I have worked on both international relations theory and U.S. national security policy; my theoretical work contributes to my policy analysis and, over the years, questions that have been generated by the policy analysis have guided me to important theoretical questions. My research on international relations theory built a rational structural theory of international politics, which after almost two decades culminated in my Rational Theory of International Politics (Princeton 2010). I have played an influential role in the development of defensive realism, and the related concepts of the security dilemma, offense-defense theory, and the costly signaling of motives. My policy work have addressed a range of issues at the center of U.S. national security policy, including nuclear weapons policy, energy security and U.S. policy toward China. I spent a decade during the Cold War studying U.S. nuclear policy toward the Soviet Union; this work produced many articles and culminated in Analyzing Strategic Nuclear Policy (Princeton 1990). Since then I have written a number of articles on U.S. nuclear policy in the post Cold War era; I am now working on U.S. nuclear policy toward China. My interests in U.S. policy toward China are wide ranging, including nuclear policy; U.S. commitments to Taiwan and the rest of Northeast Asia; and spheres of influence and regional orders, and the U.S. choice between these approaches, as well as others. My publications on Taiwan and and US nuclear policy toward China have generated substantial debate in academic and policy circles. I am working on a book on U.S. policy toward China; I have completed drafts of a most of the chapters.
In recent years I have received a number of awards, including:
Spring 2021 National Academy of Sciences’ William and Katherine Estes Award, for behavioral research toward the prevention of nuclear war;
Spring 2020 Michael E. Brown Research Prize, Elliott School, George Washington;
Fall 2019-Summer 2020 Roth Family Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Dartmouth;
Spring 2019 George Washington University OVPR Distinguished Scholar;
Spring 2018 ISA ISSS (International Security Studies Section) Distinguished Scholar Award for lifetime achievement in international security studies via research, writing, and mentorship.