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Welcoming Bradford Lee, Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy

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Dr. Bradford Lee began his residency as the Kluge Center’s fourteenth Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations this past Monday. Recently retired from the Philip A. Crowl Professor of Comparative Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College, Lee will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with him during his residency. Lee taught strategy at the Naval War College from 1987 – 2014 and before that he was an Associate Professor of History at Harvard University. At Harvard he published studies on a broad array of subjects: military strategy, foreign policy, the domestic politics of national priorities, and macroeconomic theory and policy. His recent publications include, among many essays, an analysis of the recurring strategic problems that the United States has experienced in terminating its wars in a manner that produces durable political results.

Dr. Bradford Lee
Dr. Bradford Lee, fourteenth Kissinger Chair at The John W. Kluge Center. Photo by Travis Hensley.

The 20th century has been called the “American Century,” reflecting America’s rise economically, militarily, and politically. As a nation over the last hundred years we have been at the forefront of global affairs, promoting the values we hold dear, and sometimes defending those values with treasure and blood. Our nation has incurred great costs, but hasn’t it been to the country and even world’s benefit? Dr. Lee is proposing to answer such questions. He will spend six months at the Kluge Center researching a book project, “One Hundred Years of Blood-Dimmed Tides: The United States and War, 1917-2017.” By examining the four major wars in which America participated, from World War I to the more recent operations in the Middle East, Lee will use his extensive background in strategy and history to analyze the objectives, costs, and eventual outcomes of these conflicts. By estimating the value of the objectives pursued, Dr. Lee will explore whether these objectives could have been achieved at a lower cost.

The manuscript collection at the Library is invaluable to any such endeavor. The Library holds the papers of men and women who have shaped American policy both internationally and domestically. These collections can inform us about the decisions and decision makers and aide in the monumental task that Dr. Lee is undertaking. No other institution could facilitate such research, and a scholar of Lee’s stature is needed to synthesize all the materials in a coherent analysis.

The research is timely. As a war-weary nation, many of us have reflected on similar questions. We live in a global system which is dynamic and is continually evolving: decisions are made, actions taken, and results are assessed. For two millennia, empires and nations have done such self-reflection. The Kissinger Program at the John W. Kluge Center serves as a catalyst for the fresh analysis of foreign affairs in the global era. Dr. Lee and his project will do just this.

The Kissinger Program was established in 2000 through the generous donations of the friends of Henry Kissinger to support one Kissinger Scholar and a lecture series focused on key issues of foreign policy. For more information, click here.

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