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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…

Raison d’Etat: Richelieu’s Grand Strategy During the Thirty Years’ War

Raison d’Etat: Richelieu’s Grand Strategy During the Thirty Years’ War

Renowned for his fierce intellect, mastery of the dark arts of propaganda, and unshakeable belief in the centralizing virtues of the French monarchy, Cardinal Richelieu’s actions as chief minister under Louis XIII from 1624 to 1642 have been heatedly debated…

When Do Leaders Change Course? Theories of Success and the American Withdrawal from Beirut, 1983–1984

When Do Leaders Change Course? Theories of Success and the American Withdrawal from Beirut, 1983–1984

Why did the United States withdraw from Lebanon in February 1984? How did new information shape policymakers’ proposals to expand, maintain, or terminate the intervention? Drawing upon declassified records, we challenge the conventional narrative that the…