Zhao Ziyang and China’s Lost Opportunity

A review of Never Turn Back: China and the Forbidden History of the 1980s by Julian Gewirtz from Harvard University Press.  Review by Justin Kempf Zhao Ziyang I will admit that I never gave Zhao Ziyang much thought. He comes across as a supporting character without significant influence for China's history or politics. Deng Xiaoping... Continue Reading →

The Cycles of Russian Expansion

Become a Patron! The Cycles of Russian Expansion In March of 1918 Russia accepted humiliating terms to withdraw from World War I. It ceded any claims over Finland, the Baltic States, and most of Ukraine and Belarus. It lost additional territory in the Caucasus. All told Russia lost one third of its population. In this... Continue Reading →

Why Ideas Matter

Ideas and Political Decisions Political science almost always falls back into discussions of institutions and interests. The human element gets extracted from serious research, because it does not fit well into statistical analysis or spatial models. Instead, ideas and opinions become diminished into political interests. In other words, scholars largely assume ideologies do not evolve... Continue Reading →

Martin Conway Believes “Democracy Owes its Durability Not to its Principles but to its Flexibility.” Democracy in Western Europe from 1945 to 1968

Martin Conway is the author of the new book Western Europe’s Democratic Age: 1945—1968 and a Professor of Contemporary European History at the University of Oxford.   Where you and I and, I think, many others start from an assumption that somehow there is a thing called democracy and we sort of know what it is.... Continue Reading →

How Western Europe Embraced Democracy

Western Europe's Democratic Age Over the last few years it has almost become cliché to refer to the democratic recession. Many of the most fragile democracies have reversed or even collapsed. Among the most recent involves the collapse of the government in Afghanistan due to the withdrawal of American troops. The experience serves as a... Continue Reading →

Isolationism: A Podcast Primer

What is Isolationism? In an increasingly interconnected world it is difficult for any community or nation to truly isolate itself from others. Of course, a few indigenous tribes remain in remote corners of the world. Perhaps they are the last truly isolated peoples left in the world. But even these communities have occasional contact with... Continue Reading →

Neoliberalism: A Podcast Primer

Neoliberalism as a Political Philosophy Neoliberalism is more than a school of economics. It incorporates a broad political philosophy surrounding its ideas about economics. The neoliberal package of reforms is often presented as a toolkit for economic development, but its earliest theorists associated free markets and capitalism with human freedom and liberty. They saw themselves... Continue Reading →

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