American Diplomacy

Books of Interest
September 2016


Bill Kiehl is the Contributing Editor for Books of American Diplomacy, and a former Editor in Chief of the journal. Dr. Kiehl has taught public diplomacy at the Foreign Service Institute and has lectured at a number of colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He holds his Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. During a 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, he served as Diplomat in Residence at the U.S. Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership and was a Senior Fellow of the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute. Dr. Kiehl was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Department of State, Acting Deputy Associate Director of USIA and Staff Director of the Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training. Overseas, he was the Director of the U.S. Information Service in Bangkok and was also Counselor for Public Affairs in London, Helsinki and Prague. His early postings included Belgrade, Zagreb and Colombo. He escorted the exhibition "Agriculture USA" throughout the former Soviet Union and served as Press Officer in Moscow. A decade later he was Public Affairs Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the CSCE Moscow Conference on the Human Dimension.  As a Senior FSO retiree he has been called upon for temporary assignments at U.S. Embassies in Norway, Montenegro and Haiti.  In addition to his doctorate Dr. Kiehl earned an honors degree from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. He was Honorary Visiting Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. He has published numerous works including, The Last Three Feet: Case Studies in Public Diplomacy, America’s Dialogue with the World, The Eagle and the Elephant and Global Intentions/Local Results.


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New Books Of Interest, September 2016

American Diplomacy presents a variety of new books that we believe may interest you. We'll provide basic information on the books and links to more information. You will have the choice of whether, or how far, to pursue your interests in the books that follow. From time to time we will also feature an original book review or book essay of note. 

This issue marks my last as Contributing Editor for Books and we welcome our new Contributing Editor, Margaret Pearson, with the next issue.  I’ve enjoyed my years as Editor and later as Contributing Editor with the journal and will continue as a member of the American Diplomacy Board.  Good reading!
William P. Kiehl, Ed.D.
Contributing Editor, Books

New Books for September 2016

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Shaper Nations Edited by William I. Hitchcock, Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro

Making Sense of the Central African Republic Edited by Tatiana Carayannis and Louisa Lombard

Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy by Danielle Fosler-Lussier

Open Wounds by Vicken Cheterian

Nigeria by Richard Bourne

Latin America and the Rising South by Augusto de la Torre, Tatiana Didier, Alain Ize, Daniel Lederman, and Sergio L. Schmukler

The Unquiet Frontier by Jakub J. Grygiel and A. Wess Mitchell

India at War by Yasmin Khan




Shaper Nations provides illuminating perspectives on the national strategies of eight emerging and established countries that are shaping global politics at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The volume’s authors offer a unique viewpoint: they live and work primarily in the country about which they write, bringing an insider’s feel for national debates and politics.

The conventional wisdom on national strategy suggests that these states have clear central authority, coherently connect means to ends, and focus on their geopolitical environment. These essays suggest a different conclusion. In seven key countries—Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Russia, and Turkey—strategy is dominated by non-state threats, domestic politics, the distorting effect of history and national identity, economic development concerns, and the sheer difficulty, in the face of many powerful internal and external constraints, of pursuing an effective national strategy.

The shapers represent a new trend in the international arena with important consequences. Among them is a more uncertain world in which countries concentrate on their own development rather than on shared problems that might divert precious resources, and attend more to regional than to global order. In responding to these shaper states, the United States must understand the sources of their national strategies in determining its own role on the global stage.

William I. Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  Melvyn P. Leffler is Edward Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  Jeffrey W. Legro is Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Randolph P. Compton Professor in the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.




This sprawling collection of essays is the first book-length English-language study of the Central African Republic. Such neglect is predictable given that the landlocked CAR is desperately poor and boasts virtually no natural resources. But the CAR’s history of failed state building, instability, and civil violence, which has led to a succession of international peacekeeping interventions since the mid-1990s, is very much worth examining.

A sharp essay by Stephen Smith places the current instability in historical context. Greedy national elites have always preferred to appropriate public resources for their private use rather than grow the national economy or govern effectively. Today, they view international peacekeeping efforts as merely another trough at which to feed. Yet the book’s chapters on the international community’s woefully inadequate interventions also help explain the lack of local buy-in. The need for more effective international engagement is obvious, but the book is frustratingly silent on what better interventions might look like.




During the Cold War, thousands of musicians from the United States traveled the world, sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Presentations program. Performances of music in many styles—classical, rock ’n’ roll, folk, blues, and jazz—competed with those by traveling Soviet and mainland Chinese artists, enhancing the prestige of American culture.

These concerts offered audiences around the world evidence of America’s improving race relations, excellent musicianship, and generosity toward other peoples. Through personal contacts and the media, musical diplomacy also created subtle musical, social, and political relationships on a global scale.

Although born of state-sponsored tours often conceived as propaganda ventures, these relationships were in themselves great diplomatic achievements and constituted the essence of America’s soft power.

 Using archival documents and newly collected oral histories, Danielle Fosler-Lussier shows that musical diplomacy had vastly different meanings for its various participants, including government officials, musicians, concert promoters, and audiences. Through the stories of musicians from Louis Armstrong and Marian Anderson to orchestras and college choirs, Fosler-Lussier deftly explores the value and consequences of “musical diplomacy.”

Danielle Fosler-Lussier is Associate Professor of Music, Ohio State University, and author of Music Divided: Bartók's Legacy in Cold War Culture.




