Dominic Tierney

Monday, March 5, 2018

Topic: America in an Era of Unwinnable Wars

Why has America stopped winning wars? For nearly a century, up until the end of World War II in 1945, the United States enjoyed a Golden Age of decisive military triumphs. But the decades since have been a Dark Age of failures and stalemates-in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Dominic Tierney reveals how Washington struggled to adapt to the new era of intractable civil conflicts. Weaving together compelling stories of military catastrophe and heroism, Tierney illuminates not only how America can handle the toughest crisis of all–battlefield failure–but also how the United States can return to the path of victory.

Dominic Tierney is associate professor of political science at Swarthmore, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic.

He completed his PhD in international politics at Oxford University in 2003, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Mershon Center at Ohio State University and the Olin Institute at Harvard University before coming to Swarthmore in 2005. In 2008-2009, he was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

He has published four books:

Failing to Win: Perceptions of Victory and Defeat in International Politics  (Harvard University Press, 2006), with Dominic Johnson, which won the International Studies Association award for the best book published in 2006, and was nominated for the best book of the decade.

FDR and the Spanish Civil War: Neutrality and Commitment in the Struggle that Divided America (Duke University Press, 2007), which was described by Diplomatic HistoryJanuary 2009) as “a model of superb diplomatic history.”

How We Fight: Crusades, Quagmires, and the American Way of War (Little, Brown, & Co., 2010), which Ambassador James Dobbins, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, described as “A great theme, beautifully written and compellingly organized, it’s a fitting update to Russell Weigley’s classic [The American Way of War] and an important contribution to a national debate over the war in Afghanistan which is only gathering steam.”

His latest book is The Right Way to Lose a War: America in an Age of Unwinnable Conflicts (Little, Brown, & Co., 2015).

His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, and various academic journals.

Upcoming Speakers

  • Monday, December 17, 2018
    Kyle Parker
    Topic: The Magnitsky Act and its Impact
  • Monday, January 21, 2019
    Stephen Platt
    Topic: How China's Nineteenth Century Shapes its Present and Future
  • Monday, February 11, 2019
    Charles Sennott
    Topic: The Threat Against Journalists
  • Monday, March 18, 2019
    Alan Makovsky
    Topic: Turkey: Where Does This Lead?
  • Monday, May 13, 2019
    Gregory Gause
    Topic: Saudi Arabia: Reliable Ally?

Past Speakers