does it with aplomb in Shields of the Republic (Harvard...

Efficient Election Assistance

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has generally aimed, at least rhetorically, to create foreign policies that strive to maximize freedom in other countries, employing a wide swath of policies ranging from development assistance to military intervention. A key way that countries promote liberal democracy is through international, or intergovernmental, organizations....

AI & the Precarity of Emerging Tech

Improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) will benefit wealthy states who develop national programs, potentially leading autocracies to utilize emerging technologies in threatening ways. Consequently, democratic states must consider the risks that these technologies can pose to liberal norms, while simultaneously working to constrain autocracies’ use of AI systems.   AI-driven technological advancements may threaten the...

Beyond Plato to NATO: Rethinking ‘The West’

Review of The Abandonment of the West by Michael Kimmage (Basic Books, 2020) In recent years, certain national security officials have criticized the foreign policies of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations for upholding a “liberal international order” that “enabled the rise of illiberal powers that seek to exploit that order to their advantage.”[1] Historian and...

The Grand Strategy of Alexander Hamilton

Lawyer, soldier, journalist, statesman, and economist: Alexander Hamilton is widely recognized as one of the most talented men of his generation, but he rarely receives sufficient credit for his legacy as a strategist. By championing robust federal institutions and leveraging his country’s economic power, Hamilton formulated a grand strategic approach that would counter European adversaries...
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