Publication:
INSULATED SPHERES OF INTEGRATION: CONTINUITY AND CHANGE IN AMERICAN GRAND STRATEGY

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Authors
Sharp, Derek W.
Subjects
foreign policy
grand strategy
Washington administration
Truman administration
Clinton administration
integration
insulation
isolationism
selective engagement
cooperative security
primacy
internationalism
founders
constitution
spheres
liberal international order
republican security theory
geopolitics
Pax Americana
Alexander Hamilton
alliances
American revolution
Cold War
liberty
union
national interests
balance of power
world order
enlargement
engagement
Advisors
Walling, Karl F.
Date of Issue
2020-12
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
The determinants of American grand strategy are in flux. Geopolitically, the post–Cold War unipolar era in which the United States enjoyed unrivaled power is waning on account of China’s rise and Russia’s resurgence. Domestically, intractable political polarization and the election of Donald Trump are seen as signals that domestic consensuses on American grand strategy are deteriorating. This thesis explores the formulation of American grand strategy during periods of past geopolitical upheaval, so as to gain an understanding useful for asking better questions about its future. The cases examined include the American founding and Washington administrations; the beginning of the Cold War and the Truman administration; and the Clinton administration after the Cold War. This case study comparison utilized Clausewitzian critical analysis to examine if and how the United States has blended different grand-strategy archetypes and balanced integration and insulation at home and abroad. This thesis finds that the Founders and the Truman administration adhered to an “insulationist” paradigm whereby different grand strategy archetypes were blended in order to achieve a balance between integration and insulation. By contrast, the Clinton administration strained this logic in its pursuit of a grand strategy that emphasized integration and eschewed insulation. This thesis concludes with considerations for how the United States may craft its grand strategy for the future.
Type
Thesis
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Department
Defense Analysis (DA)
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. distribution is unlimited
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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