Lawrence Freedman on Michael C. Desch

In my PhD thesis, I briefly discussed Michael C. Desch’s foray in the late 1990s into the debate between strategic culture and neorealist theorists in international relations. Recently, Desch wrote the book Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019). Lawrence Freedman’s review of Desch’s book for The Journal of Strategic Studies highlights several things, from Desch’s critique of strategist Thomas Schelling and the institutional impacts on Bernard Brodie’s research agenda to the need for academics to understand the contemporary policymaking environment. It’s a review that is well worth reading if you research in security studies or strategic studies.