It is very rare for an official biography to be also a revisionist biography, but this one is. Usually it’s the official life that the revisionists attempt to dissect and refute, but such is the historical reputation of Henry Kissinger, and the avalanche of books and treatises already written about him, that Niall Ferguson’s official biography is in part an effort to revise the revisionists. Though not without trenchant criticisms, “Kissinger. Volume I. 1923-1968: The Idealist” — which takes its subject up to the age of 45, about to begin his first stint of full-time government service — constitutes the most comprehensive defense of Kissinger’s outlooks and actions since his own three-volume, 3,900-page autobiography, published between 1979 and 1999.
The definitive biography of Henry Kissinger, based on unprecedented access to his private papers
No American statesman has been as revered or as reviled as Henry Kissinger. Once hailed as “Super K”—the “indispensable man” whose advice has been sought by every president from Kennedy to Obama—he has also been hounded by conspiracy theorists, scouring his every “telcon” for evidence of Machiavellian malfeasance. Yet as Niall Ferguson shows in this magisterial two-volume biography, drawing not only on Kissinger’s hitherto closed private papers but also on documents from more than a hundred archives around the world, the idea of Kissinger as the ruthless arch-realist is based on a profound misunderstanding.
The first half of Kissinger’s life is usually skimmed over as a quintessential tale of American ascent: the Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany who made it to the White House. But in this first of two volumes, Ferguson shows that what Kissinger achieved before his appointment as Richard Nixon’s national security adviser was astonishing in its own right. Toiling as a teenager in a New York factory, he studied indefatigably at night. He was drafted into the U.S. infantry and saw action at the Battle of the Bulge—as well as the liberation of a concentration camp—but ended his army career interrogating Nazis. It was at Harvard that Kissinger found his vocation. Having immersed himself in the philosophy of Kant and the diplomacy of Metternich, he shot to celebrity by arguing for “limited nuclear war.” Nelson Rockefeller hired him. Kennedy called him to Camelot. Yet Kissinger’s rise was anything but irresistible. Dogged by press gaffes and disappointed by “Rocky,” Kissinger seemed stuck—until a trip to Vietnam changed everything.
The Idealist is the story of one of the most important strategic thinkers America has ever produced. It is also a political Bildungsroman, explaining how “Dr. Strangelove” ended up as consigliere to a politician he had always abhorred. Like Ferguson’s classic two-volume history of the House of Rothschild, Kissinger sheds dazzling new light on an entire era. The essential account of an extraordinary life, it recasts the Cold War world.
As the Greek negotiating team was preparing its latest reform proposal for the country’s creditors, I was walking to the Montparnasse metro station in Paris on my way to the Council for European Studies conference held at Sciences Po. At the station, a woman my age was standing behind the ticket booth. In her attempt to help me buy the most appropriate tickets for the next three days, I (apologetically) revealed to her that I am Greek and that I do not speak French. When she heard the word “Greek,” she put her hand close to her heart and repeated the word in French with compassion and solidarity. She asked me to wait for a second. In 30, she came back with her own credit card, swiped it, and handed over to me the first of the three tickets saying: “This is from me. For Greece.”
It is besides the point that I did not personally need this form of solidarity. It was also of little matter that many of my compatriots would find this story depressing. What resonated in the moment was that this exchange was exactly what the founders of the European Union envisaged: a solidary group of European citizens living in peace and prosperity.
Instead, many EU bureaucrats, ministers of finance, and heads of state saw—and some still see—the Greek crisis as a case study in moral hazards. Greece, the thinking goes, needs to fail now in order to discipline other unruly countries. Its governing party, Syriza, needs to fall in order to dampen the European public’s support for parties that are challenging the EU status quo. From this point of view, a hard line toward Greece is a necessary evil.
This logic, however, fails to understand the real problem in Greece and the psychology of the European public. Indeed, from the periphery, it is the European core, mainstream elites, officials, and institutions that all look rather euroskeptic—that is, skeptical of the very idea of unity, prosperity, democracy, solidarity, and mutual respect for which EU founders worked so hard to nurture. As of this writing, it appears that these elites have reached a deal with Greece, but the way they manage the relationship from here on out remains crucial. To avoid fueling the very euroskepticism and sovereigntist tendencies they want to quell, they have to abandon all ideas of vindictiveness and, instead, foster a spirit of cooperation among equal partners.
FROM GREFERENDUM TO AGREEKMENT
The forces supporting Europe’s status quo, namely the euro-establishment spearheaded by the German government, found an opportunity in the Greek financial crisis to reaffirm their commitment to austerity as the main way to guarantee Europe’s continued economic competitiveness. But there are plenty of people who oppose those forces. In fact, at the moment, the deepest divide within European societies is between those who want to leave the EU—in the Greek case this camp is represented mainly by the Communist Party, Golden Dawn, along with some of the more radical members of Greece’s coalition government—and those who want to stay in the union but reform it.
