A Concert-Balance Strategy for a Multipolar World

Autumn 2008 |
The United States has to prepare itself to cooperate in the interest of security with other major powers either as member of a great-power concert or as a participant in an alliance against one or more powerful aggressors.
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The United States is a superpower in search of a strategy. Following the end of the Cold War, no new grand strategy has won the bipartisan support that underpinned America’s strategy of containment from President Truman to President Reagan. Enthusiastic promoters of globalization occasionally argue that international trade will be a panacea for conflict, at least among developednations.1 The neoconservative vision of unilateral US global hegemony always lacked adequate military forces and funding to realize its ambitious goals.2 Now, in the aftermath of the Iraq War, the hegemony strategy also lacks publicsupport.3 Most critics of the hegemony strategy, however, have failed to propose a credible alternative capable of guiding US national security.4

The philosophical void at the highest levels of American statecraft should be of particular concern for America’s armed forces. If, as Clausewitz wrote, war is policy by other means, then the purposes and structure of the US military cannot be debated or planned except in the context of a larger vision of America’s goals in the world. The claim that following 11 September 2001 the United States is engaged in a “Long War” or a “Global War on Terrorism” provides little guidance, because minimizing the threat from al Qaeda and other jihadists is primarily a matter for intelligence agencies, police, and first responders, with the military playing a critical but supporting role.

A new grand strategy for the United States should be compatible with the nation’s fundamental values and capable of achieving American goals in the world order that will emerge in the decades ahead. Neither the strategy of US hegemony nor two proposed alternatives, neo-isolationism and offshore balancing, meet these tests. The United States needs to prepare itself for a multi-polar world in which it is not a solitary hegemon but rather one of several great powers, even if it is the most powerful for decades to come. And the United States has to prepare itself to cooperate in the interest of security with other major powers either as member of a great-power concert or as a participant in an alliance against one or more powerful aggressors. Because similar military capabilities would be required in either a concert of power or a balance of power strategy, this approach can be defined as a concert-balance strategy for a multi-polar world.

US Strategy: Make the World Safe for Democracy

Following World War II, the influence of continental European conceptions of power politics, advocated by émigré realists such as Nicholas Spykman, Hans Morgenthau, and Henry Kissinger, led to the neglect of the unique American tradition of grand strategy which views the purpose of American foreign policy as shaping an environment favorable to the preservation of the United States as a civilian, liberal, commercial, and democratic republic. Making the world “safe for democracy,” in the words of Woodrow Wilson, was not a utopian delusion, as European-style realists often claim, but a practical effort to preserve the kind of geopolitical environment in which the fragile institutions of a democratic republic with a free-enterprise economy would survive.5

Although the term “garrison state” was coined by American sociologist Harold Lasswell in 1941, the fear that the United States would be forced by foreign threats to become a militarized regime has haunted American statesmen since the founding of the republic. A hostile hegemon that dominated Europe, Asia, or both might force Americans to remodel their republic into a “Fortress America,” in which citizens reluctantly obtained security at the expense of civil liberties, economic freedom, and legislative and judicial oversight. A Fortress America could also be the result of America’s repeated participation in costly and violent balance of power conflicts such as the two World Wars and the Cold War.

