New Books in World Affairs

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Interviews with Scholars of Global Affairs about their New Books
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1187 episodes

J. R. McNeill and Peter Engelke, "The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945" (Harvard UP, 2016)

The Earth has entered a new age—the Anthropocene—in which humans are the most powerful influence on global ecology. Since the mid-twentieth century, the accelerating pace of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and population growth has thrust the planet into a massive uncontrolled experiment. J. R. McNeill and Peter Engelke's book The Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945 (Harvard UP, 2016) explains its causes and consequences, highlighting the role of energy systems, as well as trends in climate change, urbanization, and environmentalism. More than any other factor, human dependence on fossil fuels inaugurated the Anthropocene. Before 1700, people used little in the way of fossil fuels, but over the next two hundred years coal became the most important energy source. When oil entered the picture, coal and oil soon accounted for seventy-five percent of human energy use. This allowed far more economic activity and produced a higher standard of living than people had ever known—but it created far more ecological disruption. We are now living in the Anthropocene. The period from 1945 to the present represents the most anomalous period in the history of humanity’s relationship with the biosphere. Three-quarters of the carbon dioxide humans have contributed to the atmosphere has accumulated since World War II ended, and the number of people on Earth has nearly tripled. So far, humans have dramatically altered the planet’s biogeochemical systems without consciously managing them. If we try to control these systems through geoengineering, we will inaugurate another stage of the Anthropocene. Where it might lead, no one can say for sure. J.R. McNeill holds the appointment of University Professor at Georgetown University, serving as a faculty member of the School of Foreign Service and History Department. Professor McNeill is also a past president of American Society for Environmental History and the American Historical Association. Peter Engelke is the Deputy Director of Foresight at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative and a Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center. Brady McCartney is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist at the University of Florida. Email: Brady.McCartney@UFL.edu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 8m
Aug 10
Andrew Bacevich and Daniel A. Sjursen, "Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America's Forever Wars" (Metropolitan Books, 2022)

Compiled by New York Times bestselling author Andrew Bacevich and retired army officer Danny A. Sjursen, Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America’s Misguided Wars (Metropolitan Books, 2022) collects provocative essays from American military veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, offering firsthand testimony that illuminates why the Forever Wars lasted so long while producing so little of value. In the wake of 9/11, the United States embarked upon a Global War on Terrorism aimed at using American military power to transform the Greater Middle East.  Twenty years later, the ensuing forever wars have produced little tangible success while exacting enormous harm. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has sustained tens of thousands of casualties while expending trillions of dollars and inflicting massive suffering on populations that we sought to “liberate.” In Washington and across the nation at large, the inclination to forget these wars and move on is palpable. In fact, there is much to be learned and those who served and fought in these wars are best positioned to teach. The first book of its kind since the Vietnam era, Paths of Dissent gathers original essays from American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, drawn from all services, ranks, and walks of life, who have come out in opposition to these conflicts. Selected for their honesty and eloquence by fellow veterans Andrew Bacevich and Danny A. Sjursen, these outspoken critics describe not only their motivations for serving, but also for taking the path of dissent—disappointment and disillusionment; the dehumanizing impact of combat; the loss of comrades to friendly fire; the persistence of xenophobia and racism—all of these together exposing the mendacity that has pervaded the Global War on Terrorism from its very outset. Combining diverse, critical perspectives with powerful personal testimony, Paths of Dissent sheds light on the myriad factors that have made America’s post-9/11 wars costly and misguided exercises in futility. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

34m
Aug 10
Jonathan Leader Maynard, "Ideology and Mass Killing: Radical Security Politics and the Infrastructure of Deadly Atrocities" (Oxford UP, 2022)

In research on 'mass killings' such as genocides and campaigns of state terror, the role of ideology is hotly debated. For some scholars, ideologies are crucial in providing the extremist goals and hatreds that motivate ideologically committed people to kill. But many other scholars are skeptical: contending that perpetrators of mass killing rarely seem ideologically committed, and that rational self-interest or powerful forms of social pressure are more important drivers of violence than ideology. In Ideology and Mass Killing: The Radicalized Security Politics of Genocides and Deadly Atrocities (Oxford University Press, 2022), Dr. Jonathan Leader Maynard challenges both these prevailing views, advancing an alternative 'neo-ideological' perspective which systematically retheorises the key ideological foundations of large-scale violence against civilians. Integrating cutting-edge research from multiple disciplines, including political science, political psychology, history and sociology, Ideology and Mass Killing demonstrates that ideological justifications vitally shape such violence in ways that go beyond deep ideological commitment. Most disturbingly of all, the key ideological foundations of mass killings are found to lie, not in extraordinary political goals or hatreds, but in radicalised versions of those conventional, widely accepted ideas that underpin the politics of security in ordinary societies across the world. This study then substantiates this account by a detailed examination of four contrasting cases of mass killing - Stalinist Repression in the Soviet Union between 1930 and 1938, the Allied Bombing Campaign against Germany and Japan in World War II from 1940 to 1945, mass atrocities in the Guatemalan Civil War between 1978 and 1983, and the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. This represents the first volume to offer a dedicated, comparative theory of ideology's role in mass killing, while also developing a powerful new account of how ideology affects violence and politics more generally. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 31m
Aug 09
The Future of Political Anger: A Conversation with Mark Blyth

