Comparative Grand Strategy: A Framework and Cases

ISBN : 9780198840855

Thierry Balzacq; Peter Dombrowski; Simon Reich
320 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2019
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This book develops a new approach in explaining how a nation's Grand Strategy is constituted, how to assess its merits, and how grand strategies may be comparatively evaluated within a broader framework. The volume responds to three key problems common to both academia and policymaking. First, the literature on the concept of grand strategy generally focuses on the United States, offering no framework for comparative analysis. Indeed, many proponents of US grand strategy suggest that the concept can only be applied, at most, to a very few great powers such as China and Russia. Second, characteristically it remains prescriptive rather than explanatory, ignoring the central conundrum of why differing countries respond in contrasting ways to similar pressures. Third, it often understates the significance of domestic politics and policymaking in the formulation of grand strategies - emphasizing mainly systemic pressures. This book addresses these problems. It seeks to analyze and explain grand strategies through the intersection of domestic and international politics in ten countries grouped distinctively as great powers (The G5), regional powers (Brazil and India) and pivotal powers hostile to each other who are able to destabilize the global system (Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia). The book thus employs a comparative framework that describes and explains why and how domestic actors and mechanisms, coupled with external pressures, create specific national strategies. Overall, the book aims to fashion a valid, cross-contextual framework for an emerging research program on grand strategic analysis.


1 Thierry Balzacq, Peter Dombrowski, and Simon Reich: Introduction: Comparing Grand Strategies in the Modern World
Part I - Major Powers
2 Peter Dombrowski and Simon Reich: United States
3 Celine Marange: Russia
4 Andrew S. Erickson: China
5 Thierry Balzacq: France
6 Robert Johnson: Great Britain
Part II - Pivotal Powers
7 Carlos R. S. Milani and Tiago Nery: Brazil
8 C. Christine Fair: India
9 Thierry Balzacq and Wendy Ramadan-Alban: Iran
10 Eitan Shamir: Israel
11 Ghaidaa Hetou: Saudi Arabia
12 Daniel Fiott and Luis Simon: European Union
13 Norrin Ripsman: Conclusion: The Emerging Sub-field of Comparative Grand Strategy

About the author: 

Thierry Balzacq is a Francqui Research Chair (Belgium's most prestigious academic title) and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His articles have been published in Review of International Studies, European Journal of International Security, International Studies Review, Cooperation and Conflict, European Journal of International Relations, Security Dialogue, International Relations, and the Journal of Common Market Studies. He is the author and editor of over 12 books in English and French. ; Peter Dombrowski is a professor of strategy in the Strategic and Operational Research Department at the Naval War College. His recent publications include The End of Grand Strategy: US Maritime Operations in the Twenty-First Century (with Simon Reich, Cornell University Press, 2018), and he has published over fifty-five books, monographs, articles, book chapters, and government reports.; Simon Reich is a Professor in the Division of Global Affairs and Department of POlitical Science at Rutgers, Newark. His recent publications include The End of Grand Strategy: US Maritime OPerations in the Twenty-First Century (with Peter Dombrowski, Cornell University Press, 2018), and he is the author, co-author, and editor of 11 books and over 50 articles or book chapters.

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