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Books of Interest

PAX Transatlantica: America and Europe in the Post-Col War Era By Jussi M. Hanhimaki
The Party and The People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century By Bruce J. Dickson
History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations By John Dickson
Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy By Stephen Wertheim
The Arab Winter: A Tragedy By Noah Feldman
The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided By Theodore Jun Yoo
Statelessness: A Modern History By Mira L. Siegelberg
An Open World: How America Can Win The Contest For Twenty-First Century Order By Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper

PAX Transatlantica: America and Europe in the Post-Col War Era

By Jussi  M. Hanhimaki
Oxford University Press, June 2021
208 pages
Is the West finished as a political idea? In recent years, observers have begun pointing to signs that this transatlantic community is eroding. When the European Union expanded, the classic European nation state was in decline. Now, nationalism is on the rise. Furthermore, nations within the EU are less willing to cooperate with the US on policies that require sacrifice and risks, such as using military force alongside the US. . .
Hanhimäki argues that. . . NATO continues to provide robust security for its member states. NATO has survived by expanding its remit and scope, and it is viewed favorably by member states overall. Moreover, the transatlantic relationship boasts the richest and most closely connected transcontinental economy in the world. Despite the potential fallout from current trade wars-especially between the US and China-and the rise of economic nationalism, the West still benefits from significant transatlantic trade and massive investment flows. Lastly, Hanhimäki traces the parallel evolution of domestic politics on both sides of the Atlantic, focusing on the rise of populism. . . .
Shifts and even crises abound in the history of the transatlantic relationship. Still, the West endures. Conflicts, rather than undermining the relationship, illustrate its resilience. Hanhimäki shows that the transatlantic relationship is playing out this cycle today. Not only will the “Pax Transatlantica” continue to exist, Hanhimäki concludes, it is likely to thrive in the future.
“If you are looking for one book that explains the post-World War II history of transatlantic military, economic, and political relations up to the present day, you need look no further. In this masterful work, Hanhimäki explains the close ties―and inevitable conflicts―that have and will continue to
mark America’s relations with its European partners.” — James Goldgeier, Professor of International Relations, American University
“This spirited, immensely enjoyable book is the smartest commentary on US-European relations in a long time. With wit and insight, Hanhimäki shows how the Pax Transatlantica has created our world and that it’s more robust and resilient than we often assume.” — Andrew Preston, Professor of American History, Cambridge University
“Hanhimäki, one of the leading historians of international relations, has written a refreshingly optimistic book in the midst of the pervasive pessimism and gloom created by the coronavirus pandemic. . . He provides rich historical context and perspective to the intricate ways―politically, economically, and in terms of security―the United States and Europe are bound together in what he calls, Pax Transatlantica, a community that embraces both conflict and cooperation, always seeming to be on the verge of crisis and decline, but still persevering and enduring. A brilliant and incisive treatment of one of the most fundamental features of international life in the 21st century.” — Thomas Schwartz, Professor of History and Political Science, Vanderbilt University, and author of Henry Kissinger and American Power
Jussi M. Hanhimäki is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. His books include The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy; United Nations: A Very Short Introduction; and (with Arne Westad) The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts. He is the winner of the Bernath Prize by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and was selected Finland Distinguished Professor by the Academy of Finland.

The Party and The People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century

