Throughout the ages, statesmanship has entailed employing a country’s tools of power to secure its interests on the international stage. Great statesmen, from Pericles to Churchill, had their greatest impact during crises, steering their nation away from potential disaster to ultimate victory. For modern purposes, no event better demonstrates the role of statesmanship than the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States navigated crisis after crisis, confronting a Communist adversary that spanned two continents, and ultimately securing an improbable victory despite long odds. By examining key decision points in the early Cold War—including the 1945 post-World War II negotiations, the Korean War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis—students will be exposed to political thinking in its most robust form. Engaging with primary texts like speeches, cabinet minutes, and policy telegrams will allow students to inhabit the minds of the “men on the spot.” We will grasp the agonizing difficulty of near-impossible political choices and understand how leaders navigated between surrender and Armageddon.
Harry Halem is an MSc (Political Theory) candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He holds an MA (Hons) in Philosophy and International Relations from the University of St Andrews, and is a research assistant at the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. He is primarily interested in maritime strategy, international security, and the history of political thought.
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Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.