Michael Mandelbaum's picture
Professor Michael Mandelbaum
Christian A. Herter Professor and Director, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he is also the chairman of the Department of American Foreign Policy. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 1990, Professor Mandelbaum taught at Harvard University, Columbia University and at the United States Naval Academy. He also has taught business executives at the Wharton Advanced Management Program in the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mandelbaum is the author of 10 books and the editor of 12 more. His first book, The Nuclear Question: The United States and Nuclear Weapons, was published in 1979. The Economist called it “an excellent history of American nuclear policy...a clear, readable book.”

Mandelbaum spent a year in the State Department in Washington from 1982-1983 on a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in the office of Under Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger, working on security issues.

After publishing three books on nuclear weapons issues, The Nuclear Question (1979), The Nuclear Revolution (1981) and The Nuclear Future (1983), Mandelbaum shifted his focus to the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, co-writing two books on the subject, Reagan and Gorbachev (1987) and The Global Rivals (1988), which was made into a Public Broadcasting series with Bernard Kalb as the host. In 1986 he became a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where he also was the director of the Council’s Project on East-West Relations. In this role, which continued for 17 years until 2003, Mandelbaum became a frequent guest on television and radio, discussing such major issues as the arms race, the fall of the Soviet Union, the war in Iraq and the implications of globalization. He has appeared on The CBS Evening News, The News Hour, Face the Nation, Larry King Live and The Charlie Rose Show, among many other programs.

Since 1985 Mandelbaum has written a regular foreign affairs analysis column for Newsday. His Op-Ed pieces on foreign affairs have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and have been republished in newspapers around the world.

In addition to his newspaper columns, Mandelbaum has written many longer articles for TIME Magazine, as well as the journal, Foreign Affairs, including his provocative 1996 essay entitled “Foreign Policy as Social Work” (about the foreign policy of the Clinton administration), followed two years later by “A Perfect Failure” about the war in Kosovo.

In 1988 Mandelbaum published one of his major books, The Fate of Nations: The Search for National Security in the 19th and 20th Centuries, which the American Historical Review called "a tour de force." It is a survey of how a select number of countries have dealt with their security concerns in the modern era. Publishers Weekly called it "brilliant and enjoyable.... [Mandelbaum's] knowledge of philosophy, politics, history and economics results in a stunning delineation of centuries of military actions, political maneuverings and cultural uprisings."

Mandelbaum’s 1996 book, The Dawn of Peace in Europe, received a rave review The New York Times Book Review, which called it “a brilliant book...the most lucid exposition yet of the post-Cold War order in Europe.” It was in this book that he introduced readers to the idea that Europe has become a “zone of warlessness” — a region in which armies are kept small and defense budgets modest because the people and their governments have been able to resolve their differences peacefully through such organizations as the European Union rather than, as in the past, on the field of battle.

In 2002 Mandelbaum published The Ideas That Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy and Free Markets in the Twenty-first Century, which became an instant classic on the major international themes of the new millennium and has been translated into seven languages, including Chinese and Arabic.

In 2004 he took time out from his usual focus on international relations to write The Meaning of Sports: Why Americans Watch Baseball, Football and Basketball and What They See When They Do, which analyzes the appeal of team sports in the United States and compares the workings of sports teams to the cooperation necessary in business enterprise. Pete Hamill in The New York Times described the book as "a subtle extension of Mandelbaum's own expertise in foreign policy. It can help explain the United States to the rest of the often-baffled world.”

In 2006 Mandelbaum returned to the international arena with The Case For Goliath: How America Acts as the World’s Government in the 21st Century. This provocative look at the role of the United States offers a realistic portrait of what America actually does in the world. He shows that, far from resembling the territory-gobbling empires of yore, the modern United States is, in fact, more like a global Good Samaritan. Peter G. Peterson, author of Running on Empty and former Secretary of Commerce, called the book “thoughtful and provocative . . . just what one has come to expect from one of this country's leading foreign policy thinkers.”

His next book, Democracy’s Good Name: The Rise and the Risks of the World’s Most Popular Form of Government, will be released in September 2007. He also is working on a book on globalization, a large portion of which will be devoted to the so-called BRICs — Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Mandelbaum was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1999-2000 and a Carnegie Scholar (in 2004-2005) of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. These fellowships supported the writing of his two most recent foreign policy books.

Since 1984 he has been the associate director of the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program on Relations With the Former Communist World, which organizes seminars for members of Congress to educate them on the issues facing the United States in its relations with the countries of central and eastern Europe, particularly Russia. In this role he has traveled throughout Russia and Eastern Europe and has met regularly with the members of Congress who take the lead on foreign policy issues, as well as with their counterparts in both western and eastern European legislatures. This has deepened his understanding of the perspectives of American House and Senate members as well as the responsibilities and constraints on many foreign legislators. He also has testified before the Congressional committees and subcommittees with responsibilities for foreign relations and the armed services.

As a member of the Board of Advisors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Mandelbaum contributes his understanding of the Middle East to this Washington, D.C.-based policy group and has made numerous trips to the region with its leadership.

A popular speaker for the United States Information Agency for more than two decades, Mandelbaum has explained American foreign policy to diverse groups throughout Europe, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Middle East. His ability to cut through clichés and misunderstandings have made him a popular lecturer. He lectures widely to business groups, corporate seminars, government officials, members of the foreign diplomatic corps, and at universities and academic institutions around the world on American foreign policy and the major issues of international relations.

He was educated at Yale University, Kings College of Cambridge University, and Harvard University, where he received his PhD.