Nikolas Gvosdev

Nikolas Gvosdev is a professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College, and serves as Senior Fellow, U.S. Global Engagement Program.

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Nikolas Gvosdev's Latest Posts

Self-Determination versus State Integrity: Catalan and Kurdish Issues

| October 27, 2017

Two crises are brewing, one in Iraq and one in Spain, over the perennial problem of whether self-determination takes precedence over territorial integrity.

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The Perils of Virtue Signaling in Foreign Policy

| August 23, 2017

Virtue signaling that is detached from achievable outcomes is an ethically-worse option.

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“Homo Economicus” and the Sanctions Tax

| July 26, 2017

Do sanctions actually work, or do citizens in target countries simply factor the “sanctions tax” into their broader calculations of economic well-being?

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Afghanistan and the Ethics of Triage

| June 23, 2017

What would a democracy triage approach to Afghanistan look like?

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The Ethics of Saying No

| June 19, 2017

Sometimes the ethical statesperson or policymaker must be prepared to refuse requests for action on the grounds that aid cannot credibly be rendered and/or any intervention could conceivably make the situation worse.

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The Implications of “The World is Not a Global Community”

| May 31, 2017

“The world is not a ‘global community.’” Last year, in attempting to discern the ethical and philosophical bases of candidate Donald Trump’s approach to world affairs, the first point I made was this: “There is no such thing as an international community. The “buck” stops with the nation-state and the nation-state decides what commitments it […]

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The Great Divide: Democracy’s Future

| March 5, 2017

I had the opportunity this past Saturday to take part in a day-long conference, “The Great Divide: Democracy’s Future” (sponsored by American University’s School of Public Affairs Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Leadership Council.) This symposium, in many ways, picked right up from the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs fall 2016 event […]

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Democracy Promotion and a Trump Administration

| February 21, 2017

What happens to the democracy promotion enterprise in a Trump administration? The President’s comments that under his watch the United States will not be seeking to impose its system or values on other countries suggests that the spread and strengthening of democratic systems around the world will not be a top priority and in fact […]

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