American Foreign Policy

A soldier-historian looks at how the world has changed in the past decade and finds that America is both hostage to history and likely to be saved by it

Military historians sometimes write biographies of people they call military intellectuals. Read more >>

At a time when it can offer answers to urgent questions, we have forgotten America’s long history of “nation building.”

In late January 2002 Hamid Karzai, the newly installed leader of Afghanistan, visited Washington and New York. He received a standing ovation at the President’s State of the Union address, and glowing press attention, in no small part because of his gentle demeanor and splendid attire. Read more >>

It was born of a slew of compromises—which may be the secret of its survival in a vastly changed world

Sometimes historical changes march onstage to the sound of trumpet fanfares. And sometimes they arrive with what seems remarkably little notice by a distracted audience. Read more >>

Our war with Spain marked the first year of the American Century

Secretary Of State George C. Marshall received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the Harvard commencement exercise on the morning of June 5, 1947. That afternoon he spoke to a group of alumni. His message was short and grim. Read more >>

A historian of the ancient world believes that in every era humankind has reacted to the demands of waging war in surprisingly similar ways, and that to protect our national interests today Americans must understand the choices soldiers and statesmen made hundreds and even thousands of years ago

In a time when the usefulness of the past as a means to comprehend the present remains the object of skepticism, if not outright attack, inside the academy, Donald Kagan, the former dean of Yale College and a professor of ancient history, has published a book about the necessit Read more >>

In an exchange of letters, a man who had an immeasurable impact on how the great struggle of our times was waged looks back on how it began

In 1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Britain’s poorest, most dismal African colony, and what he saw there fired him with a fervor that helped found the United Nations

President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not look favorably on European colonialism. Like most Americans, he believed that the self-determination clause of the 1941 Atlantic Charter should apply to all peoples, not just Europeans. Read more >>

Of all the Allied leaders, argues FDR's biographer, only Roosevelt saw clearly the shape of the new world they were fighting to create

AFTER HALF A CENTURY IT IS HARD TO APPROACH FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT EXCEPT through a minefield of clichés. Theories of FDR, running the gamut from artlessness to mystification, have long paraded before our eyes. Read more >>

The unquiet history of the modern state of Israel has been tied up with the United States from the beginning

Peace was not in evidence in the Holy Land last Christmas Eve. Outbreaks of violence still rocked the West Bank and Gaza Strip three months after the signing of the accord between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat at the White House, with a beaming President Clinton standing by. Read more >>

Those who believe America’s power is on the wane look to the example of Britain’s shockingly quick collapse. But the similarities may be less alarming than they seem.

In 1987 Paul Kennedy published his eighth book, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Read more >>

Americans have always sympathized with the Eastern European countries in their struggles for democracy, but for two centuries we haven’t been able to help much. Do we have a chance now? A distinguished expatriate looks at the odds.

Even in these days of nine-hour airplane journeys and instant telephony, the United States and Eastern Europe are very far apart. Read more >>

It’s never a bad thing question how well you’re doing; the problem is to find a judicious observer who is determined neither to flatter nor to condemn

Irresistibly readable though it is, I doubt that Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (Random House) has leaped onto the best-seller list simply because people want to follow the roller-coaster histories of the Read more >>

After a year at the University of Missouri boning up on American history, a Chinese professor tells what she discovered about us and how she imparts her new knowledge to the folks back home in the People’s Republic.

In my mind, my life has been very uneventful. Read more >>

This is not a test. It’s the real thing.

How precise is the educated American’s understanding of the history of our country? I don’t mean exact knowledge of minor dates, or small details about the terms of laws, or questions like “Who was secretary of war in 1851?” ( Answer: Charles M. Read more >>
When the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, took office in 1790, his entire staff consisted of just six people, including himself and a part-time translator. The current Secretary presides over almost fifteen thousand employees scattered around the globe. Read more >>

The American Experience With Foreign Aid

Imagine a person of great wealth with a habit of giving away vast sums and lending more. In order to understand his character, we should examine how the money is dispensed and why. Who are the recipients? What does the donor expect of them in return? Read more >>

A Volunteer’s Eyewitness Account of the War With Spain

To the question of acquiring new territories overseas, and owning colonies, one group of Americans answered with a resounding “No!”