Best Selling Books by Kenneth W Thompson

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Morality and Foreign Policy

release date: Feb 01, 1982
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Morality and Foreign Policy
Kenneth W. Thompson admits that moral pronouncements and human conduct are often widely separated, particularly in international events. In order to balance harmony and disharmony, world and self-interests, nations observe moral principles less rigidly than do smaller communities. To understand how the separation between pronouncements and conduct widens in matters of foreign policy, Thompson candidly faces such issues as the harsh decisions that countries must make, the need for hypocrisy, and the resulting self-righteousness. Morality and Foreign Policy looks at the assumptions and principles that underlie historic debates about the ethics of foreign policy. Tracing decisions in policy from the 1800s to the present, Thompson views his subject from an American perspective but also concentrates on diverse international contexts in which decisions are made. Thompson cautiously maintains his balance on the fine wire between speaking up for America and embarking on an ideological crusade. He provides such examples from current events as the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and the East-West Cold War to show how easily one can fall on one side or the other. He contrasts the problem of order in America and the Third World and shows how the latter’s is weighted by a special urgency, protest, and antithesis to the democratic process. For Kenneth Thompson, American moral reasoning is “a practical alternative to abstract moralism or hopeless cynicism,” and he holds up this principle as a challenge, not only to other countries but also to America itself.

Traditions and Values in Politics and Diplomacy

release date: Apr 01, 1992
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Traditions and Values in Politics and Diplomacy
In this informed and comprehensive assessment of current issues in international policies, Kenneth W. Thompson addresses the role that traditions and values play in shaping change and in helping us to understand its implications. He challenges the idea that the enormous changes in contemporary national and international life have rendered the consideration of traditions and values obsolete. Thompson’s purpose is to illuminate the problems we face and to set forth general principles directed toward an informing theory on traditions and values as they affect politics and diplomacy, while at the same time warning of the pitfalls and limitations of theory. In the first section of this book, Thompson draws on classical and Judaeo-Christian traditions in defining the relationship between philosophy, religion, and politics. He then examines the application of abstract values to such political realities as national interest, and goes on to consider the question of moral values in international diplomacy and politics. In a series of case studies, Thompson reflects on human rights, disarmament and arms control, and human survival. Maintaining that the implementation of traditions and values is sometimes uniquely the task of the American presidency, he studies the administrations of four postwar presidents—Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon—in the light of the executives’ attitudes toward ethics and politics. Finally, Thompson considers the implications of national decline and the breakdown of international order for the future of the United States. The vast knowledge of international affairs and the literature of politics that Kenneth W. Thompson brings to this timely and reflective books makes it exceptionally readable as well as intellectually challenging.

Cold War Theories

release date: Sep 01, 1991
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Cold War Theories
In this first of a two-volume examination of the Cold War, Kenneth Thompson offers a broad and, at the same time, specific account of its history and its historians. Thompson’s aim is to find the best framework for understanding how the Cold War originated, what forces and factors produced it, how Soviet and American policies intensified the conflict, and what alternatives were open to the rivals. He evenhandedly sets forth three competing theories of the Cold War—the orthodox, revisionist, and critical/interpretative views—and reveals how the ideological confines of certain interpretations have made for incomplete understanding. Calling upon some of the great thinkers of our century, Thompson shows that orthodox and revisionist historians alike are misled by their exaggerated estimates of national capacity and interests. Volume I follows the course of the Cold War from the end of World War II and America demobilization through the war in Korea. Tracing the influence of the theories on policy makers, Thompson finds missed opportunities and unintentional acts of belligerence during such tense times as the debates over Poland, Iran, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and the Berlin Blockade. By joining political history with the theoretical approaches, the author seeks to show that theory and history ought to be conjoined in a study of the Cold War without minimizing the value of each separate outlook. In its widest sense Cold War Theories is about the nature of history—that intricate tapestry that stretches past out limits to see. In discussing the early period in the Cold War, Thompson keeps his eye on possible parallels and differences with the present era marked by the conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan. Throughout his presentation, Thompson keeps in mind that we are entering a new era of intense conflict in the Cold War wherein we can ill afford any form of dogmatism: “Not only is reality more complex than ideology, but change is the first law of the political universe.”

