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Forming the Grand Strategist According to Shakespeare

Forming the Grand Strategist According to Shakespeare

Shakespeare, like Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, locates the crux of strategic genius in the analysis of character, both of individuals and of societies. A key ingredient in strategic education, therefore, should be the close study of human character — not least…

The Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Military Technologies

The Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Military Technologies

Technological innovation is proceeding at a rapid pace and is having a dramatic effect on warfare. Not only do technologies such as artificial intelligence, human enhancement, and cyber reduce risk to soldiers and civilians alike, they also expand the kinds of…

Whither the “City Upon a Hill”? Donald Trump, America First, and American Exceptionalism

Whither the “City Upon a Hill”? Donald Trump, America First, and American Exceptionalism

In order to understand Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, we must examine the master narrative that underpins it. Trump breaks with all modern presidents not just because he challenges the postwar “liberal international order,” but because he…

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…

The City Is Neutral: On Urban Warfare in the 21st Century

The City Is Neutral: On Urban Warfare in the 21st Century

Contrary to what is often supposed, urban warfare is not more difficult than other types of warfare. The combat environment is neutral, just like every other environment. Urban warfare is, however, likely to be more prevalent in coming years, which is why it…

More Significance than Value: Explaining Developments in the Sino-Japanese Contest Over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

More Significance than Value: Explaining Developments in the Sino-Japanese Contest Over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are presently the focus of a dangerous contest between the People’s Republic of China and Japan, one that even now has the potential to spark a military conflict that could draw in the United States. How has this come about?…

Unlocking the Gates of Eurasia: China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy

Unlocking the Gates of Eurasia: China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for U.S. Grand Strategy

What is the Belt and Road Initiative and what implications could it have for America’s grand strategy? As many observers have pointed out, China’s Belt and Road suffers from a number of problems and ambiguities. However, it is a much more coherent, potent,…

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…

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…