"'I declare it's marked out just like a large chessboard!'".

“‘I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard!'” from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

How did this happen? Donald Trump—a real estate mogul with a television show and no political experience—is America’s forty-fifth president. “Those that did not foresee” his ascendancy “are going to find it hard to discipline themselves to a balanced projection of his forthcoming first term,” Jonathan Haslam declared in a recent ISSF/H-Diplo essay.[1] I’m in that group; maybe you are too. Polls aside, no major newspaper or magazine endorsed Trump’s candidacy, and a big chunk of the Republican Party establishment actively resisted his nomination. The GOP’s previous standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, said Trump was a charlatan, and Speaker Paul Ryan kept the candidate at arm’s length throughout 2016. Neither George W. Bush nor George H.W. Bush supported Trump, and President Barack Obama campaigned against the GOP nominee while enjoying an approval rate that hovered near 60%. Trump’s victory was unexpected because it was improbable.[2]

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Leaders at War coverIn Leaders at War, Elizabeth Saunders examines the use of military force by states to intervene in other nations’ domestic affairs.  Why, she asks, do some military interventions explicitly seek to transform the societies and institutions of the states they target while others do not?  And more basically, “why do great powers like the United States undertake overt intervention in some conflicts or crises but not in others?” (2)  As Saunders rightly notes, it’s not enough to study interventions that occurred; we should also examine those that might have occurred but did not.

 

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Leaders at War coverIn Leaders at War, Elizabeth Saunders examines the use of military force by states to intervene in other nations’ domestic affairs.  Why, she asks, do some military interventions explicitly seek to transform the societies and institutions of the states they target while others do not?  And more basically, “why do great powers like the United States undertake overt intervention in some conflicts or crises but not in others?” (2)  As Saunders rightly notes, it’s not enough to study interventions that occurred; we should also examine those that might have occurred but did not.

 

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