Editor: Ashley Thomas Lenihan
Publisher: Cambridge University Press – 359 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chanditram

“Government intervention into foreign takeovers of domestic companies is on the rise,” writes the author Ashley Thomas Lenihan. While the era of takeovers of one country by using military power may be waning (but has not ended, with the takeover by Russia of Crimea in 2014), a new era of gaining economic power by taking control of foreign companies, that began several decades ago, has been rising.

Such intervention by leaders of countries is not only against military and economic competitors, but also against their closest allies. In recent months for instance, U.S. President Donald Trump, while not fighting against direct takeover of U.S. companies by China or European countries, has been imposing steel and aluminum tariffs against them to minimize price competition.

In a sort of introductory summation of the theme of this book, it is explained that “states use intervention into cross-border mergers and acquisitions as a tool of statecraft to internally balance the economic and military power of other states through non-military means. This book tests this theory using quantitative and qualitative analysis of transactions in the United States, Russia, China, and fifteen European Union states.”

So, this is a very timely book, given the economic headlines in U.S. news media on ‘trade war’.

We urge readers to read the Introduction in full, particularly because it provides discussions and deeper understanding of important topics named below, as well as supporting evidence in the form of references listed at the end in its Notes section.

  • International Finance and International Security
  • Puzzling Behavior
  • Intervention in Empirical Context
  • Placing the Theory behind Intervention in Context
  • The Significance

To provide you a brief and broad overview of the contents of this significant and timely book, we list its components below – six chapters sandwiched between and Introduction and Conclusion:


  1. A Theory of Non-Military Internal Balancing
  2. The Numbers: Assessing the Motivations Behind State Intervention into Foreign Takeovers
  3. Unbounded Intervention: The State and the Blocked Deal
  4. Unbounded or Overbalancing? An Outlier Case
  5. Bounded Intervention: Mitigating Threats to National Security
  6. Non-Intervention and the “Internal” Intervention Alternative


The author of this book essentially puts forth the contention that in today’s modern world of international economic competition an important way to preserve economic security and promote prosperity is to prevent takeover of domestic companies by foreign-owned ones.

To increase our understanding of what intervention means, several types of intervention are presented, explored and discussed in its chapters.

One good characteristic of this book is that it provides a lot of detail and explanation in notes and reference materials. As a matter of fact, this book is a true delight for the scholar, with a long, 36-page-long list of References towards its end.

What better way to gain a deeper understanding of the causes, development, and possible and potential solutions to today’s international economic conflicts than to read this significant work? I highly recommend it for business people, policy makers, and the average thinking person.




Ashley Thomas Lenihan is a Fellow at the Center for International Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her research focuses on the relationship between foreign direct investments from an international relations perspective