In the first camp are euroskeptics of both the right- and left-wing varieties. They range from the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage to Jobbik’s leader Gábor Vona in Hungary, and they have found in the Greek crisis an opportunity to intensify their rhetoric and accuse the EU for operating as a “prison of nations.” It is no accident that during Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ address to the European Parliament last week, euroskeptic parliamentarians of all stripes held up “no” (όχι) signs—in support of Greeks’ recent “no” vote on the June 25 plan proposed to the Greek government by the creditors.
It is not only euroskeptics that sided with the “no” vote, though, but also eurocritics who don’t want to leave the union but want to reform it. In this camp are a number of parties and figures, including the Podemos party in Spain and Lega Nord in Italy. Some in this camp prefer merely an inter-governmental union. Others envision a federal Europe. Tsipras himself is a eurocritic; he is not against the European Union project as a whole, but would like to see less austerity, more democratic EU institutions, and more redistribution of wealth.
Core Europeans might have interpreted Greece’s “no” as a vote against the euro or even Europe. But, in fact, the Greek people tried to send multiple messages with their vote. For his part, Tsipras interpreted the vote as a “yes” to a different type of Europe. It is questionable whether the referendum led to a better deal, but it gave Tsipras more power at home to get his way. He isolated domestic opposition, turned Syriza into a more cohesive party, and avoided becoming a “Left Parenthesis”—a phrase that refers to a short-lived government of the Left in Greece that some had predicted or wished for.
The vote also deepened cleavages in Greek society, particularly between the young in poor neighborhoods, who tended to vote “no,” and those over 65 and in wealthy neighborhoods, who tended to vote “yes.” Young Greeks, who rightly feel that they had no part in the system that led Greece to financial ruin, are less tolerant of the current deal and status quo European institutions. The Greek youth, who are experiencing 60 percent unemployment rates, have very little patience. They bristle at the humiliating way in which the euro-establishment treated Tsipras and the Greek people. With deep feelings of marginalization, many eurocritics have been pushed into becoming euroskeptics.
How far this process has gone is hard to quantify. In Greece, it is indicative that many Syriza parliamentarians, as well as the head of the Greek government’s minor coalition partner, Panos Kammenos, openly opposed the latest deal as the product of blackmail by the EU. Elsewhere in Europe, Britain’s upcoming “in/out” referendum to decide its own EU membership will be a critical test. For Europe to survive such trials without significant—if not irreparable—damage, the euro-establishment camp needs to demonstrate that it understands where the legitimacy of the European Union project lies: building an ever closer union of peace, prosperity, respect for human rights, and democratic governance. The deal struck on July 13 is far from a promising first step toward this goal.
Namely, the agreement, which was reached after a marathon summit, could lead to a third bailout for Greece, which would come with the transfer of 50 billion euros ($55 billion) worth of Greek assets to a new fund for the recapitalization of Greek banks, immediate pension and tax reforms, and the reversal of many of the economic measures the Greek government has passed since its election in late January. Not surprisingly, when the newest demands became publicly known, Twitter exploded with hashtags such as #ThisIsACoup.
During several decades of economic growth and expansion of the welfare state, EU polities managed to downplay the frictions among and within them. Then the financial crisis hit. The alliances that formed as a result—and the ensuing debates over austerity—cut across the traditional Left-Center-Right ideological axis. In fact, the social cleavages currently dividing EU member states and the populations within them are the product of a dual integration crisis: European and national. The European integration crisis was brought on by the challenges emerging from the recent financial crisis coupled with tensions surrounding the EU’s uneven economic and political development. Meanwhile, the demographic decline across the continent and the inability of European societies to successfully integrate immigrants brought to the fore national integration problems.
Greece was not the only country that faced a financial debt crisis. Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain did as well. In all cases, democratically-elected governments no longer had the ability, due to their participation in the eurozone, to devalue their currency or inflate their economies by printing money. As I wrote in Perspectives on Politics, “they were faced with two suboptimal options: to default or to implement austerity measures (internal devaluation).” Meanwhile, the European institutions opted for policies that would punish the already-suffering countries as a way to prevent further contagion. “These developments have since given rise to Euroscepticism throughout the EU, leading to a growing public dissatisfaction in the crisis-stricken countries with their own governments but also with the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and reminding everyone of the democratic deficit problem that has long existed within the European Union.”
