I will have some comments on Big Steve’s presentation in an update here later tonight.
The presentation was informative and thorough and I often found myself in agreement.
Liked Metz’s emphasis of affordability/efficiency, vertical/horizontal and especially internal vs. external variables and would suggest that in the future he compact elsewhere to expand that section. Perhaps this is not the most significant aspect for the military officers that come to study at NDU and SSI, but the internal-external dynamic is the “third rail” of grand strategic thought – the connection between the domestic political conception of what Walter Lippmann called “The Good Society” and the capacity of that good society to survive and thrive in a hostile world ( John Boyd emphasized this point – what Metz calls “augmenting”, Boyd referred to variously as “constructive”, “pumping up”, “attracting”or “vitality and growth” and considered it a definitive characteristic of grand strategy).
When there is what Steve in his lecture called a “strong consensus” on grand strategy, a nation’s state and political economy are in sync with its foreign relations and military posture. For example, the Founding Fathers, aware of America’s great potential but weak condition, erected the Constitution and Federalism, Hamilton’s plan for economic development and Washington’s “no entangling alliances”, modest navy and small military establishment. FDR and Truman realized that the American system of liberal capitalist democracy could not last in a world dominated by depression, totalitarianism and autarky and delivered the Atlantic Charter, the UN, Bretton Woods, the IMF and World Bank, the GATT, the Marshall Plan and NATO, imparting American values into global institutions and importing global institutions into America. Where there is a “weak consensus” – as there is today – it is because the nation is divided on the nature of a good society and/or its role in the world leaving grand strategy flawed or absent.