James Lee

Ph.D., Princeton University


I am a scholar of international relations with research interests at the intersection of international political economy and international security. My research, which has been published in the Journal of Strategic Studies and the Journal of Chinese Political Science, examines the politics of great power rivalry in the Cold War and the Peloponnesian War to inform the understanding of American grand strategy. I am currently a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, which is based at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego.

I received my Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 2018 and subsequently held a fellowship in the Max Weber Program for Postdoctoral Studies at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. I wrote my dissertation on the geopolitics of U.S. foreign aid during the Cold War, focusing on how the United States’ involvement in the postwar reconstruction and development of East Asia led to the creation of the capitalist developmental state in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. I am currently working on a book that builds on these findings by situating East Asia in the context of the global Cold War, highlighting the historical connection between the developmental state and the Marshall Plan and comparing Europe and East Asia as theaters of American grand strategy. The conclusion of the book will apply my historical research to contemporary U.S. foreign policy in a time of renewed great power competition in East Asia.