My areas of expertise are US foreign policy, grand strategy, national security, and cybersecurity policy. My wider intellectual agenda includes religion and politics; international law, ethics, and theory; and comparative foreign policy.
These broad interests also emerge in my course offerings.
These broad interests also emerge in my course offerings.
My 2020 book - Make America First Again: Grand Strategy Analysis and the Trump Administration - seeks to untangle the riddle of Trump’s grand strategy. Donald Trump is unpredictable, and he challenges all accepted wisdom about US foreign policy. “America first” appears to guide his strategic thinking, yet the United States remains utterly enmeshed in the world. How exactly can we define Trump’s approach to that world, and what exactly drives that approach? To answer these questions, the book creates an early history of the Trump administration’s grand strategy. It also proposes and applies “grand strategy analysis” as a newly emerging framework. Three narrative case studies run from the inauguration to the 2018 midterm elections. The book concludes that only "grand strategy analysis" effectively makes sense of the administration's unique blend of belief, psychology and action. This is a vital contribution for students and professionals. It also represents a serious theoretical contribution, both to the early scholarship on Trump’s grand strategy and to the study of grand strategy as a research agenda. It promises an enduring piece of contemporary analysis for future readers.
Analyzing Obama's Grand Strategy
This book (Palgrave, 2016) seeks to uncover a clear picture of Barack Obama’s grand strategy. Pressed for an “Obama doctrine” during his final years in office, the President claimed a simple international relations approach: applying all tools at his disposal before resorting for military force. Critics, however, charge the administration with strategic incoherence and weak leadership. Stepping away from ideological commitments, Shively applies a simple framework for grand strategy. Untangling a complex history through three cases of tumult in 2009, 2011, and 2014, Shively characterizes Obama’s grand strategy as “pragmatic internationalism” and argues that it was a promising but poorly implemented approach.
Grand strategy stability and abandoned change in the Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush administrations.
My dissertation (Indiana University, 2014) focused on grand strategic stability as well as the role of negative feedback when new strategies are abandoned. It analyzed two US cases—Carter’s foreign policy and the Bush Doctrine—by applying structured-focused comparison. In that project, I sought to determine whether and how competing theoretical predictions, such as realism and liberalism, are consistent with observed behavior and outcomes. One of my findings suggests that though ideologically divergent, both administrations implemented grand strategies fundamentally consistent with US grand strategy after World War II.
The SAGE Encylopedia of War. 2016. ‘Balance of Power;’ ‘Clash of Civilizations;’ ‘Origins of States Systems.’
“Global Nationalism: Grand Strategy Analysis and the Trump Administration.” Presented at the American Political Science Association conference, virtual format. September 10-13. 2020.
“Grand Strategy Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Framework.” Presented at the ISSS-IS Conference, Denver, CO, University of Denver. October 18-19. 2019.
“The Rise and Fall of Principled Realism: National Security Strategy and Presidential Supremacy During the Trump Administration.” Presented at the ISSS-IS Conference, Denver, CO, University of Denver. October 18-19. 2019.
“Grand Strategy Constraints and Feedback during the GW Bush and Obama Administrations." Presented at the American Political Science Association Conference, Washington, D.C. September 27-31, 2014.
"Abandoning Strategy: Assessing Negative Feedback and the Bush Doctrine.” Presented at the International Studies Association Conference, San Francisco. April 3-7, 2013.
“The Constraints of Grand Strategy: The Bush Doctrine and Great Power Reactions to Crisis.” Presented at World International Studies Conference, Porto, Portugal. August 17-20, 2011.
“Grand Strategic Scope in Early World War II Germany and Japan.” Presented at Midwest Political Science Association National Conference, Chicago. April 22-24, 2010.
“Explaining British-Chinese Divergence through Comparative Strategic Scopes.” Presented at the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations Annual Conference, University of Western Michigan. June 3-7, 2008.
Cybersecurity Policy and the Trump Administration. Chapter in The Trump Administration: The President’s Legacy within and Beyond America Toby S. James, ed. 2022. London: Routledge.
“Cybersecurity policy and the Trump administration.” Policy Studies 28 June 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2021.1947482
"'Good Deeds Aren't Enough': Point Four in Iran, 1949-1953." Diplomacy and Statecraft 29(3): 413-431. Sep 2018.
“Grand Strategy, Inertia and Cybersecurity: The Bush and Obama Administrations.” Presented at the ISSS/ISAC Conference, Notre Dame, South Bend. November 4-6, 2016.
“Drones as Tools of the State System.” Presented at the symposium Reconfiguring Global Space: The Geography, Politics, and Ethics of Drone War, School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington. 13-17 July, 2015.
“Reinhold Niebuhr and Prescriptions for International Leadership.” Presented at Christians in Political Science Conference, Memphis. June 3-5, 2010.
“Edmund Burke and Contemporary Prescriptions for International Leadership.” Presented at International Studies Association – Midwest, St. Louis. November 2-8, 2009.
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Jonathan N. Brown, Scott Pegg and Jacob W. Shively. “Consensus and Divergence in International Studies: Survey Evidence From 140 International Studies Programs” International Studies Perspectives 7(3): 267-286. Aug 2006
Book Review: Mark Amstutz. Evangelicals and American Foreign Policy New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Politics, Ideology and Religion. May 2015.
Senior Analyst, Wikistrat. Expertise areas include US foreign policy and international security.