What role do academic journals play in fostering and disseminating new knowledge and understanding of national and international security, statecraft, and strategy? At the Texas National Security Review, we ask ourselves this question a lot. There are so many good outlets generating terrific work. How can we best contribute?
This issue of the journal demonstrates at least three ways we believe we can make a difference.
First, academic outlets should provide a platform for people in various points in their career. Melvyn Leffler is the dean of Cold War studies, whose work has shaped how we understand international relations after World War II. Senior scholars can offer broad-gauged, synthetic approaches to important questions, as Leffler does here in his reflections on Ronald Reagan and the Cold War. This pairs well with the work of emerging scholars like Adam Liff, who brings new eyes and penetrating insight to the issues surrounding national security reform in Shinzo Abe’s Japan. Our hope is to balance the vigor of fresh insights with the wisdom gained from experience, placing rising stars together with established voices.
The second way our journal can be helpful is by bringing divergent intellectual communities together into conversation. In this issue, we are publishing historians, strategists, policymakers, and political scientists of various stripes. Crossing disciplines and bridging gaps is increasingly difficult, but well worth striving for to improve the vibrancy and impact of debates on international affairs. For example, Theo Farrell’s impressive exploration of the sources of the Taliban’s success would not have been possible without his many years of direct engagement with Western military officers, Afghan officials, and even Taliban leaders. His work cannot easily be defined as belonging to one discipline or another. In a related, but different vein, the important work of dialogue and cross-fertilization between various communities is highlighted in Julie Smith’s description of her efforts to engage audiences about America’s role in the world beyond the usual suspects in the beltway and ivory tower.
The third contribution is temporal. The articles in this issue blend rigorous exploration of the past as well as contemporary challenges with an eye to understanding the future. The best offer insight on all three: Whether it is the future of statecraft and world order, as laid out by Michael J. Mazarr and Michael Kofman, the fascinating challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence presented in Michael Horowitz’s sharp analysis, Kori Schake’s insights into the possibility of a Cold War with China, or Patrick McEachern’s cautions on the promises and perils of negotiations with North Korea, this issue reminds us that the future is best viewed through a comprehensive and sophisticated understanding of what is happening right now and what has come before.
We won’t always achieve the right balance, and as a journal that includes peer-reviewed contributions, our content is shaped by what people send us and how our referees respond. We are committed, however, to working diligently to expand the range and diversity of voices and ideas contributing to our understanding of strategy and statecraft. To accomplish this mission, we need your help. If you haven’t already, please consider submitting your best work to the Texas National Security Review.
Francis J. Gavin is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Texas National Security Review. He is the Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and the inaugural director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. His writings include Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958-1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America’s Atomic Age (Cornell University Press, 2012).
ISSN (Print): 2576-1021