Upcoming Reading Group Topics
The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict
by Elbridge A. Colby
February 24, 2023, 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Why and how America's defense strategy must change in light of China's power and ambition. Elbridge A. Colby was the lead architect of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the most significant revision of US defense strategy in a generation. Here he lays out how America's defense must change to address China's growing power and ambition. Based firmly in the realist tradition but deeply engaged in current policy, this book offers a clear framework for what America's goals in confronting China must be, how its military strategy must change, and how it must prioritize these goals over its lesser interests. The most informed and in-depth reappraisal of America's defense strategy in decades, this book outlines a rigorous but practical approach, showing how the United States can prepare to win a war with China that we cannot afford to lose - precisely in order to deter that war from happening.
The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink
by Dr. William Inboden
March 30, 2023, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
With decades of hindsight, the peaceful end of the Cold War seems a foregone conclusion. But in the early 1980s, most experts believed the Soviet Union was strong, stable, and would last into the next century. Ronald Reagan entered the White House with no certainty of what would happen next, only an overriding faith in democracy and an abiding belief that Soviet communism—and the threat of nuclear war—must end. The Peacemaker reveals how Reagan’s White House waged the Cold War while managing multiple crises around the globe. From the emergence of global terrorism, wars in the Middle East, the rise of Japan, and the awakening of China to proxy conflicts in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, Reagan’s team oversaw the worldwide expansion of democracy, globalization, free trade, and the information revolution. Yet no issue was greater than the Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union. As president, Reagan remade the four-decades-old policy of containment and challenged the Soviets in an arms race and ideological contest that pushed them toward economic and political collapse, all while extending an olive branch of diplomacy as he sought a peaceful end to the conflict.
Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty
by Aynne Kokas
April 28, 2023, TBD
In Trafficking Data, Aynne Kokas looks at how technology firms in the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China, have exploited government policy (and the lack thereof) to gather information on citizens, putting US national security at risk. Kokas argues that US government leadership failures, Silicon Valley's disruption fetish, and Wall Street's addiction to growth have fuelled China's technological goldrush. In turn, American complacency yields an unprecedented opportunity for Chinese firms to gather data in the United States and quietly send it back to China, and by extension, to the Chinese government. Drawing on years of fieldwork in the US and China and a large trove of corporate and policy documents, Trafficking Data explains how China is fast becoming the global leader in internet governance and policy, and thus of the data that defines our public and private lives.
Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy
by Henry Kissinger
May 26, 2023, TBD
“Leaders,” writes Henry Kissinger in this compelling book, “think and act at the intersection of two axes: the first, between the past and the future; the second, between the abiding values and aspirations of those they lead. They must balance what they know, which is necessarily drawn from the past, with what they intuit about the future, which is inherently conjectural and uncertain. It is this intuitive grasp of direction that enables leaders to set objectives and lay down a strategy.” In Leadership, Kissinger analizes the lives of six extraordinary leaders through the distinctive strategies of statecraft, which he believes they embodied.
Isolationism: A History of America's Efforts to Shield Itself from the World
by Dr. Charles A. Kupchan
June 30, 2023, TBD
In his Farewell Address of 1796, President George Washington admonished the young nation "to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Isolationism thereafter became one of the most influential political trends in American history. From the founding era until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States shunned strategic commitments abroad, making only brief detours during the Spanish-American War and World War I. Amid World War II and the Cold War, Americans abandoned isolationism; they tried to run the world rather than run away from it. But isolationism is making a comeback as Americans tire of foreign entanglement. In this definitive and magisterial analysis-the first book to tell the fascinating story of isolationism across the arc of American history-Charles Kupchan explores the enduring connection between the isolationist impulse and the American experience. He also refurbishes isolationism's reputation, arguing that it constituted dangerous delusion during the 1930s, but afforded the nation clear strategic advantages during its ascent.