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This report assesses the process and the multiple and growing pressures for a reexamination of U.S. global strategy and the U.S. role in the world. It argues that a new broad-ranging debate over future American strategy is both likely and desirable. It clearly behooves a smart defense planner to seek to better understand the pressures pushing for such a debate, the fault lines emerging, and the key drivers of elite and public opinion. Until the debate over future U.S. strategy is clarified, it will be difficult for military planners to proceed with clear guidance on future strategic and defense planning — or at least until the issue of the political sustainability of such guidance is established in clear elite and public support. This should not be read as a recipe for inaction, but rather as an appeal for strategists and military planners to try to pay closer attention to issues of of domestic political consensus, legitimation, and sustainability, and to how these factors are likely to affect future U.S. strategy.

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