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Paul MacDonald

Paul MacDonald

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008

 

Experience

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008

 

 

By Date

 

2012

Spring 2012

"Correspondence: Decline and Retrenchment: Peril or Promise?"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 36, volume 4

By William R. Thompson, Kyle Haynes, Paul MacDonald, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008 and Joseph M. Parent

Kyle Haynes and William R. Thompson respond to Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent's spring 2011 International Security article, "Graceful Decline? The Surprising Success of Great Power Retrenchment."

 

2011

AP Photo

May 2011

"Resurrecting Retrenchment: The Grand Strategic Consequences of U.S. Decline"

Policy Brief

By Paul MacDonald, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008 and Joseph M. Parent

"Husbanding resources is simply sensible. In the competitive game of power politics, states must unsentimentally realign means with ends or be punished for their profligacy. Attempts to maintain policies advanced when U.S. relative power was greater are outdated, unfounded, and imprudent. Retrenchment policies—greater burden sharing with allies, less military spending, and less involvement in militarized disputes—hold the most promise for arresting and reversing decline."

 

 

Spring 2011

"Graceful Decline? The Surprising Success of Great Power Retrenchment"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 4, volume 35

By Paul MacDonald, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008 and Joseph M. Parent

There is broad scholarly consensus that the relative power of the United States is declining and that this decline will have negative consequences for interna­tional politics. This pessimism is justified by the belief that great powers have few options to deal with acute relative decline. Retrenchment is seen as a haz­ardous policy that demoralizes allies and encourages external predation. Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war. Contrary to the conventional wis­dom, however, retrenchment is not a relatively rare and ineffective policy in­strument. A comparison of eighteen cases of acute relative decline since 1870 demonstrates that great powers frequently engage in retrenchment and that re­trenchment is often effective. In addition, we find that prevailing explanations overstate the importance of democracies, bureaucracies, and interest groups in inhibiting retrenchment. In fact, the rate of decline can account for both the ex­tent and form of retrenchment, even over short periods. These arguments have important implications for power transition theories and the rise of China.

 

2008

Spring 2008

"Correspondence: The Role of Hierarchy in International Politics"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 4, volume 32

By Paul MacDonald, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008 and David A. Lake

Paul MacDonald responds to David Lake's Summer 2007 International Security article, "Escape from the State of Nature: Authority and Hierarchy in World Politics."

 

2001

Summer 2001

"Start the Evolution without Us"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 26

By Duncan S.A. Bell and Paul MacDonald, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2006-2008

We conclude with an exchange of letters between the authors and Bradley Thayer on the role of evolutionary theory in realist thought.

 

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