An American Grand Strategy of Prudent Internationalism
American grand strategy recently has swung from the high ambitions and maximalism of the George W. Bush freedom agenda to the minimalism and retrenchment of the Obama strategy. We now face the strategic confusion and unsatisfactory results of these extremes, to include consequences for our friends, allies, security, and ideals. There is therefore a need to propose bedrock, consensus principles that can guide a less polemical, more stable debate about America’s foreign policy and grand strategy during the 2016 electoral cycle for the presidency and a new Congress, and provide the foundation for a more stable and successful strategy. A sober middle ground of prudent internationalism would restore the post-1941 consensus on the importance of American global leadership, by taking bedrock guidance from George Washington’s strategic principle – endorsed by President Eisenhower in the nuclear age – that American policy about war, peace, and world affairs must always seek the right balance between our legitimate interests, and our exceptional ideals of liberty and a rules-based international order.