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American DiplomacyAbstracts
Spring 1998
Volume III, Number 2


(Please click on title below to read full text of article.)

The distinguished scholar Robert A. Hinde analyzes the psychological factors that in his view require understanding before the phenomenon of war can be comprehended, whether by world statesmen or ordinary citizens. He notes that study of the causes of war usually focuses on societal, socio-cultural or economic factors, with perhaps occasional reference to the leaders' personalities. At the heart of his study is his contention that such approaches neglect the fact that all human experience testifies to the horror of war, and yet wars continue to be an acceptable way of solving conflicts.

Hinde identifies three broad categories of explanatory factors:

  1. Differences between expectations and reality,
  2. pervasive cultural factors, and
  3. war as an institutionalized set of institutions.
In this article, Professor Hinde elaborates on these points, along with discussion of the continuum from individual aggression to international war.

Professor Ole Holsti's recent book, Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy (1996), may be the single most comprehensive analysis and assessment of the impact foreign policy has had on public opinion — and vice versa. At this round-table, he notes the conclusions and the conceptual underpinnings of his work. He reviews the thesis that the issue of the role of public opinion and foreign policy is at the core of the long-standing debate between realists' perspectives on foreign affairs and liberal perspectives. He discusses the post World War II Almond-Lippmann consensus which ascribed relatively little importance to public opinion in the formulation of foreign policy, and also the challenges to this consensus resulting from more recent research.

A following discussion, led by two notable young scholars of what might be called "Public Argument Studies," David Cheshier and Erik Doxtader, raises questions with Professor Holsti regarding his conception of the public and how a "public" is called into existence on particular issues. Others at the conference offer comments and query the presenter on various aspects of the topic.

Looking back from the vantage point of fifty years of Indian independence, veteran U. S. diplomat Robert Olson reviews the mission to New Delhi of the first American ambassador to that nation, Dr. Henry F. Grady. Olson presents Grady's assessment of the principal figures of the day, Nehru, Gandhi, and Mountbatten. An economist who earlier had served as Franklin Roosevelt's chief trade negotiator and a wartime trouble shooter, Grady dealt with cooling relations with Indian authorities after Independence, as well as a lack of full cooperation from his British counterparts. He faced two challenges: winning the trust of Nehru, and thus the backing of India in the developing Cold War, and encouraging economic development. In the author's view, Grady, despite his optimism, left for his next assignment in 1948 a disappointed man.

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