Fox, Meet Hedgehog

So you really want to study grand strategy? Transfer to Yale University. The legendary course taught by three notable scholars–one of whom was  BYU Kennedy Center Book of the Semester speaker–sounds interesting:

That said, Grand Strategy is neither a purely theoretical exercise, nor is it a Great Books course. As Gaddis put it, the teachers try to connect the material with current issues, such as Syria’s civil war. The class is taught by Gaddis, historian Paul Kennedy, diplomat-in-residence Charles Hill, and other prominent faculty. And it is a master class in every sense: Henry Kissinger himself has been known to make an appearance. It would be hard to imagine a more appropriate staff to teach Grand Strategy without bringing back Pericles of Athens from the dead.

Speaking of Pericles, I asked Gaddis to give a glimpse into his class, using Thucydides’ work on the Peloponnesian War (first published in 431 BCE) as a basis. I wanted to know what the book teaches us about strategy. Gaddis replied, “A lot.”

“It teaches how small powers [Corcyra and Corinth] can suck big powers [Athens and Sparta] into devastating conflicts,” he said. “It teaches the difference between planning and reality, such as Pericles’ strategy for defending Athens when the plague broke out. It teaches leadership, the management of empires, crusades conducted where you don’t have the means to sustain them. Many of the same kinds of issues that confront us today confronted the Greeks 2,500 years ago … [they] are not going to go away tomorrow.”

via Fox, Meet Hedgehog | Symposium Magazine.

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One thought on “Fox, Meet Hedgehog

  1. kttoolson says:

    I think I would take this course in a heartbeat. It goes to show that the theory of realism is not just some practice of ruthlessness. It is practical in many ways. Providing this course is giving political scientists and future diplomats the tools that America needs to get things done at the UN for a change and to maybe act in an intelligent manner that does not always mean to screw everyone else over in the mean time.

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