“Thinking about the U.S. in the World. Review of The Cold World They Made: The Strategic Legacy of Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter, by Ron Robin, and Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy, by David Milne.” Diplomatic History 41, no. 5 (November 2017), 1018-1025.

ABSTRACT: There has recently been a growing interest among historians of the United States in the world in studying the relationship between intellectuals and foreign policy. This review explores two recent additions to this emergent literature: David Milne’s Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy and Ron Robin’s The Cold World They Made: The Strategic Legacy of Roberta and Albert Wohlstetter. It argues that both books usefully move beyond “ideological history,” defined as the analysis of trans-historical ideologies, and embrace the “history of ideas,” in which ideas are rooted in specific historical contexts. While this approach leads Worldmaking and The Cold World They Made to lack the powerful narratives of books that explore the history of ideologies, it greatly increases historians’ understanding of the complex processes by which ideas actually influence U.S. foreign policy.

“Nazism, Neoliberalism, and the Trumpist Challenge to Democracy.” Environment and Planning A 46, no. 6 (June 2017), 1214-1223. (co-authored with Matthew Sparke)

ABSTRACT: Trumpism demands that scholars rethink the categories commonly used to critique authoritarian and pro-market regimes. We seek here to contribute to this rethinking with a series of reflections on how the terms “Nazi” and “neoliberal” cannot be used without careful consideration of the ways in which they complicate one another. In particular, we suggest that scholars must be careful about comparing Trumpism to Nazism, because, in the past, the “Weimar analogy” was used to justify anti-democratic structures of governance. The latter is an important trap to avoid, because we ultimately conclude that Trump’s monstrous merging of neoliberal and Nazi tendencies can only be overcome with democratic struggle.

“How Realism Waltzed Off: Liberalism and Decisionmaking in Kenneth Waltz’s Neorealism.” International Security 40, no. 2 (2015): 87-118. (co-authored with Nicolas Guilhot)

ABSTRACT: Neorealism is one of the most influential theories of international relations, and its first theorist, Kenneth Waltz, a giant of the discipline. But why did Waltz move from a rather traditional form of classical realist political theory in the 1950s to neorealism in the 1970s? A possible answer is that Waltz’s Theory of International Politics was his attempt to reconceive classical realism in a liberal form. Classical realism paid a great deal of attention to decisionmaking and statesmanship, and concomitantly asserted a nostalgic, anti-liberal political ideology. Neorealism, by contrast, dismissed the issue of foreign policymaking and decisionmaking. This shift reflected Waltz’s desire to reconcile his acceptance of classical realism’s tenets with his political commitment to liberalism. To do so, Waltz incorporated cybernetics and systems theory into Theory of International Politics, which allowed him to develop a theory of international relations no longer burdened with the problem of decisionmaking.

Please click below for the H-Diplo/ISSF Review Roundtable for the article, which includes contributions from Campbell Craig (Cardiff University); William Inboden (University of Texas-Austin); Robert Jervis (Columbia University); Robert Vitalis (University of Pennsylvania); and Stephen Walt (Harvard University), as well as authors’ response.

H-Diplo/ISSF Article Review Forum 59

“Organizing Complexity: The Hopeful Dreams and Harsh Realities of Interdisciplinary Collaboration at the RAND Corporation, 1947-1960.” In “Cross-Disciplinary Research Ventures in Postwar Social Science,” edited by Philippe Fontaine. Special Issue. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 51, no. 1  (2015): 31-53. 

ABSTRACT: Historians argue that in the early Cold War an interdisciplinary research culture defined the RAND Corporation. However, a significant epistemological gap divided the members of RAND’s Social Science Division from the rest of the organization. While the social scientists used qualitative methods, most RAND researchers embraced quantified approaches and derided the social sciences as unscientific. This encouraged RAND’s social scientists to develop a political-military simulation that embraced everything—politics, culture, and psychology—that RAND’s other analysts largely ignored. Yet the fact that the Social Science Division embraced gaming, a heuristic practiced throughout RAND, suggests that the political simulation was nonetheless inspired by social scientists’ engagement with their colleagues. This indicates that the concept of interdisciplinarity should move beyond its implication of collaboration to incorporate instances in which research agendas are defined against but also shaped by colleagues in other disciplines. Such a rethinking of the term may make it possible to trace how varieties of interdisciplinary interaction historically informed knowledge production.

