Foundations of Grand Strategy
Assess grand strategic theory and practice in Thucydides and Plutarch.
Why do nations go to war? Do shifts in the balance of power between rising and status quo powers inevitably produce conflict? What challenges are democracies likely to face in fighting a long war against a determined, ideologically hostile adversary? Is there a “Thucydides Trap,” and if so, can we avoid it?
Thucydides wrote that his history was for “those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the understanding of the future.” In this seminar, distinguished Yale historian and classicist Donald Kagan will reprise one of his most popular courses – a close study both of the Peloponnesian War and Thucydides’ account of it, with a view toward elucidating the fundamental and recurring problems of geopolitics at all times and places.
Donald Kagan on war and human nature
This course will take place over 12 weekly evening sessions (6:00 – 8:00 pm) at the Hertog Foundation’s office in Washington, DC. Dinner will be served.
Donald Kagan is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics, including On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace.
Donald Kagan is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics, including On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, The Great Dialogue: A History of Greek Political Thought from Homer to Polybius, and Thucydides: The Reinvention of History.
A former dean of Yale College, he received his Ph.D. in 1958 from The Ohio State University. Professor Kagan has won numerous awards and fellowships, including four teaching awards at Cornell and Yale. In 2002 he was the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, and in 2005 was named the National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecturer.
Learn the theory, practice, organization, and control of war and military forces.
Explore the nature of the world order and America’s role in shaping it.
Jakub J. Grygiel
Jakub Grygiel is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of America. From 2017–18, he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. His most recent book is Return of the Barbarians: Confronting Non-State Actors from Ancient Rome to the Present.
Diana J. Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s task force on The Virtues of a Free Society. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Gen. David Petraeus
General (Ret) David H. Petraeus is Chairman of the KKR Global Institute. Prior to joining KKR, Gen. Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing columnist at The Washington Post. His most recent book is The New York Times bestseller, The World America Made.
Robert C. Bartlett
Robert C. Bartlett is the Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies at Boston College. His principal area of research is classical political philosophy, with particular attention to the thinkers of ancient Hellas, including Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle. He is the co-translator of a new edition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.
Vickie Sullivan is the Cornelia M. Jackson Professor of Political Science and teaches and studies political thought and philosophy. She also maintains teaching and research interests in politics and literature. She has published extensively on Montesquieu and Machiavelli and is the co-editor of Shakespeare’s Political Pageant.
Bryan Garsten is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He writes on questions about political rhetoric and deliberation, the meaning of representative government, the relationship of politics and religion, and the place of emotions in political life.
Benjamin Storey is Associate Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Furman University. His interests focus on the history of political philosophy. He is currently completing a book entitled The Restless Age: Four French Thinkers on the Quest for Self-Understanding in an Unsettled Modernity.