The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to the concept of grand strategy—the components of such strategies and the processes to develop them. The seminar will specifically examine American grand strategy. In looking at examples of US strategy—from the Founding to the present day—we will seek to understand why the leaders took the decisions they did, what the benefits and costs of these decisions were, what alternatives they may have had, and how they harnessed the tools at their disposal to achieve the objectives they set.

Image: General Douglas MacArthur observes the naval shelling of Incheon, Korea from USS Mt. McKinley, September 1950

Jakub Grygiel interviews Kiron Skinner on the Trump Doctrine


Jakub J. Grygiel

Jakub Grygiel is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of America. From 2017–18, he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. His most recent book is Return of the Barbarians: Confronting Non-State Actors from Ancient Rome to the Present.

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session



Discussion Questions:

  1. What is grand strategy? Is it important to policymakers?
  2. What are the foundations of a great power? Does it need a vision for itself? Or is material power sufficient?
  3. What is that vision, if any, in Federalist 8?



Discussion Questions:

  1. What was Wilson’s grand strategy? What was the purpose of force for him?
  2. What was Theodore Roosevelt’s vision?
  3. If they were different, how did they stem out of the same “foundation”? Or are they fundamentally different and even opposed to each other?



Discussion Questions:

  1. What were the choices for the U.S. after World War II? Does the U.S. have the luxury of choice? Why?
  2. What were the similarities and the differences between Mr. X and NSC-68?
  3. What are the goals, the means, and the ways of U.S. grand strategy advocated in NSC-68?

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