Great power competition is today’s defining strategic issue.  Crucially this competition is seen as remaining below the level of great power armed conflict, instead ranging across diverse areas including economic, diplomatic, cyber, information campaigns and proxy wars. Such diversity gives the great powers much more choice in the grand strategies they could potentially use to advance their interests than during the Cold War bi-polar confrontation.

In sharp contrast, American grand strategy thinking has today been captured by a single approach. A recent review of contemporary US grand strategy proposals found the neorealist international relations theory dominates. This way of looking at how the world works has been further narrowed down to the ‘balancing’ subtype.  Demonstrating how entrenched this theory now is, the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s approach is effectively neo-realism 101 with balancing at centre stage.

Please click here to read the full “Rethinking US grand strategy” article published in Small Wars Journal, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.