David P. Calleo

David P. Calleo is an American scholar—a student of European and American politics, history and political economy—based at the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he is the Dean Acheson Professor. He also holds the title of University Professor.

Current Writings and Talks


American Views of Europe

David P. Calleo, American Views of Europe, The International Spectator, Vol. 48, Issue 4, 2013, pp. 135-144.

America’s diplomacy towards Europe has passed through two broad historic phases. A first, isolationist phase, determined in part by America’s need to maintain its domestic multinational consensus, was replaced, after World War II and under the Soviet threat, by a policy of hegemonic engagement. The Soviet collapse opened a new era forcing a reinterpretation of America’s role in Europe and the world. Read More


The Economic Schism of the West

David P. Calleo, The Economic Schism of the West, Survival, Vol. 55, Issue 6, 2013, pp. 211-230.

The Cold War, with its heavy-handed Soviet threat, kept the United States and most of Western Europe in a tight geopolitical and military alliance for 40 years. Even so, economic relations among Western capitalist countries, and especially monetary relations, were frequently tense and conflicted. The disputes among governments often mirrored academic disagreements among their economists. Read More


Europe and America in a New Century

David P. Calleo, Europe and America in a New Century, Survival, Vol. 55, Issue 5, 2013, pp. 211-224.

For most of modern history, Europe has been America’s “Significant Other.” For the past half century an alliance between the two has dominated world politics. How long can this alliance be expected to last, and in what form? How well does it fit the world likely to evolve in the 21st century?

The present close relationship was not inevitable, as a study of its history indicates. Read More


America’s Global Overstretch: Europe the Cure?

I started off this past summer hoping to write an essay on the global financial crisis and how it was affecting Europe’s evolving federal system. I was not surprised to learn that European leaders were handling things with rather more political skill than we were giving them credit for. What did surprise me, however, was, first of all, the large number and vehemence of Europeans apparently opposed to the Euro, and, by extension, opposed to the European Union itself. But, secondly, I grew impressed with the determination of most European states and the apparatus of the EU to defend the Euro. What I eventually came to realize was that the financial crisis was pointing toward basic geopolitical issues between the European and American federal systems, and among the European states themselves. Read More


America, Europe and the Twenty-First Century

At the middle of the 20th century, Europe – the continent that had ruled the world for four centuries – found itself partitioned and dominated by two giant federal powers from outside – the United States and the Soviet Union. Within a very few years, however, the states of Western Europe, led by a reconciled France and Germany, and encouraged by their American protector, had mounted a continental federal experiment of their own, today’s European Union. The West Europeans, grouped together in their “Community”, grew skilled at manipulating the “superpowers”. In some senses, the postwar system began to grow more tripolar than bipolar. By the century’s final decade, the Soviet part of Europe’s postwar system broke down. Read More


The Tyranny of Want

David P. Calleo, The Tyranny of Want, Review of Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for a Good Life (London: Allen Lane, 2012), Survival, Vol. 55, Issue 1, 2013, pp. 145-150.

In economics, as in politics, bad times often inspire good books. Capitalism’s distress in the interwar years aroused the creative powers of a brilliant galaxy of economists pushed by troubled times into examining the histori- cal and philosophical foundations of their discipline. Read More


Follies of Power

David P. Calleo, Follies of Power: America’s Unipolar Fantasy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

David P. Calleo: The Follies of Power

The election of Barack Obama notwithstanding, Calleo sees the political imagination of America’s elites still deeply attracted to a unipolar view of world politics. In this way of looking at the world, peace and prosperity in the global system require a reigning superpower. Great Britain is imagined to have played this role in the nineteenth century and the United States to have inherited it in the twentieth. America’s interest and duty are thought to lie in fulfilling this fate that history has thrust upon the US. The unipolar vision persists tenaciously but is more and more false. In reality, today’s disposition of international power and wealth is increasingly plural. America’s unipolar vision grows progressively dysfunctional as much of the world fears and resists it. Read More