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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…

How to Think About Nuclear Crises

How to Think About Nuclear Crises

How dangerous are nuclear crises? What dynamics underpin how they unfold? Recent tensions between North Korea and the United States have exposed disagreement among scholars and analysts regarding these questions. We reconcile these apparently contradictory…

Rethinking the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

Rethinking the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

Nuclear weapons have long played a central but often unappreciated role in American grand strategy. In spite of the unimaginable consequences of their use in war, we know far less about how the bomb shapes U.S. national security and world politics than we…

Disentangling Grand Strategy: International Relations Theory and U.S. Grand Strategy

Disentangling Grand Strategy: International Relations Theory and U.S. Grand Strategy

This article assesses the underlying sources of disagreement among competing scholarly treatments of U.S. grand strategy. It argues that much of the debate centers on differing conceptions of the roles of power and domestic and international institutions in…

The Purposes of Arms Control

The Purposes of Arms Control

In this paper, I review three major purposes for arms control negotiations — disarmament, stability, and advantage. In the first part of the paper, I compare the three purposes against the causes of war literature to show that each provides a defensible…

What Is Grand Strategy? Sweeping a Conceptual Minefield

What Is Grand Strategy? Sweeping a Conceptual Minefield

Amidst acute geopolitical flux, the study of grand strategy is necessary for scholars and strategists alike. As a framework for scholarship, it trains attention on the highest-order questions of international relations: why, how, and for what purposes states…

Restraining an Ally: Israel, the United States, and Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2011–2012

Restraining an Ally: Israel, the United States, and Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2011–2012

In asymmetric alliances, a superior state provides security to a weaker ally, who in exchange surrenders its autonomy to its stronger protector. But what happens when the weaker state’s vital interests clash with its stronger ally’s preferences? In 2011…

Japan’s Security Policy in the “Abe Era”: Radical Transformation or Evolutionary Shift?

Japan’s Security Policy in the “Abe Era”: Radical Transformation or Evolutionary Shift?

Widely considered Japan’s most powerful prime minister in decades, Shinzo Abe has responded to a changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific — including an increasingly powerful and assertive China and growing North Korean nuclear threat — by…

Artificial Intelligence, International Competition, and the Balance of Power

Artificial Intelligence, International Competition, and the Balance of Power

World leaders, CEOs, and academics have suggested that a revolution in artificial intelligence is upon us. Are they right, and what will advances in artificial intelligence mean for international competition and the balance of power? This article evaluates how…

Unbeatable: Social Resources, Military Adaptation, and the Afghan Taliban

Unbeatable: Social Resources, Military Adaptation, and the Afghan Taliban

Following the 9/11 attacks, the Afghan Taliban were obliterated in a lightning war prosecuted by the United States. Their Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ceased to exist as a physical entity, and the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, fled to Pakistan.…

Ronald Reagan and the Cold War: What Mattered Most

Ronald Reagan and the Cold War: What Mattered Most

Scholars, like contemporary observers, continue to argue heatedly over the quality of President Ronald Reagan’s strategy, diplomacy, and leadership. This paper focuses on a fascinating paradox of his presidency: By seeking to talk to Soviet leaders and end…