“Murray Rothbard, Political Strategy, and the Making of Modern Libertarianism.” Intellectual History Review 24, no. 4 (2014): 441-456. *Awarded the Charles Schmitt Prize for Best Article by a Young Historian by the International Society for Intellectual History 

This article argues that Murray Rothbard’s innate radicalism and peculiar view of social change, the latter influenced by the writings of Ludwig von Mises, made him unable to countenance libertarians’ engagement with the power structures of a centralized federal state. This led Rothbard to reject the reformist strategy of Edward H. Crane’s Cato Institute in favor of a radical strategy premised upon training a vanguard of libertarian intellectuals at institutions like the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which he helped found. Though Cato has, by design, become more influential on public policy than the Von Mises Institute, Rothbard was crucial to the intellectual and political development of modern libertarianism, and without him there never would have been a Cato Institute. It was Rothbard who played a central role in building the organized libertarian movement from the 1950s to the 1970s. Without Rothbard, Cato would not have taken the form it did, and libertarianism would not be as influential as it presently is. Moreover, though there has been a recent upsurge in the history of modern conservatism, this scholarship has largely ignored libertarianism. This essay thus aims to bring both Rothbard specifically, and libertarianism generally, from the periphery to the center of the historiography of postwar American politics, and in so doing complement work that has illuminated the intellectual, cultural, and political influence and development of both mainstream and radical conservatism.

“Weimar Social Science in Cold War America: The Case of the Political-Military Game.” In “More Atlantic Crossings?: The Postwar Atlantic Community,” edited by Jan Logemann and Mary Nolan. Special Issue. Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 54, Bulletin Supplement 10 (2014): 91-109.

ABSTRACT: This article examines the intellectual influences that encouraged Hans Speier and Herbert Goldhamer to develop the political game. An analysis of contemporary documents, oral history interviews, and intellectual convergences reveals two primary inspirations for the game. The first was game theory. Specifically, the political game was Speier and Goldhamer’s reaction against quantified social science’s dominance of the RAND Corporation, for which both worked in the early Cold War. Speier in particular was frustrated with the ways in which RAND’s economists and physicists used game theory to abstract wartime decision-making outside of the historical contexts in which it occurred. The second source for the political game was more obscure than the first. Namely, the pedagogy created by Karl Mannheim in interwar Germany inspired the formulation of Speier and Goldhamer’s simulation model. For both, Mannheim was an intellectual inspiration and resource. When confronted with the problem of how to teach RAND’s analysts to appreciate the importance of a newly nuclearized geopolitical context, Speier and Goldhamer drew upon the pedagogy of Mannheim, who faced a similar problem of teaching students how to navigate the political environment of a newly democratic Germany. Mannheim addressed this problem by creating a pedagogy of simulation that reproduced the “atmosphere”—i.e., the structures of interaction—of democratic politics. This simulacrum, he believed, imbued students with political empathy and the skills to act as effective political agents. Speier and Goldhamer’s political game correspondingly sought to model the atmosphere of international relations and improve analysts’ abilities, decision-makers’ talents, and the capacity for both groups to understand their enemies. In its methods and goals, Speier and Goldhamer’s game mirrored Mannheim’s pedagogy; in its impact, it suggests the utility of pursuing a transnational history of the social sciences.

“‘Rather More than One-Third Had No Jewish Blood’: American Progressivism and German-Jewish Cosmopolitanism at the New School for Social Research, 1933-1939.” In “Between Religion and Ethnicity: Twentieth-Century Jewish Émigrés and the Shaping of Postwar Culture,” edited by Malachi Hacohen and Julie Mell. Special Issue. Religions 3, no. 1 (2012): 99-129.