To avoid the necessity of defensive militarization resulting from frequent participation in balance of power wars, the United States pursued a policy of “non-entanglement” in the nineteenth century, creating its own sphere of influence in North America while staying out of European conflicts. In the twentieth century, the prospect of German or Soviet hegemony beyond North America overcame American reluctance to intervene in the Old World. Walter Lippmann, who served in the Woodrow Wilson Administration, wrote that if Germany won World War I “the defense of the Western Hemisphere would require immense armaments over and above those needed in the Pacific, and that America would have to live in a perpetual state of high and alert military preparedness. It was in this very concrete and practical sense . . . that a German victory in 1917 would have made the world unsafe for the American democracies from Canada to the Argentine.”6 In President Wilson’s own words to his adviser Colonel Edward M. House, “I fGermany won I twould change the course of our civilization and make the United States a military nation . . . .”7 In the years between the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, US internationalists similarly argued that in an Axis-dominated world the United States would be forced to become a garrison state. In You Can’t Do Business with Hitler (1941), Douglas Miller, a US diplomat who had served in Germany, wrote: “We should have to be a whole nation of ‘Minutemen,’ ready to rush to arms at the first sign of invasion.”8 The same argument was made in NSC-68, the Truman Administration’s blueprint for the policy of containing the Soviet Union: “As the Soviet Union mobilized the military resources of Eurasia, increased its relative military capabilities, and heightened its threat to our security, some [Americans] would be tempted to accept ‘peace’ on its terms, while many would seek to defend the United States by creating a regimented system which would permit the assignment of a tremendous part of our resources to defense. Under such a state of affairs our national morale would be corrupted and the integrity and vitality of our system subverted.”9 In his farewell address to the American people on 17 January 1961, President Eisenhower, while insisting that the Soviet Union was to blame for the defensive militarization of the United States, worried about the long-term effects of militarization on American society: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience . . . . We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”10

The goal of American statesmen including Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt was not simply to thwart a bid for hegemony by a hostile power or a hostile alliance; it was to replace a system of warring great powers with a concert of power, or in Wilson’s words “a community of power.”11 The idea behind the League of Nations after World War I and the United Nations after World War II was that a small number of great powers would cooperate to police the world rather than battle to carve it up. If one or more great powers launched a campaign of aggression, like Germany in both World Wars and the Soviet Union after 1945, then instead of a concert of power there would need to be a balance of power alliance against the aggressive states. In a multi-polar world, the system can go from concert of power to balance of power and back. Once a former aggressor is defeated, it can be rehabilitated and encouraged to resume a constructive role as a member of the great-power concert. Even in the absence of a global concert, the United States can take part in regional concerts, in areas with multiple great powers such as East Asia and Europe.

The concert of power and the balance of power strategies, then, are complementary, not contradictory. The United States prefers a peaceful world in which all great powers cooperate in a concert; but the United States also has to be prepared for the possibility that one or more other great powers will become hostile. For this reason, it makes sense to speak of a single “concert balance” strategy.

This assumes, to be sure, that grand strategy is first and foremost about US relations with other great powers. That assumption is necessary, because the potential costs of great-power conflict dwarf those of all other kinds, including terrorism by stateless groups, individuals, and minor powers. Unless it is advocated that great-power conflict has vanished forever, the primary focus of American grand strategy should be on cooperation--and, where necessary, Conflict--with other great powers in a multipolar system of states.

The Hegemony Strategy

The concert-balance strategy can be contrasted with the hegemony strategy associated with neoconservative strategic thinkers and adopted as official policy by the administration of President George W. Bush. Both the concert-balance strategy and the hegemony strategy seek to provide a secure world order in which American values and institutions can flourish. But they seek this common goal by radically different means.

According to proponents of the hegemony strategy, the best way to achieve a world safe for American democracy is for the United States to maintain an unchallenged monopoly of power in every key region. It is not enough for the United States to be first among equals; the United States is required to be more powerful than all other great powers combined.

In addition to the missions shared by all US strategies, including homeland defense, deterrence, and US global power projection, the hegemony strategy requires the United States to pursue three unique missions: dissuasion, reassurance, and coercive nonproliferation. In the words of the Pentagon’s 1992 Defense Planning Guidance draft, the United States must adopt a strategy of dissuading or “deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”12 Neoconservative journalists William Kristol and Robert Kagan made the same argument for perpetual US global hegemony: “The more Washington is able to make clear that it is futile to compete with American power, either in size of forces or in technological capabilities, the less chance there is that countries like China or Iran will entertain ambitions of upsetting the present world order.”13 President Bush endorsed the idea of dissuasion in his 2002West Point commencement address: “Competition between great nations is inevitable, but armed conflict in our world is not . . . . America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge . . . making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.”14

