Articles

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U.S. President John F. Kennedy, right, confers with his brother Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy at the White House on Oct. 1, 1962 during the buildup of military tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that became the Cuban missile crisis.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

Why the President Needs a Council of Historians

| September 2016

We urge the next president to establish a White House Council of Historical Advisers. Historians made similar recommendations to Presidents Carter and Reagan during their administrations, but nothing ever came of these proposals. Operationally, the Council of Historical Advisers would mirror the Council of Economic Advisers, established after World War II. A chair and two additional members would be appointed by the president to full-time positions, and respond to assignments from him or her. They would be supported by a small professional staff and would be part of the Executive Office of the President.

Journal Article - Yale Journal of International Affairs

Theory and Policy in International Relations: Some Personal Reflections

| September 2012

"It has been nearly thirty years since I received my PhD. At that time, I was convinced that systematic scholarly research could uncover and verify timeless truths about international politics and foreign policy, and that once those discoveries had been made, a grateful policy community would quickly absorb them and adopt the right prescriptions. With the passage of time, I've gained both a greater respect for the limits of what social science can accomplish and a greater appreciation for the imperviousness of the policy community to reasoned discourse, especially in the United States. Even if scholars were able to produce more convincing analyses—itself a debatable proposition—overcoming the entrenched interests that shape what policy makers choose to do is not easy."

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and former Harvard University professor, delivers his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Second Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing, China, June 25, 2011.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - Transformations of the Public Sphere

International Affairs and the Public Sphere

| July 21, 2011

"...[T]he academic study of international affairs will be impoverished if the relevant academic disciplines continue to turn inward, to focus on narrow issues that are primarily of interest only to other scholars, and to become even less interested in communicating to policymakers, the broader public, or the bulk of our students (the vast majority of whom do not want to be social scientists themselves). Accordingly, our goal should be to encourage a diverse, engaged community of scholars that is still committed to a free exchange of ideas and to high standards of both rigor and relevance."

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

From Prediction to Learning: Opening Experts' Minds to Unfolding History

    Authors:
  • Richard Herrmann
  • Jong Kun Choi
| Spring 2007

No expert in the academic or intelligence community can predict the future, but they should at least be able to accurately analyze and quickly update their beliefs to craft effective policy. Too often, experts not only forget what they used to believe, but also see little connection between explaining the past and predicting the future. A two-year case study of fifteen Korean experts examines their initial predictions about security on the Korean Peninsula and demonstrates how a Bayesian approach helped them first to empirically analyze their theories, and then to successfully update them based on events that actually transpired.