hero image
Christopher Fettweis - Tulane University. New Orleans, LA, US

Christopher Fettweis

Associate Professor | Tulane University


Christopher Fettweis researches international relations and US foreign policy




Christopher Fettweis Publication Christopher Fettweis Publication Christopher Fettweis Publication Christopher Fettweis Publication Christopher Fettweis Publication




Free Thoughts, Ep. 256:  How Superpowers See the World (with Christopher Fettweis) Analyst: Bolton’s firing is a personality clash




Christopher J. Fettweis is associate professor of political science at Tulane University, where he teaches classes on international relations, U.S. foreign policy and security.

In addition to being President of the World Affairs Council of New Orleans, he is the noted author of Dangerous Times?: The International Politics of Great Power Peace and Losing Hurts Twice as Bad: The Four Stages to Moving Beyond Iraq, and a number of articles that have appeared in Political Science Quarterly, the Los Angeles Times, and many other journals and magazines.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Strategy and Politics

International Security

International Relations

Us Foreign Policy

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Accomplishments (2)

Honor’s Professor of the Year (professional)

2011 Tulane University

Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award (professional)

2013 Tulane University

Education (2)

University of Maryland: Ph.D., International Relations, Comparative Politics 2003

University of Notre Dame: B.A., History 1994

Magna cum Laude

Affiliations (6)

  • World Affairs Council of New Orleans : President of the Board
  • Institute for the Analysis of Global Security : Associate Fellow
  • American Political Science Association : Member
  • International Studies Association : Member
  • Southern Political Science Association : Member
  • International Society of Political Psychology : Member

Media Appearances (5)

Air University Press releases spring 2019 Strategic Studies Quarterly

Strategic Studies Quarterly  online


In Pessimism and Nostalgia in the Second Nuclear Age, Christopher J. Fettweis, Tulane University, asks why pessimism about the second nuclear age and nostalgia for the Cold War persist among nuclear scholars.

view more

Lessons from Rome on Executive Power and Restraint

Cato Institute  online


Notwithstanding how eerily familiar that all sounds, I’m not convinced that we're condemned to a similarly despotic fate. But as the political scientist Christopher J. Fettweis has recently pointed out, an added pressure in this direction comes from the fact that the United States, as in the case of Rome, is for all intents and purposes a unipolar power (whatever they say these days about the return of multipolarity). Like Rome at the height of its imperial glory, U.S. power in the international system today is highly asymmetrical. It's foreign policy is preoccupied not with overcoming existential peril from proximate peer belligerents intent on total war, but with chasing remote (and sometimes imaginary) threats in the distant reaches of the periperhy. Unchecked international power carries some of the same hazards as unchecked power in the domestic realm. Look no further than the Trump administration's spurious citations of the 2001 and 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to legitimate ongoing, and potentially future, wars across the Middle East. Prudence and the Constitution would seem to obligate Congress to repeal, and not replace, these outdated authorizations.

view more

The "Paranoid Politics" of American Exceptionalism

Foundation for Economic Education  online


In the first chapter of Psychology of a Superpower, author Christopher Fettweis claims, “People of the 21st century are likely to be much safer and more secure than any of their predecessors (even if many of them do not believe it).” Why are Americans so fearful if they are the safest they have ever been?

view more

Narcissus On The World Stage

LobeLog  online


In his new book, Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy, political scientist Christopher Fettweis examines the connection between power and perception, arguing that America’s peculiar brand of exceptionalism is a pathology of unbalanced, unchecked power. It’s not just the president himself, but the entire foreign policy apparatus that seems to suffer from a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy” (to borrow from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

view more

Upcoming Book Forum: Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy

Cato Institute  online


Christopher Fettweis will be at Cato on Monday, May 14, at noon to present and discuss his new book, Psychology of a Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy.

view more

Articles (5)

Unipolarity, Hegemony, and the New Peace

Security Studies

Christopher J. Fettweis


Despite a few persistent, high-profile conflicts in the Middle East, the world is experiencing an era of unprecedented peace and stability. Many scholars have offered explanations for this “New Peace,” to borrow Steven Pinker's phrase, but few have devoted much time to the possibility that US hegemony has brought stability to the system. This paper examines the theoretical, empirical, and psychological foundations of the hegemonic-stability explanation for the decline in armed conflict. Those foundations are rather thin, as it turns out, and a review of relevant insights from political psychology suggests that unipolarity and stability are probably epiphenomenal. The New Peace can in all likelihood continue without US dominance and should persist long after unipolarity comes to an end.

view more

Misreading the Enemy


Christopher J. Fettweis


Pathological exaggeration of the enemy is more common than complacency, and has inspired overreaction, blunder and national ruin.

view more

On Heartlands and Chessboards: Classical Geopolitics, Then and Now


Christopher J. Fettweis


Every few years, scholars and strategists rediscover the importance of geography. Interest in the terrestrial setting of international politics has grown again in the last few years, with classical geopolitics, in particular, receiving a fresh look from a variety of angles. Scholars, journalists and strategists have abetted geography’s “revenge” against perceptions of obsolescence in the face of changing technology.1 This article discusses this most recent regeneration, evaluating the descriptive, predictive and prescriptive contributions of classical geopolitics, from Kjellen to Kaplan, in order to help determine whether the revival is to be welcomed.

view more

Threatlessness and US Grand Strategy


Christopher J. Fettweis


The American ability to think clearly about strategy did not survive the Cold War. As a result, the US worries more, and spends more, than is necessary to achieve its goals.

view more

The Coming Stability? The Decline of Warfare in Africa and Implications for International Security

Contemporary Security Policy

David T. Burbach & Christopher J. Fettweis


Anarchy was coming to Africa, Robert Kaplan warned in 1994, and a surge in conflict initially seemed to confirm that prediction. With less fanfare, however, after the year 2000, conflict in Africa declined, probably to the lowest levels ever. Recent fighting in Libya, Mali, South Sudan and elsewhere has prompted a new wave of ‘Africa falling apart’ concerns. This article reviews the history and data of conflict in Africa, from pre-colonial times to the present. Historical comparison and quantitative analysis based on the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) and Major Episodes of Political Violence (MEPV) datasets on the 1961–2013 period show that Africa has experienced a remarkable decline in warfare, whether measured in number of conflicts or fatalities. Warfare is a relatively low risk to the lives of most Africans. The years 2010–2013 saw an increase of 35 per cent in African battle deaths over 2005–2010, but they still are 87 per cent lower than the 1990–1999 average. Changes in external support and intervention, and the spread of global norms regarding armed conflict, have been most decisive in reducing the levels of warfare in the continent. Consequently, there is no Africa exception to the systemic shift towards lower levels of armed conflict.

view more