Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft

The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft

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History rarely provides ironclad laws or lessons that can be extracted from one episode and applied to another. But it can play a powerful role in determining which policies are chosen, and when used well it can inspire effective statecraft. Too often, however, historians and policymakers talk past each other. The scholar fails to see the pressures of the present, and those charged with implementing policy have no time to contemplate the past.

Hal Brands and Jeremi Suri have assembled a team of leading scholars and policymakers to explore the history-policy nexus. They examine issues ranging from the uses and misuses of the Vietnam analogy, to the ways that lessons from nineteenth-century humanitarian interventions can inform debates today over the responsibility to protect, to the role of historical thinking in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Contributors: H. W. Brands (University of Texas at Austin), Peter Feaver (Duke University), William inboden (University of Texas at Austin), Mark Atwood Lawrence (University of Texas at Austin), Thomas G. Mahnken (U.S. Naval War College and Johns Hopkins University), Jennifer M. Miller (Dartmouth College), Michael Cotey Morgan (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Gunther Peck (Duke University), James B. Steinberg (Syracuse University), Philip Zelikow (University of Virginia).