What We’re Reading: US Power and Nationhood

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World By Robert M. Gates For my first review of 2021, I chose a book about the United States, and for good reason. In addition to being the year of COVID-19, 2020 was a key year for American power, as the U.S. was confronted with serious socio-economic challenges and held a presidential election that saw the highest voter turnout in more than a century. When I picked up Robert Gates’ book, I expected to get lots of insight into the “making” of U.S. national security policy. (Gates served under eight presidents from both parties over four decades, including as director of the CIA under President George W. Bush and secretary of defense under President Barack Obama.) I did not expect, however, a study of the notion of power. That was the most important part of the book for me as an analyst. The first chapter (the longest and densest of the book), titled “The Symphony of Powers,” and the second chapter, titled “Exercising Power,” are the most theoretical and useful for both analysts and policymakers. Gates discusses the instruments that the U.S. (and any nation-state) […]

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Antonia Colibasanu
Antonia Colibasanu is Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for overseeing all departments and marketing operations for the company. Dr. Colibasanu joined Geopolitical Futures as a senior analyst in 2016 and frequently speaks on international economics and security topics in Europe. She is also lecturer on international relations at the Romanian National University of Political Studies and Public Administration and associate professor for the Romanian National Defense University Carol I Regional Department of Defense Resources Management Studies. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Dr. Colibasanu spent more than 10 years with Stratfor in various positions, including as partner for Europe and vice president for international marketing. Prior to joining Stratfor in 2006, Dr. Colibasanu held a variety of roles with the World Trade Center Association in Bucharest. Dr. Colibasanu holds a Doctorate in International Business and Economics from Bucharest’s Academy of Economic Studies, where her thesis focused on country risk analysis and investment decision-making processes within transnational companies. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Project Management. She is an alumna of the International Institute on Politics and Economics at Georgetown University.
Ryan Bridges
Ryan Bridges is an editor with Geopolitical Futures, having spent years both editing and writing geopolitical articles. He joined Geopolitical Futures in 2017 and spent over a year as a geopolitical analyst writing on Europe and focusing on issues relating to the European Union. His expertise as an editor was in high demand so he recently made the change back to editing rather than analyzing. Prior to Geopolitical Futures Mr. Bridges worked for seven years as an editor at Stratfor. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, where he studied political science with a minor in philosophy. Mr. Bridges lives and works from Germany and also travels extensively in the region. He speaks some German.