View Full Version : A Grand Strategy of Sustainment

03-21-2008, 10:39 PM
A Grand Strategy of Sustainment by Shawn Brimley (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/03/a-grand-strategy-of-sustainmen/) at SWJ Blog.

America has been adrift for too long. The attacks of September 11th did not “change everything,” but exacerbated the difficulty of articulating a purpose for American power since the Berlin Wall fell nearly two decades ago. America has suffered from strategic whiplash: the nebulousness of the post-Cold War era was rapidly replaced by a post-9/11 myopia on Islamist extremism and the so-called “war on terrorism.” This myopia lay at the root of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and it remains the chief obstacle preventing the emergence of a reasoned and pragmatic debate over the purpose of American power in the 21st century. The absence of a true grand strategy imperils America.

The Bush administration has pursued a foreign policy that is narrow in its view, negative in its purpose, and has produced negligible results. Americans deserve a grand strategy that is panoramic in view, positive in its purpose, and persuasive as a basis for the continued exercise of American power...

03-22-2008, 05:27 PM
Mr. Brimley says:

Early in its term, the Bush administration attempted to make a virtue out of the abdication of global leadership – preferring power over persuasion, isolation rather than inclusion, hubris rather than humility, and change rather than continuity.

A more objective assessment of the Bush strategy would point to the administration's belief in taking bold steps as a means of leading. Did they overdo it? Perhaps. Did the world fall in step? Certainly not. As Michael Desch once critiqued the Bush team for reading Cohen instead of Huntington, Brimley might better criticize them for reading about Theodore Roosevelt than Franklin Roosevelt. Both Desch and Brimley could then criticize the administration for only reading half of the works in question...

What's more curious to me is that Condoleezza rice displayed a prior inclination towards engagement as a means to leading in NATO that did not translate (on record at least) to global leadership when she became National Security Advisor. Now, as Secretary of State, she appears to be burdened by an Albatross of her own making.