Author profile: Oliver Lewis

Oliver Lewis is an academic advisor to the Ministry of Defence and completing a PhD in International Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he researches on the culture(s) and education of elite transnational groups. Oliver co-founded the website in November 2007, and managed its technical development until February 2010. He is a Director of e-IR Publications Limited and can be contacted at

An Examination of the Personality Types of Three Intelligence Leaders Within the British Intelligence Community

Oliver Lewis • May 25 2008 • Essays

This study examines officials within the British intelligence community – Nicholas Elliott, Maj. Gen. Sir Kenneth Strong and Dame Stella Rimington – to ascertain any commonalities in the traits and type of their personalities. Being psychologically-informed, the study employs the Five-Factor Model and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator on the leader’s autobiographies to identify the primary motivational traits to inform their categorisation into a personality type. While none of the leaders share a single personality type, there are considerable commonalities in trait behaviour and positioning on the MBTI dichotomies. Furthermore, there emerge common trait dimensions shared by successful intelligence leaders (INTJ): Guarded social engagement (Introverted), creativity and intellect (Intuition), rational impartiality (Thinking) and systematic, efficient administrative ability (Judging).

To What Extent was Diplomacy Professionalised in the French System?

Oliver Lewis • Mar 30 2008 • Essays

“When I entered the service,” wrote Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, “there was no such thing at all.” Within the six centuries of the French diplomatic system diplomacy evolved from its ad-hoc, temporary status in political society into foreign services that practiced within a distinct profession.

‘Regional organisations are the most useful “friends” of the UN Secretary-General when he is engaged in mediation’. Discuss.

Oliver Lewis • Jan 28 2008 • Essays

Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, over 100 major conflicts around the world have left some 20 million dead’[1]. In An Agenda for Peace, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali set out visions for preventive diplomacy and strategies to strengthen the United Nations’ (UN) capacity to maintain the peace. The collapse of Cold War bipolarity has seen a surge in demand for UN involvement. The UN has cast its net wide, beyond narrow conceptions of collective security, into human rights, environmental politics and human security. The response from the Security Council, General Assembly and member states to An Agenda for Peace was cautiously optimistic; the rhetoric, asserts Chesterman, ‘was euphoric, utopian, and short’.

‘There is no significant difference between the theories of negotiation of Guicciardini and Richelieu’. Discuss.

Oliver Lewis • Jan 28 2008 • Essays

Nearly half a century separate Cardinal Richelieu and Francesco Guicciardini but the parallels between the two men betray the similarities in their understanding of power politics and theories of negotiation. Richelieu may have operated outside the Renaissance and Guicciardini from its Florentine apex, but both were influenced by the developing political theories of early modern Europe and the realist raison d’ état of Machiavelli; Guicciardini counted Machiavelli as a friend, and Richelieu was his intellectual descendent – the first politician to prosecute state national interest above notions of medieval universal Christian morality.

Why is the Concept of Preventive War so Controversial in World Politics and how is it Dissimilar to the Idea of Pre-emption?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

“One can never anticipate the ways of divine providence securely enough” to declare war because one held a belief of the future hostile intent of one’s adversaries, remarked Otto von Bismarck in 1875. Such arguments have surrounded the concepts of preemption and its illegitimate counterpart – prevention – long before the inception of the controversial Bush Doctrine in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States. Preemption has been practiced for centuries as a legitimate means of self-defense for states. Prevention, an aggressive strategy intended to neutralise a threat before it can come fully into existence, has traditionally been outlawed under international law, international organisations and Just War theory.

How Important are Shared Culture, Language and Values to the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

In 1946 Sir Winston Churchill delivered his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in Fulton, Missouri, speculating on the future of the world order. Within it, he described “the fraternal association of the English-speaking people” that meant “a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America”[1]. Since that day politicians, academics and commentators on both sides of the Atlantic frequently describe the warm diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United States and the United Kingdom as being a ‘special relationship’.

Does the so-called ‘Bush Doctrine’ of 2002 Represent a Radical Shift in the US Government’s Attitude Towards Foreign Policy?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

American foreign policy has been a widely debated area of diplomatic history and international relations for most of the last century, and President George W. Bush’s latest reincarnation has stimulated no less debate: Indeed, as Leffler recognises, there is enormous controversy surrounding the manifestation of contemporary US foreign policy – known colloquially as the ‘Bush Doctrine’ – The National Security Strategy of the United States of America(NSS).

To What Extent Might the Crimean War be Regarded as a Foretaste of Modern War?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

‘For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’ took on a Dickensian invocation in Hard Times, Tennyson published his Maud as a portrayal of the widely-held belief that war could act as a rejuvenating force in corruptible industrial nations, and an alliance of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia declared war against Russia in 1853; hastily preparing an expeditionary force for the Crimea. The cause célèbre of the war has been held as opportunistic Russian expansionism into the fragmenting territories of the Ottoman Empire, which antagonised Great Britain[1], causing anxiety toward continued British naval superiority.

Of What Value to the Allied War Effort in the Second World War was the Work of the Special Operations Executive?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

“Splendid, I shall research on subversive war” declared Major J. C. Holland in 1938 and through his ideas were born the commandos, the deception industry, the escape services and eventually the greater part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE)[1]. The SOE was a new secret service organisation formed by the British Government to coordinate subversion, paramilitary and irregular warfare through foreign resistance movements in territories occupied by the enemy in the Second World War.

Is the Nationalist Ideal still at the Heart of Politics in the 21st Century?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 3 2007 • Essays

“Nationalism”, asserts Fred Halliday, “has been one of the formative processes of the modern world”[1]and many argue that nationalist ideology continues to play an important part in the political discourse and decisions of the developed and developing world. In the dialogue of this essay I will; briefly define the ‘nationalist ideal’ and the complications such a definition raises; examine the nature of contemporary nationalism and whether this can be ascribed as ‘new nationalism’; ascertain the impact that modernity and globalisation has on the nationalist ideal; and present a discussion on the relevance of nationalism in the conduct of politics in the United States, with particular focus upon the internationalist scope of American nationalism and the need to securitize subjectivity in times of uncertainty and existential anxiety.

What Military Lessons can be Drawn from the Spectacular Terrorist Attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001?

Oliver Lewis • Dec 2 2007 • Essays

“Never despise your enemy, whoever he is. Try to find out about his weapons and means, how he uses them and fights. Research into his strengths and weaknesses” asserted Field Marshal Prince Alexander V. Suvorov in 1789. In executing the most spectacular terrorist attacks in history in September 11th 2001 this is certainly what al-Qaeda did. To respond, the United States military must recognise the unconventional nature of its new opponent and greatly broaden its conception of threats and the means to counter them.

Assess the Strengths and Weaknesses of ‘securitizing’ Environmental Degradation

Oliver Lewis • Dec 2 2007 • Essays

The end of the Cold War accelerated the widespread realisation that human action, particularly that associated with conflict and industry, had broadly comprised the environmental component of security. The discourse to redefine security to include a wider variety of issues catapulted concepts of threats that target the individual rather than exclusively state-centric to the fore; human security declared that people and communities should be the referent of security. The United Nations expanded the definition of human security to include the impact of environmental degradation: That to be secure, individuals should have access to non-degraded land, clean air and fresh water.

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