ABSTRACT: The New School for Social Research’s University in Exile accepted more German and European exiled intellectuals than any other American institution of higher education. This paper argues that transnational, cosmopolitan ideological and interest-based affinities shared by left-leaning American progressives and German-Jewish intellectuals enabled the predominantly Jewish University in Exile to become a vibrant intellectual space accepted by the community of largely anti-Semitic American academics. These affinities also illuminate why, despite the fact that the émigrés’ exile was in large part the result of National Socialist hatred of Jews, Alvin Johnson (the founder of the University in Exile) and the faculty members that comprised it seldom discussed the University’s Jewish demographics. The Jewish faculty members ignored the relationship between their ethnicity and exile because to focus on it would have been to admit that the cosmopolitan project they had embraced in Central Europe had failed. Johnson ignored the faculty’s Jewish heritage for two reasons. First, he endorsed a cosmopolitan American nationalism. Second, he understood that the generally anti-Semitic community of American academics would have rejected the University in Exile if he stressed the faculty’s Jewishness. In ignoring the University in Exile’s Jewish demographics, Johnson and the University’s faculty successfully adhered to a strategy designed to foster the exiles’ entrance into the American intellectual community. Thus, while cosmopolitanism failed in Germany and Central Europe, the exiles’ later influence on the American academy indicates that it partially succeeded in the United States.

“Tender Hands: Terrorism, Women, and Emancipation in Karl Heinzen’s Work.” In Terrorismus und Geschlecht: Politische Gewalt in Europa seit dem 19. Jahrhundert, edited by Christine Hikel and Sylvia Schraut, 63-79. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2012. (in German)

ABSTRACT: This article examines Karl Heinzen’s 1852 essay Die rechtliche Stellung der Weiber und die geschlechtlichen Verhältnisse (The Rights of Women and the Sexual Relations). It argues that Heinzen’s ideational matrix represented a watershed intellectual moment whereby the radical created a new paradigm of thinking about women in relation to terroristic violence. Despite the innovative nature of his writings on women, however, Heinzen’s thought was limited by the expectations of his time. Although advocating for women’s emancipation, he did not accord women a significant role in the revolutionary process. Instead, he portrayed them largely as manipulators of men who were able to use their sexual positions as wives or social positions as mothers to encourage their husbands and sons to participate in revolution. In Heinzen’s work, women remained the passive subjects of history. Yet Heinzen did not realize the full implications of his thought. Namely, when one reads The Rights of Women and the Sexual Relations in light of Mord und Freiheit (Murder and Liberty), Heinzen’s treatise on terrorist theory, it becomes clear that the logic of Heinzen’s system implies that women were able to be active agents of revolution. Heinzen’s thought thus becomes remarkably forward-looking, anticipating the female terrorists of the Russian Socialist Revolutionary party, who participated in anti-tsarist terrorist attacks in the 1860s, and the women terrorists of the anarchist movements of the 1880s.

Please click below for reviews of the edited volume:

H-Soz-u-Kult (in German) (in German)

“Toward a Theory of Civil-Military Punishment.” Armed Forces & Society 38, no. 4 (2012): 649-668. (co-authored with Eric Lorber)

ABSTRACT: This article addresses a significant question in American civil–military relations: under what conditions will civilian principals punish military leaders for shirking? In order to inductively derive a theory of civil–military punishment, the authors examine two cases of military shirking where there is little doubt that insubordination occurred. The first case the authors analyze is Douglas MacArthur’s insubordination under Harry Truman during the Korean War, and the second is Colin Powell’s scuttling of Bill Clinton’s plan to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military in late 1992 and early 1993. This analysis indicates that two factors are linked to civil–military punishment. First, the salience of the issue at stake determines whether he or she decides to punish shirking. The second factor linked to punishment is whether or not the civilian has the military’s support to pursue punishment.

“Karl Heinzen and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Terror.” Terrorism and Political Violence 22, no. 2 (2010): 143-176. (co-authored with Michael Stauch)

ABSTRACT: Scholars have long recognized the importance of Karl Heinzen’s Mord und Freiheit in the history of terrorist thought. Yet the translation most scholars have relied on—1881s Murder and Liberty—is incomplete. Our new translation reveals four elements omitted from the 1881 translation. First, Heinzen conceived of terrorism as a transnational phenomenon. Second, he provided a material justification for terrorist tactics. Third, Heinzen viewed terrorism as both a tool to impel human society to progress and as a “progressive” tool of violence. Finally, he argued in favor of the primary modern tactic of terrorism—the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.