Cover image for Restraint : a new foundation for U.S. grand strategy
Restraint : a new foundation for U.S. grand strategy
Posen, Barry, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca, New York : Cornell University Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
xvi, 234 pages : map ; 25 cm.
Introduction: the evolution of post-Cold War US grand strategy -- What is grand strategy? -- The path to liberal hegemony -- The geo-strategic position of the United States -- Causes and consequences -- The perils of liberal hegemony -- Direct costs -- The balance of power -- The allies -- Identity politics and intervention -- Military power and intervention -- Overstated benefits -- Persistent problems -- The case for restraint -- The geo-political interests of the United States -- Nuclear weapons: dilemmas, dangers, opportunities -- The struggle with Al Qaeda and the enduring risk of international terrorism -- Implementing restraint in key regions -- The problems of transition to restraint -- Integrated reforms -- The military strategy of restraint -- Command of the commons -- The insights of maritime strategy -- Force structure -- Global force posture -- Affordable and effective -- Conclusion: a sustained debate -- Critiques of restraint -- Notes -- Index.
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JZ1312 .P67 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint , has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls "liberal hegemony," one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America's consistent overreaching, Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint in the future use of U.S. military strength.

After setting out the political implications of restraint as a guiding principle, Posen sketches the appropriate military forces and posture that would support such a strategy. He works with a deliberately constrained notion of grand strategy and, even more important, of national security (which he defines as including sovereignty, territorial integrity, power position, and safety). His alternative for military strategy, which Posen calls "command of the commons," focuses on protecting U.S. global access through naval, air, and space power, while freeing the United States from most of the relationships that require the permanent stationing of U.S. forces overseas.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Mapsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introduction: The Evolution of Post-Cold War U.S. Grand Strategyp. 1
The Path of Liberal Hegemonyp. 5
The Strategic Position of the United Statesp. 16
Causes and Consequencesp. 20
1 The Perils of Liberal Hegemonyp. 24
Direct Costsp. 24
The Balance of Powerp. 28
The Alliesp. 33
Identity Politics and Interventionp. 50
Military Power and Interventionp. 54
Overstated Benefitsp. 60
Persistent Problemsp. 65
2 The Case for Restraintp. 69
The Geopolitical Interests of the United Statesp. 69
Nuclear Weapons: Dilemmas, Dangers, and Opportunitiesp. 71
The Struggle with Al-Qaeda and the Enduring Risk of International Terrorismp. 83
Implementing Restraint in Key Regionsp. 87
The Problems of Transition to Restraintp. 129
Integrated Reformsp. 131
3 command of the Commons: The Military Strategy Force Structure, and Force Posture of Restraintp. 135
"Command of the Commons"p. 136
The Insights of Maritime Strategyp. 136
Force Structurep. 144
Global Force Posturep. 158
Affordable and Effectivep. 162
Conclusion: A Sustained Debate Critiques of Restraintp. 168
Notesp. 177
Indexp. 225