Cornell University Press

Why Containment Works: Power, Proliferation and Preventive War

Return to Home

Why Containment Works examines the conduct of American foreign policy during and after the Cold War through the lens of applied policy analysis. Wallace J. Thies argues that the Bush Doctrine after 2002 was a theory of victory—a coherent strategic view that tells a state how best to transform scarce resources into useful military assets, and how to employ those assets in conflicts. 

Here’s the Q&A that the author responded to at the time of the #ISA2020 convention, and that we’d like to share with our readers in time for the #APSA2020 virtual meeting.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

My favorite anecdote for this book occurred in the summer of 1989 while doing research in Europe. I never would have guessed while I was in Europe, that I was standing on the cusp of the greatest and most sweeping changes in the history of modern-day Europe. The change being, the Cold War would be ending soon with the Soviet Union’s imminent demise.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

I wish that I had known more about the whole rotten structure the             Soviet Union had imposed on it’s so-called “allies”. That structure was an elaborate grouping of councils, military commands, and political organizations. NATO allowed itself to be swayed by the promise of a better future for all of Europe with the Soviet Union’s demise.

3. How do you wish you could change your field of study?

Whatever happened to realist style thinking? For a few brief moments during the mid-20th century, scholars and their students had intense arguments over whether international studies was guided more by a traditional form of realistic outcomes or traditional state-centric approaches.

I would like to see a return to this approach in the field of international studies.    

*Featured image by Марьян Блан.


by Wallace J. Thies

Book Finder