43:1 - Winter 2019
The Fletcher Forum is pleased to share a sampling of articles from our latest print edition of the journal, focused on global transformations and lessons learned 100 years after the end of World War I. To read more, we invite you to subscribe to The Forum and thank you for your readership and support.
Great Power and Global Responsibility in 1918 and 2018: A Conversation with Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Winning the War of Ideas: A Conversation with Ambassador Farah Pandith, Former Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Department of State
World War I and IR Theory by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
Although its origins can be traced back to the ancient world, it was World War I that provided the impetus and context for the emergence of modern international relations (IR) theory. The result was a community of IR theorists, scholars, and specialists dedicated to the study and formulation of responses to the forces unleashed by the Great War that have shaped the world into the twenty-first century. This evolving context, which included events such as the emergence of the United States as a world power, World War II, the Cold War, the rise and fall of fascism and communism, new technologies, terrorism, ethno-religious wars, and the contending forces of globalization and nationalism provided an abundant basis for IR theorizing. IR theories and approaches - realist, liberal and constructivist - contain a rich vein of often-competing hypotheses, assumptions, research questions, and policy prescriptions about these and other phenomena for which World War I was the incubator and catalyst, and in whose shadow we live a century later.
Ordeal and Opportunity: Ending the First World War in Africa by Michelle Moyd
Studying the history of World War I in Africa reveals dimensions of the global conflict and its aftermath that deserve our attention. The war was an ordeal for hundreds of thousands of Africans whom Europeans conscripted as soldiers and laborers, as well as for those who suffered the war’s devastating outcomes, including widespread famine, the influenza pandemic, and destruction of livelihoods. The post-war period also presented Africans with opportunities, however limited, to pursue new socio-political roles, new economic prospects, and in some cases, to challenge colonial authority. African wartime and post-war experiences help us to see how empires mobilized colonized subjects to serve their interests. At the same time, they highlight African strategies for living with colonialism in its myriad forms.
U.S. NATO Policy in the Age of Trump: Controversy and Consistency by Jorge Benitez
NATO is the most powerful alliance in the world and an integral part of U.S. national security. Since its creation in 1949, every American president has recognized its value and supported the transatlantic Alliance. But from describing NATO as obsolete to threatening to leave the Alliance, Donald Trump has been the harshest critic of NATO ever to sit in the White House. It is important to identify President Trump’s specific views on NATO and how they have changed from his days as a candidate to his position as president. Despite repeated attempts by U.S. and foreign officials to soften Trump’s criticisms of NATO, the best source of the President’s true position on NATO is Trump himself. This careful study of Trump’s direct statements about the Alliance reveals an American president growing more critical of NATO allies and willing to take greater risks to try to increase their contributions to collective defense. This policy is not working. Instead, the President should pursue a more nuanced and long-term policy to strengthen one of the most valuable elements of U.S. national security.