Hertog Foundation | 2018
Classic strategic thinking, in the Western tradition, is not about rigid doctrines – realism, liberal internationalism, etc. – and the debates between them. Instead, it encourages statesmen to clarify larger principles and aims for their state about war, peace, and justice; and to develop the judgment to pursue those principles in the dynamic and confusing circumstances of a particular time and place.
This seminar will investigate the causes of war and peace, and some of the strategies that states and leaders have pursued to contend with armed conflict and promote international order, stability, and justice. It will consist of two sessions per day over a one-week period. Each morning, students will discuss readings by two great theorists of strategy – Thucydides and Machiavelli – and then classic American statements, all with a view toward asking how a liberal democracy should conceive of grand strategy and the kind of strategic thinking that statesmen in liberal democracies must undertake to serve both interests and ideals. Each afternoon, students will participate in a seminar led by an expert or policymaker to help probe the relevance of the seminar’s broad themes to the challenges that America faces today.