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Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy

Cornell Studies in Security Affairs
Written by: Barry R. Posen
Narrated by: Jim R. Sartor
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls "liberal hegemony", one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America's consistent overreaching, Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint in the future use of US military strength.

After setting out the political implications of restraint as a guiding principle, Posen sketches the appropriate military forces and posture that would support such a strategy. He works with a deliberately constrained notion of grand strategy and, even more important, of national security (which he defines as including sovereignty, territorial integrity, power position, and safety). His alternative for military strategy, which Posen calls "command of the commons", focuses on protecting US global access through naval, air, and space power, while freeing the United States from most of the relationships that require the permanent stationing of US forces overseas.

The book is published by Cornell University Press.

©2014 Cornell University (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks

What the critics say

"An enormously important and timely book which challenges the conventional wisdom about the merits and logic of liberal hegemony." (Brian C. Schmidt, International Affairs)
"A tightly argued, impeccably sourced, and lucid case for a new American national security strategy." (Jessica T. Mathews, The New York Review of Books)
"An eloquent case for a new grand strategy." (Jared McKinney, The American Spectator)

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  • Christopher Weuve
  • 2018-10-11

Problematic, frustrating, but of some use

First, about the performance: “new-clee-er,” not “new-cue-lar.”

Second: the author has a tendency towards assertions without examples (let alone evidence), largely ignores the changes in warfare where they don’t support his thesis, has a simplistic view of submarine and air operations, and seems to be fond of looking at the parts rather than the whole. I was expecting more.