By Bruce J. Dickson
Princeton University Press, May 2021
328 pages
How the Chinese Communist Party maintains its power by both repressing and responding to its people
Since 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has maintained unrivaled control over the country, persisting even in the face of economic calamity, widespread social upheaval, and violence against its own people. Yet the party does not sustain dominance through repressive tactics alone―it pairs this with surprising responsiveness to the public. The Party and the People explores how this paradox has helped the CCP endure for decades, and how this balance has shifted increasingly toward repression under the rule of President Xi Jinping.
Delving into the tenuous binary of repression and responsivity, Bruce Dickson illuminates numerous questions surrounding the CCP’s rule: How does it choose leaders and create policies? When does it allow protests? Will China become democratic? Dickson shows that the party’s dual approach lies at the core of its practices―repression when dealing with existential, political threats or challenges to its authority, and responsiveness when confronting localized economic or social unrest. The state answers favorably to the demands of protesters on certain issues, such as local environmental hazards and healthcare, but deals harshly with others, such as protests in Tibet, Xinjiang, or Hong Kong. With the CCP’s greater reliance on suppression since Xi Jinping’s rise to power in 2012, Dickson considers the ways that this tipping of the scales will influence China’s future.
“A richly detailed, nuanced, and comprehensive analysis of Chinese politics today. Dickson pulls back the veil of mystery that surrounds China’s leaders, what keeps them in power, their relationship with the Chinese people, and what might bring change in the future. There is no more important book for understanding China in the coming decades.”―Elizabeth Economy, author of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State
“Bruce Dickson has written a sharp, insightful, and cogent dissection of China’s party-state and its sophisticated management mechanisms, from grading officials to quelling protests and co-opting useful NGOs. Repression has gone up under Xi Jinping, but Dickson shows how this is only one of the many tools in China’s governing kit.”―Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers
“The Party and the People tackles some of the most important questions about contemporary China and provides nuanced and persuasive answers regarding the survivability of the Chinese party-state in the post-Mao era. This illuminating survey of Chinese politics sets the research agenda in the field for some time to come. —Minxin Pei, author of China’s Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay
Bruce J. Dickson is professor of political science and international affairs and chair of the Department of Political Science at George Washington University. His many books include The Dictator’s Dilemma and Allies of the State.

History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations

By John Dickson
University of Kansas Press, April 2021
256 pages
In History Shock: When History Collides with Foreign Relations Dickson offers valuable insights into the daily life of a Foreign Service officer and the work of representing the United States. Dickson organizes History Shock around a country-by-country series of lively personal experience vignettes.
These “stories with a history” highlight the interaction between history and foreign relations and underscore the costs of not knowing the history of our partners and adversaries, much less our own. In both Mexico and Canada in particular our lack of knowledge and understanding of how our long history of military interventions continues to complicate our efforts at developing mutually beneficial relationships with our two closest neighbors. In Nigeria and South Africa, Dickson experienced firsthand how the history of racism in the United States plays out on a world stage and clouds our ability to effectively work with key African nations. Perhaps the starkest example of history shock, of two nations with deeply conflicted views of their own histories and their shared history, is another country near at hand, Cuba. Not all of the gaps are too wide for bridge building; in Peru, Dickson provides an example of how history can be deployed to mutual advantage.
“Drawing on his personal experience as a professional US diplomat, John Dickson provides us with engaging examples from Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Nigeria, and South Africa, among others, of how important historical events can be viewed differently in the United States and in other countries. The result can be ‘history shock’—a driving, emotion-laden force that obstructs efforts to cooperate on issues of mutual interest and complicates the conduct of foreign policy.”
—Glenn Hastedt, professor and chair, Department of Justice Studies, James Madison University, and contributor to U.S. Foreign Policy Today: American Renewal?
“John Dickson draws on more than a quarter century of experience as a US diplomat to paint a disturbing picture of how and why the United States’ international relations are often derailed by a lack of historical knowledge and understanding on the part of the nation’s foreign policy officials. Drawing on examples that are often painfully cringeworthy, Dickson explains how a lack of knowledge about their own nation’s history, and a failure to understand how other nations interpret that history, leads USforeign policy experts into embarrassing, contentious, and often damaging displays of particularly condescending hubris.”
—Michael L. Krenn, professor of history, Appalachian State University, and author of The Color of Empire: Race and American Foreign Relations
For over twenty-five years John Dickson served the United States as a Foreign Service officer in North America, South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. He served with the US Information Agency from 1984–1999 and with the US State Department from 1999–2010.

Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy

By Stephen Wertheim
Harvard University Press, October 2020
272 pages
For most of its history, the United States avoided making political and military commitments that would entangle it in European-style power politics. Then, suddenly, it conceived a new role for itself as the world’s armed superpower―and never looked back. . . .
Scholars have struggled to explain the decision to pursue global supremacy. Some deny that American elites made a willing choice, casting the United States as a reluctant power that sloughed off “isolationism” only after all potential competitors lay in ruins. Others contend that the United States had always coveted global dominance and realized its ambition at the first opportunity. Both views are wrong. As late as 1940, the small coterie of officials and experts who composed the U.S. foreign policy class either wanted British preeminence in global affairs to continue or hoped that no power would dominate. The war, however, swept away their assumptions, leading them to conclude that the United States should extend its form of law and order across the globe and back it at gunpoint. Wertheim argues that no one favored “isolationism”―a term introduced by advocates of armed supremacy in order to turn their own cause into the definition of a new “internationalism.”
We now live, Wertheim warns, in the world that these men created. A sophisticated and impassioned narrative that questions the wisdom of U.S. supremacy, Tomorrow, the World reveals the intellectual path that brought us to today’s global entanglements and endless wars.
“In writing the history of the country’s decision to embrace a militarist vision of world order―and to do so, counterintuitively, through the creation of the United Nations―Wertheim provides an importantly revisionist account of U.S. foreign policy in the 1940s, one that helps us think anew about internationalism today…The contemporary stakes of Wertheim’s work are plainly apparent…A reminder of just how strange it is that Americans have come to see military supremacy as a form of selfless altruism, as a gift to the world.”―Sam Lebovic, Boston Review
“Stephen Wertheim isn’t only a great historian of American foreign policy. He uses history to offer a critique of American foreign policy that Americans desperately need now.”
“Not only a sharp and well-argued historical analysis of American foreign policy, but also a persuasive political argument about America’s place in the world today…The rise of the American Empire was not facilitated by ‘absent-minded’ policy makers. Instead, the drafters of the plan were very much aware of their own ambitions while not necessarily sharing them with the wider public…An exceptionally readable blend of intellectual history, foreign policy and international theory.”
Stephen Wertheim is Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, New York Review of Books, New York Times, and Washington Post.

The Arab Winter:  A Tragedy

By Noah Feldman
Princeton University Press, May 2020
216 pages
The Arab Spring promised to end dictatorship and bring self-government to people across the Middle East. Yet everywhere except Tunisia it led to either renewed dictatorship, civil war, extremist terror, or all three. In The Arab Winter, Noah Feldman argues that the Arab Spring was nevertheless not an unmitigated failure, much less an inevitable one. Rather, it was a noble, tragic series of events in which, for the first time in recent Middle Eastern history, Arabic-speaking peoples took free, collective political action as they sought to achieve self-determination.
Focusing on the Egyptian revolution and counterrevolution, the Syrian civil war, the rise and fall of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the Tunisian struggle toward Islamic constitutionalism, Feldman provides an original account of the political consequences of the Arab Spring, including the reaffirmation of pan-Arab identity, the devastation of Arab nationalisms, and the death of political Islam with the collapse of ISIS. He also challenges commentators who say that the Arab Spring was never truly transformative, that Arab popular self-determination was a mirage, and even that Arabs or Muslims are less capable of democracy than other peoples.
“This book is essentially a plea to take the long view of history. Feldman stresses the suffering wrought by conflict, terrorism and renewed dictatorship. But he also highlights the more inspiring aspects of the ‘exercise of collective, free political action ― with all the dangers of error and disaster that come with it.'”—Michael Peel, Financial Times
“An engaging work. It provides a useful recap of events over the course of the Arab Spring, and offers some original and interesting insights on each of the episodes discussed. . . . It is filled with interesting and insightful observations on the case studies presented; it presents a worthwhile meditation on processes which remain far from completion, and which are of primary importance to prospects for stability and development in the Middle East and beyond.”—Jonathan Spyer, Tel Aviv Review of Books
“A timely and insightful exploration of the meaning of the Arab Spring, and of its participants’ agencies and responsibilities, by one of the foremost legal scholars and public intellectuals in the United States.”―Malika Zeghal, Harvard University
“Noah Feldman has written an elegant and incisive book that illuminates one of the most important events of our time: the tragic failure of the Arab Spring. It was tragic because failure was avoidable. Tyranny returned in Egypt, horrendous slaughter followed the uprising in Syria, but Tunisia demonstrated what political prudence could achieve: the emergence of democracy in the Arab world. Feldman asks a question with haunting relevance well beyond the Middle East: can a people who have chosen a democratic path then choose to renounce it in favor of tyranny?”―Michael Ignatieff, President, Central European University, Budapest
Noah Feldman is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University as well as a Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a contributing writer for Bloomberg View.
Before joining the Harvard faculty, Feldman was Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2005. In 2004 he was a visiting professor at Yale Law School and a fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center. In 2003 he served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law or interim constitution. He served as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court (1998 – 1999). Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a D. Phil. in Islamic Thought from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, serving as Book Reviews Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University.

