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Nikolas Gvosdev

Professor of National Security Affairs, Naval War College

  • Education

    DPhil, St. Antony's College, Oxford University

Nikolas Gvosdev

Why I teach International Relations at Harvard Extension School

I enjoy the intellectual rejuvenation from teaching at Extension, and appreciate the mix of students who are diverse in many ways—especially demographically and generationally—and yet are united together in the pursuit of knowledge. Harvard Extension classes keep me on my toes and help my own research and professional development. In turn,  knowing that the courses I teach at Extension are, for some students, the pathway to further progress and promotion in their professional fields also gives me a strong sense of satisfaction.

I cover the broad area of the Cold War and of nuclear deterrence. They flow out of my research and professional agenda, which has three broad streams:

  • understanding how and why U.S. national security decisions are made, especially the mix of domestic and international factors
  • researching the global geopolitical and geo-economic shifts that define the current world system
  • keeping an eye on developments in Russia and the greater Eurasian space

I was always interested in how the larger world intersected with my home. In high school I was involved in debate, which awakened a real interest in public policy. I studied international relations as an undergraduate and carried that IR background into my larger study of history.

More about Nikolas

Nikolas Gvosdev is professor of national security studies at the US Naval War College and held the Jerome E. Levy chair of economic geography and national security from 2016-2020.

He is the editor of the foreign policy journal Orbis, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, co-host of the Doorstep podcast, a contributing editor at The National Interest and a non-residential senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

He is the co-author of Decision-Making in American Foreign Policy: Translating Theory into Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2019), co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of US National Security (Oxford University Press, 2018), author of Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors and Sectors (CQ Press, 2013, with Christopher Marsh); US Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy (Georgetown University Press, 2014, with Derek Reveron and Mackubin Owens); Communitarian Foreign Policy: Amitai Etzioni’s Vision (Transaction Publishers, 2015); and The Receding Shadow of the Prophet: The Rise and Fall of Political Islam (Praeger, 2004), among others.