What Good is Grand Strategy coverOne could not ask for a more timely book than Hal Brands’s What Good is Grand Strategy? In the same month that Brands’s book was published a rather important figure in American political life offered his own answer. As reported by David Remnick in January 2014, President Obama dismissed the need for a new grand strategy with a statement seemingly designed to incur the wrath of political scientists and historians; “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now.”[1] Frank Costigliola and Niall Ferguson, historians who probably agree on little else, argued in the pages of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that the insights of a George Kennan were exactly what the president needed.[2] Later in the year, Hillary Clinton, his former Secretary of State, voiced the same critical perspective about Obama’s supposed lack of interest in foundational strategic principles: “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”[3]

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