The Koreas: The Birth of Two Nations Divided

By Theodore Jun Yoo

University of California Press, October 2020
360 pages
Korea is one of the last divided countries in the world. Twins born of the Cold War, one is vilified as an isolated, impoverished, time-warped state with an abysmal human rights record and a reclusive leader who perennially threatens global security with his clandestine nuclear weapons program. The other is lauded as a thriving democratic and capitalist state with the thirteenth largest economy in the world and a model for developing countries to emulate.
In The Koreas, Theodore Jun Yoo provides a compelling gateway to understanding the divergent developments of contemporary North and South Korea. In contrast to standard histories, Yoo examines the unique qualities of the Korean diaspora experience, challenging the master narratives of national culture, homogeneity, belongingness, and identity. This book draws from the latest research to present a decidedly demythologized history, with chapters focusing on feature stories that capture the key issues of the day as they affect popular culture and everyday life. The Koreas will be indispensable to any historian, armchair or otherwise, in need of a discerning and reliable guide to the region.
“Yoo brings both clarity and nuance to the complex, interwoven histories of the two Koreas since 1945. . . . Although the main lines of contemporary Korean history are familiar, even specialists will learn a lot from this book.” ― Foreign Affairs
“Theodore Jun Yoo’s “microhistory” of both Koreas focuses on the personal experiences of ordinary people. In seven chapters, examining the decades from the late 1940s to today, Yoo skillfully weaves a story of the two Koreas by drawing on a range of social and cultural artefacts — including art, film and literature — to convey the experiences of ordinary Koreans while providing a comprehensive account of the key political, economic and diplomatic developments of the post-war period.” ― Global Asia
“Theodore Jun Yoo has written a fascinating, deeply informed contemporary history of the Koreas. His own unique upbringing and background give him rare insight into North Korea, and his wide-ranging knowledge of South Korean culture illuminates its increasingly global influence.”—Bruce Cumings, author of The Korean War: A History
“. . . .Yoo’s superb volume elucidates and enlightens anyone curious about the bewildering and discombobulating confusion that is the Korean Peninsula. Loaded with insightful interpretations and leavened with fun facts, this book is a bracing tour de force of the divided nation and its far-flung diaspora.”—John Lie, C.K. Cho Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Theodore Jun Yoo is Associate Professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. He is the author of The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea and It’s Madness.