Cheterian’s book offers one of the most complete tellings of the twisted, emotional story of the decimation of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, during the fury of World War I—and the story of the political struggle over the massacre in the century since it occurred. Cheterian deals with the most familiar aspects of the controversy: the insistence of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora that Turkey recognize the killing as genocide and the refusal of Turkish governments over the years not only to accept that designation but even to acknowledge the scale and nature of what happened.

Cheterian also explores the killings’ intricate legacy in the Armenian communities that remain in Turkey and in others scattered across the world, revealing how the fight over 1915 continues to shape conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Middle East—and debates in the U.S. Congress. On an encouraging note, he reports that some among the younger generation of Turks are genuinely struggling to understand and come to terms with this episode in Turkish history.





This very readable history provides an excellent introduction to Africa’s most populous country. It begins with a look at British colonial rule, which established sharp economic, cultural, and political divisions in Nigeria, most dramatically between its northern and southern halves. These tensions undermined any sense of national unity and were exacerbated by the emergence of competitive politics after World War II and, eventually, independence, which came in 1960.

Bourne expertly walks the reader through the political deterioration that led to the Nigerian Civil War, which raged from 1967 until 1970 and ended with the defeat of separatists from the southern state of Biafra. He then covers the subsequent decades of military rule and the slow and inconsistent democratization that began in 2000 and culminated in last year’s remarkably peaceful election and transition of power, which resulted in Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency.

An admirably succinct final chapter ties together several themes, including the negative effects of oil dependence; the egregious corruption within the Nigerian elite, which continues to hinder democratic rule and economic growth; and the evolving role of religion as a source of political and social cleavages.




In the 1960s, economic theorists divided the world into a hegemonic industrialized “North” and an exploited and impoverished “South.” In this dense, data-rich milestone of a study, a group of World Bank experts argue that the rise of the Southern economies—including those of Brazil, Mexico, and other countries in Latin America—has disrupted this simple dichotomy and created a more differentiated and intertwined international economy. (In the financial sphere, however, the Northern capital centers—New York, London, Frankfurt, and Tokyo—retain their traditional dominance.) As an increasingly globalized region, Latin America depends for its future on the extent and quality of its external connections. In reaffirming the value of openness, the authors argue that trade and investment boost growth not only through efficiency gains but also by serving as conduits for learning and technology diffusion, which in turn depend on where countries fit into global supply chains. In a finding certain to raise hackles in some parts of the developing world, the study argues that “trade linkages with the North could indeed yield higher growth payoffs than trade with the South.” 




From the Baltic to the South China Sea, newly assertive authoritarian states sense an opportunity to resurrect old empires or build new ones at America's expense. Hoping that U.S. decline is real, nations such as Russia, Iran, and China are testing Washington's resolve by targeting vulnerable allies at the frontiers of American power. The Unquiet Frontier explains why the United States needs a new grand strategy that uses strong frontier alliance networks to raise the costs of military aggression in the new century.

Jakub Grygiel and Wess Mitchell describe the aggressive methods rival nations are using to test U.S. power in strategically critical regions throughout the world. They show how rising and revisionist powers are putting pressure on our frontier allies—countries like Poland, Israel, and Taiwan—to gauge our leaders' commitment to upholding the U.S.-led global order. To cope with these dangerous dynamics, nervous U.S. allies are diversifying their national-security "menu cards" by beefing up their militaries or even aligning with their aggressors. Grygiel and Mitchell reveal how numerous would-be great powers use an arsenal of asymmetric techniques to probe and sift American strength across several regions simultaneously, and how rivals and allies alike are learning from America's management of increasingly interlinked global crises to hone effective strategies of their own.

The Unquiet Frontier demonstrates why the United States must strengthen the international order that has provided greater benefits to the world than any in history.

Jakub J. Grygiel is the George H. W. Bush Associate Professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Great Powers and Geopolitical Change. A. Wess Mitchell is president and cofounder of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).



World War II was a global catastrophe. Far broader than just the critical struggle between Allies and Axis, its ramifications were felt throughout the world. It was a time of social relocation, reorienting ideas of patriotism and geographical attachment, and forcing the movement of people across oceans and continents. In India at War, Yasmin Khan offers an account of India's role in the conflict, one that takes into consideration the social, economic, and cultural changes that occurred in South Asia between 1939 and 1945-and reveals how vital the Commonwealth's contribution was to the war effort.

Khan's sweeping work centers on the lives of ordinary Indian people, exploring the ways they were affected by a cataclysmic war with origins far beyond Indian shores. In manpower alone, India's contribution was staggering; it produced the largest volunteer army in world history, with 2.5 million men. Indians were engaged in making the raw materials and food stuffs needed by the Allies, and became involved in the construction of airstrips, barracks, hospitals, internee camps, roads and railways. Their lives were also profoundly affected by the presence of the large Allied army in the region, including not only British but American, African, and Chinese troops. The Japanese bombed Madras and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were occupied, while the Bengal famine of 1943 in which perhaps three million Bengalis died-was a man-made disaster precipitated by the effects of the war.

This authoritative account offers a critically important look at the contributions of colonial manpower and resources essential to sustaining the war, and emphasizes the significant ways in which the conflict shaped modern India.

Yasmin Khan is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. Her first book, The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan, won the Gladstone Prize for History from the Royal Historical Society.






American Diplomacy is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to American Diplomacy

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