Trump’s voters. The yellow jackets in France. Putin’s base in Russia. The Brexiteers. One thing all these groups have in common is anger – anger at being left behind, anger about de industrialization, anger at the arrogance and wealth of the elite. But what more can be said about the nature of that anger and the different aspects of it? In Angrynomics (Agenda Publishing, 2020) Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan address this question. Today I talked to Blyth, a professor of political economy at Brown University. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

44m
Aug 09
Ariane Knüsel, "China's European Headquarters: Switzerland and China During the Cold War" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

During the Cold War, the People's Republic of China used Switzerland as headquarters for its economic, political, intelligence, and cultural networks in Europe. Based on extensive research in Western and Chinese archives, China's European Headquarters: Switzerland and China during the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2022) by Dr. Ariane Knüsel charts not only how Switzerland came to play this role, but also how Chinese networks were built in practice, often beyond the public face of official proclamations and diplomatic interactions. By tracing the development of Sino-Swiss relations in the Cold War, Dr. Knüsel sheds new light on the People's Republic of China's formulation and implementation of foreign policy in Europe, Latin America and Africa and Switzerland's efforts to align neutrality, humanitarian engagement, and economic interests. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

54m
Aug 08
Nicholas Ferns, "Australia in the Age of International Development, 1945–1975: Colonial and Foreign Aid Policy in Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020)

In the voluminous literature on the history of modernisation theory and its associated concept of development since the end of World War II, much of the focus lies on the efforts undertaken by developed nations—most notably the United States and Soviet Union—to establish a model for developing countries to build not just their economies but their nations as well. Eschewing this paradigm, Dr Nicholas Ferns’ excellent monograph Australia in the Age of International Development, 1945-1975: Colonial and Foreign Aid Policy in Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia (published by Routledge in 2020) provides a rich and important intervention that highlights how the ideas and practices that underpinned international development were shaped not only by the Cold War superpowers but by middle powers like Australia as well. Focussing particularly on Australia’s development aid efforts in Papua New Guinea and Southeast Asia through its own formulation of the ‘New Deal’ for the former and the Colombo Plan for the latter, Ferns brings to light the complexity of a country caught in the middle of its own perception as being between a developed and developing nation, between British and American economic and developmental influences, and between serving as a colonial power in its own right while also supporting anti-colonial movements. Bernard Z. Keo is Lecturer in Asian History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia who specialises in decolonisation and nation-building in Southeast Asia. He can be contacted at: b.keo@latrobe.edu.au. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 2m
Aug 05
Emma Ashford, "Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates" (Georgetown UP, 2022)

Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates (Georgetown University Press, 2022) by Dr. Emma Ashford presents a comprehensive challenge to prevailing understanding of international implications of oil wealth that shows why it can create bad actors. In a world where oil-rich states are more likely to start war than their oil-dependent counterparts, it's surprising how little attention is still paid to these so-called petrostates. These states' wealth props up the global arms trade, provides diplomatic leverage, and allows them to support violent and nonviolent proxies. In this book, Dr. Ashford explores the many potential links between domestic oil production and foreign policy behavior and how oil production influences global politics. Not all petrostates have the same characteristics or capabilities. To help us conceptualize these differences, Dr. Ashford creates an original classification of three types of petrostates: oil-dependent states (those weakened by the resource curse), oil-wealthy states (those made rich by oil exports), and super-producer states (those that form the backbone of the global oil market). Through a combination of case studies and analysis, she illustrates how oil shapes petrostates' behavior, filling a major gap in our understanding of the international implications of oil wealth. Experts have too often treated oil-rich states as passive objects, subject to the energy security needs of Western importing states. Instead, this book highlights the agency and power enjoyed by petrostates. As the oil market undergoes a period of rapid change, Oil, the State, and War sheds light on the diversity of petrostates and how they shape international affairs. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

