The promise and pitfalls of grand strategy

Brands, Hal, 1983-

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Hal Brands
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication Carlisle, PA : Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, [2012]
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (vii, 67 pages)
  • ISBNs 1584875437, 9781584875437
  • OCLC ocn809181544


  • What is "grand strategy," and why is it seemingly so important and so difficult? This monograph explores the concept of grand strategy as it has developed over the past several decades. It explains why the concept is so ubiquitous in discussions of present-day foreign policy, examines why American officials often find the formulation of a successful grand strategy to be such an exacting task, and explores the ways in which having a grand strategy can be both useful and problematic. It illustrates these points via an analysis of two key periods in modern American grand strategy -- the Truman years at the outset of the Cold War, and the Nixon-Kissinger years in the late 1960s and 1970s -- and provides several suggestions for how U.S. officials might approach the challenges of grand strategy in the 21st century.


  • "August 2012."
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 54-67).


  • Introduction -- Understanding grand strategy. Why is grand strategy so important? -- Why is grand strategy so difficult? -- Truman and the "golden age" -- The heroic statesman : grand strategy in the Kissinger years -- Implications : grand strategy as a national endeavor. There is no good alternative to grand strategy -- Start with first principles -- Think of grand strategy as a process, not an unalterable blueprint -- Bring planners and operators together -- Embrace the democratic messiness of grand strategy -- Keep expectations realistic
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