The United States today is the most powerful nation in the
world, perhaps even stronger than Rome was during its heyday. It is
likely to remain the world's preeminent power for at least several
decades to come. What behavior is appropriate for such a powerful
state? To answer this question, Robert J. Art concentrates on
"grand strategy"-the deployment of military power in both peace and
war to support foreign policy goals.
He first defines America's contemporary national interests and
the specific threats they face, then identifies seven grand
strategies that the United States might contemplate, examining each
in relation to America's interests. The seven are:
•dominion-forcibly trying to remake the world in America's own
• global collective security-attempting to keep the peace
•regional collective security-confining peacekeeping efforts to
• cooperative security-seeking to reduce the occurrence of war
by limiting other states' offensive
• isolationism-withdrawing from all military involvement beyond
•containment-holding the line against aggressor states; and
•selective engagement-choosing to prevent or to become involved
only in those conflicts that pose a threat to the country's
Art makes a strong case for selective engagement as the most
desirable strategy for contemporary America. It is the one that
seeks to forestall dangers, not simply react to them; that is
politically viable, at home and abroad; and that protects all U.S.
interests, both essential and desirable. Art concludes that
"selective engagement is not a strategy for all times, but it is
the best grand strategy for these times."
Subjects: Political Science
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