39m
Aug 05
Yaniv Voller, "Second-Generation Liberation Wars" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

The formation of post-colonial states in Africa, and the Middle East gave birth to prolonged separatist wars. Exploring the evolution of these separatist wars, In Second-Generation Liberation Wars Cambridge UP, 2022), Yaniv Voller examines the strategies that both governments and insurgents employed, how these strategies were shaped by the previous struggle against European colonialism and the practices and roles that emerged in the subsequent period, which moulded the identities, aims and strategies of post-colonial governments and separatist rebels. Based on a wealth of primary sources, Voller focuses on two post-colonial separatist wars; In Iraqi Kurdistan, between Kurdish separatists and the government in Baghdad, and Southern Sudan, between black African insurgents and the government in Khartoum. By providing an account of both conflicts, he offers a new understanding of colonialism, decolonisation and the international politics of the post-colonial world. Dilan Okcuoglu is post-doctoral fellow at American University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

55m
Aug 03
Juan Pablo Scarfi and David M. K. Sheinin, "The New Pan-Americanism and the Structuring of Inter-American Relations" (Routledge, 2022)

In The New Pan-Americanism and the Structuring of Inter-American Relations (Routledge, 2022), David Sheinin and Juan Pablo Scarfi bring together articles that reconsider many aspects of U.S.-Latin American history. Pan-Americanism, a late nineteenth and early twentieth century movement that attempted to foster closer relations among the nations of the Western Hemisphere, serves as the unifying thread. Historians have traditionally studied Pan-Americanism as a diplomatic framework that allowed the United States to maintain and expand its power throughout Latin America. A recent wave of work, well-represented in this new volume, tries to present a more nuanced view of Pan-Americanism. Rather than focusing exclusively on how the movement served U.S. empire, this edited collection shows how Latin American diplomats and other historical actors deployed Pan-Americanism to challenge U.S. power and champion their own national interests. But in doing so, it avoids merely reducing this complicated history to a story of “resistance” or “agency.” Instead, the volume’s eight chapters parse the individual and collective motivations that drove Latin American policymakers, scholars, architects, and many others, to engage with a framework that had for years been linked to U.S. imperialism. Steven P. Rodriguez is a PhD Candidate in history at Vanderbilt University. You can reach him at steven.p.rodriguez@vanderbilt.edu and follow his twitter at @SPatrickRod. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

45m
Aug 03
Benjamin R. Young, "Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader: North Korea and the Third World" (Stanford UP, 2021)

Far from always having been an isolated nation and a pariah state in the international community, North Korea exercised significant influence among Third World nations during the Cold War era. With one foot in the socialist Second World and the other in the anticolonial Third World, North Korea occupied a unique position as both a postcolonial nation and a Soviet client state, and sent advisors to assist African liberation movements, trained anti-imperialist guerilla fighters, and completed building projects in developing countries. State-run media coverage of events in the Third World shaped the worldview of many North Koreans and helped them imagine a unified anti-imperialist front that stretched from the boulevards of Pyongyang to the streets of the Gaza Strip and the beaches of Cuba. Guns, Guerillas, and the Great Leader: North Korea and the Third World (Stanford University Press, 2022) by Dr. Benjamin Young tells the story of North Korea's transformation in the Third World from model developmental state to reckless terrorist nation, and how Pyongyang's actions, both in the Third World and on the Korean peninsula, ultimately backfired against the Kim family regime's foreign policy goals. Based on multinational and multi-archival research, this book examines the intersection of North Korea's domestic and foreign policies and the ways in which North Korea's developmental model appealed to the decolonizing world. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

42m
Aug 02
Megan Threlkeld, "Citizens of the World: U. S. Women and Global Government" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)

In Citizens of the World: U.S. Women and Global Government (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), Megan Threlkeld profiles nine American women in the first half of the 20th century who invoked world citizenship as they promoted world government. These women agreed neither on the best form for such a government nor on the best means to achieve it, and they had different definitions of peace and different levels of commitment to genuine equality. But they all saw themselves as part of a global effort to end war that required their participation in the international body politic. This book argues that the phrase “citizen of the world” was not simply a rhetorical flourish; it represented a demand to participate in shaping the global polity and an expression of women's obligation to work for peace and equality. It gave them a language with which to advocate for international cooperation. Citizens of the World not only provides a more complete understanding of the kind of world these women envisioned, it also draws attention to the ways in which they were excluded from international institution-building and to the critiques many of them leveled at those institutions. Women's arguments for world government and their practices of world citizenship represented an alternative reaction to the crises of the first half of the twentieth century, one predicated on cooperation and equality rather than competition and force. Rebecca Turkington is a PhD Candidate in History at Cambridge University studying transnational women’s networks.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