It is perhaps bad luck that all this happened while the region’s poorest were hit with other economic and social challenges. Migration from outside of Europe and from within it, coupled with the governments’ failures to successfully integrate the new arrivals, left some Europeans jobless or fearful for their jobs and uncertain about their place in the continent’s social fabric. In turn, they believed that both their national governments and the EU had let them down, and their euroskepticism took on a decidedly nationalist and populist tinge.
In Greece, most—if not all—citizens agree that the policies of the past five years have utterly failed; they also agree that the “patronage social contract” that underwrote political rule for the past four decades is bankrupt. Meanwhile, even those who supported the “no” vote in the recent referendum—those who consider Greece a “colony of debt”—are internally divided on quintessential questions such as whether one is born Greek or can become Greek. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and others are all facing similar identity crises, which is only exacerbated by the economic situation and the pressures on the welfare state.
All this is happening while austerity—chosen as the main way to keep the euro strong and the EU competitive—has undermined popular support for the union across Europe, not just in Greece. These developments constitute the dual integration crisis: EU and national. The safest way out of this predicament is an ever closer union, a political Europe with a fiscal union and democratically elected institutions that would redistribute more wealth and would achieve competitiveness through innovation, not austerity and internal devaluation. The hope for such a Europe is still alive. The woman I met in the Montparnasse metro station is a testament to this.
Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, we find that militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. This lends support to a socialization hypothesis, in which sexual violence may be used as a tool for building group cohesion. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a ‘‘practice’’ of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.
This book will be of interest to students of the Cold War because it examines the antecedents of the many population movements not only during the interwar period but also after World War II. The Turco-Greek population exchange was not the first exchange in the Balkans (a Greek-Bulgarian voluntary population exchange was signed in 1919, as discussed by Theodora Dragostinova in Between Two Motherlands: Nationality and Emigration among the Greeks of Bulgaria, 1900-1949, published by Cornell University Press in 2011), but because of the large scale of the Greek-Turkish exchange—resulting in more than a million refugees in Greece and half a million in Turkey—its obligatory character, and its relatively organized nature, it has become a reference point for the “transfer of large ethno-religious groups by means of which minorities were forcibly uprooted under the aegis of international law to contribute, in turn, to the reconstitution of ethnically ‘pure’ homogeneous states” (p. 10). Many of the examples that are discussed, however, are hardly comparable to the TurcoGreek population exchange and instead constitute instances of disorderly exoduses or unilateral ethnic cleansing.
African agriculture is currently at a crossroads, at which persistent food shortages are compounded by threats from climate change. But, as this book argues, Africa faces three major opportunities that can transform its agriculture into a force for economic growth: advances in science and technology; the creation of regional markets; and the emergence of a new crop of entrepreneurial leaders dedicated to the continent's economic improvement.
Filled with case studies from within Africa and success stories from developing nations around the world, The New Harvest outlines the policies and institutional changes necessary to promote agricultural innovation across the African continent. Incorporating research from academia, government, civil society, and private industry, the book suggests multiple ways that individual African countries can work together at the regional level to develop local knowledge and resources, harness technological innovation, encourage entrepreneurship, increase agricultural output, create markets, and improve infrastructure.
In various writings Karl Marx made references to an ‘aristocracy of finance’ in Western Europe and the USA that dominated ownership of the public debt. Drawing on original research, this article offers the first comprehensive analysis of public debt ownership within the US corporate sector. The research shows that over the past three decades, and especially in the context of the current crisis, a new aristocracy of finance has emerged, as holdings of the public debt have become rapidly concentrated in favour of large corporations classified within Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Operationalizing Wolfgang Streeck's concept of the ‘debt state’, the article goes on to demonstrate how concentration in ownership of the public debt reinforces patterns of social inequality and proceeds in tandem with a shift in government policy, one that prioritizes the interests of government bondholders over the general citizenry.
The goal of this article is to highlight the methodological problems involved in the study of nation-building and propose solutions. I identify three categories of methodological problems that flow from respective practices in social science research: (i) inferring intentions from observed behavior or outcomes; (ii) relying on census data to infer a country's ethnic diversity; and (iii) arbitrary periodization and anachronism, that is, attributing certain actions to concepts and/or phenomena that were not politically salient or even understood by the actors under study.
The financial stability of four of the five largest U.S. federal entitlement programs, strategic decision making in several industries, and many academic publications all depend on the accuracy of demographic and financial forecasts made by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although the SSA has performed these forecasts since 1942, no systematic and comprehensive evaluation of their accuracy has ever been published by SSA or anyone else. The absence of a systematic evaluation of forecasts is a concern because the SSA relies on informal procedures that are potentially subject to inadvertent biases and does not share with the public, the scientific community, or other parts of SSA sufficient data or information necessary to replicate or improve its forecasts. These issues result in SSA holding a monopoly position in policy debates as the sole supplier of fully independent forecasts and evaluations of proposals to change Social Security. To assist with the forecasting evaluation problem, we collect all SSA forecasts for years that have passed and discover error patterns that could have been—and could now be—used to improve future forecasts. Specifically, we find that after 2000, SSA forecasting errors grew considerably larger and most of these errors made the Social Security Trust Funds look more financially secure than they actually were. In addition, SSA's reported uncertainty intervals are overconfident and increasingly so after 2000. We discuss the implications of these systematic forecasting biases for public policy.
