David P. Calleo

David P. Calleo

Professor Emeritus, European and Eurasian Studies
European and Eurasian Studies
International Political Economy

Rome 520


  • Europe
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • United States
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Economics
  • Globalization
  • Global Financial Crises
  • American Economic Policy
  • European Union and Transatlantic Relations
  • International Political Economy
  • International Relations
  • NATO
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian

Background and Education

David Calleo was Director of European Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. and Bologna, Italy from September 1968 through May 2012. He was named to the Dean Acheson Chair in European Studies in 1988 and University Professor at Johns Hopkins in 2001. He is author of numerous articles, and a dozen books: Europe’s Future (1965); Coleridge and the Idea of a Modern Nation State (1966); The American Political System (1968); Britain’s Future (1968); The Atlantic Fantasy (1970); America and the World Political Economy (1973); The German Problem Reconsidered (1978); The Imperious Economy (1982); Beyond American Hegemony: The Future of the Western Alliance (1987); The Bankrupting of America: How the Federal Deficit is Impoverishing the Nation (1992); Rethinking Europe’s Future (2001); and Follies of Power: America’s Unipolar Fantasy (2009).
At Yale University, Calleo earned his undergraduate degree in History, the Arts, and Letters, and a PhD in political science. Before teaching at SAIS in 1968, he taught at Brown for one year and Yale for seven years. He has been a visiting professor at Columbia University, the College of Europe, the Universities of Bonn and Munich, the University of Puget Sound, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris and the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva. Calleo was named an Advisory Professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai in 2004. He has been a Fellow of Jonathan Edwards College at Yale since the 1970s. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a contributing editor to Survival: Global Politics and Strategy. He has been a Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellow and an associate at the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales. He was twice project director for the Twentieth Century Fund, has been a research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and was also a George Herbert Walker Bush Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. In 1967-68 he served as a consultant to the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. In the 1970s he was Vice President and Chairman of the Committee on Fellows and Programs at the Lehrman Institute in New York.
Calleo lives in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill and has spent his summers for many years at the Casa Fangati on the Italian island of Elba. He is a member of the Century Association, the Metropolitan Club of Washington, and Brooks’s. He is married to Avis Bohlen, a retired Foreign Service Officer who has served as U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria and Assistant Secretary for Arms Control.


Follies of Power: America's Unipolar Fantasy (2009);
Rethinking Europe's Future (2009);
The Bankrupting of America: How the Federal Deficit is Impoverishing the Nation (1992);
Beyond American Hegemony: The Future of the Western Alliance (1987);
The Imperious Economy (1982);
The German Problem Reconsidered (1978);
America and the World Political Economy (1973);
The Atlantic Fantasy (1970);
Britain's Future (1968);
The American Political System (1968);
Coleridge and the Idea of a Modern Nation State (1966);
Europe's Future (1965)

"The end of the ...

"The end of the Cold War has intensified the economic differences among Western countries. Current disagreements are frequently over how to respond to the recent financial crisis and recession. These debates usually justapose two contending schools: fiscal and monetary conservatives, and neo-Keynesians. Beyond their arguments over the contemporary crisis are more fundamental philosophical differences that amount to distinct world views. These feature bundles of ideas and assumptions deeply implanted in political and economic culture. Each carries its own prejudices. When these are not recognised and debated rationally, they become submerged icebergs threatening fatal collisions."

(Calleo, (2013) "The Economic Schism of the West," Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, 55:6, 211-230 - available through the SAIS Library here)

"The imagination...

"The imagination of America's political elites is dominated by a unipolar vision, according to which the world is dominated by the United States. But the real world is increasingly plural, and others instinctively fear and resist the American vision. Chapters 2 and 3 of this book look at the disastrous consequences of the vision at work - in the Middle East and in Europe. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 assess the limits of American power - soft military, economic, and moral. Chapter 7 discusses the problems of order and coexistence in a world that is not unipolar but increasingly plural. It speculates on the possible contributions and likely fate of both "Old America" and "New Europe" as models for organizing the future. America's own constitutional equilibrium, David Calleo argues, increasingly requires friendly balancing from Europe. Both sides of the West must liberate their imaginations from past triumphs to face their responsibilities to the new world and to each other."

"The book begins...

"The book begins by considering the rival ''lessons'' and trends that emerge from Europe's deeper past. It goes on to discuss the theories for managing the traditional state system, the transition from autocratic states to communitarian nation states, the enduring strength of nation states, and their uneasy relationship with capitalism. Calleo next focuses on the Cold War's dynamic legacies for Europe--an Atlantic Alliance, a European Union, and a global economy. These three systems now compete to define the future.

The book's third and major section examines how Europe has tried to meet the present challenges of Russian weakness and German reunification. Succeeding chapters focus on Maastricht and the Euro, on the impact of globalization on Europeanization, and on the EU's unfinished business--expanding into ''Pan Europe,'' adapting a hybrid constitution, and creating a new security system. Calleo presents three models of a new Europe--each proposing a different relationship with the U.S. and Russia. A final chapter probes how a strong European Union might affect the world and the prospects for American hegemony. This is a beautifully written book that offers rich insight into a critical moment in our history, whose outcome will shape the world long after our time."

"An exacting aud...

"An exacting audit by Calleo of the federal government's mismanagement of financial affairs, and of the resultant risks. Drawing on Washington's own data, Calleo explores how and why budget deficits have grown to levels that make them engines of national decline. He sheds light on a wealth of ad rem subjects- -e.g., changes in spending priorities over the 1950-90 period; exploitation of the dollar's international stature (i.e., borrowing abroad to avoid domestic adjustments); manipulative monetary policies (which relied on inflation to underwrite fiscal shortfalls); and the grave implications of current fiscal trends in the context of likely demographic, geopolitical, and socioeconomic developments. The author also puts the country's income/outgo situation in perspective by comparing its not altogether analogous expenditure patterns after WW II with those of France and Germany. Calleo concludes that inefficiency and waste rather than excessively self-indulgent consumption are root causes of US problems, and he decries unregulated markets that, in his view, have proved wholly inadequate substitutes for a stable currency and allied common goods. While unpersuaded that a peace dividend will make any real contribution to genuine prosperity, Calleo remains sanguine on the prospects for US renewal. His remedial prescriptions, however, are appreciably less specific than his detailed diagnosis. If nothing else, though, Calleo's principled plea for a more rational balance between the power to govern and the capacity of special-interest groups to obstruct merits consideration, as does his unabashed appeal that the electorate and its leaders embrace the generous, visionary ideals that long made America a tower of economic strength and a beacon of hope. A challenging, fully documented tract addressing the overleveraged and frequently dysfunctional state of the union."

Fall 2016 
Discussion clas...
Discussion class that provides a historical survey of major writers who have shaped economic and political thought from the late 18th century to the present. Close reading of classic texts from Rousseau, Smith, Ricardo, Coleridge, List, Marx, Lenin, J.S. Mill, Keynes, Schumpeter, and Hayek. Addresses cultural context and general world views. Requires frequent short papers. Useful for relating economic and politics and putting economic doctrines in general historical and philosophical context.
Spring 2017 
Surveys America...
Surveys American economic policy, domestic and foreign, and the ideas, events, and geopolitical and military concerns that have shaped it through successive administrations since World War II. Discusses the legacy of the interwar and wartime years. Subsequently tracks U.S. policy and foreign reactions to it from the Truman administration to the present. Blends history, economics, and international relations in an effort to explain the interplay in practice of economic ideas and events.