Two Princes and their Adviser: Nixon, Ford and Kissinger

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This article examines the evolution of scholarly debates about the lives and careers of two recent US Presidents (Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford) and their National Security Advisor and Secretary of State (Henry A. Kissinger). Discussing the very latest research, it demonstrates that the medium of political biography continues to be of crucial importance for all scholars of political history. This is the case even for those of an avowedly 'structuralist' bent. The article shows that many of the debates about the use and abuse of power in the United States between 1969 and 1977 have a continued contemporary relevance. The article examines the thinking of the central protagonists with regard to the place of the United States in the world. Especial attention is paid to the thought and writing of Henry Kissinger, a onetime Harvard professor and prodigious author and commentator since leaving office in 1977. It is also argued that foreign policy cannot be conducted in a diplomatic vacuum and that domestic politics will always be in the ascendancy in policymaking terms. In short, it argues for a structural worldview that privileges the notion of a Primat der Innenpolitik.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-76
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Peace Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 05 Apr 2012


  • US foreign policy
  • Nixon
  • Ford
  • Kissinger
  • Machiavelli


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