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.



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


Rethinking Europe’s Future

David P. Calleo, Rethinking Europe’s Future, Princeton: (A Century Foundation Book), Princeton University Press, 2001.

David P. Calleo: Rethinking Europe's Future

Rethinking Europe’s Future is a major reevaluation of Europe’s prospects as it enters the twenty-first century. Summoning the insights of history, political economy, and philosophy, Calleo explains why Europe was for a long time the world’s greatest problem and how the Cold War’s bipolar partition brought stable resolution of a sort. Without the Cold War, Europe risks revisiting its more traditional history. With such volatile surroundings – in particular Russia and Europe’s Muslim neighbors – no one, Calleo argues, can pretend to predict the future with assurance. Calleo’s book ponders how to think about this future. Read More


The Bankrupting of America

David P. Calleo, The Bankrupting of America: How the Federal Deficit Is Impoverishing the Nation, New York: Avon Books, 1992.

David P. Calleo: The Bankrupting of America

Calleo examines America’s rapidly growing deficits – both fiscal and external. With a deft combination of historical, political, and economic analysis, the book examines America’s budgetary and tax patterns in search of the root causes of the deficits – how they are related and how they impact on the US and on the rest of the world. He finds the patterns based more on political power than on economic logic and does not believe they are sustainable indefinitely. Restoring the US and the world to balance calls for a drastic reconsideration of geopolitical roles between the US and the rest of the world. The Soviet collapse provides this opportunity. Read More


Beyond American Hegemony

David P. Calleo, Beyond American Hegemony, The Future of the Western Alliance, New York: A Twentieth Century Fund Book, Basic Books, 1987. Translated in German as Die Zukunft der Westlichen Allianz, Stuttgart, Bonn Aktuell, 1989.

Beyond American Hegemony

In its current form as an American protectorate, the Western Alliance no longer serves the interests of either the United States or our European allies and cannot survive.

In a sweeping historical analysis integrating of economic, military, and geopolitical factors, Calleo calls for a refashioned Atlantic Alliance. While arguing that America and Europe continue to need their alliance, he shows how America’s lopsided hegemony in NATO is unnecessary and counterproductive. Read More


The Imperious Economy

David P. Calleo, The Imperious Economy, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1982.

David P. Calleo: The Imperious Economy

Calleo chronicles American self-deception and high-handedness from 1961 onward, as the United States pursues ever more ambitious domestic goals, spends recklessly on defense and war, abuses the position of the dollar, and pays for its arrogant profligacy with inflated prices, stagflation, and industrial decline. America has never been willing or able to match its ambitions and burdens with real resources.

He pinpoints the sources of inflation in the contradictory and undisciplined policies of the American government. Unguided by any sense of priority and spurred on by specious academic theories, the US has regularly sacrificed long-range interests to short-range politics. Read More


The German Problem Reconsidered

David P. Calleo, The German Problem Reconsidered: Germany in the World System, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

David P. Calleo: The German Problem Reconsidered. Germany and the World Order, 1870 to the Present

Calleo surveys German history – less to present new material than to look afresh at the old. He argues that recent explanations for Germany’s external conflicts have focused on flaws in the country’s traditional political institutions and culture. These German-centered explanations are convenient, Calleo notes, since they tend to exonerate others from their responsibilities in bringing about two world wars, as well as to legitimize subtly the outcome of those wars, namely the American and Russian hegemonies in Europe. As a result of this approach, the big questions in German history are still answered with the aging clichés of a generation ago, despite the proliferation of German historical studies. Read More


America and the World Political Economy

David P. Calleo, Benjamin Rowland, America and the World Political Economy, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973.

David P. Calleo: America and World Political Economy

As economic conflicts proliferate, Calleo and Rowland offer a comprehensive study of the roots, motivations, and impact of postwar America’s international economic policies. While admiring America’s role in creating an open world economy out of the wartime wreckage, they see the capitalist world now heading into economic and political difficulties, for which the United States bears a great part of the blame. American policy, bemused by a specious “internationalism,” seems dedicated to sustaining hegemonic relationships in what they see as an increasingly plural world. Such a posture imperils America’s domestic economy and causes increasingly intolerable disruption to economies abroad. Read More


The Atlantic Fantasy

David P. Calleo, The Atlantic Fantasy, Balitimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1970.

David P. Calleo: The Atlantic Fantasy

Calleo argues that it is now possible and indeed desirable that the United States should devolve a major portion of the heavy military responsibilities it has carried in postwar Europe. This should be seen not as a return to American isolationism, but rather a resumption of European responsibility. Should we attempt to prolong our postwar burdens and privileges much longer, we run the risk of unraveling that Western European and transatlantic solidarity whose fostering has been the glory of America’s postwar diplomacy.  Read More


The American Political System

David P. Calleo, The American Political System, Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1968.

The American Political System

Fresh from a youthful year-long stint at the upper reaches of the State Department, Calleo presents a comprehensive but richly insightful and suggestive picture of the state of America’s grand federal experiment at the time of the Cold War and Vietnam.

Calleo examines how America’s character complicates its increasing domestic and foreign difficulties. The federal dispersion of power, along with the country’s great diversity and affluence, provide vast resources but make it difficult to set priorities and husband resources. The resulting tensions threaten the “Liberal Establishment” that has run the country since Roosevelt’s New Deal, and undermines the electoral coalition that has sustained that liberal consensus. Read More


Britain’s Future

David P. Calleo, Britain’s Future, London: Hodder & Stoughton , 1968.

David P. Calleo: Britain's Future

 Calleo’s early training in British history, philosophy, and literature together with a “gang” of close English friends – the product of his days researching Coleridge in London – made him particularly sensitive to the problems Britain would have with the new Europe being promised in Europe’s Future. A year after publishing Europe’s Future, he set out – once more from Yale – this time to write Britain’s Future. Armed with a Guggenheim Grant, he based himself as a Research Fellow in Nuffield College, Oxford. Here he immersed himself in the economic debates driving British politics in the mid-sixties and formed a lifelong friendship with Robert Skidelsky. Read More


Coleridge and the Idea of the Modern State

David P. Calleo, Coleridge and the Idea of the Modern State, New Heaven and London: Yale University Press, 1966.

David P. Calleo: Coleridge and the Idea of the Modern State

The first full length study of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a political thorist. At once a nationalist, a conservative, and a radical reformer, Coleridge developed an extraordinarily comprehensive and suggestive theory of the modern constitutional state. Here his political ideas are examined in relation to his general philosophy, his Romantic world view, and his psychological insights. Read More


Europe’s Future: The Grand Alternatives

David P. Calleo, Europe’s Future: The Grand Alternatives, New York : Horizon Press, 1965.

David P. Calleo: Europe's Future: The Grand Alternatives

 As a young political science professor at Yale. Calleo spent a year in Paris researching and writing this assessment of Europe’s “grand alternatives” – the conflicting visions, with their accompanying ideals, motives, and programs that appeared to be competing in the 1960s to shape postwar Europe. The study was based both on wide reading in federalist and Gaullist literature and an extensive series of interviews among government officials, political leaders, and intellectuals – in Brussels, London, and Paris. The topic allowed Calleo to draw on his academic training as a specialist in international relations with his intensive study of modern European history and political theory. Read More