Thomas H. Henriksen

Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Biography: 

Thomas H. Henriksen is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he focuses on American foreign policy, international political affairs, and insurgencies. He specializes in the study of US diplomatic and military courses of action toward terrorist havens in the non-Western world and toward rogue regimes.

Henriksen's most recent book is Cycles in U.S. Foreign Policy since the Cold War , which was published by Palgrave in 2017. The year before, Eyes, Ears & Daggers: Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in America's Evolving Struggle against Terrorism was published. 

Earlier his book, America and the Rogue States, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. It analyzes Washington’s interactions with Iran, North Korea, and other rogue nations since the Cold War. It was preceded by American Power after the Berlin Wall (2007), which examines US policy through the prism of US interventions in Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq (twice). Other books and monographs include Foreign Policy for America in the 21st Century: Alternative Perspectives, Using Power and Diplomacy to Deal with Rogue States, and an edited collection, North Korea after Kim Il Sung (Hoover Institution Press, 1999).

He also authored or edited the following books and monographs: One Korea? Challenges and Prospects for Reunification; The New World Order: War, Peace, and Military Preparedness; Revolution and Counterrevolution: Mozambique's War of Independence; The Struggle for Zimbabwe: Battle in the Bush; Soviet and Chinese Aid to African Nations; and Mozambique: A History, which was selected by Choice magazine for its Outstanding Book Award for African History. Additionally, he has written numerous journal articles and newspaper commentaries concerning international politics and security.

He is also a senior fellow at the US Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), where he concentrates on counterinsurgency practices. For JSOU, he has authored monographs entitled Dividing Our Enemies; The Israeli Approach to Irregular Warfare; Is Leaving the Middle East a Viable Option?; What Really Happened in Northern Ireland's Counterinsurgency; and Afghanistan, Counterinsurgency, and the Indirect Approach. His most recent monograph is WHAM: Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan and Elsewhere.

He is a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation. During the 1979–80 academic year, he was the Susan Louise Dyer Peace Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He taught history at the State University of New York from 1969 until he left in 1979 as a full professor. During 1963–65, Henriksen served as an infantry officer in the US Army. His other national public service includes participation as a member of the US Army Science Board (1984–90) and the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (1987–93). He also received a Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service from the US Department of the Army in 1990.

Henriksen received his BA from Virginia Military Institute and his MA and PhD from Michigan State University. He was selected for membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society, as a graduate student.

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Analysis and Commentary

Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Foreign Policy

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, February 21, 2000

One difficult task a new administration in Washington faces is changing the conventional wisdom in our foreign affairs.

Bringing Rogue States to Justice

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 30, 1999

Violent, tin-pot dictators, bloody regional conflicts, and “ethnic cleansing”—the post–Cold War world is in many ways more dangerous and chaotic than was the Cold War world itself. One critical weapon in the fight against rogue despots: international law. By Hoover fellow Thomas H. Henriksen.

Using Power and Diplomacy To Deal With Rogue States

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Analysis
Monday, February 1, 1999

The end of the cold war a decade ago has ushered in a greatly transformed international landscape. Instead of a pacific era of peace and political harmony, the world, and particularly the United States, has been confronted with a menacing challenge of rogue regimes whose propensity for violence is matched by their intentions to disrupt regional stability, contribute to outlaw behavior worldwide, or to possess weapons of mass destruction. Ruthless rogues also endanger American interests and citizens by their active or passive sponsorship of terrorism. If left unchecked, rogue states like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and others will threaten innocent populations, undermine international norms, and spawn other pariah regimes, as the global order becomes tolerant of this political malignancy.

As a major beneficiary of a global order of free markets, free trade, growing prosperity and spreading democracy, the United States, the world's sole superpower, must take the lead in confronting rogue governments, even though our allies may balk from time to time. Specifically, American power should be used to enhance the credibility of our diplomacy. Law and diplomacy alone are unlikely to affect rogue dictators. They must be reinforced with power. Four broad policy options, which in most cases should be combined rather than implemented individually, can be applied:

  • Sanctions and isolation to achieve containment of and inflict economic damage on a rogue state
  • International courts and domestic prosecution to bring rogue criminals to justice
  • Shows of strength and armed interventions to coerce or eliminate rogue regimes
  • Support for opposition movements or covert operations to oust rogue figures

Unless the United States addresses the challenge of rogue states with a combination of force and diplomacy, the new millennium will witness a widening of global anarchy, deteriorating progress toward economic development, and declining political reform. Dire consequences await the United States if it fails to react forcefully to international roguery.

The comments of my colleagues Charlie Hill, James Noyes, Henry Rowen, and Abraham Sofaer were helpful and are gratefully acknowledged along with those from Addison Davis, David Gillette, Bradley Murphy, Douglas Neumann, Piers Turner, and Robin Wright.

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It’s Time to End Sanctions against North Korea

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 30, 1998

U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea have failed for forty years to bring down the regime. Hoover fellow Thomas H. Henriksen argues that it’s time for another approach.

Paid Misbehavior

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 30, 1997

Kim Jong Il was young and untried when in 1994 he succeeded his father as dictator of North Korea. Yet using bluffs, threats, and provocations, he has played the Clinton administration like an old pro. An assessment by Hoover fellow Thomas H. Henriksen.

Clinton's Foreign Policy in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and North Korea

by Thomas H. Henriksenvia Analysis
Tuesday, October 1, 1996

Half a decade has elapsed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and nearly four years have passed since Bill Clinton became president of the United States. These two events, nearly simultaneous in occurrence, present a fitting time for an assessment of specific international policy decisions made by the White House. This juncture is particularly appropriate for an evaluation of President Clinton's handling of prominent foreign policy crises as he seeks a second term.

The Clinton administration has dealt with four high-profile problems- Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, and North Korea-which demanded presidential attention, resulted in the deployment of U.S. military forces, and generated congressional and public controversy. All were small-scale operations when compared with U.S. involvement in major twentieth-century conflicts. Yet they are significant because the way they were handled may determine the way future large-scale emergencies are managed.

The Clinton administration displayed hesitation, vacillation, and ambivalence in addressing turmoil in Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti, which carried international ramifications. Somalia emerges as a defining foreign policy decision for the Clinton administration. After suffering a setback in Somalia, the White House moved overcautiously and abdicated leadership in the Bosnian crisis. When Clinton intervened in Bosnia and Haiti, he first narrowed the operational scope, set rigid timetables, put undue restrictions on the missions, and finally emphasized exit strategies. The results of these American efforts, therefore, are likely to be transitory. In the case of North Korea, the White House has been correct to engage the decrepit but dangerous North Korean regime, but the administration's nuclear agreement is difficult to verify and has secured inadequate quid pro quos in return for American, Japanese, and South Korean inducements for cooperation. Most important, the Geneva Agreement set a bad international precedent in the fight against nuclear proliferation.

Whoever wins the national election and takes office as president must reassert America's moral and strategic leadership to bolster U.S. credibility in a world undergoing profound change. The next president must articulate with clarity and conviction for Congress and the public the importance of America's international responsibilities that accompany its power and influence. Among the specific recommendations for the incoming administration in 1997 are the eastward enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the construction of a missile defense system, and an increase in military spending to meet future crises, which are almost certain to be greater challenges than Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, or North Korea.

Books

One Korea?: Challenges and Prospects for Reunification

via Hoover Institution Press
Monday, August 1, 1994

A distinguished panel of scholars from around the world convened at the Hoover Institution in June 1993 to assess prospects for a reunited Korea. Scenarios for reunification identified at that conference are presented in this volume.

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