The Green Room

Article excerpt

"Here's a marvellous convenient place for our rehearsal."

Although America is the world's only superpower, the course of its foreign policy is by no means sure or certain. Indeed, diplomatic historian NORMAN GRAEBNER finds that President Clinton's "chief foreign policy legacy was a nation more divided on matters of external affairs than anytime since the culminating isolationists-internationalists clash of 1941-one resolved quite conclusively by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." MR. GRAEBNER discusses and describes the difficulties confronting American diplomats as they try to define this country's role in a unipolar world.

MR. GRAEBNER brings a lifetime of experience to this discussion of American foreign policy. He retired as Randolph P. Compton Professor of History and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in 1986, but he has remained an active lecturer and writer. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1949 and has taught at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana, where he was chairman of the history department. He also served as Harmsworth Professor of History at Queen's College, Oxford in 1978-79. His many books include Empire on the Pacific: The New Isolationism; Cold War Diplomacy; The Age of Global Power, and An Uncertain Tradition: America's Secretaries of State in the 20th Century.

The dean of Southern literary criticism, Louis D. RUBIN, JR. is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His many interests as indicated by his latest VQR essay include maritime affairs. MR. RUBIN says that his long time interest in naval history is a response to never having learned to swim, but he swims quite eloquently through the controversies surrounding the Battle of Jutland that took place in the North Sea off the coast of Denmark between the fleets of Great Britain and imperial Germany on May 31June 1, 1916. The prolific MR. RUBIN's latest book is An Honorable Estate: My Time in the Working Press, an account of his experiences as a newspaper man early in his career in such places as Staunton, Baltimore, and Richmond. An Honorable Estate is due to be published by Louisiana State this fall.

MICHAEL KNIGHT'S fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, VQR, Esquire, GQ, Story, and other magazines. His first two books, Dogfight and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and Divining Rod, a novel, were both published in 1998. He currently resides in Maryville and teaches writing at the University of Tennessee.

To ELLSWORTH BARNARD, the "greatest obstacle in America's progress toward a stable society" is "a growing hostility toward government and particularly the federal government." Therefore, MR. BARNARD speaks up in defense of government in his essay. A retired professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, of which he is an alumnus, MR. BARNARD received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. He has an honorary L.H.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts. He is the author of Shelley's Religion; Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Critical Study and Wendell Willkie: Fighter for Freedom. He is also the editor of Shelley: Selected Poems, Essays, and Letters.

After a long career in the U.S. Information Service, Chicago native PHILIP COULD and his wife settled in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the author of two novels published by Algonquin, one of which was reissued by the Internet publisher iUniverse in 2000. In the past two years short stories of his have appeared in The Missouri Review and The Texas Review and memoirs were published by The Virginia Quarterly Review and the Richmond arts magazine "64. "

SANFORD PINSKER is one of VQR's most loyal and frequent contributors. He is Shadek Professor of Humanities at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

MARY ANN SAMYN is the author of Captivity Narrative, the winner of the 1999 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award. …