John J. Tierney Jr. is a Professor Emeritus at IWP and Former Special Assistant and Foreign Affairs Officer for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Full Bio

The Nonpolitical Country

It may be widely assumed that the millions of immigrants who have flocked to this country, legally or not, flee their own homes because of oppression there and freedom here. That’s probably a safe assumption and certainly the one promoted now and throughout history. But everything is not politics, and there are many more advantages…

Read More ›

Upside Down

After the British defeat at Yorktown (1781), their marching band played an old favorite, “The World Turned Upside Down,” signifying the loss of the American colonies, a “first” in British history. There are signs in the modern American culture indicating that history has come “full circle,” it’s now our time. Backward is Forward Having studied…

Read More ›

Charge of the Light Brigade

“To Hell in a Handbasket”: The continual cycle of war in history

“Going to hell in a handbasket” is a phrase of frustration going back centuries to describe conditions so unsettling as to be irreversible. Today, it is commonly used as an everyday expression in situations that defy origin or cure, within which all must persevere. The phrase is used universally from home to factory, nation to…

Read More ›

“Happy Days Are Here Again”

Light: Hope within the Great Depression Certainly the greatest political campaign song ever, “Happy Days Are Here Again” was the theme of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1932 victory, the first of four. The time was the Great Depression, and America was in the doldrums. Unemployment was everywhere, bread lines appeared in every city, banks closed, farms…

Read More ›

Searching for America

Is anybody in America happy? The economy is doing just fine (so far), but it doesn’t get much play. Doom and gloom dominates the public “discourse.” There are two distinct entities, red and blue (as opposed to blue and gray), that are contesting for the soul and future of the country. One recognizes the past…

Read More ›


America is the only country in the world that is exploring the idea of compensation to a portion of its people for  behavior in history by another portion. The innocent people make up around twelve percent and are all African-American; the guilty percentage was minuscule at the time and has disappeared. These are called “reparations”…

Read More ›

The Age of Ideology

The Twentieth Century has been declared the “Age of Ideology,” apparently to distinguish it from prior centuries, especially the nineteenth, when rationality, raison d’ etat, balance of power, “white man’s burden,” geopolitics, evolution, industry, hierarchy, monarchy, stability, “cabinet diplomacy,” “national interest,” etc. were governing factors of common life. By contrast, the last century was governed…

Read More ›

Crossroads America

While there may be a number of metaphors to define our times in history, one certainly might be “an age of doubt.” For even the casual observer of modern opinion, through the media, politics, entertainment, and even sport, the notion of doubt, uncertainty, and even refusal is both universal and comprehensive in the primary culture.…

Read More ›

Photo from GPA Photo Archive, US Department of State

The Eighteen-Year Wound

Today marks the eighteenth anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks, probably the most significant event to “hit” this country in the new century. Most citizens old enough will compare it to Pearl Harbor, and those who don’t, should. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called that day, December 7, 1941, as one that “will live in infamy,” and…

Read More ›