HKS Authors

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When we teach, write, or think about foreign policy, there’s a tendency to focus our attention on extremes, either on prominent examples of extraordinary success or cases of abject failure. We are inspired by creative initiatives like the Marshall Plan, bold moves like Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, the stubborn tenacity of U.S. President Jimmy Carter that produced the Camp David Accords, or perhaps U.S. President Richard Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s opening to China in 1972. We contrast these examples of diplomatic artistry with big and obvious blunders, such as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s failure to recognize the full extent of Adolf Hitler’s bellicosity, or U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ill-fated decision to escalate the war in Vietnam in 1964.


Walt, Stephen. "Nobody’s Asking for Trump to Be a Genius." Foreign Policy, June 10, 2019.