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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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A depiction of a Napoleonic-era British infantry square at the Battle of Quatre Bras, Belgium, 1815.

Defense vs. Offense in Foreign Policy

Motivation is critical in the formulation of practically everything, but certainly in foreign policy. Much depends on motivation, the “why” of any human activity. It obviously makes a difference as to whether you are doing something for yourself or for others, against something (someone) or for them, for defense (self-protection) or offense (self-expansion). Examples abound…

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United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and their advisors in Casablanca, 1943

What “Made” the Twentieth Century?

Above: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British prime minister Winston Churchill, and their advisors in Casablanca, 1943. The verb “made” in the title is meant to describe the main activity or set of related events that were responsible for the chief accomplishments of the time period. The Twentieth Century is almost universally recognized as the “greatest” period…

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Soviet soldier waving a red flag at a building off the central square in Stalingrad, Russia, Jan-Feb 1943

Circumstance in World Politics

The two expressions in the title, circumstance and politics, are essential in estimating the current (and historic) public acceptance of war vs. peace in the American political culture. The word “circumstance” is formally defined as “state of affairs” or “sum of essential and environmental factors,” while politics is associated with the art of “governing” as…

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Gettysburg July 1863

Blowin’ in the Wind

The first stanza of Bob Dylan’s historic 1963 song, which ignited a whole generation, is, How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? How many seas must the white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand? Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly before they’re forever…

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Anticipation in Foreign Policy

“Remember this: anticipation is the ultimate power. Losers react; leaders anticipate.” -Tony Robbins Properly, the word anticipation is defined as the act of “looking forward to” or “an action that takes into account or forestalls a later action.” Can someone/something be held responsible for doing nothing when action might have forestalled/stopped some action in the…

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