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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.
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The Washington Naval Conference, 1921–1922

How to “Contain” War

The Washington Naval Conference, 1921–1922 Notice that the keyword in the title is NOT “prevent,” nor “end,” but “contain,” an expression that goes back to the beginning of the Cold War (1946). In that year, George Kennan, a State Department officer in Moscow, wrote back that the U.S. must maintain “a long-term, patient but firm…

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International Flags

Toward an “Atlantic Community”

Of all the great “conceptions” (plan, idea, design, image, cause) on the political globe, there is none so noble, majestic, nor so idealistic as the union of the western democracies in a single sovereignty stretching beyond both shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This notion has been dominant in theoretical/philosophical circles even before the nation-state (1648)…

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

I Like Ike

If there is any “consensus” for America in the world, it is that the differences between “authoritarian” societies (Kings, Emperors, dictators, Fascists, Communists, etc.) and “democracies” (U.S., UK, France, etc.) are so vast and apparent that to “convert” the first into the second has always been, and remains today, as the chief purpose of America…

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William J. Donovan

Making Superpower Legal: The National Security Act

For most of its history, the United States needed no formal or legal supervision for its foreign policies since George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796) created an “isolationist” nation that avoided any form of “entangling alliances” with other countries (European). With exceptions, Washington’s advice governed how the U.S. viewed itself on the world stage: independent, a…

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“A quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing”

The title here is one of the most famous (infamous?) statements ever made in the history of world politics. It was said by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on September 27, 1938 in reference to the growing British anguish over German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s ambition to take Czechoslovakia. In retrospect, it characterized the foreign policies…

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Statue of Liberty

Liberty as Foreign Policy

  In 1775, in a Richmond church, Patrick Henry gave the reason for the American Revolution and, subsequently, the explanation for any American political independence in the first place. “Give me liberty or give me death” was described by one man in the audience (Thomas Marshall, father of the first Chief Justice, John Marshall) as…

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World Map

Anarchy vs. Government

From the time “recorded” history began (6,000 BC), all societies on earth have lived in something we call “government,” including aboriginals, tribes, and indigenous groups. “Anarchy,” being “without authority,” is impossible for any form of society and normally refers to a temporary breakdown of order, as in civil disturbance, revolution, protest, strike, etc. Whether society…

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Portrait of Corporal Adolf Hitler during his stay in a military hospital, 1918

Why Study World War I?

In an evaluation of my class “History of International Relations” (taught 48 consecutive semesters at The Institute of World Politics) one student wrote that “Professor Tierney spent too much time on World War I.” This was meant as a “negative” review, as “too much” was literal and, by definition, a complaint. As usual in such…

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