“Divided priorities: why and when allies differ over military intervention” by Ronald R. Krebs and Jennifer Spindel is an important piece of research. The authors challenge the validity of the claim that weaker allies value their patrons’ hawkish postures in distant conflicts. This claim, first put forward by Glen Snyder in Deterrence and Defense (1961), reasons that a patron’s limited foreign interventions make allies feel reassured of their own defense commitment with their patron state: if their benefactor is willing to fight for places of trivial intrinsic and strategic importance, it will surely also be willing to fight for them if the necessity arises.[1]

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Just and Unjust Military Intervention (cover)Just and Unjust Military Intervention is a superb collection of essays by leading scholars examining the continuing relevance of the political thought of classical thinkers such as John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, and John Stuart Mill among others. Stefano Recchia and Jennifer Welsh, the editors of the volume, are quite conscious of the central issue involved in any research project that seeks to explore the contemporary relevance of classical thought. While they are sympathetic to the “contextualist” viewpoint of Quentin Skinner, which is skeptical of the idea that classic texts can be of much use to understanding the present, Recchia and Welsh believe that there are several reasons to believe that “a close reading of classic texts can enhance our understanding of intervention, in terms of both its origins and its controversial status in international society” (6).

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