Winston Churchill's World View

release date: Jul 01, 1987
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Winston Churchill's World View
Kenneth W. Thompson was director emeritus of the White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs and J. Wilson Newman Professor Emeritus of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia. He was the author of many books on international relations, including Fathers of International Thought: The Legacy of Political Theory." data-formswitch="ShowAlways" data-fwclientid="30776a15-ecfd-46d9-a98b-ca5902afcc1a" data-fwfieldtype="CopyText" data-fwsubid="70017079" data-hasoriginalvalue="1" data-ignoredatalock="0" data-localstate="Default" data-preservehtmlbullets="0" data-readonly="0" data-takefocus="False" id="EditionBiography" name="EditionBiography" spellcheck="false" contenteditable="false"> Winston Churchill’s place in modern history is assured. As a statesman and world leader, he towers above his contemporaries. As a historian, his reputation is equally secure. But little attention has been given to Churchill’s stature as a political theorist, to the ideas and principles that he developed, tested, and followed throughout his long career as a soldier, military correspondent, politician, world leader, and author. Winston Churchill’s World View is a study of the underlying principles and goals that shaped the actions of one of the most influential men of our time. Kenneth Thompson traces the genesis and elaboration of Churchill’s views from his youth at the fringes of the British Empire through his rise as a politician, his years of determined struggle and final triumph as the prime minister of England in its darkest hour, and the time of reflection that followed his departure from his active political life. Thompson works closely with Churchill’s writing to identify and assess his concepts of power, authority, politics, and diplomacy, as well as his thoughts on international organization and law, collective security, and practical morality. Churchill firmed believed that an effective foreign policy must be based on a set of well-defined but flexible organizing principles. “Those who are possessed of a definite body of doctrine and of deeply rooted convictions,” he wrote in the first volume of his history of World War II, “will be in a much better position to deal with the shifts and surprises of daily affairs.” It was the lack of such a set of principle, Churchill contended, that led the Allies into the conflagration of World War II and that in the postwar era threatened to bring about an even more destructive conflict between the West and the Soviet Union. Churchill’s own plan to avert that peril, Thompson shows, was based on the twin pillars of diplomacy and strength. He insisted that peace must be negotiated. But only could a lasting settlement be concluded, a settlement that was not based on weakness and fear. Churchill’s political philosophy was rooted in his own experience and in an awareness of the course of man’s history. It is a perspective at odds with prevailing viewpoints—based not in history, but in a shifting tide of facts and statistics—and with the current perception of a world with problems too complex and numerous to be solved through the simple application of doctrine and conviction. But this complex age, Thompson argues, is one sorely in need of the lessons of history and the wisdom of experienced statesmen. With this study, Thompson demonstrates the relevance of Winston Churchill’s views to the present world situation, and shows the current need for a steady, principled, pragmatic approach to maintaining world peace.

Political Realism and the Crisis of World Politics

release date: Dec 08, 2015
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Political Realism and the Crisis of World Politics
In this arresting volume Kenneth Thompson has combined academic research with acute observation in approximately equal proportions. Research has been focused on the theories and practices of those who, whether in thought or action, have played an influential part in the development of American foreign policy during the past decades. Originally published in 1960. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

The President, the Congress, and Foreign Policy

release date: Jan 01, 1986
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The President, the Congress, and Foreign Policy
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Fathers of International Thought

release date: Mar 01, 1994
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Fathers of International Thought
In Fathers of International Thought, renowned foreign affairs scholar Kenneth W. Thompson returns to the writings of sixteen thinkers in order better to understand the issues and problems that recurrently beset global politics. A companion volume to Masters of International Thought, in which Thompson analyzed the thinking of eighteen leading twentieth-century political theorists, Fathers of International Thought traces the ideas of earlier philosophers, theologians, and legal and political theorists who provided the foundations for the present century’s master thinkers. Thompson begins by discussing the relevance of classical political philosophy to the field of modern international relations theory. He then presents lucid essays on sixteen of the most brilliant minds from Plato through the nineteenth century, focusing on the importance of their thought in contemporary international affairs. Besides Plato, the classical thinkers, whom Thompson refers to as the fathers, include Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Niccolò, Machiavelli, Grotius, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and Karl Marx. According to Thompson, the interrelatedness of earlier and recent thought is undeniable for such concepts as authority, justice, community, regimes, and power. He shows how the ideas of the fathers have application to the current international scene, as with events in Eastern Europe and the Persian Gulf area, and political upheaval on the African continent. The lesson for policy makers, students of politics and international relations, and, indeed, all citizens is that a comprehensive philosophical approach to world politics can lead to the rediscovery of enduring political principles and our place in history. By considering the insights of earlier thinkers, decision makers may come to recognize most present-day problems as perennial issues, however changing the context. Understanding the classics may help them avoid unsuccessful patterns in foreign policy. An introductory survey of early political philosophers and their relevance to our times is sorely needed by students and practitioners of international politics. Fathers of International Thought, by a man Foreign Affairs described as “one of the best teachers still active from the postwar generation of scholars that developed the discipline of international relations,” will be of lasting value in meeting that need.

China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and the World

release date: Mar 05, 1998
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China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and the World
China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and the World is the fifth volume in the Miller Center's series on Asian political leadership. As part of the Center's ongoing research program, recognized authorities participate in forums, colloquia, and conferences. The contributors are a unique mix of scholars, administrators, and diplomats whose expertise serves as a rich resource for students of government and foreign policy. Their efforts provide a comparative dimension to the Center's programs. The book is divided into four sections. Part I focuses on China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia after the Cold War. Part II focuses on Japan and its role in the future of international politics. Part III addresses the patterns and principles that dictate Asian culture and development. Part IV provides a theoretical and structural analysis of the future of Asian politics and economics. China, Taiwan, Japan, the United States and the World provides valuable information on the economics, politics, and culture of Asian countries from theoretical and historical perspectives. In addition, the book predicts the future of these nations, their relations with the United States, and their role in the international arena.

The Virginia Papers on the Presidency

release date: Jan 01, 1991
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The Virginia Papers on the Presidency
This volume contains contributions from Kenneth W. Thompson, Russell Baker, Charles McDowell, Frederick Kaiser, A. William Reynolds, Paul H. Nitze, Ernest Evans, L. Bruce Laingen, Jack Fuller, John Gaddis, and Richard K. Matthews. Some of the topics addressed include: Is a new U.S. Basic Policy Concept Needed?; The President and the Management of the Hostage Crisis; and Constitutionalism and the Media.

Schools of Thought in International Relations

release date: Jan 01, 1996
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Schools of Thought in International Relations
In Schools of Thought in International Relations, renowned foreign-affairs scholar Kenneth W. Thompson seeks to clarify the study of international relations theory by succinctly addressing salient issues in its intellectual history.
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