Statelessness: A Modern History

By Mira L. Siegelberg
Harvard University Press, October 2020
318 pages
In the years following the First World War, the legal category of statelessness generated novel visions of cosmopolitan political and legal organization and challenged efforts to limit the boundaries of national membership and international authority. Yet, as Siegelberg shows, the emergence of mass statelessness ultimately gave rise to the rights regime created after World War II, which empowered the territorial state as the fundamental source of protection and rights, against alternative political configurations.
Today we live with the results: more than twelve million people are stateless and millions more belong to categories of recent invention, including refugees and asylum seekers. By uncovering the ideological origins of the international agreements that define categories of citizenship and non-citizenship, Statelessness better equips us to confront current dilemmas of political organization and authority at the global level.
“Siegelberg’s book is the first to consider the evolution of statelessness as a legal, humanitarian, and philosophical matter. It’s an essential contribution to scholarship on the subject, and it could not appear at a more fitting time.”Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, New York Review of Books
“Compelling…This is an impressive work that shows the impact of legal thought on social reality and the significance of possessing a (legal) identity―both at the beginning of the twentieth century and today…Siegelberg’s text is an important contribution, as she makes the understudied topic of statelessness intelligible and, on top of that, demonstrates how it intertwines with other foundational political concepts, such as sovereignty, citizenship, and human rights.”Isadora Dullaert, LSE Review of Books
“A book equal parts compelling and sobering, Statelessness lives up to the importance of its topic. Siegelberg writes conceptual history for our twenty-first-century world.”Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann, University of California, Berkeley
“Mira Siegelberg’s relentless and imaginative exploration of statelessness in the twentieth century ranges across several disciplines, languages, and legal traditions. Along the way, she manages to recast core episodes in the history of modern political and legal thought. And, even more, she models an ambitious approach to a critical history of international law.”Hendrik Hartog, Princeton University
Mira L. Siegelberg is University Lecturer in the History of International Political Thought at the University of Cambridge and a past member of the Princeton Society of Fellows.

An Open World: How America Can Win The Contest For Twenty-First Century Order

By Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper
Yale University Press, September 2020
216 pages
This ambitious and incisive book presents a new vision for American foreign policy and international order at a time of historic upheaval. The United States global leadership crisis is not a passing shock created by the Trump presidency or COVID-19, but the product of forces that will endure for decades. Amidst political polarization, technological transformation, and major global power shifts, Lissner and Rapp-Hooper convincingly argue, only a grand strategy of openness can protect American security and prosperity despite diminished national strength. Disciplined and forward-looking, an openness strategy would counter authoritarian competitors by preventing the emergence of closed spheres of influence, maintaining access to the global commons, supporting democracies without promoting regime change, and preserving economic interdependence.
“Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper’s An Open World is a timely exploration of the key challenges to world order in the twenty-first century. Amid unprecedented geopolitical and technological disruption, this work is a crucial contribution to the most important conversation of our time.”—Henry A. Kissinger
“Mandatory reading. At a moment of unprecedented change and upheaval, Rapp-Hooper and Lissner provide fresh thinking and a clear guide for United States leadership in a renewed and open 21st-Century international order.”—Jim Mattis, former Secretary of Defense
“Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper offer a compelling new strategy of openness as the only way to recover and protect U.S. prosperity and security going forward.  Their ambitious vision is smart, hopeful and urgent — essential reading for anyone interested in how the United States will fare in this new world.”—Michèle Flournoy, Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
“Lissner and Rapp-Hooper are among the best of a new generation of grand strategic thinkers.  In Open World, they offer a bold vision of a post-Trump international order that reasserts American leadership and reestablishes partnerships and multilateral institutions that advance its interests and values.”—G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University
“This insightful, compelling, and fundamentally optimistic book is indispensable reading for our next generation of leaders, and for anyone interested in foreign policy. Lissner and Rapp-Hooper do an extraordinary job of situating their rich analysis of the causes and consequences of the existing international order in historical, political, and economic context, and assess the world as it is with clarity and thoughtfulness to develop a novel strategic framework for U.S. leadership.”— Avril Haines, former Principal Deputy National Security Advisor and former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Rebecca Lissner is an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval War College. Mira Rapp‑Hooper is Stephen A. Schwarzman Senior Fellow for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Senior Fellow at the Yale Law School’s China Center.

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