Comparative Grand Strategies: A Framework and Cases
Oxford : Oxford University Press
grand strategy, comparative approach,, major powers, pivotal powers, rationalism, constructivism
The study of grand strategy has historically been confined to a few great powers—preponderantly, the United States, China, and Russia. In contrast, this volume introduces readers to the novel field of “comparative grand strategy.” Its co-editors offer a framework that expands the analysis beyond a traditional rationalist approach to incorporate significant cultural factors that influence strategists as they prioritize threats and opportunities in the global system. This framework then combines these factors with domestic political influences often understated or overlooked in the international relations literature. It considers both how grand strategy is actually formulated and the varied instruments used to implement it. Applying this framework, the volume’s remaining contributors then examine how grand strategy is conceived, formulated, and implemented by ten states. These consist of the United Nations G5 members and five other states “pivotal” to global or regional economic development and security. This group is composed of Brazil and India—two regional powers operating in very different security environments—and Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, who confront each other in a truly existential conflict. Departing from a state-based analysis, an eleventh case study examines the European Union—an organization that lacks many of the trappings of a conventional state but which is able to call upon more resources than most. The volume’s concluding chapter points to both the theoretical and empirical areas of convergence and divergence highlighted by these chapters, and the prospective questions for future analysis in the emergent field of comparative grand strategy.