The High Ground – With Harvey Sapolsky

In The High Ground Professor Harvey M. Sapolsky shares his observations on international security issues, and the role of the US in the 21st century. Harvey is Professor of Public Policy and Organization, Emeritus at MIT and was formerly the Director of the MIT Security Studies Program. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In the defense field he has served as a consultant or panel member for a number of government commissions and study groups.


Professor Peter Vale’s provocative piece on “The Responsibility of IR Scholars” deserves comment which I suspect many e-IR readers will provide.  Let me offer mine in this blog. I must say that I would hardly claim to be an IR Scholar as I was trained in political economy and government […]


One of the most under-studied, and perhaps most over-promoted, aspects of American foreign policy is the so-called Mil to Mil Relations, the cultivated ties the US military has with foreign militaries. These Mil to Mil Relations consist of military training and liaison exchanges, joint exercises, and senior level consultations.

Obama’s War

Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, chronicles the President’s effort to fashion a policy for the Afghanistan War. It describes the agonizingly slow process composed of high level government reviews, meetings and reports that culminated with President’s decision in late 2009 to add 30,000 more American troops to the conflict this year and begin withdrawals in July 2011.

The Tea Party’s Foreign Policy

The first American Tea Party movement which gave us the American Revolution had huge international implications although like the current one it was initially overwhelmingly focused on narrow economic issues, especially taxation and the fear of big government. The question some are beginning to ask is: what are the likely international implications of the current American Tea Party?


“Bite me” is the dismissive nickname that General McChrystal’s staff officers gave Vice President Joseph Biden, admittedly a frequent subject of mockery in the US because of his many gaffs and his desperate attempts to regain a long lost youthful appearance via hair plugs, facelifts and the like.


President Obama and other senior US officials make constant reference to America being “a nation at war.” This is politically necessary to say and obviously the case because the US has nearly a hundred thousand troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan and reports combat casualties daily.


The state of Arizona recently enacted a statute which allowes police officers to inquire about the immigration status of individuals they stop for other infractions of the law such as speeding or failure to yield for a pedestrian.


A House of Commons committee recently claimed that the UK had lost its “Special Relationship” with the US. The committee argued that the UK had few of the benefits attributed to the Special Relationship, especially the ability to influence US policy, and therefore Britain should to say no to the relations’ obligations.


It is seven years since a US led coalition invaded Iraq, deposing Saddam Hussein and becoming involved in a long, costly stabilization operation that is supposedly about to end soon with the withdrawal of US combat units. More than 4,700 coalition troops, 4,385 of them Americans, have died so far in this effort.


It is getting boring. American officials make a stout plea for NATO assistance in some out of area effort, praising the alliance as vital to the security of the members and the globe. Meetings are held at which NATO officials underline the importance of the mission and its relevance to the alliance.


A special election in Massachusetts held to select the replacement for Ted Kennedy as US Senator has had great political impact in the US with the victory of Scott Brown, the Republican candidate. The Kennedys, first JFK and then Teddy (with retainers inserted when technically required), had controlled the seat for 57 years.

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