Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy

Foreign Policy and Strategy

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“Failed States and Realistic Expectations,” with Stephen D. Krasner

interview with Stephen D. Krasnervia Analysis
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why America’s approach to failed states has been overly ambitious.

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“Rethinking Failed States” with James Fearon

interview with James D. Fearonvia Analysis
Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When does chaos abroad require an American response?

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“The Challenges of Nation Building,” with Francis Fukuyama

interview with Francis Fukuyamavia Analysis
Monday, March 16, 2015

Why American efforts overseas so often fail.

Rockets
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Stop Drinking The Weak Sauce

by Amy Zegartvia Foreign Policy
Monday, February 23, 2015

Washington’s paranoia over weak and failing states is distracting it from the real national security threats looming on the horizon.

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A Grand Strategy for Failed States

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How should the United States handle threats posed by countries like Yemen, Syria, and Nigeria? 

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Our mistake: Thinking That All Countries Should Be Structured Like U.S.

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Los Angeles Times
Thursday, January 8, 2015

The United States has the most potent military in terms of firepower and operational capacity in history. Our military overthrew Saddam Hussein and crushed the Taliban in a matter of weeks. Our forces can direct a rocket from Nevada through a window in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and nimbly set up nearly 20 Ebola treatment centers in Liberia.

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Managing the Cyber Security Threat

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The cyber threat is part of a transnational game, with low barriers of entry, increasing sophistication, increasing cost, and no prospect that any state will be victorious.  The U.S. needs to manage the risk by focusing on those aspects of cyber insecurity that relate to commerce and critical infrastructure, leaving traditional forms of intelligence and military activities unregulated; and by allowing private companies and individuals to use strong encryption or open source software without built-in vulnerabilities. 

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Transnational Terrorism

by Stephen D. Krasnervia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Given the low probability of a mass casualty terrorist attack and the lack of new attacks since 9/11, the U.S. is probably devoting too many resources to fighting terrorism. However, no political leader could endorse this conclusion, so the challenge of counterterrorism policy is channeling the political will terrorism engenders effectively.

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Moral Hazard and the Obama Doctrine

by James D. Fearonvia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The U.S. war against ISIL risks helping the enemy in the long run by lessening locals’ incentives to develop their own military and state capabilities, and that it also helps with the enemy’s recruitment and PR. The more the U.S. does militarily, the less our friends and allies in the region do.

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Thoughts on Unconventional Threats and Terrorism

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Analysis
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The term “unconventional threat” has often been an imprecise classification tool and has led to a focus on tactics at the expense of strategy in the U.S. struggle against transnational terrorists groups like Al Qaeda.  Combating transnational terrorism requires properly evaluating the threat terrorism poses, a deep understanding of geopolitical context surrounding a transnational terrorist group, and a willingness to be flexible in the tools used to mitigate risk, including focusing on improving countermeasures in the homeland. 

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Latest Essay Series: Unconventional Threats


Transnational terrorism, cyber-security, and Russian violation of accepted international norms in the Crimea have posed unique challenges for the United States.  This essay series suggest how these threats might best be understood and met.

The Hoover Institution's Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy will explore an array of foreign policy topics over a two-year period. Our goal is to develop orienting principles about the most important policy challenges to better serve America's interests.

The certainties of the Cold War, such as they were, have disappeared. The United States now confronts several historically unique challenges, including the rise of a potential peer competitor, a rate of technological change unseen since the 19th century, the proliferation of nuclear and biological capabilities, and the possible joining of these capabilities with transnational terrorist movements. There has been no consensus on a grand strategy or even a set of principles to address specific problems. Reactive and ad hoc measures are not adequate.