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.
“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…Read More from “A quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing” ›
The Bay of Pigs Invasion: An American Fiasco
Above: A counter-attack by Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces supported by T-34 tanks near Playa Giron during the Bay of Pigs invasion, 19 April 1961. First, a bit of perspective. While the Bay of Pigs invasion can properly be called a “fiasco,” one must remember that seventeen years earlier, the United States supervised the greatest seaborne…Read More from The Bay of Pigs Invasion: An American Fiasco ›
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…Read More from Liberty as Foreign Policy ›
Why Aren’t There Wars in The Western Hemisphere?
Questions like this are full of innuendos that complicate the issue. Such as: what of the Falklands War (1982), Argentina’s “Dirty War” (1976-1983), or the 1969 “Soccer War” between El Salvador and Honduras? Certainly, the Western Hemisphere (WH) has never been free of warfare, much less violence, as any history of the region will attest,…Read More from Why Aren’t There Wars in The Western Hemisphere? ›
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…Read More from Anarchy vs. Government ›
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…Read More from Why Study World War I? ›
What Causes War? An Analysis of Kenneth Waltz’s “Images”
In my own view, the most definitive exploration of the causation of timeless warfare came out in 1959 by the late (deceased 2013) Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, The State, and War. The originator of the classic “neo-realist” theory of world politics, Waltz approached war from the vantage point of three distinct categories (“images”) that had…Read More from What Causes War? An Analysis of Kenneth Waltz’s “Images” ›
Repetition: Invasions, Now and Then
Several years ago, I handed out to my class a recent (then) Library of Congress description of military invasions of other counties undertaken by the United States. Before handing it out, I asked them how many there were or how many they had knowledge of. Their answers all highlighted Vietnam, Korea, and, certainly, Germany, although…Read More from Repetition: Invasions, Now and Then ›
The Top Ten Decisions in U.S. Foreign Policy
Having already listed the “Top Twelve Statements” and the “Worst Six Episodes” in U.S. Foreign Policy, it is time now to describe the “Top Ten Decisions” within the same subject, as to both causes and consequences. As before, it is imperative to mention how “subjective” these are, that they are not necessarily rated and that…Read More from The Top Ten Decisions in U.S. Foreign Policy ›
Concepts of World Politics
All the “Social Sciences” have certain “concepts” that identify, clarify, or define their social/political boundaries and separate them from their competitors. The world of sociology, for example, will use concepts such as race, tribe, nation, etc. that dominate its own field; economics and political science do the same, etc. This doesn’t mean that the various…Read More from Concepts of World Politics ›