Paul B. Stares is the General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of the Center for Preventive Action.

The core argument of his new book, Preventive Engagement: How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace, is that the US needs to do a better job at both “looking ahead” and “acting ahead” to preserve the liberal international order in a way that avoids America reacting impulsively to emerging crises and consequently being drawn into potentially costly military commitments that over time drain its power and weaken its resolve to play a global leadership role. Stares lays out a comprehensive strategy and detailed program of initiatives for accomplishing this—or at least lowering the risk of the worst happening.  Whereas most prescriptions for America’s predicament revolve around doing either more or less militarily to defend US interests around the world—what Stares calls supply-side­ strategies––the approach he advocates constitutes a systematic preventive effort to reduce the demand for US power over the long, medium and short term.


Moderated by Sarah Kovner, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs, & Senior Research Scholar, SIWPS.