The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies is proud to present:
“Lean Forward: In Defense of American Engagement”
with Dr. Stephen Brooks and Dr. William Wohlforth
Department of Government, Dartmouth College
This event is free and open to the public.
After sixty five years of pursuing a grand strategy of global leadership—nearly a third of which transpired without a peer great power rival—has the time come for retrenchment? According to most security studies scholars who write on the future of U.S. grand strategy, the answer is an unambiguous yes: they argue that the United States should curtail or eliminate its overseas military presence, abolish or reduce dramatically its global security commitments and minimize or eschew efforts to foster and lead the liberal institutional order. Thus far, the arguments for retrenchment have gone largely unanswered by IR scholars. In this article, we evaluate the case for retrenchment on its own terms: we undertake a systematic analysis that directly assesses the core claims of retrenchment advocates that the current “deep engagement” grand strategy is not in the national interests of the United States. We show that advocates of retrenchment radically overestimate the costs of deep engagement and underestimate its benefits. We conclude that the fundamental choice to retain a grand strategy of deep engagement after the cold war is just what the preponderance of IR scholarship would expect a rational, self-interested leading power in America’s position to do.
Stephen G. Brooks is an Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth, and has previously held fellowships at Harvard and Princeton. His research focuses on US foreign policy and how economic factors influence security affairs. He is the author of Producing Security: Multinational Corporations, Globalization, and the Changing Calculus of Conflict (Princeton University Press, 2005) and World out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy (Princeton University Press, 2008), with William Wohlforth. He has published articles in International Security, International Organization, Foreign Affairs, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Perspectives on Politics, and Security Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science with Distinction from Yale University, where his dissertation received the American Political Science Association’s Helen Dwight Reid Award for the best doctoral dissertation in international relations, law, and politics.
William C. Wohlforth is the Daniel Webster Professor at Dartmouth, where he teaches in the Department of Government. He is the author or editor of six books and some 60 articles and book chapters on topics ranging from the Cold War and its end to unipolarity and contemporary U.S. grand strategy. He has held fellowships at the Institute of Strategic Studies at Yale, the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford, and the Hoover Institution. He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and has served as a consultant for the National Intelligence Council and the National Bureau of Asian Research. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University.