44m
Aug 02
The Implications of the Ukrainian War for Taiwan’s Relations with China

Is a Chinese invasion on Taiwan a storm on the horizon when the West is busy with the Ukrainian war? Will Nancy Pelosi’s plan to visit Taiwan in August, the first by a Speaker of the US House of Representatives since 1997, escalate tensions between China and Taiwan? Joining us Julie Chen to talk about this hot topic is Sean King, senior vice president at Park Strategies, a New York business advisory firm which has undertaken research and analysis on Taiwan and its neighborly relations. He is also an Affiliated Scholar at the University of Notre Dame Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. Based on his experience in the government and business sectors, Sean King believes that Russia’s Ukraine invasion was not a prelude to China's moving on Taiwan. The two situations are very different. In Sean’s view, visits by US officials to Taiwan are not without precedent and Nancy Pelosi’s visit should not be viewed as a provocation by the United States or Taiwan. Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Dr. Chen serves as one of the editors of the Journal of Chinese Political Science (Springer, SSCI). Formerly, she was chair of Nordic Association of China Studies (NACS) and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Ethnicity (Taylor & Francis). You can find her on University of Helsinki Chinese Studies’ website, Youtube and Facebook, and her personal Twitter. The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

25m
Aug 01
Cécile Fabre, "Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence" (Oxford UP, 2022)

On its face, spying and counter-intelligence activities seem morally suspect. They tend to involve sneaking, deceiving, and manipulating, as well as various forms of betrayal, treachery, and disloyalty. Yet intelligence and counter-intelligence operations are mainstays of any modern state. Are we to conclude that these activities are wrong, but nonetheless necessary, given the realities of modern politics? In Spying Through a Glass Darkly: The Ethics of Espionage and Counter-Intelligence (Oxford UP, 2022), Cécile Fabre develops an intricate account of the morality of spying and counter-intelligence activities. She argues that routine espionage activities are morally justified – and sometimes obligatory – as a means to thwart violations of fundamental rights. However, she also argues that familiar forms of mass surveillance are unjustified. Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 5m
Aug 01
Carl H. Nightingale, "Earthopolis: A Biography of Our Urban Planet" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

This is a biography of Earthopolis, the only Urban Planet we know of. It is a history of how cities gave humans immense power over Earth, for good and for ill. Carl Nightingale takes readers on a sweeping six-continent, six-millennia tour of the world's cities, culminating in the last 250 years, when we vastly accelerated our planetary realms of action, habitat, and impact, courting dangerous new consequences and opening prospects for new hope. In Earthopolis we peek into our cities' homes, neighborhoods, streets, shops, eating houses, squares, marketplaces, religious sites, schools, universities, offices, monuments, docklands, and airports to discover connections between small spaces and the largest things we have built.  Earthopolis: A Biography of Our Urban Planet (Cambridge UP, 2022) exposes the Urban Planet's deep inequalities of power, wealth, access to knowledge, class, race, gender, sexuality, religion and nation. It asks us to draw on the most just and democratic moments of Earthopolis's past to rescue its future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 3m
Aug 01
Indonesia’s Response to the War in Ukraine

With the upcoming G20 summit this November, all eyes should be on Indonesia – the fourth largest country in the world and current holder of G20 presidency. How has Indonesia reacted so far to the war in Ukraine? Why are so many Indonesians sympathetic to Russia, despite Indonesia’s historical tendency to favour the underdog in international disputes? What does all this have to do with the price of instant noodles in Jakarta? And why exactly have some people suggested that Indonesian president Joko Widodo might be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? In this episode, Saskia Lilli Lehtsalu, an intern at University of Tartu Asia Center, takes a look at Indonesian perspectives on the war in Ukraine together with Radityo Dharmaputra. Radiyo is a junior research fellow in Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia and a lector in international relations at Universitas Airlangga, Indonesia. Radityo has written a number of commentaries about Indonesian perspectives on the Ukraine war, which can be accessed through the links below: Why do so many Indonesians back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Why many Indonesian experts are pro-Russia and ignoring Ukraine’s perspective How will Indonesia deal with Russia and Ukraine at the G20?Jokowi’s visits to Russia and Ukraine are more about domestic gains than the global interest The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. About NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

