The Cold War: A New History
John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin Press, 2005)
In The Cold War: A New History, John Lewis Gaddis, the dean of Cold War historians, provides a crisp and comprehensive survey of this epic conflict. Gaddis grapples the beginning and the end of the global war that pitted America and the free world against the Soviet Union and its satellites on every continent, sometimes in battle, sometimes in negotiation.
Dictatorships and Double Standards: Rationalism and Reason in Politics
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (Simon & Schuster, 1982)
As a respected but relatively unknown professor of government at Georgetown University and a life-long Democrat, Jeane Kirkpatrick chose the pages of the neoconservative journal Commentary to state bluntly, “The failure of the Carter administration’s foreign policy is now clear to everyone except its architects.” In this article, she discusses the Carter foreign policy and concludes that it “violated the strategic and economic interests of the United States.”
Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World
Margaret Thatcher (HarperCollins, 2002)
Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to serve as Britain’s prime minister, embarked on a political partnership with President Reagan that became the driving force of a conservative revolution that transformed the political landscape of the West. In this work, she reflects on that battle and modern international relations. She concludes that America is the most reliable guardian of freedom in the world.
Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order
Robert Kagan (Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)
Of Paradise and Power was a national best-seller, widely praised for its impressive command of history. In it, Robert Kagan examines the conflicted U.S.–European relationship. He argues at the end of the Cold War, Europeans concluded that any international conflict could be solved by diplomacy and international law, but still remained dependent upon America’s willingness to use its military might “to deter or defeat those around the world” that still practice power politics.
What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
Bernard Lewis (Oxford University Press, 2002)
For a thousand years, the world of Islam considered itself the leader in human civilization and achievement. In attempting to determine the reasons for Islam’s decline and fall, many in the Middle East have blamed others, the villains ranging from the Mongols to the Turks to the Americans. To the Western observer, Lewis writes, the reason for stagnation is clear: The lack of freedom in politics, economics, and culture.
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
Samuel P. Huntington (Simon & Schuster, 1996)
In The Clash of Civilizations, Huntington argues that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the 45-year Cold War, the paradigms of international politics have changed. He asserts that the world is “multi-civilizational”; that the balance of power is shifting from the West to the East. Huntington’s thesis, in light of declining Western power, is that the “survival of the West depends on Americans reaffirming their Western identity.”
Liberty’s Best Hope: American Leadership for the 21st Century
Kim R. Holmes (The Heritage Foundation, 2008)
Kim Holmes, Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation and former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, offers a thoughtful analysis and blueprint for what America must do to advance freedom, beginning with a policy of victory in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism. The world has changed dramatically since the end of the Cold War, writes Holmes, but America’s role as the primary defender of liberty has not changed and will not change.
American Foreign Policy and the Blessings of Liberty
Samuel Flagg Bemis (Yale University Press, 1962)
This collection of essays by the eminent historian Samuel Flagg Bemis spans American diplomacy from the Revolution to Woodrow Wilson. His accounts of the perilous and opportune moments in U.S. foreign policy offer valuable insight for those tasked with understanding or making foreign policy today.
God & Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World
Walter Russell Mead (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)
Historian Walter Russell Mead argues that there is something unique and singularly effective about Anglo-American—but especially the United States’—foreign policy tradition. Of prime importance is the understanding that trade, sea power, and economic prosperity are key elements of a successful foreign policy.
A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington’s Farewell Address and the American Character
Matthew Spalding & Patrick Garrity (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996)
George Washington’s wisdom on matters of war and peace is timeless. Much of his thoughts on American diplomacy are contained in his Farewell Address to the nation that he served with such heroic and selfless devotion. For generations of American statesmen after, Washington’s words and example set the tone and established the goals of American foreign policy.
Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order
Charles Hill (Yale University Press, 2010)
This book challenges those who would be statesmen to broaden their knowledge and the sources of their inspiration. The social sciences, and especially political science, address only a narrow range of problems—leaving the biggest questions beyond its reach. “A purely rational or technocratic approach is likely to lead one astray,” Hill writes. Literature spans the disciplines and addresses the fundamentals of human nature. Without imagination, a grasp of history, and “literary insight,” students of statecraft are left impoverished.
Classics of Strategy and Diplomacy
A starting point for anyone seeking to tackle the classics of strategy, diplomacy, and counterinsurgency, the website features helpful introductions to works by everyone from Sun Tzu to Carl von Clausewitz to Samuel Huntington.