Working Group on Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy and Strategy

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Grand Strategy Essay Series

Complexity and the Misguided Search for Grand Strategy

by Amy Zegartvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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.

Grand Strategy Essay Series

Strategy’s First Steps

by Admiral Gary Rougheadvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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.

Thinking Historically about Grand Strategy

by David M. Kennedyvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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.

Thoughts on U.S. Strategy

by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberryvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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.

The Domestic Foundations of American Grand Strategy

by Mariano-Florentino Cuéllarvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

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.

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Cost of Foreign Intervention

by Abraham D. Sofaervia Defining Ideas
Thursday, December 5, 2013

What is the future of American grand strategy?

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

A Foreign Policy for the Future

by Amy Zegartvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In the post-9/11 world, the days of an American “grand strategy” are over.

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Latest Essay Series: Global Governance


Transnational terrorism, cyber-security, and Russian violation of accepted international norms in the Crimea have posed unique challenges for the United States. This set of essays 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.