26m
Jul 29
Anthony Pagden, "The Pursuit of Europe: A History" (Oxford UP, 2022)

The European Union, we are told, is facing extinction. Most of those who believe that, however, have no understanding of how, and why, it become possible to imagine that the diverse peoples of Europe might be united in a single political community. The Pursuit of Europe: A History (Oxford UP, 2022) tells the story of the evolution of the "European project", from the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which saw the earliest creation of a "Concert of Europe", right through to Brexit. The question was how, after centuries of internecine conflict, to create a united Europe while still preserving the political legal and cultural integrity of each individual nation. The need to find an answer to this question became more acute after two world wars had shown that if the nations of Europe were to continue to play a role in the world they could now only do so together. To achieve that, however, they had to be prepared to merge their zealously-guarded sovereign powers into a new form of trans-national constitutionalism. This the European Union has tried to do. In the process it has created not, as its enemies have claimed, a "super-state" but a new post-national order united in a political life based, not upon the old shibboleths of nationalism and patriotism, but upon a common body of values and aspirations. It is this, argues Anthony Pagden, that will allow the Union to defeat its political enemies from within, and to overcome the difficulties, from mass migration to the pandemic, which it faces from without. But it will only succeed in doing so if it also continues to evolve as it has over the past two centuries. Anthony Pagden is Professor of Political Science and History, at The University of California, Los Angeles. He was educated in Chile, Spain, and France, and at Oxford. In the past two decades, he has been the reader in intellectual history at Cambridge, a fellow of King's College, a visiting professor at Harvard, and Harry C. Black Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 8m
Jul 28
Didac Queralt, "Pawned States: State Building in the Era of International Finance" (Princeton UP, 2022)

How foreign lending weakens emerging nations In the nineteenth century, many developing countries turned to the credit houses of Europe for sovereign loans to balance their books and weather major fiscal shocks such as war. This reliance on external public finance offered emerging nations endless opportunities to overcome barriers to growth, but it also enabled rulers to bypass critical stages in institution building and political development.  Pawned States: State Building in the Era of International Finance (Princeton University Press, 2022)' reveals how easy access to foreign lending at early stages of state building has led to chronic fiscal instability and weakened state capacity in the developing world. Drawing on a wealth of original data to document the rise of cheap overseas credit between 1816 and 1913, Didac Queralt shows how countries in the global periphery obtained these loans by agreeing to “extreme conditionality,” which empowered international investors to take control of local revenue sources in cases of default, and how foreclosure eroded a country’s tax base and caused lasting fiscal disequilibrium. Queralt goes on to combine quantitative analysis of tax performance between 1816 and 2005 with qualitative historical analysis in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, illustrating how overreliance on external capital by local leaders distorts their incentives to expand tax capacity, articulate power-sharing institutions, and strengthen bureaucratic apparatus. Panoramic in scope, Pawned States sheds needed light on how early and easy access to external finance pushes developing nations into trajectories characterized by fragile fiscal institutions and autocratic politics. Javier Mejia is an economist teaching at Stanford University, whose work focuses on the intersection between social networks and economic history. His interests extend to topics on entrepreneurship and political economy with a geographical specialty in Latin America and the Middle East. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Los Andes University. He has been a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at New York University--Abu Dhabi and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Bordeaux. He is a regular contributor to different news outlets. Currently, he is Forbes Magazine op-ed columnist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 5m
Jul 28
Robert W. Tomlinson, "The Influence of Foreign Wars on U.S. Domestic Military Policy: The Case of the Yom Kippur War" (Lexington, 2022)

How do military organizations learn? Robert W. Tomlinson's book The Influence of Foreign Wars on U.S. Domestic Military Policy (Lexington, 2022) covers an important instance of military learning in which the United States military systematically examined the lessons of Israel's decisive victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War and applied those lessons towards major doctrinal and equipment changes. The book relies heavily on Paul Senge’s model of learning organizations outlined in his seminal work, The Fifth Dimension. Using Senge’s model, the book examines the Departments of the Army, Air Force, and Navy’s reactions to the Yom Kippur War and how they organizationally incorporated—or ignored—the lessons of the conflict within their force. Using source documents, including personal memoirs, doctrinal publications, and individual reflections, the book offers a vital examination of how militaries can use foreign conflicts to make substantive and necessary organizational changes. The Yom Kippur War, particularly the Israeli experience in that conflict, provided the American military a battle laboratory in which to develop new warfighting concepts and assess new weapons acquisitions. In its conclusion, the book offers a cautionary tale that suggests learning and change do not come automatically to military organizations. If they are to be successful in the future, military organizations must embrace learning structures. Dr. Robert W. Tomlinson is an associate dean at the Naval War College. The views expressed in this podcast by both participants are their own, and do not reflect the official position of any organization with which they are affiliated. Sam Canter is a policy and strategy analyst, PhD candidate, and Army Reserve intelligence officer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

