Grand Strategy Essay Series

Grand Strategy Essay Series


The Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy examines the array of challenges confronting the United States across the globe including the rise of a potential competitor, a rate of technological advances unseen since the nineteenth century, the proliferation of nuclear and biological capabilities, and the enduring threat of transnational terrorism. The group’s goal is to map the current policy terrain so as to arrive at a better understanding of those challenges and the means with which to address them.

Is it possible today to craft a single, grand strategy that would allow the United States to shape a radically changing world? This essay series, drawing on work from the group’s first meeting on October 18, 2013, dedicates itself to that question and to examining the components and viability of such a strategy.


The Domestic Foundations of American Grand Strategy
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar discusses domestic sources of national power and identifies four issues that should loom large in discussions of America’s global strategy–education, immigration, fiscal policy, and institutional capacity.

Thoughts on U.S. Strategy
Karl Eikenberry examines the country’s past national security strategies and finds that their articulation of American interests has been consistent since the early days of the Cold War. What has changed is the underlying set of assumptions about U.S. economic strength and the domestic foundations of power that allow us to pursue those interests.

Thinking Historically about Grand Strategy
David M. Kennedy places the group’s work within a historical context, showing that “[i]solationism was, arguably, the most long-lived and successful grand strategy” in the nation’s history. One lesson from that history that might prove instructive today is that sharp calculations of cost should be weighed against the prospective benefits of any foreign policy initiative

Strategy’s First Steps
Admiral Gary Roughead argues that a discussion of grand strategy must start with an honest and accurate assessment of the country’s current global position: “When in a precarious navigational situation at sea, the first question asked is, where am I?” He identifies five current and anticipated trends that should shape that assessment.

Complexity and the Misguided Search for Grand Strategy
Amy Zegart argues that the number, identity, and magnitude of dangers threatening American interests are wildly uncertain, and that this makes searching for a single grand strategy unwise.

An Orienting Principle for Foreign Policy
Stephen D. Krasner on the deficiencies of "Grand Strategy".