Second, the United States needs to be willing to go to war, if necessary, to “reassure” its allies in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In this way the United States, according to the Pentagon draft, will “account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.” In The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World’s Government in the Twenty-first Century, political scientist Michael Mandelbaum writes: “Reassurance ensures against what might happen, and the need for it arises from the structure of the system of sovereign states. Because no superior power controls relations among them, an attack by one against another is always possible. Governments therefore tend to take steps to prepare to defend themselves . . . . But military preparations that one country undertakes for purely defensive reasons can appear threatening to others, which may then take military measures of their own and so set in motion a spiral of mistrust and military buildups.” Fortunately, according to Mandelbaum, “The American military presence in Europe acts as a barrier against such an undesirable chain of events. It reassures the Western Europeans that they do not have to increase their armed forces to protect themselves against the possibility of a resurgent Russia . . . . At the same time, the American presence reassures Russia that its great adversary of the first half of the twentieth century, Germany, will not adopt policies of the kind that led to two destructive German invasions in 1914 and 1941.”15

The dissuasion strategy would require the United States to unilaterally spend more on the military than most or all other great powers combined-- indefinitely. “Americans should be glad that their defense capabilities are as great as the next six powers combined,” Kristol and Kagan wrote in 1996. “Indeed, they may even want to enshrine this disparity in US defense strategy . . . .Perhaps the United States should inaugurate such a two- (or three-, or four-) power standard of its own, which would preserve itsmilitary supremacy regardless of the near-term global threats.”16 America’s contemporary military primacy, however, is easily exaggerated. In 2004-2005, the United States accounted for 45 percent of global spending on the military.17 This was chiefly the result of decisions by other great powers to spend less on defense after the disappearance of the Soviet threat. If the other NATO allies had continued to spend as much on defense as they had in 1985, US spending would have exceeded theirs by only ten percent.18

The reassurance strategy provides a rationale for a strategy of coercive nonproliferation by the United States or allies such as Israel that goes beyond the need to prevent hostile states from using weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to attack America and its allies directly or through provision of WMD to stateless terrorists. If a hostile neighbor acquires WMD, then important allies and clients of the United States may cease to be “reassured” by the offer of unilateral US protection and might seek to acquire WMD of their own. For example, if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, the result might be the acquisition of defensive nuclear weapons in response by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, and other Mideastern countries. Such a regional nuclear arms race might not lead to war or threaten the United States directly, but it potentially would cause the collapse of America’s role as security guarantor and thus of the reassurance strategy as a foundation of US hegemony. Under any strategy, the United States might be concerned by proliferation, but the threat of proliferation to US offers of reassurance to allies and clients makes nonproliferation efforts, by means including preventive war, central to the hegemony strategy. The strategy seeks to indefinitely forestall military self-reliance, including nuclear self-reliance, by current US allies in the Middle East, Europe, and East Asia.

The Concert-Balance Strategy

Unlike the hegemony strategy, the concert-balance strategy does not require the United States by itself to dissuade potential aggressors or reassure allies by means of a perpetual, unilateral arms build-up. In this strategy, the task of dissuading potential aggressors would rest with a concert or alliance including but not limited to the United States. The potential aggressor would be deterred by the combined might of the United States and its allies, not US might alone. For this reason, the concert-balance strategy would be less costly to the United States.

If it followed a concert-balance strategy the United States would also reject the mission of reassuring other great powers. The status of Japan and West Germany as protected cooperators with the United States was an anomaly of the Cold War. Proponents of US hegemony seek to maintain the perpetual subordination of Japan and Germany to the United States. By contrast, in a concert-balance strategy, a fully rehabilitated and independent Japan and Germany would be expected to completely contribute both in a traditional concert of power, and, in the event of great-power conflict, a traditional alliance of formal if not actual equals. A policy of elevating Japan and Germany from dependent US protectorates to normal US allies, like the rejection of the policy of dissuasion, would make the concert-balance strategy less expensive than a US hegemony strategy.

The rejection of reassurance as a goal of US strategy would similarly curtail preventive wars of nonproliferation as a means of preserving reassurance. The United States would not be willing to go to war with a nuclear Iran in order to prevent development of a nuclear Saudi Arabia or Egypt, nor would it be willing to fight nuclear North Korea to prevent the Japanese from obtaining their own nuclear deterrent, if they thought one necessary.

