Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Durham, NC
more on definitions
“The word strategy has acquired a universality which has robbed it of meaning, and left it only with banalities...One of the reasons we are unsure what war is is that we are unsure about what strategy is or is not. It is not policy; it is not politics; it is not diplomacy. It exists in relation to all three, but it does not replace them.”
In an upcoming article for Contemporary Security Policy, I've chosen to stick to the following definition: strategy is the process of using military and non-military means to accomplish the desired political ends in a conflict; it is first and foremost a pragmatic enterprise whose role is to show the ways in which resources are employed to achieve the desired ends set by policy.
I personally don't like using the word grand strategy as a synonym to "foreign policy". It makes more sense in my opinion to think of strategy instrumentally, as something that helps one use the resources at its disposal to achieve the desired goals determined by its foreign and national security policy.
In the academic world, one of the most often quoted definitions comes from political scientist Barry Posen: "A grand strategy is a nation-state’s theory about how to produce security for itself." Another common one comes from historian Paul Kennedy and moves in the direction of using grand strategy and foreign policy interchangeably: "the crux of grand strategy lies in policy, that is, in the capacity of the nation's leaders to bring together all of the elements, both military and non-military, for the preservation and enhancement of the nation's long-term (that is, in wartime and peacetime) interests"
Ionut C. Popescu
Doctoral Student, Duke University - Political Science Department