33m
Jul 27
Samantha Power on Hannah Arendt and Human Rights

In this episode from the Institute’s Vault, Samantha Power describes how Hannah Arendt influenced her thinking about politics and human rights. Power spoke during a two day symposium-- “Hannah Arendt Right Now”--which explored the philosopher’s impact on the 21st Century. The 2006 event was held on the hundredth anniversary of Arendt’s birth. Samantha Power was Barack Obama’s human rights adviser, and then served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. She is the author of several books, including A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, which won the 2003 Pulitzer prize. She is a professor of practice at Harvard’s Law School and Kennedy School. In the second half of the episode, Azar Nafisi responds to Power. Nafisi is best known for her 2003 book, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

48m
Jul 27
Christof Dejung et al., "The Global Bourgeoisie: The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire" (Princeton UP, 2019)

While the nineteenth century has been described as the golden age of the European bourgeoisie, the emergence of the middle class and bourgeois culture was by no means exclusive to Europe. The Global Bourgeoisie: The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire (Princeton UP, 2019) explores the rise of the middle classes around the world during the age of empire. Bringing together eminent scholars, this landmark essay collection compares middle-class formation in various regions, highlighting differences and similarities, and assesses the extent to which bourgeois growth was tied to the increasing exchange of ideas and goods. The contributors indicate that the middle class was from its very beginning, even in Europe, the result of international connections and entanglements. Essays are grouped into six thematic sections: the political history of middle-class formation, the impact of imperial rule on the colonial middle class, the role of capitalism, the influence of religion, the obstacles to the middle class beyond the Western and colonial world, and, lastly, reflections on the creation of bourgeois cultures and global social history. Placing the establishment of middle-class society into historical context, this book shows how the triumph or destabilization of bourgeois values can shape the liberal world order. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

54m
Jul 27
Kathryn E. Stoner, "Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Too often, we are told that Russia plays a weak hand well. But, perhaps the nation's cards are better than we know. Russia ranks significantly behind the US and China by traditional measures of power: GDP, population size and health, and military might. Yet 25 years removed from its mid-1990s nadir following the collapse of the USSR, Russia has become a supremely disruptive force in world politics. Kathryn E. Stoner assesses the resurrection of Russia and argues that we should look beyond traditional means of power to assess its strength in global affairs. Taking into account how Russian domestic politics under Vladimir Putin influence its foreign policy, Stoner explains how Russia has battled its way back to international prominence. From Russia's seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine to its military support for the Assad regime in Syria, the country has reasserted itself as a major global power. Stoner examines these developments and more in tackling the big questions about Russia's turnaround and global future. Stoner marshals data on Russia's political, economic, and social development and uncovers key insights from its domestic politics. Russian people are wealthier than the Chinese, debt is low, and fiscal policy is good despite sanctions and the volatile global economy. Vladimir Putin's autocratic regime faces virtually no organized domestic opposition. Yet, mindful of maintaining control at home, Russia under Putin also uses its varied power capacities to extend its influence abroad. While we often underestimate Russia's global influence, the consequences are evident in the disruption of politics in the US, Syria, and Venezuela, to name a few. Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order (Oxford UP, 2020) is an eye-opening reassessment of the country, identifying the actual sources of its power in international politics and why it has been able to redefine the post-Cold War global order. Kathryn E. Stoner is the Deputy Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, all at Stanford University. She is the author orco-editor of five books, including Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective, written and edited with Ambassador Michael A. McFaul, and Resisting the State: Reform and Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia. Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

33m
Jul 26
Maeve Ryan, "Humanitarian Governance and the British Antislavery World System" (Yale UP, 2022)