If the United States adopted a concert-balance strategy, then it might sometimes need to join allies in interventions against regional aggressors. For this reason proponents of a concert-balance strategy should be as concerned as proponents of the hegemony strategy about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other WMD that would raise the costs of intervening in weaker countries by a great-power concert or alliance. But in the aftermath of the Iraq War, the idea of preventive wars of nonproliferation, whether unilateral or multilateral, has been discredited. Nonproliferation policy in the future should be pursued by means short of bombing, invasion, and occupation. Where nonproliferation efforts fail, history so far suggests that deterrence will prove to be effective.

Rising Costs of US Unilateralism

The concert-balance strategy, while still expensive compared to neo-isolationism, would be far less costly than a US grand strategy of hegemony. Adherents of the hegemony strategy sometimes claim that the United States can easily afford to spend the huge amount of resources on the military that dissuasion and reassurance would require. But even if that were true, the American public is not likely to support permanently higher defense expenditures, once the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are concluded. Even if the problem of health care costs increasing at a rate faster than gross domestic product (GDP) is solved in the near future, the growth of the population of retirees in the United States may raise Social Security and Medicare spending by at least four percent of GDP. It seems unlikely that the American electorate will tolerate either the substantial tax increases or the substantial cuts in middleclass entitlements needed to spend four to six percent of US GDP permanently on the military, as some have proposed.

In any event, the costs of the hegemony strategy, if it were seriously pursued, inevitably would rise to levels the United States could not afford if the policy of dissuasion failed and growing powers such as China chose to make their military power commensurate with their economic strength. The French International Relations Institute has predicted that by 2050 Greater China (China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan) will be the world’s leading economic power, accounting for 24 percent of the international economy. North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico) would be next, with 23 percent of world GDP.19 The US investment bank Goldman Sachs reached similar conclusions, predicting that by 2050 China will have the largest economy, followed by the United States and India. The next tier might be occupied by Russia, Brazil, and Japan, and a third tier would include Germany, Britain, and other once-mighty European economic powers. The European share of the global economy may decline from its current 22 percent, roughly comparable to that of the United States, to only 12 percent in 2050.20

China and India do not need to match the American standard of living in order to match or surpass the United States in military spending. If China’s per capita GDP matched that of contemporary South Korea, its overall GDP would be 1.35 times that of the United States. Should China’s per capita GDP reach one-half of modern Japan’s, its total GDP would be 2.5 times that of the United States. If one-quarter of the Indian population enjoyed American living standards, that one-quarter might match the entire US population’s level of affluence in 2050. The affluent minority in China or India might provide a larger internal market and more scientists and engineers than the United States as a whole.

Unlike the hegemony strategy, the concert-balance strategy avoids insolvency by abandoning a doomed effort to forestall the emergence of a multipolar world by perpetually outspending all other great powers combined.

Instead, the concert-balance strategy would compensate for the inevitable global diffusion of military power by adding the strength of other great powers to America’s own strength. This method has been in place for almost 70 years; the United States defeated Germany twice and the Soviet Union as a member of a coalition of powerful countries. Why, then, should the United States position itself to defeat a hostile great power in the future alone and unaided by other nations? In the event of genuine aggression by a would-be regional or global hegemon, the United States will be certain to find allies, including other great powers under greater immediate threat from the aggressor than the United States. The failures of US isolationism taught Americans that they cannot shift the burden of defending a secure world to others. Sharing the burden with strong allies worked in the past and can work in the future. As G. John Ikenberry and Charles A. Kupchan have written, the United States should move “with--rather than against--the secular diffusion of global power. The scope of American primacy will wane as this century progresses; the ultimate objective should be to channel rising centers of power into cooperative partnerships with the United States.”21

Implications for the US Military

An adequate grand strategy has to be capable of informing decisions about the missions and structure of the US military. The concert-balance strategy calls for a force structure significantly different from the one that would be required to carry out the hegemony strategy.

