I am a scholar of military, strategic and diplomatic affairs from 1945 to the present, with a particular focus on the United States. My first book, a history of nation-building in the Vietnam War, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. I previously held a research fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, a teaching fellowship at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, and a civil service appointment in the British Cabinet Office. I write widely for popular media as well as academic publications
My research centres on military, strategic and diplomatic affairs from 1945 to the present, with a particular focus on the United States. My research is mainly historical in nature, but it is driven by a fascination with how contemporary global affairs were shaped by the past.
My first book is To Build as well as Destroy: The American Experience of Nation-Building in South Vietnam, 1965 - 73. The book examines the U.S. attempt to foster the emergence of a non-Communist regime in South Vietnam which would be able to mobilize the resources for a continued war effort against the Vietnamese Communist movement after U.S. withdrawal. The book contributes not only an analysis of this particular case but also helps us understand the dynamics of nation-building in general.
My other recent publications have included a study of the Ford administration's strategic policymaking in the Asia-Pacific and a paper on Vietnam War cinema. My research has appeared or is forthcoming in The Historical Journal, The Journal of Strategic Studies, The Journal of Cold War Studies, Small Wars & Insurgencies, and The Journal of Intervention and State-building.
I am currently working on two book projects. The first is a history of the U.S. response to countries which it has perceived as rising competitors from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The other is an edited volume exploring how the humanities can be used to enrich our study of international relations, and vice-versa.
I believe it is important for historians to engage in contemporary public debate, and my research informs my popular writing on foreign policy and international politics. I have published in newspapers and magazines on every continent.
2015: PhD in Defence Studies, King's College London
2007: M.Phil in Historical Studies, University of Cambridge
2006: BA in History, University of Cambridge
2015 - 16: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program, Harvard Kennedy School
2013 - 15: Teaching Fellow, Department of Defence Studies, King's College London and Defence Academy of the United Kingdon
To Build as well as Destroy: The American Experience of Nation-Building in South Vietnam, 1965 - 73 (forthcoming, Cornell University Press).
'"Mad Dog?" Samuel Huntington and the Vietnam War', Journal of Strategic Studies (forthcoming).
'"You Can Do It, Tiger!" Rural Government Advisors in South Vietnam, 1963 - 73, Journal of Cold War Studies (forthcoming).
'Spies, Advisors and Grunts: Film Portrayals of Counterinsurgency in Vietnam', Small Wars & Insurgencies 26, 4 (2015), pp. 668 – 687 (with Jeffrey Michaels).
'Agency and Structure in the Study of Nation-Building during the Vietnam War', The Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 8, 4 (2014), pp. 387 – 394.
'The Ford Administration and Security Policy in the Asia-Pacific after the Fall of Saigon', The Historical Journal 52, 3 (2009), pp. 697 – 716.
My media commentary has appeared in outlets including Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, Stars and Stripes, and many more.
Grants and awards
Leverhulme Foundation Early Career Fellowship, 2016 - 19 (declined)
Moody Grant, Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, 2015
Defence Studies Department Studentship, King's College London, 2013 - 15
Moody Grant, Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, 2013
Allen Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 2006 - 7
At Leiden University as at other Dutch universities, only a full professor can act as the primary supervisor of a doctoral thesis. However, if you are reading this page and are interested in pursuing a PhD in the areas of my expertise, feel free to contact me for information and guidance on applying.