Maeve Ryan’s new book Humanitarian Governance and the British Antislavery World System (Yale UP, 2022) highlights Britain’s early-nineteenth-century, Royal Navy seizures of slave ships and the processes involved in the “liberation” of these enslaved Africans. Nearly two hundred thousand Africans were resettled throughout the British Empire from Sierra Leone to St Helena, the British West Indies, and by treaties to Cuba and Brazil. From 1808 to the end of the Atlantic slave trade, abolitionists attempted to bring relief to these “liberated” Africans. Yet, the needs of Empire often clashed with the moral ideals of abolitionism creating then a “benevolent despotism.” Ryan’s work highlights these imperial experiments across time and the Atlantic and the manifestations of this resettlement. Ryan expertly claims that what Britain did during this period is the beginning ruminations “Humanitarian Governance”; that the evolution of what we today consider humanitarian relief has at its roots this “anti slavery mother.” Back then, the process of liberating Africans from the condition of slavery looked remarkably like slavery itself. But, this humanitarianism was – as Ryan puts it – “a new phenomenon.” Abolitionism evolved as did the processes of humanitarian relief. Joseph Krulder is a historian of Britain's long eighteenth-century: cultural, social, military, and economic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 2m
Jul 25
World Literature

Roanne Kantor tells us about World Literature, in the ideas and practices of readers, writers, and scholars. Spatial metaphors like libraries, closets, and airport bookshops, help her imagine the “world” in world literature. In the episode Roanne references work by many scholars in the field, including David Damrosch’s What is World Literature (Princeton UP, 2003); Debjani Ganguly’s This Thing Called the World (Duke UP, 2016), and Gloria Fisk’s Orhan Pamuk and the Good of World Literature (Columbia UP, 2018). In the longer version of our conversation, we talked about how little magazines from the 1970s New York literary scene, like Ed Sanders’ Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, circulated in South Asia, inspiring avant-garde magazines like Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s damn you/a magazine of the arts. Roanne is an assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. She has a brand new book, South Asian Writers, Latin American Literature, and the Rise of Global English, (Cambridge UP, 2022). If you want to learn more about the world of world lit, check it out. This week’s image of an airport bookshop at the Incheon International Airport in South Korea, was photographed by Adli Wahid and made publicly available on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons License. Music used in promotional material: ‘Six More Weeks’ by Evening Fires Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

14m
Jul 21
Rosemary Salomone, "The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Spoken by a quarter of the world's population, English is today's lingua franca--its common tongue. The language of business, popular media, and international politics, English has become commodified for its economic value and increasingly detached from any particular nation. This meteoric "rise of English" has many obvious benefits to communication. Tourists can travel abroad with greater ease. Political leaders can directly engage their counterparts. Researchers can collaborate with foreign colleagues. Business interests can flourish in the global economy. But the rise of English has very real downsides at times generating intense legal conflicts. In Europe, imperatives of political integration, job mobility, and university rankings compete with pride in national language and heritage as countries like France attempt to curb its spread. In countries like India, South Africa, Morocco, and Rwanda, it has stratified society along lines of English proficiency and devalued commonly spoken languages. In Anglophone countries like the United States and England, English isolates us from the cultural and economic benefits of speaking other languages. In The Rise of English: Global Politics and the Power of Language (Oxford University Press, 2021), Dr. Rosemary Salomone offers a commanding view of the unprecedented spread of English and the far-reaching effects it has on global and local politics, economics, media, education, and business. From the inner workings of the European Union to China's use of language as "soft power" in Africa, Salomone draws on a wealth of research to tell the complex story of English--and, ultimately, to argue for English not as a force for domination but as a core component of multilingualism and the transcendence of linguistic and cultural borders. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

43m
Jul 21
The Future of War: A Discussion with Mark Galeotti

Wars have always been fought in different ways, depending not only on the manpower available – elite professional armies to mass mobilization of whole populations - but also on technological developments, all the way from medieval siege engines to modern fighter jets. Recent developments suggest that there is much more rapid change to come as information campaigns, crime and subversion become weaponised in new ways. Mark Galeotti has been thinking about all these things for a long time. Today I talked to him about his book The Weaponization of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War (Yale UP, 2022). Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

48m
Jul 19
Johan Fourie, "Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom: Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom: Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History (Cambridge UP, 2022) is an entertaining and engaging guide to global economic history told for the first time from an African perspective. In thirty-five short chapters, Johan Fourie tells the story of 100,000 years of human history spanning humankind's migration out of Africa to the Covid-19 pandemic. His unique account reveals just how much we can learn by asking unexpected questions such as 'How could a movie embarrass Stalin?', 'Why do the Japanese play rugby?' and 'What do an Indonesian volcano, Frankenstein and Shaka Zulu have in common?'. The book sheds new light on urgent debates about the roots and reasons for prosperity, the march of opportunity versus the crushing boot of exploitation, and why it is the builders of society - rather than the burglars -who ultimately win out. Javier Mejia is an economist teaching at Stanford University, whose work focuses on the intersection between social networks and economic history. His interests extend to topics on entrepreneurship and political economy with a geographical specialty in Latin America and the Middle East. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Los Andes University. He has been a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at New York University--Abu Dhabi and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Bordeaux. He is a regular contributor to different news outlets. Currently, he is Forbes Magazine op-ed columnist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 4m
Jul 19
Siniša Malešević, "Why Humans Fight: The Social Dynamics of Close-Range Violence" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