This article has already discussed one difference. The rejection of dissuasion as a unilateral mission for the United States, and the assignment of responsibility for dissuasion and deterrence to concerts or alliances to which America belongs, means a smaller overall US military than the one required by the hegemony strategy. Potential aggressors should be overmatched by the combined strength of the United States and its major allies--not by the United States alone.

The concert-balance strategy, as befits its dual name, would need forces appropriate for two situations. In the first, the concert of power scenario, the world’s great powers would cooperate in a fluctuating alliance, which would sometimes carry out joint interventions in areas of common concern. In the second situation, the balance of power scenario, relations among the great powers would deteriorate and the United States would need to join a balance of power alliance that checks the aggression of a hostile state or group.

At first glance, these two scenarios might seem to require two different kinds of militaries--a modest military designed for limited interventions conducted by a great-power concert and another, massive military designed to defeat hostile great powers. But this is not the case. Because of the nuclear revolution, conventional wars among great powers such as the United States, China, Russia, Japan, India, and the major European nations remain unlikely.22 Any balance-of-power struggles among great powersmost likely would take the form of cold wars rather than conventional wars. Like the recently ended Cold War, these future cold wars would be a blend of arms races, embargoes, and indirect proxy wars of the kind that were fought in Korea, Vietnam, and Soviet-era Afghanistan. There would be no need to maintain vast conventional forces designed to invade and occupy another great power or great powers. Instead, future cold wars are likely to end as the first Cold War did, as a result of negotiation and without enemy troops on the soil of the great power that capitulates.

A balance of power strategy, then, would require a Cold War military, not a World War military. (Arguably during the late Cold War the US military was itself too much of a World War military, given the predominance of forces designed for an unlikely conventional clash with the Soviet Union that never came.) As it happens, a US military designed to fight a future cold war would be similar in force structure to the military intended to take part in joint actions by a great-power concert. The same deterrent forces that could successfully oppose a potential great-power foe also could intimidate lesser states that challenge the authority of a great-power concert which includes the United States. AUS military equipped to take part in proxy wars during future “cold” conflicts with rival great powers would also be well-suited to take part in joint great-power military and humanitarian interventions in anarchic areas of concern. What is required by the concert-balance strategy is a mix of forces that would prove to be of equal utility when the great powers get along (concert) and when they do not (balance).

Missions for the Military

With this criterion of flexibility in mind, it is useful to spell out the missions of the armed forces as part of a concert-balance strategy in more detail. The overly ambitious and too costly missions of dissuasion and reassurance, critical to the hegemonic strategy, would be rejected by the concert-balance strategy, leaving five core missions for the US military: deterrence, homeland defense, securing the global commons, power projection, and expeditionary intervention.

The purpose of America’s deterrent forces, which could include conventional precision-guided munitions in addition to or instead of nuclear weapons, would be to deter attacks on the American homeland and against allies. During periods of great-power cooperation, the combined arsenals of the great powers could deter minor powers; during periods of great-power rivalry, the military capability of the United States and its allies should overmatch those of their common great-power enemies.

Homeland Defense
Here again, similar capabilities would serve a concert strategy and a balance strategy. In a period of great-power harmony, homeland defense would be focused on preventing terrorism by stateless groups and state-sponsored terrorism in the United States. During periods of great-power rivalry, the same homeland defense capabilities could thwart attempts by a hostile great power to wage asymmetric warfare by sabotaging US infrastructure or terrorizing the US population.

Securing the Global Commons
Securing what the political scientist Barry R. Posen calls “the global commons” of sea, air, and space is a precondition for effective US command and control and power projection, whether as part of great-power concert activities or as a member of an alliance in a great-power struggle.23

Power Projection
Even in a multi-polar world, the United States, as the great power that is most remote from other great powers and contested areas, has an interest in specializing in global power projection through a secured global commons, whether as a member of a concert that includes all major powers or as a member of an alliance with a particular foe or foes.

