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May 7, 2022Liked by Duck of Minerva

I think that the "grand strategy as a blueprint"/"grand strategy as an organizing principle" approach may have some utility in making hard choices easier at the margins by offering an overarching visions that can push back at the margins at the parochial and inertia driven factors that drive much of decision making and even, as Lissnser notes, grand strategy as a process often falls victim to these same parochial and inertial factors.

That said, readers should certainly take the word of a think tanker making this argument with a sizeable grain of salt, as I have strong institutional self-interest reasons to believe this to be the case. I'd think the most banal measurable form of this would be buzzword adoption, which may just be a change of vocabulary with no change in behavior. A more robust test would be to see if say branding the idea of the pivot to Asia began to shift priorities more robustly than had been happening in the lead-up.

For a less flattering to think tanks version of this observation, see Cohen and Zenko's Clear and Present Safety ( https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/north-america/2012-02-21/clear-and-present-safety ) which offers an argument for why grand strategies produced by think tanks and elsewhere have a propensity towards threat inflation, which could contribute why fewer grand strategies focus on the issues raised by your students.

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