Category Archives: Council on Foreign Relations Lecture Series

The National History Center has entered into a partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations for a series of lectures. Periodically, a historian addresses an audience on a foreign relations topic from the perspective of history.

Paul Kennedy discusses the ‘Sinews of Power’

Paul M. Kennedy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Click the photo to view the discussion.

Paul M. Kennedy, Director, International Security Studies and Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University, discussed with Richard N. Haass, the Director of Council on Foreign Relations, the “Sinews of Power”: Rediscovering the Foundations of National Security” at the Council’s New York office on December 14, 2009.

Paul Kennedy’s conversation is entitled “The Sinews of Power” and makes a reference to John Brewer’s classic of the same name.  Professor Kennedy examined some cases, over the centuries, of the intimate relationship between a nation’s fiscal strength and its politico-military activities and presence abroad. The discussion was focused on the relationship between national and international fiances and military policy.  The implications for the United States in the world today are rather obvious.  To watch the video of the conversation between Professor Kennedy and Dr. Haass, as well as the questions from the audience, click here.

David Fromkin Speaks at Fourth Council on Foreign Relations Lecture

On April 29, at the Council on Foreign Relations‘ headquarters in New York, David Fromkin, Professor of International Relations, History, and Law, Boston University, and Sir Harold M. Evans, Editor-at-Large for The Week Magazine, sat down for a conversation about the post-Ottoman Empire era in the Middle East. This meeting, entitled An Unsettling Settlement: The 1922 Middle East Peace Agreement As Seen Today, is part of the series with Council that has featured Ernest May, Fritz Stern, and Marilyn Young.

Harold Evans with David Fromkin
Sir Harold M. Evans (left) with Professor David Fromkin

Professor Fromkin’s book A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East provided the basis of the conversation between the two men. The discussion moved from the break up of the Ottoman Empire after World War I with the 1922 Middle East Peace Agreement to the myth of Lawrence of Arabia.

Click here to watch the full conversation.

Download the recommended readings for David Fromkin’s Conversation on the 1922 Middle East Peace Agreement

Marilyn Young Gives Third Council on Foreign Relations Lecture


As part of the on-going lecture series with the National History Center and the Council on Foreign Relations, Marilyn B. Young gave a lecture on “The Legacy of the Vietnam War” to a full house at the Council’s New York headquarters on February 3, 2009. 

Professor of History at the New York University, Young discussed with Francis Fitzgerald, author of Fire in the Lake and contributing writer to The New Yorker, the lessons learned and not learned in Vietnam in connection to the current situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Professor Young also took numerous questions from the audience.  

A full transcript of the event is available from the Council on Foreign Relations. 

Click here for further readings suggested by Professor Young
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Previous lectures in the series include Ernest May and Fritz Stern