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Reading suggestions for winter break from IWP professors

In case you need your national security, intelligence, and international affairs reading fix during winter break, IWP faculty members have shared their suggestions.

From Dr. Anne Bradley, Former Economic Analyst for the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis

Factfulness, Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund. Hans Rosling was a master at looking at the data and cutting through the myths about how the world is changing—and it is changing for the better! This book takes us through ten reasons why we are wrong about the trends in the world and why the world is better than we think and improving! This is a great read and will help as we think through what policies can and cannot do to aid this progress.

How Adam Smith Can Change your Life, Russ Roberts. This is a quick and insightful read that helps us understand the significance of Adam Smith’s writings for life in the modern world. Moral Philosopher turned economist, Smith is essential for understanding the key ideas of human nature and the economic way of thinking.

From Dr. John Lenczowski, IWP Founder and President, Former Director of European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council

The Great Lie: Classic and Recent Appraisals of Ideology and Totalitarianism, F. Flagg Taylor, IV (ed.): “Know the enemy and know yourself and in a hundred battles you will never lose.” – Sun Tzu.  This is a book about the soul of the greatest enemies that we have faced and continue to face.  It is a collective volume of some of the most outstanding essays on the different aspects of totalitarianism.  Among other things, it wrestles with the question of how political evil manages to attract so many people into its ideological fold.  Its authors include the likes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Václav Havel, Hannah Arendt, Alain Besancon, Eric Voegelin, Martin Malia, Czeslaw Milosz, Leo Strauss, Raymond Aron, Leszek Kolakowski, Pierre Manent, and others.  I have never seen such a thorough array of insights about totalitarianism in a single book.  I consider it to be an eye-opener for an entire generation of students who have never been educated about the ideological origins not only of the totalitarian powers we have confronted in the past, but those we confront today: the Chinese communist regime and the threat of totalitarian ideology within our own country.

From Professor Mastri, Russian instructor to officials at the U.S. State Department and military personnel at the Pentagon

Андрей Громыко. В лабиринтах Кремля Анатолий Громыко (ISBN: 5-85212-083-9), Anatoly Gromyko. Anatoly Gromyko, the son of Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who ruled Soviet foreign policy for 28 years, has written a book in which many historical facts are reported for the first time. Why did Andrei Gromyko support big changes and support Mikhail Gorbachev when he was elected Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee? What caused the rapid cooling of relations between them? What was, in the words of Andrei Gromyko himself, the Soviet foreign policy strategy and its foundations? How did the Soviet minister and head of state work under six general secretaries of the CPSU Central Committee for exactly 50 years (1939-1989), understood and in practice implemented the “golden rules” of diplomacy, without which, in his opinion, it was ineffective?

From Professor John Sano, Former Deputy Director, National Clandestine Service, CIA

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis. I would recommend this new novel about North Korea, by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis – from Middlebury’s Institute of International Studies (and a research affiliate at Stanford). It is a “speculative novel” (according to the author) and – in my humble opinion – a page turner. It recounts the (fictional) account of a series of events leading up to a nuclear confrontation amongst North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and the United States.  Mixing real actors with fictional ones, it is a fascinating, and at times frightening, portrayal of “what could happen” in one of the most volatile places on earth.

From Dr. Wayne SchroederNonresident Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Initiative, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Atlantic Council

The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare (New York, NY: Hachette Books, 2020), Christian Brose.  An easily readable entrée into the complicated world of high-technology warfare from the former staff director of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.  Brose examines the great power threats posed by China and Russia and also offers policy and program incentives to change America’s defense posture over the long term. I recommend it for all incoming students for IWP 679, Defense Strategy, Planning and Budgeting.

7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century (New York, NY: Bantam Dell, 2009), Andrew Krepinevich.  A protégé of the late director of the Office of Net Assessment, Andrew Marshall, and a former member of the Defense Policy Board, Andrew Krepinevich is one of the most prominent defense and security strategists America has ever produced.  Although more than ten years old, 7 Deadly Scenarios might still cause some of you to “stay up at night.”  I recommend it for all incoming students for IWP 679, Defense Strategy, Planning and Budgeting.

From Dr. Joseph Wood, Former Deputy National Security Advisor

The novels of Mark Helprin: A Soldier of the Great War, Winter’s Tale. Helprin is a wonderfully imaginative author with a deep appreciation of the West. He conveys the eternals of truth, beauty, and goodness in ways that are sometimes stunning. For a start on his work, here’s a short essay from 2017: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/03/falling-into-eternity

For a break from reading, watch a movie by Terrence Malick: The Thin Red Line, A Hidden Life, Tree of Life, To the Wonder. These films can also stun the viewer with a tremendous vision of the good of life and creation, even in the worst circumstances. Hint: You have to watch the movies closely – subtle facial expressions can signal major changes, and the quiet voiceovers (easily missed) are sometimes essential to the movie. Turn the volume up or, better, watch with the captions enabled.

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