Robert Rakove is a historian who studies U.S. foreign relations, focusing particularly on the Cold War era. He is a lecturer in Stanford University’s Program in International Relations and has previously taught at Colgate University and Old Dominion University. His first book, “Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World,” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. He is presently at work on a study of the U.S.-Afghan relationship and the Cold War in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion. He received his doctorate in history in 2008 from the University of Virginia and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University, at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre, and at the Hoover Institution.
Befriending the Nonaligned: Kennedy, Johnson and the Neutral Powers
Rakove’s dissertation examined the goals and strategies behind the policy of nonalignment, as well as its impact on world events in the 1960s. More broadly, this project pondered the dilemmas posed by efforts to reach beyond existing geopolitical relationships. Inevitably, it must consider basic structural questions: were the nonaligned states, each fielding major regional aspirations, viable partners for Washington? Were there inherent structural obstacles that could not be overcome? The dilemmas of great power status were central to this project, and the lessons we might learn from studying the challenges faced by Kennedy and Johnson bear some relevance in today’s multipolar world.