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Stuck Onshore: Why the United States Failed to Retrench from Europe during the Early Cold War

Stuck Onshore: Why the United States Failed to Retrench from Europe during the Early Cold War

A growing number of scholars and policymakers are showing interest in a grand strategy that calls on the United States to retrench from key global regions while devolving the burden of checking the expansion of hegemonic aspirants to local allies. I highlight…

Confronting Another Axis? History, Humility, and Wishful Thinking

Confronting Another Axis? History, Humility, and Wishful Thinking

Drawing on his extensive experience as a historian and diplomat, Philip Zelikow warns that the United States faces an exceptionally volatile time in global politics and that the period of maximum danger might be in the next one to three years. He highlights…

Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II, and the Reality of Constitutional Statesmanship

Franklin D. Roosevelt, World War II, and the Reality of Constitutional Statesmanship

Is statesmanship compatible with constitutional government? Scholars have posited the possibility of “constitutional statesmanship” in America but have done little to probe its historical reality or to evaluate its consequences. To illustrate some of the…

The Organizational Determinants of Military Doctrine: A History of Army Information Operations

The Organizational Determinants of Military Doctrine: A History of Army Information Operations

For the past four decades, the U.S. Army has made repeated attempts to create an enduring doctrinal framework that describes the role of information in conflict, yet these attempts have been largely unsuccessful. What accounts for this struggle? More broadly,…

Stabilization Lessons from the British Empire

Stabilization Lessons from the British Empire

Failures of costly state-building missions in places like South Vietnam and Afghanistan have created a widespread belief that foreign interventions cannot stabilize fragile states. However, a review of the operational principles of British colonialism may…

Everyman His Own Philosopher of History: Notions of Historical Process in the Study and Practice of Foreign Policy

Everyman His Own Philosopher of History: Notions of Historical Process in the Study and Practice of Foreign Policy

The renewed interest in the utility of historical study — sometimes referred to as “applied history” — is a growing trend in both Europe and the United States. But while an invaluable foundation for understanding political, economic, and social issues,…

The Gulf War’s Afterlife: Dilemmas, Missed Opportunities, and the Post-Cold War Order Undone

The Gulf War’s Afterlife: Dilemmas, Missed Opportunities, and the Post-Cold War Order Undone

The Gulf War is often remembered as a “good war,” a high-tech conflict that quickly and cleanly achieved its objectives. Yet, new archival evidence sheds light on the extended fallout from the war and challenges this neat narrative. The Gulf War left…

Whither War?

Whither War?

In the introductory essay to Volume 3 Issue 3, chair of the TNSR editorial board Francis J. Gavin explores whether the nature of war and interstate competition may have changed and how the articles in this issue illuminate the changes.

Desperate Measures: The Effects of Economic Isolation on Warring Powers

Desperate Measures: The Effects of Economic Isolation on Warring Powers

Scholars and strategists have long debated whether cutting off an opponent’s trade is an effective strategy in war. In this debate, success or failure has usually been judged based on whether the state subjected to economic isolation surrenders without being…

Recentering the United States in the Historiography of American Foreign Relations

Recentering the United States in the Historiography of American Foreign Relations

In the last three decades, historians of the “U.S. in the World” have taken two methodological turns — the international and transnational turns — that have implicitly decentered the United States from the historiography of U.S. foreign relations.…

What Went Wrong? U.S.-China Relations from Tiananmen to Trump

What Went Wrong? U.S.-China Relations from Tiananmen to Trump

James Steinberg looks back at the relationship between the United States and China over the last 30 years and asks whether a better outcome could have been produced had different decisions been made.

The Collapse Narrative: The United States, Mohammed Mossadegh, and the Coup Decision of 1953

The Collapse Narrative: The United States, Mohammed Mossadegh, and the Coup Decision of 1953

On Aug. 19, 1953, elements inside Iran organized and funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and British intelligence services carried out a coup d’état that overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Historians have yet to reach a…