Jan 18, 2017
This report is the last of a six-volume series in which RAND explores the elements of a national strategy for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. It analyzes U.S. strengths and weaknesses, and suggests adaptations for this new era of turbulence and uncertainty. The report offers three alternative strategic concepts and evaluates their underlying assumptions, costs, risks, and constraints.
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This report is the last in the six-volume Strategic Rethink series, in which RAND explores the elements of a national strategy for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy in a turbulent world. This final overview report analyzes how the United States moved from the triumph at the end of the Cold War to the stalemate of today, and the major-power shifts and realignments that have occurred around the world.
The report reviews the country's strengths and weaknesses, and suggests strategies for adapting to this new era of turbulence and uncertainty. It analyzes how to improve the U.S. government's capacity for anticipation, deterrence, and resilience, three areas for policy attention that will become increasingly important in a period of rapid change. It presents three plausible U.S. strategic concepts and evaluates their underlying assumptions, costs, risks, and constraints. It also offers thoughts on how to choose among alternatives. It concludes that the United States is in many ways in an enviable position compared with its rivals, and continues to benefit from the liberal international order that it built over seven decades. However, a coherent international strategy will be difficult to pursue without a greater degree of domestic political consensus. Domestic political dysfunction is the greatest obstacle to effective U.S. global leadership.
From Triumph to Stalemate: The Loss of American Consensus
Is the World Falling Apart (And How Would We Know)?
Leveraging U.S. Strengths, Dealing with Vulnerabilities
Anticipation, Deterrence, and Resilience
About Strategy — Grand and Otherwise
Option I: "Come Home America": Domestic Renewal, International Restraint
Option II: "The Indispensable Nation": America as Promoter of World Order
Option III: "Agile America": Adapt and Compete in a Changing World
How to Choose
The Challenge of Leadership: Aligning Vision, Values, Interests, and Resources
Excerpts from the Conversation on Grand Strategy