In his book Why Humans Fight: The Social Dynamics of Close-Range Violence (2022, Cambridge University Press), Siniša Malešević emphasises the centrality of the social and historical contexts that make fighting possible. He argues that fighting is not an individual attribute, but a social phenomenon shaped by one's relationships with other people. Drawing on recent scholarship across a variety of academic disciplines as well as his own interviews with the former combatants, Malešević shows that one's willingness to fight is a contextual phenomenon shaped by specific ideological and organisational logic. This book explores the role biology, psychology, economics, ideology, and coercion play in one's experience of fighting, emphasising the cultural and historical variability of combativeness. By drawing from numerous historical and contemporary examples from all over the world, Malešević demonstrates how social pugnacity is a relational and contextual phenomenon that possesses autonomous features. Siniša Malešević is the chair of the sociology department at University College, Dublin. His main research interests include the study of war and violence, ethnicity, nation-states, and nationalism, empires, ideology, sociological theory and comparative historical sociology. Christian Axboe Nielsen is associate professor of history and human security at Aarhus University in Denmark. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 0m
Jul 18
Michael Mandelbaum, "The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower" (Oxford UP, 2022)

The United States is now nearly 250 years old. It arose from humble beginnings, as a strip of mostly agrarian and sparsely populated English colonies on the northeastern edge of the New World, far removed from the centers of power in Europe. Today, it is the world's most powerful country, with its largest economy and most powerful military. How did America achieve this status? In The Four Ages of American Foreign Policy: Weak Power, Great Power, Superpower, Hyperpower (Oxford University Press, 2022), Michael Mandelbaum offers a new framework for understanding the evolution of the foreign policy of the United States. He divides that evolution into four distinct periods, with each defined by the consistent increase in American power relative to other countries. His history of the four periods features engaging accounts of the major events and important personalities in the foreign policy of each era. Throughout, Mandelbaum highlights fundamental continuities in the goals of American foreign policy and in the way that policy was adopted and implemented. Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 19m
Jul 13
On Hannah Arendt and Humanitarianism

From the Institute’s Vault, we have an excerpt from a two day symposium--“Hannah Arendt Right Now”--which explored the philosopher’s impact on the 21st Century. The 2006 event was held on the hundredth anniversary of Arendt’s birth. In this episode, Dr. Rony Brauman describes how Arendt influenced his thinking about the politics of humanitarian aid. Brauman was president of Doctors without Borders from 1982 to 1994. In 1999, he co-directed The Specialist - Portrait of a Modern Criminal, a documentary about the trial of Adolf Eichman. Samantha Power responds to Brauman’s presentation. Power was the US ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017, and author of A Problem From Hell, America and the Age of Genocide, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

47m
Jul 13
Jed Esty, "The Future of Decline: Anglo-American Culture at Its Limits" (Stanford Briefs, 2022)

As the US becomes a second-place nation, can it shed the superpower nostalgia that still haunts the UK? The debate over the US's fading hegemony has raged and sputtered for 50 years, glutting the market with prophecies about American decline. Media experts ask how fast we will fall and how much we will lose, but generally ignore the fundamental question: What does decline mean? What is the significance, in experiential and everyday terms, in feelings and fantasies, of living in a country past its prime?  Drawing on the example of post-WWII Britain and looking ahead at 2020s America, Jed Esty suggests that becoming a second-place nation is neither disastrous, as alarmists claim, nor avoidable, as optimists insist. Contemporary declinism often masks white nostalgia and perpetuates a conservative longing for Cold War certainty. But the narcissistic lure of "lost greatness" appeals across the political spectrum. As Esty argues, it resonates so widely in mainstream media because Americans have lost access to a language of national purpose beyond global supremacy. It is time to shelve the shopworn fables of endless US dominance, to face the multipolar world of the future, and to tell new American stories. The Future of Decline: Anglo-American Culture at Its Limits (Stanford Briefs, 2022) is a guide to finding them. Brittney Edmonds is an Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at UW-Madison. I specialize in 20th and 21st century African American Literature and Culture with a special interest in Black Humor Studies. Read more about my work at brittneymichelleedmonds.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/world-affairs

1h 7m
Jul 13