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Dr. Barry Posen on American Grand Strategy

Falling on the heels of the Bacevich post, MIT’s  Dr. Barry Posen’s testimony before the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee for oversight calls for ” Restraint and Renewal” (PDF – guess not too many interventionists received a subcommittee invite).

Posen is a sharp thinker who aims here to deflate comfortable assumptions and a number of sacred cows – like the existence of NATO or security relationships with Israel and Japan. While much of his critique of American excess is reasonable, Posen’s alternative quasi-non interventionist grand strategy is predicated, like others in this vein, on lowballing estimates of the negative, unintended, consequences on an American strategic retraction on this scale. America pulling out of NATO military command and loosening ties with Japan and Israel will cause ripple effects in the international order.

Hat tip to Wiggins.

2 Responses to “Dr. Barry Posen on American Grand Strategy”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    "…lowballing estimates of the negative, unintended, consequences on an American strategic retraction on this scale. "

    Supposedly smart people who have no historical imagination are a threat to the Republic.

    The idea that creating a vacuum will be superior to the current American role is naive and perhaps inspired by an overly cynical appraisal of the existing American role.

    The centuries-old Anglo-American worldwide maritime order, currently called "globalization"  is the fundamental structure of the economic and political world we know.  Signalling that it is being dismantled, or is in retreat, will call forth many aspirants to fill the role we now play, regionally or more broadly.

    To ignore this element is the farthest thing from "realism".

  2. zen Says:

    Hi Lex,
    There’s an old phrase for a high degree of multipolarity: state of nature.
    Posen was more articulate and less extreme in enunciating a strategic perspective we tend to hear mostly from the paleoconservative, neo-isolationist, Right (Pat Buchanan, William Lind) and the antiwar, anti-American Left ( Noam Chomsky, Z Magazine). Neither group gives much thought to global economic flows or how security or it’s absence affects them, except perhaps to disparage and denounce globalization and/or capitalism in general and to cheer protectionist and autarkic daydreams.
    Posen presumably did not have that in mind here and was trying to warn about squandering strategic advantages and to  shake people into thinking outside of the box but what he proposed, at face value would have significant consequences.

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