Dean's List: Power, Institutions, and Achesonian Diplomacy
American Journal of International Law, 2008
20 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2008
This review essay, forthcoming in the American Journal of International Law, considers Robert Beisner's recent magisterial biography of Dean Acheson. I ask what Acheson's diplomatic record tells us about the nature of world politics, and consider the question in light of international relations theory and international legal thought. I argue that Achesonian diplomacy demonstrates the interrelatedness of the four major paradigms of international relations theory - realism, institutionalism, liberalism, and constructivism. Each theory explains a crucial part of the impact of Acheson's record, but none can explain it by themselves. I suggest in conclusion that while the Cold War might have begun with or without Acheson, his diplomatic leadership helped ensure that it ended as soon as it did - even though he was gone by the time it occurred.
Keywords: Book Review, Dean Acheson, the Cold War, Achesonian diplomacy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation