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

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?

“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.

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.

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?

“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?

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?

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?

‘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?

“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?

“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.

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