3 Upcoming Events

Satiric drawing from the Catalan newspaper "La Campana de Gràcia" in 1896 satirizing the USA's intentions about Cuba. Upper text (not displayed) reads (in old Catalan): "Uncle Sam's craving (by M. Moliné)." Text below (not displayed) reads: "Saving the island so it won't get lost."

"La Campana de Gràcia" in the May 23, 1896 edition

Seminar - Open to the Public

1898: "Precautionary War" and the Three Myths of American Empire

Thu., Feb. 28, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Aroop Mukharji, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

President William McKinley's foreign policy ranks among the most consequential of all U.S. presidents. At the start of his first term, the United States was primarily hemispheric in its foreign policy orientation. By the start of his second term, the United States had brought down a European colonial power, had begun governing seven new overseas territories, and had fought two additional wars in Asia.

This presentation focuses specifically on the Spanish-American War and why McKinley decided to intervene. Three myths about his motivations continue to persist: (1) that the United States waged an economically imperialist war to open up trade opportunities, (2) that the rhetoric of manliness pressured McKinley into taking a more aggressive stance, and (3) that the yellow press whipped up a public frenzy that led to the declaration of war. These influences are greatly overstated. Instead, this presentation will argue that the Spanish-American War was partly a humanitarian war, but also a "precautionary war" (author's term) that was based on a general fear of disorder, uncertainty, and instability and waged to ensure conditions that better facilitated regional stability and peace.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Map of Europe in 1914. During WWI,  The United Kingdom and Germany continued to trade certain items, such as hosiery needles used in textile manufacturing.

Wikimedia CC/Varmin

Seminar - Open to the Public

Planning for the Short Haul: Trade with the Enemy During War

Thu., Mar. 7, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Mariya Grinberg, Research Fellow, International Security Program

In times of war, why do belligerents continue to trade with each other? The speaker shows that states set product level commercial policies to balance two potentially conflicting goals — maximizing state revenue from continued trade during the war and minimizing the ability of the opponent to benefit from security externalities of the trade. States are more likely to trade with the enemy in (1) products that their opponents take a long time to convert into military capability and (2) products that are essential to the domestic economy. The amount of time it takes the opponent to convert gains from trade into military capabilities determines which products are too dangerous to be traded during a war. The mitigating factor is the amount of revenue the state can extract from trade. The more essential the product is to the domestic economy, the less a state can afford to lose trade in it.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.