New Voices in Grand Strategy: Michael J. Zak Lecture Series

New Voices in Grand Strategy

Bottom Line: Building on past efforts to identify the major voices in American foreign policy, the Center for a New American Security has identified a broad set of newly emerging voices to contribute their vision of American grand strategy. In this post 2016 election timeframe wherein a historically divisive American public is torn on America’s engagement in the world, this effort is particularly timely to promote a wide depth of foreign policy opinion for the country to engage.

Key questions over what is in the country's national interest permeate the public sphere. They range from the true degree of foreign policy threats, the cost in not just lives but finances that America should bear, what values and interests should inform America’s action, and the best approaches for achieving these and many more national security goals. This compilation report seeks to spark a lasting foreign policy debate that reflects a broad approach to these pressing questions.

A new generation of thinkers, strategists, academics, and policymakers are not constrained by Cold War thinking, but rather provide fresh insight into strategic, and alternative, ways ahead in American foreign policy. The essays in this volume are deliberatively provocative. They identify different and specific approaches. The first seven contributions seek to ignite dialogue into America's role in the world today.

The following will be go-to resource for those invested in paving the way forward for American grand strategy. 

Power and Pragmatism: Reforming American Foreign Policy for the 21st Century - Emma Ashford, Cato Institute

“…Perhaps the most important driving force in U.S. foreign policy today is inertia. Path dependence locks America into alliances and security commitments with unreliable partners, strategically unwise military conflicts, and policies better designed for the unipolar or Cold War eras."

Grand Strategy for a New Twilight Struggle - Hal Brands, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

"Thirty years after the Cold War ended, the world is fracturing and America’s principal grand strategic challenge is once again high-stakes, long-term competition against formidable revisionist states – China and Russia."

Passing the Torch: Criteria for Implementing a Grand Strategy of Offshore Balancing - Jasen J. Castillo, Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University

"Since the end of the Cold War, the consensus in Washington holds that a robust American military presence abroad sets the foundation for a peaceful, perhaps even liberal, international order."

A U.S. Grand Strategy for a Values-Driven Foreign Policy - Kate Kizer, Win Without War

"It is time for a bold reimagining of the United States’ role in the world based on an honest, unparalleled analysis of U.S. conduct since the end of the Cold War. This pivotal moment requires the United States to put forth a vision for overseas engagement rooted in values-driven principles."

Military Intervention and the Future of American Grand Strategy - Rebecca Friedman Lissner,  Strategic and Operational Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College

"The costs – in blood, in treasure, in national pride and prestige – exacted by recent wars have placed military interventions at the center of debates over the future of American grand strategy, and rightfully so."

Does America Need a Foreign Policy? - Jeremy Shapiro, European Council on Foreign Relations

"America is at once the country that needs a foreign policy the least and yet has it the most. But the return of geopolitical competition, the emergence of new powers, and pressing issues at home mean that it is not clear the situation can continue."

Requiem for a Dream: American Grand Strategy, 1991–2018 - Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, Boston University

“…On the core issue of whether American grand strategy has left the United States in a more secure position compared with plausible alternatives, America’s foreign engagement has been premised on faulty assumptions, implemented in problematic ways, and focused on secondary issues."

View the full report here