This roundtable is a rarity, not for the H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable Review series, of course, but for roundtables published in many journals and online fora; it begins with a serious, well-written book and continues with three serious, well-written, critical review essays.  There is not a clunker in the mix.  The complete package is a model for academic discourse.  Scholars and students alike can benefit from reading Benjamin Miller’s and Ziv Rubinovitz’s book and then engaging with its strengths and weaknesses with guidance provided by the H-Diplo/ISSF essays. This is especially pleasing because all four reviewers– Paul C. Avey, Mariya Grinberg, Ionut Popescu, and Hilde Eliassen Restad – have made original contributions to international relations scholarship in recent years.[1] It is appropriate because Miller has been an original and provocative voices throughout his career, producing excellent books including, among others, States, Nations and Great Powers: The Sources of Regional War and When Opponents Cooperate: Great Power Conflict and Collaboration in World Politics and Peace.

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Military alliances are a crucial and much-studied aspect of world politics. They are also a defining feature of US grand strategy. During its tenure as the leading state in the international system, the United States has assembled an unprecedented network of security relationships that extend across the globe, including its multilateral alliance with other members of the North Atlantic community, its bilateral alliances in East Asia and Oceania, and its informal but close partnerships with states throughout the Middle East. Indeed, these security relationships are regularly cited as a unique source of advantage in competitions with major power rivals, as well as a potential source of vulnerability for a hegemon hoping to avoid overextension. Understanding why alliances emerge, what form they take, and the roles they play not only is of interest to academics, therefore, but is also at the center of current foreign policy debates over deepening versus downsizing Washington’s commitments.

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Samuel Moyn raises many questions in his new, provocative book, Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War. The four reviews, by Anne Kornhauser, Jana K. Lipman, Tejasvi Nagaraja, and Scott D. Sagan, engage deeply, appreciatively, and critically with Moyn’s workFor Nagaraja the book’s key question is, “how the post-9/11 Forever War became so durable.”  Moyn asserts at the outset, “Endless war has become part of the way Americans live now” (4).

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How did I become the American international and naval historian that I am?

I suppose it all began with stories.  Bible stories on Friday afternoons at the Catholic elementary school I attended.   Stories from the Book of Mormon that my grandmother told me. Stories depicted in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) artists’ murals at the Santa Monica Public Library where my parents parked me and my sister while they went grocery shopping. Stories discussed in my high school American history classes taught by women who held doctoral degrees in history and education.  And stories that unfolded in a much more sophisticated way in lectures by my Stanford history professors in the late 1950s.

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n the beginning was a name: John “Jack” Lamberton, the twin of Hugh, and one of my mother’s four brothers. They grew up in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in the 20s and 30s. Their father, Robert E. Lamberton, was the Republican mayor of Philadelphia at the time of his death in 1941. After Pearl Harbor, the twins took different paths. Hugh became an American Field Service ambulance driver, attached to the British Eighth Army as it slogged its way up the Italian peninsula from Salerno to Udine. Jack became a tanker with the Ninth Armored Division. In early November 1944, only days after the division had been deployed in Luxembourg, he was killed by artillery fire. My curiosity from an early age about the Second World War, and the world in which my parents’ generation had come of age, began, I suspect, when I fathomed that I’d been named for Uncle Jack. I had a name to live up to. Studying, and eventually writing, history was partly a tribute to him.

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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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In “Wargaming for International Relations Research,” Erik Lin-Greenberg, Reid Pauly, and Jacquelyn Schneider present wargames as a method for international relations research.[1] The article defines and differentiates wargames from other methods, provides guidance for using wargames for research, and concludes with an agenda for future study. The article is a generative work that provides a firm foundation upon which researchers can build methodologically and substantively. It raises far more questions than it answers, but that is not a limitation of the article. It is the hallmark of a major contribution.

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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 United States is inexorably linked to the stain of white supremacy. It is a stain that has been difficult to erase despite multiple inflection points and opportunities to reckon with America’s racist past. The Reconstruction Era of 1865 to 1877 that followed the Civil War provided the first opportunity for the United States to achieve some semblance of racial equality, and witnessed the adoption of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. The passage of these amendments, on paper, banned slavery and gave citizenship and the right to vote to Black Americans. Other important laws were also adopted, such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Act of 1871, which were deemed necessary by Congress given that the KKK was carrying out wanton acts of brutality to stifle measures to provide civil and political rights to Blacks. Vigilantism and acts of terrorism perpetrated upon the Black population that killed thousands in the United States post-Civil War made the paper advances, in the form of the Reconstruction Era Amendments and other laws (like the KKK Act), seem aspirational.

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Much of the scholarly debate about President Donald Trump’s foreign policy concentrated on whether he had renewed traditional U.S. skepticism of entangling alliances with European states. Jason Davidson’s America’s Entangling Alliances argues that such a view is inaccurate. The United States made alliances from its birth. And, in doing so, it secured important American interests over the past two hundred years.

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