The National Interest: Is America Being Crushed by the Weight of the World?

Author: Michael Desch

Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union we have been living in the era of American primacy. Primacy, of course, is just a euphemism for empire. The early 1990s ostensibly inaugurated a “new American Century,” with the United States bestriding the planet like a colossus. On both the left and right, policy elites fretted that absent American leadership the world would devolve into a Yeatsian “Second Coming” of anarchy, chaos, bloodshed and destruction...…

The National Interest: Interview with Michael Desch

Author: Sean McFadden

Was Sam Huntington proven right? Will Donald Trump's new directions in foreign-policy rhetoric help or hurt the cause of realism? How interventionist might a Hillary Clinton presidency's foreign policy be? The National Interest editor Jacob Heilbrunn speaks to Notre Dame international relations scholar Michael Desch on these and other topics in a Facebook Live interview.…

Foreign Policy: The Case Against Peace

Author: Stephen Walt

A striking trend in contemporary world politics is the apparent erosion of political unity in so many different places. In the Middle East, we’ve seen the upheavals of the Arab Spring and the continuing bloodbaths in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. In Europe, support for the European Union continues to drop, Great Britain may vote to leave it, and Scotland might still decide to exit the United Kingdom. Here in the United States, we have a level of bitter partisanship not seen for many decades, the two main political parties are themselves deeply divided, and the presumptive GOP presidential candidate is a rank amateur (in several senses of that term). To say “the center cannot hold” seems like an understatement these days...…

ABC's WJLA: Michael Desch on Response to Clinton's Foreign Policy Speech

Author: Amanda Ota

Speaking to supporters in California Thursday, Hillary Clinton argued why her presidency would mean a safer future for America. "As a candidate for president, there's nothing I take more seriously than National security," Clinton told supporters gathered in San Diego. Clinton told the crowd that Trump is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidency, describing his foreign policies as "a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies."…

“The Petroleum Paradox: Oil, Coercive Vulnerability, and Great Power Behavior,” in Security Studies

Author: Rose Kelanic

Mention the “oil weapon” and the 1973 Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) embargo often leaps to mind, complete with its iconic images of long lines at American gasoline stations. Yet, international oil coercion, a strategy that aims to change an opponent’s political behavior by threatening its access to petroleum, rarely resembles the OAPEC oil crisis, and its use long predates 1973...…

Inaugural Emerging Scholars Conference

Author: Sean McFadden

The Notre Dame International Security Center is very excited to share our successful inaugural Emerging Scholars in Grand Strategy Conference. Hosted by Sebastian Rosato, the first conference showcased the work of outstanding early career scholars working on grand strategy, broadly defined. Conference Details…

US News: America First, or Trump?

Author: Michael Desch

The camel is an animal famously said to have been built by a committee. The same could be said of Donald Trump's much-anticipated foreign policy speech for the Center for the National Interest, one of the few remaining bastions of foreign policy prudence inside the Beltway after the last quarter century of bipartisan global hyperactivism...… Boots on the ground? There are people in them

Author: Michael Desch

This week's New York Times investigative piece on the likely suicide of Navy Cmdr. Job W. Price, the commander of SEAL Team Four in Afghanistan and another casualty in America's longest war, should remind us that when we talk about putting boots on the ground, they are filled by flesh-and-blood men and women...… Why you shouldn't panic about North Korea's H-bomb

Author: Michael Desch

The web is atwitter in response to North Korea's claim to have exploded a hydrogen bomb — essentially an atomic bomb on steroids — and the international community is wondering what to make of this latest development in Hermit Kingdom. Last month, the mercurial leader Kim Jong Un abruptly canceled the Beijing leg of the tour of his all-girl rock and roll band Moranbong; this month he's promising to up his Armageddon game. What should we make of this?...… Saudi Arabia vs. Iran: America's Shia problem

Author: Michael Desch

Saudi Arabia's execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr on charges of terrorism exposes both the fragility and the brutality of the Saudi regime.  The Shia represent only about 15% of Saudi Arabia’s population and they feel persecuted by the dominant fundamentalist Sunni regime.  They are increasingly speaking out and protesting, as was the recently executed Shia Sheikh, but unlike in Yemen or Lebanon, Saudi Shia have for the most part not taken up arms.  As with the House of Saud's pandering to Sunni fundamentalist Wahhabi clerics, repressing Saudi Shia may shore up their domestic power in the short-run, but it is likely to backfire over the longer run, undermining both Saudi and U.S. national interests in the process...…

“Maintaining U.S. Energy Security,” in Our Foreign Policy Choices: Rethinking America’s Global Role

Author: Eugene Gholz

The end of the Cold War ushered in a unipolar world, cementing U.S. dominance over a generally liberal international order. Yet where once it seemed that U.S. foreign policy would be simpler and easier to manage as a result, the events of the past 15 years—the 9/11 attacks, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arab Spring, and Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Ukraine—strongly suggest otherwise. The world today is certainly safer for Americans than it was under the existential threat posed by the Soviet Union. But the world is undoubtedly more complex, as nonstate actors, shifting alliances, and diverse domestic political factors complicate U.S. foreign policy formation and implementation. A robust debate on America’s foreign policy choices is urgently needed...…

“Energy, Coercive Diplomacy, and Sanctions,” in Palgrave Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy

Author: Eugene Gholz

This Handbook is the first volume to analyse the International Political Economy, the who-gets-what-when-and-how, of global energy. Divided into five sections, it features 28 contributions that deal with energy institutions, trade, transitions, conflict and justice. The chapters span a wide range of energy technologies and markets - including oil and gas, biofuels, carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and electricity - and it cuts across the domestic-international divide...…

"U.S. Spending on its Military Commitments to the Persian Gulf," in Crude Strategy: Reexamining the Energy Logic of the U.S. Military Commitment to the Persian Gulf

A reasonable estimate of the defense budget cost of protecting the Persian Gulf (and especially of protecting production and transit of oil) would make an important contribution to a rational assessment of the desirability of continuing to include this mission as part of U.S. military strategy. Unfortunately, such an estimate is not easy to produce. Ideally, it would incorporate three sources of defense budget cost: the avoidable future investment to acquire the force structure to perform the mission, the cost of the force posture linked to the mission (the incremental cost of forward basing, specific training exercises that could be cancelled, etc.), and the intermittent cost of military operations in the region (whether surges of forces to deter potential adversaries or actual wars)...…

Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena: Professors or Pundits?

Author: Michael Desch

What is a public intellectual? Where are they to be found? What accounts for the lament today that public intellectuals are either few in number or, worse, irrelevant? While there is a small literature on the role of public intellectuals, it is organized around various thinkers rather than focusing on different countries or the unique opportunities and challenges inherent in varied disciplines or professions. In Public Intellectuals in the Global Arena,… Is Putin more realistic on Syria than Obama?

Author: Michael Desch

President Barack Obama took advantage of the fact that both he and Vladimir Putin were in Paris for this week's multilateral climate talks to give the Russian President some strategic advice about Russia's military intervention in Syria. The advice is particularly timely since Turkey, America's NATO ally, shot down a Russian plane last week near the Turkish-Syrian border...… Does Clinton's strategy for beating ISIS add up?

Author: Michael Desch

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a polished and effective speech on her strategy for dealing with ISIS on Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations. As with her recent testimony before the House Benghazi Committee, she came across as reasonable and in command of the many facets of the wickedly complex problem of global terrorism...…