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In The End of Grand Strategy, Simon Reich and Peter Dombrowski challenge the common view of grand strategy as unitary. They eschew prescription of any one specific approach, chosen from a spectrum that stretches from global primacy to restraint and isolationism, in favor of describing what America’s military actually does, day to day. They argue that a series of fundamental recent changes in the global system, the inevitable jostling of bureaucratic politics, and the practical limitations of field operations combine to ensure that each presidential administration inevitably resorts to a variety of strategies. Proponents of different American grand strategies have historically focused on the pivotal role of the Navy. In response, Reich and Dombrowski examine six major maritime operations, each of which reflects one major strategy. One size does not fit all, say the authors—the attempt to impose a single overarching blueprint is no longer feasible. Reich and Dombrowski declare that grand strategy, as we know it, is dead. The End of Grand Strategy is essential reading for policymakers, military strategists, and analysts and critics at advocacy groups and think tanks.
This book develops a new approach in explaining how a nation's Grand Strategy is constituted, how to assess its merits, and how grand strategies may be comparatively evaluated within a broader framework. The volume responds to three key problems common to both academia and policymaking. First, the literature on the concept of grand strategy generally focuses on the United States, offering no framework for comparative analysis. Indeed, many proponents of US grand strategy suggest that the concept can only be applied, at most, to a very few great powers such as China and Russia. Second, characteristically it remains prescriptive rather than explanatory, ignoring the central conundrum of why differing countries respond in contrasting ways to similar pressures. Third, it often understates the significance of domestic politics and policymaking in the formulation of grand strategies - emphasizing mainly systemic pressures. This book addresses these problems. It seeks to analyze and explain grand strategies through the intersection of domestic and international politics in ten countries grouped distinctively as great powers (The G5), regional powers (Brazil and India) and pivotal powers hostile to each other who are able to destabilize the global system (Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia). The book thus employs a comparative framework that describes and explains why and how domestic actors and mechanisms, coupled with external pressures, create specific national strategies. Overall, the book aims to fashion a valid, cross-contextual framework for an emerging research program on grand strategic analysis.
A nation's grand strategy rarely serves the best interests of all its citizens. Instead, every strategic choice benefits some domestic groups at the expense of others. When groups with different interests separate into opposing coalitions, societal debates over foreign policy become polarized along party lines. Parties then select leaders who share the priorities of their principal electoral and financial backers. As a result, the overarching goals and guiding principles of grand strategy, as formulated at the highest levels of government, derive from domestic coalitional interests. In The Political Economy of Grand Strategy, Kevin Narizny develops these insights into a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding the dynamics of security policy.The focus of this analysis is the puzzle of partisanship. The conventional view of grand strategy, in which state leaders act as neutral arbiters of the "national interest," cannot explain why political turnover in the executive office often leads to dramatic shifts in state behavior. Narizny, in contrast, shows how domestic politics structured foreign policymaking in the United States and Great Britain from 1865 to 1941. In so doing, he sheds light on long-standing debates over the revival of British imperialism, the rise of American expansionism, the creation of the League of Nations, American isolationism in the interwar period, British appeasement in the 1930s, and both countries' decisions to enter World War I and World War II.
Looking beyond the headlines to address the enduring grand strategic questions facing the United States today American foreign policy is in a state of upheaval. The rise of Donald Trump and his "America First" platform have created more uncertainty about America's role in the world than at any time in recent decades. From the South China Sea, to the Middle East, to the Baltics and Eastern Europe, the geopolitical challenges to U.S. power and influence seem increasingly severe—and America's responses to those challenges seem increasingly unsure. Questions that once had widely accepted answers are now up for debate. What role should the United States play in the world? Can, and should, America continue to pursue an engaged an assertive strategy in global affairs? In this book, a leading scholar of grand strategy helps to make sense of the headlines and the upheaval by providing sharp yet nuanced assessments of the most critical issues in American grand strategy today. Hal Brands asks, and answers, such questions as: Has America really blundered aimlessly in the world since the end of the Cold War, or has its grand strategy actually been mostly sensible and effective? Is America in terminal decline, or can it maintain its edge in a harsher and more competitive environment? Did the Obama administration pursue a policy of disastrous retrenchment, or did it execute a shrewd grand strategy focused on maximizing U.S. power for the long term? Does Donald Trump's presidency mean that American internationalism is dead? What type of grand strategy might America pursue in the age of Trump and after? What would happen if the United States radically pulled back from the world, as many leading academics—and, at certain moments, the current president—have advocated? How much military power does America need in the current international environment? Grappling with these kinds of issues is essential to understanding the state of America's foreign relations today and what path the country might take in the years ahead. At a time when American grand strategy often seems consumed by crisis, this collection of essays provides an invaluable guide to thinking about both the recent past and the future of America's role in the world.
Within a variety of historical contexts, The Shaping of Grand Strategy addresses the most important tasks states have confronted: namely, how to protect their citizens against the short-range as well as long-range dangers their polities confront in the present and may confront in the future. To be successful, grand strategy demands that governments and leaders chart a course that involves more than simply reacting to immediate events. Above all, it demands they adapt to sudden and major changes in the international environment, which more often than not involves the outbreak of great conflicts but at times demands recognition of major economic, political, or diplomatic changes. This collection of essays explores the successes as well as failures of great states attempting to create grand strategies that work and aims at achieving an understanding of some of the extraordinary difficulties involved in casting, evolving and adapting grand strategy to the realities of the world.
Historians and political scientists re-examine the conventional wisdom of grand strategies pursued by the great powers during the interwar years.

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