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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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Statue of Liberty and American Flag

American Nationalism

The best book on American nationalism was written by a foreigner. This is not unusual but typical. Hans Kohn (d. 1971) was born in 1891 inside the old Austro-Hungarian Empire in what is now The Czech Republic (Prague). He is widely known as the “architect” of nationalism, having devoted his life to the subject; he…

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Political cartoon about the Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine (1823) may well be the most famous and long-lasting foreign policy in world history – certainly since the beginning of the “nation-state” system (1648) that ended historic “empires” and inaugurated “countries” as the main participants in world politics. Two things, however, are beyond challenge: 1) it is the only item in his…

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Ships, Photo courtesy of US Navy

Maritime Power

The United States, properly speaking, has always been a “maritime” world power, defined as a country that takes priority on its navy, rather than its army, for its “first line of defense.” In practical terms, that means that the country’s status as a global power has depended on its control of the sea lines and…

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Augusto César Sandino

Nicaragua 1927: Portent for the Future

First, an explanation. The term “portent” is strictly defined as “omen,” or “warning,” “prophetic insight” of something momentous to come, something even larger than the original. This definition should cause either disbelief or anguish that its author (myself) has “wandered off” his “reservation.” Understandable, as anything remotely connected to a tiny Central American nation nearly…

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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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