Tag: Realpolitik

Who Shot First at Jamestown?


My family descended en masse on Virginia this fall. You see, my cousin had had her first child, and while we missed out on the baby stage (there was this disease; you may have heard of it), the collected aunts were determined to get at this boy while he was still cute. So we converged on Williamsburg, Virginia. While we were there, we stopped to see the sights.

At the Jamestown settlement museum, the group stopped to watch an introductory video history. “You’re a history buff,” they said to me. “You know all this already, but the rest of us would like a chance to catch up.” Despite my prodigious memory for trivia, it had been mumblety years since my high school AP history class, and so I was glad to catch up with the rest of them. One scene in particular described the start of conflict between the Native Americans[1] and the English settlers. The movie was vague as to the question of who started it, blaming cultural misunderstandings. It showed an Indian grabbing the hilt of an unsuspecting Englishman’s sheathed sword. This led to a fight, and the movie went on to describe the war between the settlers and the locals.

Member Post


I read something a few weeks ago that has prompted me to ponder on this specific question quite a lot as well as on balance overall, which we pay a lot of lip service to. It was a part from Henry Nau in War on the Rocks/Texas National Security Review’s Policy Roundtable: The Future of […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Announcing the Publication of a Book


BookCoverFor the last six years, I have been working steadily – with increasing fervor – on a series of books focused on classical Lacedaemon and on the grand strategy that the Spartans articulated for the defense of that polity’s ruling order. The first of these volumes – The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge – will formally be released by Yale University Press this coming Tuesday.

Amazon has been shipping copies now for something like three weeks, and yesterday the book received its first review in an online publication based in the United Arab Emirates, hitherto unknown to me, called The National. That review I found heartening – for it was not only accurate in its description of the work. It actually caught my drift. Maybe, just maybe, thought I, the book will find its intended audience.

When one writes a book one has high hopes, but it is good also to entertain low expectations. My aim in the series of works that I am writing is to counter what I consider the surrealism of the doctrine that calls itself Realism. The exponents of “Realism” presume that all political communities are essentially the same. They are “state actors” intent on maximizing power, and the conduct of these “state actors” can, so they suppose, easily be predicted. For they are, you see, “rational actors” as well.