Expeditionary Intervention
Conventional war with other great powers is highly unlikely, thanks not only to mutual deterrence by nuclear weapons but also the sheer cost of conventional conflict itself. In the event of a new cold war involving a hostile power or great-power coalition, the United States, alone or with allies, might need to take part in proxy conflicts, whether by training indigenous military and police forces or by introducing US forces, as a last resort, against indigenous forces supported by a great-power rival. In the absence of great-power cold wars, the United States, as a leading member of a great power concert, would need similar expeditionary capabilities in order to participate in joint interventions to accomplish regional security or humanitarian relief. The expeditionary forces need not be extremely large, if, in most interventions, the United States relies chiefly on allies or on indigenous forces that it trains and arms, using its own troops as a force multiplier.

How the US military should be assigned to carry out these five missions is a subject for debate. The Navy and Air Force would be chiefly responsible for deterrence, securing the global commons, and power projection by means of sealift and airlift. Given the unlikelihood of World War II-style battles among surface navies, a “riverine” navy capable of operating in anarchic regions, backed up perhaps by aircraft carriers and other forms of seabasing, with submarines to protect the sea lanes, might make more sense than an anachronistic fleet of surface combatants designed for conventional wars with rival naval powers.

Homeland defense--both against stateless terrorists and foreign states that engage in sabotage, sponsor terrorism, or carry out direct attacks on the United States--could be a duty divided among civilian first responders and the reserves. Alternately homeland defense might become the primary responsibility of the US Army, as it was throughout most of American history. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showed the limitations of a model of homeland disaster response inwhich themilitary is employed only after local and state authorities have failed. The 9/11 attacks demonstrated that the US homeland is a potential battlefield, and nostalgia for the twentieth century, when the US Army fought only abroad, should not blind either the military or civilians to the central role of the armed forces in protecting American soil. The Army may not want to act as a domestic police force and first responder, but in the aftermath of another catastrophic terrorist attack or an attack by another state those are the tasks it may need to carry out. In future great-power conflicts the United States may not have the luxury of sending ground forces overseas while leaving the homeland relatively undefended. A policy of using the same general-purpose force to defend the homeland and engage in expeditionary interventions overseas might invite a hostile power to promote chaos behind the lines in the United States itself.

The term “expeditionary forces” is used here rather than “constabulary forces.” Some strategists have proposed the establishment of two separate forces--a conventional war fighting force to defeat enemy armed forces and a constabulary force to conduct stability, security, transition, and reconstruction operations (SSTR) and irregular war (IW). Such a duplication of effort makes no sense. With the example of Saddam Hussein’s fate in mind, it is highly unlikely that any weak conventional power will expose itself to destruction by US conventional forces. In the event that one did so, it would make no sense for specialized US war fighting forces to smash the armed forces and the state apparatus, only to step aside and make room for separate, specialized constabulary forces whose mission was to bring order in the chaos that followed. What the United States needs are forces that are capable both of war fighting and constabulary duties--in short, versatile expeditionary forces that could be used in unilateral or joint great-power SSTR/IW operations and also in proxy wars in which the main antagonists dare not attack each other directly. Dual-purpose Army forces, along with the Marines, could provide the core of a flexible expeditionary force for a concert-balance strategy.24

The concert-balance strategy represents the best national security strategy for the United States in an era of emerging multi-polarity and domestic budget constraints. It abandons the exorbitantly expensive and ultimately doomed attempt to forever forestall the emergence of other great powers by means of dissuasion of potential foes and reassurance of friends, in order to realistically prepare for the US role as a leader of concerts and alliances in a multi-polar world. It draws both on American idealism--the dream of collective security shared by Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt with millions of people around the world--and on American pragmatism--the successful experience of the United States during the World Wars and Cold War as a leading member of great-power alliances rather than a solitary superpower. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has lacked a credible vision capable of guiding American national security policy in the multi-polar world of tomorrow without bankrupting the economy or exhausting public support. The concert balance strategy provides that missing vision.


1. The thesis that globalization will lead to world peace is associated with Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1999) and The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005). See also Thomas L. Friedman, “The Impactof Globalization on World Peace” (Los Angeles: Univ. of California at Los Angeles, Arnold C. Harberger Distinguished Lecture, 17 January 2001); Erik Gartzke, “The Capitalist Peace,” American Journal of Political Science, 51 (January 2007), 166-91; and Erich Weede, “The Diffusion of Prosperity and Peace by Globalization,” The Independent Review, 9 (Fall 2004), 165-86.

