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Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice
The Need for an Effective American Foreign Policy


  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107442214

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About the Authors
  • This book explores fundamental questions about grand strategy, as it has evolved across generations and countries. It provides an overview of the ancient era of grand strategy and a detailed discussion of its philosophical, military, and economic foundations in the modern era. The author investigates these aspects through the lenses of four approaches - those of historians, social scientists, practitioners, and military strategists. The main goal is to provide contemporary policy makers and scholars with a historic and analytic framework in which to evaluate and conduct grand strategy. By providing greater analytical clarity about grand strategy and describing its nature and its utility for the state, this book presents a comprehensive theory on the practice of grand strategy in order to articulate the United States' past, present, and future purpose and position on the world stage.

    • Develops an understanding of how grand strategy has evolved on three levels of analysis: the international system, the character of the nation-state, and its domestic political system and culture
    • Uses a series of case studies from ancient strategists of Sun Tzu and Thucydides through contemporary examples of George W. Bush and Barack Obama in order to explore how states, empires, and thinkers have articulated and implemented grand strategy
    • Explores in detail how grand strategy evolved in American foreign policy as a tension between domestic and foreign policy priorities
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'An ambitious work, which reflects deep and wide reading in history and theory, makes a bold and compelling case for a rethinking of the first principles of American foreign policy. A particularly useful work when America's role in the world, and the way Americans think about it, is in flux.' Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies

    'William Martel's Grand Strategy in Theory and Practice represents a major contribution to the debate about grand strategy. This study - a must-read for scholars and policy makers - establishes that he is a pre-eminent thinker on the critical influence of grand strategy on the design and conduct of foreign policy.' Admiral James Stavridis USN (retired), Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Massachusetts

    'At a time when growing threats and constrained defense resources require a well-formulated and well-implemented national security strategy to protect America's interests, Professor Martel has written an impressive book on grand strategy that will serve as a valuable reference for policy makers.' Kelly Ayotte, United States Senator

    'William C. Martel has written a masterful and sweeping account of the elusive search for an American grand strategy. As Americans seek to chart their course in a turbulent 21st century, Martel's insightful work is an indispensable guide.' Nicholas Burns, Harvard University, Massachusetts and former Under Secretary of State

    'In this important study about grand strategy and American foreign policy, William Martel makes a valuable contribution to the ongoing policy debate about the United States' role on the world stage. Martel provides timely guidance for American decision makers in providing for the security and wellbeing of the United States and our country's international partners. His principles to govern grand strategy soberly weighs the capability of the United States to reconcile American ends and means.' John H. Maurer, Alfred Thayer Mahan Professor, Strategy and Policy Department, Naval War College

    'Today, America's grand strategy isn't very grand and not much of a strategy. Bill Martel offers one clear and powerful prescription for keeping the nation safe, free and prosperous for the long-term - ideas that deserve a hearing.' Jay Carafano, Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107442214
    • length: 530 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 178 x 29 mm
    • weight: 1.03kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Contemporary classics in American grand strategy
    Part I. Makers of Grand Strategy:
    3. Foundations of grand strategy
    4. Ancient and modern eras of grand strategy
    5. Grand strategies of empire in the modern era
    6. Revolutionary and nuclear eras of grand strategy
    Part II. Makers of American Grand Strategy:
    7. Building domestic foundations of American power: Washington to Lincoln
    8. Restraining sources of disorder: Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    9. Reinforcing alliances and partnerships: Truman to Reagan
    10. Drifting between principles: Bush to Obama
    Part III. Conclusion:
    11. The making of a future American grand strategy.

  • Author

    William C. Martel, Tufts University, Massachusetts
    William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts. His research and teaching interests are in international security and public policy. He is the author of Victory in War: Foundations of Strategy (2011). Martel was a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College and served on the professional staff of the RAND Corporation in Washington, DC. He also served as an advisor to the National Security Council from 2002 to 2003. From 2007 to 2010, he was a consultant for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the US Air Force, and the USAF Scientific Advisory Board, and he served on the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Advisory Committee.

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