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Chapter

Stefanie Ortmann and Nick Whittaker

This chapter discusses the concept of geopolitics and its role in formulating and implementing a grand strategy. It first provides an overview of the relationship between grand strategy and geography before explaining how the meanings of grand strategy and geopolitics evolved in response to changing world historical contexts. It then considers the reasons why geopolitics and grand strategy are linked to the politics of great powers and why these concepts are currently making a comeback. In particular, it examines the revival of geopolitical thinking after the Second World War and how geopolitical reasoning informed containment as a grand strategy during the cold war. It also takes a look at the pitfalls and problems associated with formulating a grand strategy, especially in today's complex international environment. Finally, it argues that there is a need to rethink geopolitics with the ultimate goal of balancing ends and means.

Chapter

Stefanie Ortmann and Nick Whittaker

This chapter discusses the concept of geopolitics and its role in formulating and implementing a grand strategy. It first provides an overview of the relationship between grand strategy and geography, before explaining how the meanings of grand strategy and geopolitics evolved in response to changing world historical contexts. It then considers the reasons why geopolitics and grand strategy are linked to the politics of great powers and why these concepts are currently making a comeback. In particular, it examines the revival of geopolitical thinking after the Second World War and how geopolitical reasoning informed containment as a grand strategy during the cold war. The chapter also takes a look at the pitfalls and problems associated with formulating a grand strategy, especially in today’s complex international environment. Finally, it argues that there is a need to rethink geopolitics with the ultimate goal of balancing ends and means.

Chapter

Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Stephen G. Brooks

This chapter focuses on the debate over whether U.S. power is in decline and if so, what is the best grand strategy that the United States needs to pursue. Three leading experts offer their views on the issue and its significance for U.S. foreign policy: Christopher Layne, William Wohlforth, and Steven Brooks. Layne argues that the United States is now in inexorable decline and attributes it to the end of unipolarity. He identifies two specific drivers of American decline, one external and one domestic. The external driver of U.S. decline is the emergence of new great powers in world politics, while domestic drivers include debt, deficits, and the dollar’s uncertain future. In contrast, Wohlforth and Brooks assert that the United States remains the sole superpower, and that multipolarity is not just around the corner.

Chapter

Robyn Eckersley

This chapter examines the evolution of U.S. foreign policy on environmental issues over four decades, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. It first considers U.S. environmental multilateralism and foreign environment policy before explaining how the United States, despite being widely regarded as an environmental leader during the Cold War period, has increasingly become an environmental laggard in the post-Cold War period. The chapter attributes the decline in U.S. leadership to the country’s new status as the sole superpower, the more challenging character of the new generation of global environmental problems that emerged in the late 1980s, the structure of the U.S. economy and political system, and key features of U.S. grand strategy.

Chapter

This chapter examines some of the competing theories that have been advanced to explain U.S. foreign policy. In trying to explain the foreign policy of the United States, a number of competing theories have been developed by International Relations scholars. Some theories focus on the role of the international system in shaping American foreign policy while others argue that various domestic factors are the driving force. The chapter first considers some of the obstacles to constructing a theory of foreign policy before discussing some of the competing theories of American foreign policy, including defensive realism, offensive realism, liberalism, Marxism, neoclassical realism, and constructivism. The chapter proceeds by reviewing the theoretical debate over the origins of the Cold War and the debate over the most appropriate grand strategy that the United States should follow in the post-Cold War era.

Chapter

Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He

This chapter examines the limitations and problems of strategic studies with respect to security challenges in the global South. It first considers the ethnocentrism that bedevils strategic studies and international relations before discussing mainstream strategic studies during the cold war. It then looks at whether strategic studies kept up with the changing pattern of conflict, where the main theatre is the non-Western world, with particular emphasis on the decline in armed conflicts after the end of the cold war, along with the problem of human security and how it has been impacted by technology. It also explores the issue of whether to take into account non-military threats in strategic studies and the debates over strategic culture and grand strategy in China and India. It concludes by proposing Global International Relations as a new approach to strategic studies that seeks to adapt to the strategic challenges and responses of non-Western countries.

Chapter

Oriana Skylar Mastro

This chapter considers how China’s grand strategy has evolved over time from strategies of survival under Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to regaining its standing as a major power under Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping. It looks at the way Xi’s China has been particularly proactive about building Chinese economic, military, and political power and the way he has leveraged this power to make China a global power and a dominant power in Asia. In addition to external threats and opportunities, it considers how domestic factors have also shaped the contours of Chinese grand strategy. The chapter then analyses how debates about Chinese intentions, in particular towards international institutions and military expansion, colour perspectives on the potential impact of Chinese grand strategy. The main focus is on the evolution of Chinese grand strategy, its drivers, and its implications.

Chapter

19. Strategic Studies  

The West and the Rest

Amitav Acharya and Jiajie He

This chapter examines the limitations and problems of strategic studies with respect to security challenges in the global South. It first considers the ethnocentrism that bedevils strategic studies and international relations before discussing mainstream strategic studies during the cold war. It then looks at whether strategic studies has kept up with the changing pattern of conflict, where the main theatre is the non-Western world, with particular emphasis on the decline in armed conflicts after the end of the cold war, along with the problem of human security and how it has been impacted by technology. The chapter also explores the issue of whether to take into account non-military threats in strategic studies and the debates over strategic culture and grand strategy in China and India. It concludes by proposing Global International Relations as a new approach to strategic studies that seeks to adapt to the strategic challenges and responses of non-Western countries.