2. For representative arguments by leading neoconservative scholars and publicists, see Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs, 70 (America and the World 1990/91), 23-33; William Kristol and Robert Kagan, “Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, 75 (July/August 1996), 20-31; Bradley A. Thayer, “The Case for the American Empire” and “The Strength of American Empire” in Christopher Layne and Bradley A. Thayer, American Empire: A Debate (New York: Routledge, 2006), 1-51, 103-20.

3. “There is a declining readiness to expand spending on international priorities, and there is declining support for stationing troops in many countries. Overwhelming majorities believe the United States does not have the responsibility to play the role of world policeman and believe it is playing that role more than it should be.” “American Public Feels Overextended Internationally,”Media Advisory, The Chicago Council on Foreign

Affairs, 28 September 2004.

4. A strategy of neoisolationism is defended in Eric Nordlinger, Isolationism Reconfigured: American Foreign Policy for a New Century (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1996) and Patrick J. Buchanan, “America First—and Second, and Third,” The National Interest, 19 (Spring 1990), 77-82. An American strategy of “offshore balancing” is proposed by John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2003) and Stephen M. Walt, Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York: Norton, 2006).

5. For this argument in full detail, see Michael Lind, The American Way of Strategy (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006) and Daniel H. Deudney, Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 2006).

6. Walter Lippmann, U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic (Boston: Little, Brown, 1943), 34-36.

7.Wilson to House, Woodrow Wilson Papers, vol. 30, 432, quoted in John B. Judis, The Folly of Empire: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson (New York: Oxford Univ.Press, 2006), 98.

8. Douglas Miller, You Can’t Do Business with Hitler (Boston: Little, Brown, 1941), 141.

9. “NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” 14 April 1950, in Thomas H. Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis, eds., Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945-1950 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1978), 401.

10. DwightD. Eisenhower, “Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People,” 17 January 1961, in Public Papers of the President of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960-1961 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1961), 1035-40.

11. “There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace.” Woodrow Wilson, address to the Senate, 22 January 1917.

12. “Excerpts from Pentagon’s Plan: ‘Prevent the Re-emergence of a New Rival,” The New York Times, 8 March 1992, A14.

13. Kristol and Kagan, 26.

14. George W. Bush, “President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point” (Washington: The White House, 1 June 2002), http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020601-3.html.

15. Michael Mandelbaum, The Case for Goliath: How America Acts as the World’s Government in the Twenty-first Century (New York: Public Affairs, 2005), 34-35.

16. Kristol and Kagan, 26.

17. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 2005: Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005); T. V. Paul, “Soft Balancing in the Age of U.S. Primacy,” International Security, 30 (Summer 2005), 52.

18. Keir A. Lieber and Gerard Alexander, “Waiting for Balancing:Why theWorld is Not Pushing Back,” International Security, 30 (Summer 2005), 117-18.

19. Philippe Colombani, ed., “World Trade in the 21st Century: Scenarios for the European Union,” Report for the European Commission (Paris: French International Relations Institute, 2002).

20. Dominic Wilson and Roopa Purushothaman, “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050,” Goldman Sachs Global Economics Paper No. 99, 1 October 2003.

21. G. John Ikenberry and Charles A. Kupchan, “Liberal Realism: The Foundations of a Democratic Foreign Policy,” National Interest, 77 (Fall 2004).

22. Kenneth N.Waltz, “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better,” Adelphi Papers No. 171, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1981. While John J. Mearsheimer argues that conventional war among nuclear powers is not impossible, he concedes that deterrence makes it less probable: “Thus, the balance of land power remains the central ingredient of military power in the nuclear age, although nuclear weapons undoubtedly make great-power war less likely.” Mearsheimer, 133.

23. Barry Posen, “Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony,” International Security, 28 (Summer 2003).

24. For a somewhat similar analysis, see Frank G. Hoffman and Steven Metz, “Restructuring America’s Ground Forces: Better, Not Bigger,” Stanley Foundation Policy Analysis, September 2007.