Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Editor’s Corner Summer 2019
Editor’s Corner Summer 2019

Editor’s Corner Summer 2019

Welcome to the summer 2019 issue of Orbis, which coincides with the 80thanniversary of the outbreak of World War II. John Maurer of the U.S. Naval War College—and a predecessor of mine as editor of this journal—reflects on this anniversary and the lessons it holds for the United States today. The burden of underwriting an essentially liberal world order following World War II has led some to call for a grand strategy of restraint, offshore balancing, and accommodation. Maurer argues that Great Britain’s strategic choice in the interwar period—its failure to exploit its preponderant power and accept the burdens and responsibilities in order to maintain peace—was both a proximate and deep cause of the World War II.

Nikolas Gvosdev and Robert Hamilton both examine Russian attempts to influence the direction and outcome of a series of major elections in Western democracies. Gvosdev analyzes “sharp power”—as distinct from both “hard” and “soft” power—which is characterized by “a degree of stealth,” as well as an emphasis on manipulation; it is an attempt to interfere with the political

choices of other countries. He addresses the question of whether Russia engages in this behavior for ideological reasons or for power politics. Hamilton argues that Russia seeks to exploit pre-existing divisions in the West. Rather than trying to convince Russia not to exploit these divisions, we need to work to reduce them.

The presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower has been favorably reevaluated in recent decades, yet many observers continue to take for granted the unprecedented period of U.S. peace and prosperity that marked his administration. But as Daniel Cromier argues, these accomplishments were not preordained. When he became president in 1953, Eisenhower inherited a contentious global and domestic environment; however, his compre-hensive and disciplined approach to policymaking allowed him to escape the worst aspects of America’s partisan politics and guide the nation toward its most vital and enduring interests.

Olivia A. Garard and B.A. Friedman address the changing relationship among the three components of Clausewitz’s “remarkable trinity”: 1) passion and enmity of a people at war; 2) chance and uncertainty in war; and 3) the subordination of war to politics. Three shifts in the character of war have materialized: the collapse of warfare, the intersection of strategy and politics, and the atomization of political power. To be successful in the future, we must understand the countless ways in which passion, chance, and rationality can be alloyed with the state, the people, and the military.

In his essay, Lukas Milevski addresses how actors respond to ambiguity in international affairs. Ian Oxnevad discusses state-backed industrial espionage and recommends a U.S. response that is compatible with the free-enterprise model of American business.

Brandon J. Weichert examines how both Russia and the United States have approached their satellite systems in space over the last decade. He concludes that the U.S. approach is flawed and offers several recommendations.

Finally, we reprint Montgomery McFate’s essay on the work of Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1858-1936), a Dutch scholar of Islam, from the fall 2018 issue of Orbis. Due to a series of unfortunate lapses in communication between the author, the editors, and the publisher, the version that appeared in that issue contained a number of errors. We apologize to Dr. McFate.

In conclusion, we feature two book reviews. First, Cole Bunzel reviews Samuel Helfont’s recent book on the influence of the interaction between Saddam Hussein and Islam on the Iraq insurgencies following the U.S. invasion; and Yakov Feygin’s discussion of Hassan Malik’s work on international finance and the Russian Revolution.

To access the Summer 2019 issue, click here.

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