Although social scientists devote considerable effort to mitigating measurement error during data collection, they often ignore the issue during data analysis. And although many statistical methods have been proposed for reducing measurement error-induced biases, few have been widely used because of implausible assumptions, high levels of model dependence, difficult computation, or inapplicability with multiple mismeasured variables. We develop an easy-to-use alternative without these problems; it generalizes the popular multiple imputation (MI) framework by treating missing data problems as a limiting special case of extreme measurement error, and corrects for both. Like MI, the proposed framework is a simple two-step procedure, so that in the second step researchers can use whatever statistical method they would have if there had been no problem in the first place. We also offer empirical illustrations, open source software that implements all the methods described herein, and a companion paper with technical details and extensions (Blackwell, Honaker, and King, 2014b).
Behavioral economics has shown that people often diverge from classical assumptions about self-interested behavior: they have social preferences and are concerned about issues of fairness and reciprocity. Social psychologists show that these preferences vary across actors, with some displaying more prosocial value orientations than others. Integrating a laboratory bargaining experiment with original archival research on Anglo-French and Franco-German diplomacy during the interwar period, the authors show how fairness and reciprocity matter in social interactions. That prosocials do not exploit their bargaining leverage to the degree that proselfs do helps explain why some pairs of actors are better able to avoid bargaining failure than others. In the face of consistent egoism on the part of negotiating partners, however, prosocials engage in negative reciprocity and adopt the same behaviors as proselfs.
A few years ago, explaining what you did for a living to Dad, Aunt Rose, or your friend from high school was pretty complicated. Answering that you develop statistical estimators, work on numerical optimization, or, even better, are working on a great new Markov Chain Monte Carlo implementation of a Bayesian model with heteroskedastic errors for automated text analysis is pretty much the definition of conversation stopper.
Then the media noticed the revolution we’re all apart of, and they glued a label to it. Now “Big Data” is what you and I do. As trivial as this change sounds, we should be grateful for it, as the name seems to resonate with the public and so it helps convey the importance of our field to others better than we had managed to do ourselves. Yet, now that we have everyone’s attention, we need to start clarifying for others—and ourselves—what the revolution means. This is much of what this book is about.
We extend a unified and easy-to-use approach to measurement error and missing data. In our companion article, Blackwell, Honaker, and King give an intuitive overview of the new technique, along with practical suggestions and empirical applications. Here, we offer more precise technical details, more sophisticated measurement error model specifications and estimation procedures, and analyses to assess the approach’s robustness to correlated measurement errors and to errors in categorical variables. These results support using the technique to reduce bias and increase efficiency in a wide variety of empirical research.
For more than a century, the United States has been the world's most powerful state. Now some analysts predict that China will soon take its place. Does this mean that we are living in a post-American world? Will China's rapid rise spark a new Cold War between the two titans?
In this compelling essay, world renowned foreign policy analyst, Joseph Nye, explains why the American century is far from over and what the US must do to retain its lead in an era of increasingly diffuse power politics. America's superpower status may well be tempered by its own domestic problems and China's economic boom, he argues, but its military, economic and soft power capabilities will continue to outstrip those of its closest rivals for decades to come.
According to a growing tradition in International Relations, one way governments can credibly signal their intentions in foreign policy crises is by creating domestic audience costs: leaders can tie their hands by publicly threatening to use force since domestic publics punish leaders who say one thing and do another. We argue here that there are actually two logics of audience costs: audiences can punish leaders both for being inconsistent (the traditional audience cost), and for threatening to use force in the first place (a belligerence cost). We employ an experiment that disentangles these two rationales, and turn to a series of dispositional characteristics from political psychology to bring the audience into audience cost theory. Our results suggest that traditional audience cost experiments may overestimate how much people care about inconsistency, and that the logic of audience costs (and the implications for crisis bargaining) varies considerably with the leader's constituency.
In 2007, then-President Hu Jintao told the Communist Party that the country needed to increase its soft power; President Xi Jinping repeated the same message last year. They know that, for a country like China, whose growing economic and military power risks scaring its neighbors into forming counter-balancing coalitions, a smart strategy must include efforts to appear less frightening. But their soft-power ambitions still face major obstacles.