Nancy Bernkopf Tucker was an eminent scholar of the history of US-China relations with a special interest in the volatile region of the Taiwan Strait. She began her academic career at Columbia University under the mentorship of the legendary Dorothy Borg, who gained renown for her studies of US diplomacy in China before World War II and her contributions to the development of US-East Asian relations.[1] Nancy earned her Ph.D. in 1980 and taught at Colgate University before moving to Georgetown University in 1987. Government service and regular participation in policy forums sponsored by organizations like the Woodrow Wilson Center made Nancy familiar with the process of diplomacy and, equally importantly, the people who made and implemented policy. A gifted stylist whose crisp prose and narrative skill brought her subjects to life, she was the author of four major books, editor or co-editor of three others, and the author of numerous scholarly articles in the profession’s top journals.[2] She also wrote for influential publications geared toward policymakers and shared her ideas about contemporary issues with a wider audience through articles and interviews with major news outlets.

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Born in 1902, a granddaughter of the banker Jacob Schiff—who bequeathed $1 million to each of his grandchildren—Dorothy never had to work to pay the rent.  Her family was part of the famed Our Crowd: The Great Jewish Families of New York and she appears as a young woman in a photograph published in Stephen Birmingham’s book so titled.[1]  But she rebelled against the family ethos, hated being dragged to Paris every year for new clothes.  After graduating from Wellesley, she found work as a journalist with the New York World.

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Stanley Hoffmann’s long career in political science and international relations has been celebrated in several special issues of scholarly journals and a Festschrift.[2] It is important for a discipline to honor its greatest exponents. In Hoffmann’s case, that task has surely been accomplished. His students and close colleagues have collectively painted a rich portrait of the pioneering thinker, the politically engaged intellectual, the farsighted institution-builder, the inspiring teacher, and the generous and witty man. This H-Diplo/ISSF forum, “Stanley Hoffmann Now,” is different. Here, a diverse group of superb IR and international history scholars—Deniz Kuru, Kiran Klaus Patel, Tommaso Pavone, and Kamila Stullerova—describe how they are currently engaging with aspects of Hoffmann’s work to advance their own research agendas. Their deeply considered essays reveal how relevant Hoffmann’s work remains for cutting-edge IR research, whether the focus is on international theory, French and European affairs, or the state of the discipline. We look back in order to move forward.

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The editors of this special issue on NATO have put together a fabulous set of essays that contain a great many new insights and information about the alliance from leading scholars in this field. Covering both the Cold War and post-Cold War periods, the articles together shed light on how the alliance has managed differences, how it has adapted, and how it has grown, including through its post-Cold War enlargement to the East, one of the most consequential policy pursuits of the past three decades, and one that has generated a tremendous amount of intellectual, political, and emotional reaction.[1]

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For a half-century, from 1959 until his death in 2009, Ernest May was in the front rank of historians studying the interactions of the United States with the world.  He left an enormous and fascinatingly readable body of work and touched many lives.  That is perhaps why this forum stimulated such a remarkable and contrasting set of substantial essays.

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Eric D. Weitz was a colleague and friend who was taken from us prematurely on July 1, 2021.  Fittingly, H-Diplo is hosting a forum to honor his memory.  When I approached Taner Akçam, Anne Kornhauser, Norman Naimark, and Mary Nolan to participate, they accepted without hesitation.  I selected these scholars in order to cover the various phases and dimensions of Weitz’s illustrious career and extensive oeuvre: we have appraisals by a historian of German culture, one of German and Soviet communism, and one of global genocide and human rights.  In his eulogy, Taner Akçam adds a personal appreciation of Weitz’s assistance in the early phases of his career that enabled him to stay and become the foremost scholar of the Armenian genocide in the United States rather than elsewhere.  Such solidarity with a foreign scholar who had a precarious status in the U.S. was characteristic of Eric.  Everyone I have come across who knew Weitz has a story to share about gestures that attest to his generosity of spirit.  Perhaps his evident delight in shared human company compensated for the darkness of the subjects we research.

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Because Germany is Europe’s most populous country (excluding Russia), its most productive economy, and the European Union’s indispensable member, its elections are necessarily significant.  Yet even by this standard, the federal election held on 26 September was particularly consequential and unusual.  It marked the end of Angela Merkel’s sixteen-year tenure as Chancellor, during which she established herself as the preeminent figure in German domestic politics, an influential presence on the international stage, and a stabilizing temperament during a tumultuous era of global politics.  As the forum’s contributors note, this election was the first in the Federal Republic’s history (except for the first) in which the sitting chancellor did not seek reelection.  At the same time, the election exemplifies the gradual abandonment of some of the mainstays of postwar German politics.  For instance, the standard center-left/center-right faceoff (between the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands and the Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands–Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern alliance) has given way to a fragmented political landscape in which no less than five parties claimed over ten percent of the vote.  Meanwhile, the growing personalization of German politics explains the success of the Social-Democratic candidate Olaf Scholz, who played on his stature as Finance Minister in Merkel’s coalition government, as well as the lackluster performance of the Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands candidate Armin Laschet.  At the same time, the vote’s dispersal across multiple parties makes it probable that Germany will have its first three-party governing coalition since the 1950s.  Another novelty resulting from the election is that the two leading kingmaker parties—the Greens and the liberal Freie Demokratische Partei —have committed to aligning their own platforms before deciding which party they will being to power.

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Paul W. Schroeder, emeritus professor of history and political science at the University of Illinois and perhaps the most distinguished diplomatic historian of his generation, died last December at the age of 93.  In the course of his long career Schroeder wrote four major books:  The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, 1941 (1958);  Metternich’s Diplomacy at Its Zenith, 1820-1823 (1962);  Austria, Great Britain, and the Crimean War: The Destruction of the European Concert (1972); and his masterpiece, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848 (1994).[1]  He also published a large number of articles, some of which were quite influential, dealing mostly with European great power politics in the century and a half before the outbreak of the First World War, but covering other subjects as well.[2]

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As Max Abrahms tells the tale, terrorism, which is the use of violence against civilian targets to achieve positive political objectives, is doomed to failure.  He supports this observation with quantitative and qualitative analysis, which draws heavily on contemporary history and the literature on terrorism and political psychology, to explain how and why terrorism fails as a strategy.  The work is sophisticated.  It incorporates explanations of phenomena occurring at various levels of analysis to explain why terrorism is a losing proposition.  Abrahms is careful not to suggest that attacking government or military targets is a recipe for success or to assess if only an occasional attack against civilians will doom some rebel enterprise.  Nevertheless, he is unequivocal in his assessment that killing innocents is simply a recipe for political failure.

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