A Grand Strategy of Restraint and Renewal

Barry R. Posen. testimony before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, 15 July 2008.


The United States is a powerful country. Nevertheless, it is not as powerful as the foreign policy establishment believes. Political, military, and economic costs are mounting from U.S. actions abroad. At the same time, the U.S. has paid too little attention to problems at home. Over the last decade Americans became accustomed to a
standard of living that could only be financed on borrowed money. U.S. foreign policy elites have become accustomed to an activist grand strategy that they have increasingly funded on borrowed money as well. The days of easy money are over. During these years, the U.S. failed to make critical investments in infrastructure and human capital. The U.S. is destined for a period of belt tightening; it must raise taxes and cut spending. The quantities involved seem so massive that it is difficult to see how DOD can escape being at least one of the bill payers. We should seize this opportunity to re-conceptualize U.S. grand strategy from top to bottom.

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