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178 6 Post–Cold War Strategies International relations theories and American political traditions assumed only a supporting role during the Cold War as containment and deterrence of the Soviet Union dominated strategic thinking and forged a political consensus. Lacking a clear and agreed-upon perception of threat, theories and traditions reasserted themselves in the post–Cold War debate. This chapter begins with the national security strategy debate that followed the end of the Cold War. Nothing has yet to serve as a political rallying point as did the idea of containing Communism, and nothing appears on the horizon. Nonetheless, several alternative strategies have been proposed and debated. They differ as to whether American interventionism is the solution to or the cause of threats to national security. The alternatives also differ over the ends to which military means are applied. Some advocate the use of force whenever and wherever it might advance American interests , including economic advantage, social values, and the spread of democracy, arguing, “Why have a military if you can’t use it?” Others advocate more restraint, using force only to prevent war between great powers or only to defend the homeland. Alternative post–Cold War strategies are presented in the next section followed by the real strategies of the post–Cold War administrations. The chapter concludes with issues for future consideration. Strategic Alternatives The grand strategy alternatives are characterized below in terms of interests and objectives, major underlying premises, and preferred political and military instruments. They differ fundamentally on the reasons for using Post–Cold War Strategies 179 military force, ranging from the conservative to the liberal use of force. Post–Cold War strategies examined include primacy, collective security, selective engagement, and homeland defense. These summaries rely heavily on “Competing Visions for U.S. Grand Strategy” by Barry Posen and Andrew Ross.1 Two variants, cooperative security and offshore balancing, are also covered. Collective security is most strongly correlated with Wilsonian idealism . True global collective security was impossible during the bipolar Cold War due to the veto power in the un Security Council and the ensuing deadlock. But the strategy was reenergized by the end of the Cold War. Selective engagement contains the strains of realism, balance of power, Hamiltonian logic, and Kennan’s containment. Defensive realism and the isolationist thinking of Adams still resonate with many citizens and find voice in today’s restrictive homeland defense strategy, but they attracted little support from the policy elite until the global economic recession and resurgence of libertarianism. Global hegemonic primacy was also enabled and energized by the end of the Cold War and the “unipolar moment” that followed. Offensive realism predicts the progression from isolationism to primacy as the United States grew from weak power to lone superpower. The predilection to global hegemony can be seen in its precursor, regional hegemony, in Jackson’s bellicosity and desire to expand American empire farther westward under Manifest Destiny, and in the Monroe Doctrine with respect to the Western Hemisphere. And one can see the continuation of Nitze’s preponderance of power. Hegemonic Primacy Advocates of a primacy strategy, or hegemonic primacy strategy, see the rise of a peer competitor as the greatest threat to international order and, therefore, the greatest risk of war involving the United States.2 They seek to preserve the unipolar moment that arrived at the end of the bipolar Cold War. Furthermore, proponents believe that only a preponderance of American power ensures peace. Adherents of this school often refer to preponderance rather than primacy. The objective, then, is for the United States to act to retain a benign global hegemony and prevent the rise of competing powers. Primacy focuses on inhibiting (containing) Russia 180 National Security Strategies and China but includes inhibition of the European powers of Great Britain, Germany, and France, as well as the Asian powers of Japan and India. Proponents of the more restrictive strategies subscribe to the theory that states balance against power. If primacy were pursued, then the United States would be the power against which to balance. In the long term, the United States may find itself isolated when confronting rising powers. Primacy advocates are more likely to subscribe to the theory that states balance against threat. Primacists argue that by using force prudently the United States will be seen at worst as a benign, nonthreatening hegemon, and, therefore, states will not balance against it.3 Others assert that foreign nationalism will brace against even benign American hegemony and cause the...


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