Barry Posen | People

Barry Posen
Ford International Professor of Political Science
Director, MIT Security Studies Program


BARRY R. POSEN is Ford International Professor of Political Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Security Studies Program, and serves on the Executive Committee of Seminar XXI ( His most recent book, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, was released in May 2014 (Cornell University Press 2014). He has written two earlier books, Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks (Cornell University Press 1991) and The Sources of Military Doctrine (Cornell University Press 1984 ). The latter won two awards: The American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Foundation Book Award, and Ohio State University's Edward J. Furniss Jr. Book Award. He is also the author of numerous articles, including "Contain ISIS," The Atlantic, 2015, “Pull Back: The Case for a Less Activist Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2013, and "Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony," International Security, (Summer, 2003.) He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  In 2016 he was appointed Henry A. Kissinger Chair (visiting) in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress, John W. Kluge Center.  He is the 2017 recipient of the International Security Studies Section (ISSS), International Studies Association, Distinguished Scholar Award.  He has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow; Rockefeller Foundation International Affairs Fellow; Guest Scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, Smithsonian Institution; Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; and a Visiting Fellow at the John Sloan Dickey Center at Dartmouth College. 




Publications|Selected Publications

Barry Posen, "Western Interventions and Occupations as Threatened Orders," written for the Collaborative Research Centre 923 Project on Threatened Orders, Tuebingen University, Germany, published in Aufruhr-Katastophe-Konkurrenz-Zerfall: Bedrohte Ordnungen als Thema der Kulturwissenschaften, Ewald Frie and Mischa Meier, editors (Mohr Siebeck: 2014)

Barry Posen, "Guilt, Shame, Balts, Jews," Confronting Memories of World War II: European and Aisan Legacies (Jackson School Publications in International Studies), Daniel Chirot, Gi-Wok Shin, and Daniel Sneider, editors (University of Washington Press, 2014)

Barry Posen, "Roles and Mechanisms of Insurgency and the Conflict in Syria's War," Project on Middle East Political Science, Briefing 22, December 2013

Barry Posen, "Identity, Rationality, and Emotion in the Processes of State Disintegration and Reconstruction," Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics, Kanchan Chandra, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Barry Posen and Jon Lindsay, "Varieties of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Iraq, 2003-2009," case study prepared for the Naval War College Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (November, 2011)

Barry Posen and Sarah Zukerman, "Revenge or Reconciliation: Theory and Method of Emotions in the Context of Colombia's Peace Process," Law in Peace Negotiations, Morten Bergsmo and Pablo Kalmonowitz eds. (Torkel Opsahl: 2010)





WBUR, Radio Open Source, September 14, 2017, "Mutually Assured Madness."

NPR, On Point, November 23, 2015, "Should We Go All-In On ISIS?"

KCRW, Morning Edition, August 10, 2015. "Finding Friends to Fight ISIS in Syria."


Quoted in "On Afghanistan, Trump Should Have Gone With His Gut," WBUR's Cognoscenti, August 29, 2017.