The Telegram

The Telegram is the electronic publication of the joint Temple-FPRI Hertog Program in Grand Strategy -- made possible by a grant from Hertog Foundation. The Telegram disseminates cutting edge research and commentary from the Program's Consortium on Grand Strategy and other leading voices.

The Telegram

Winning the Wars We're in

Your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars.—General Douglas MacArthur[1]

The Promise and Failure of American Grand Strategy after the Cold War

Like so many things, it began and it ended in New York. In December 1988, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union flew into the city amidst great fanfare and anticipation. President Ronald Reagan, President-elect George H.W. Bush, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev met on Governors Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan.

Can the United States Do Grand Strategy?

In spring 2003, following the last lecture in my survey course on U.S. diplomatic history since 1776, a brilliant, inquisitive student approached me in the hall to ask a final, confidential question. She said that my course helped her appreciate, as never before, how swiftly the United States had become the mightiest nation ever, with unprecedented military, economic, and cultural influence. But how long would it last? How long did I think the United States could stay on top?

Defining and Teaching Grand Strategy

Grand strategy is a phrase that evokes instant and easy associations. The term immediately evokes a cast of historical actors and events: Thucydides and The Peloponnesian War, Bismarck’s Realpolitik, or the Grand Alliance of World War II. The phrase might also bring to mind some key texts, including Paul Kennedy’s Rise and Fall of the Great Powers or John Gaddis’s Strategies of Containment.

Sovereignty – The Ultimate States’ Rights Argument

Much as it would be comforting to think that jihadism will wither with Osama bin Laden’s demise, the opposite could well occur. Or, what about NATO’s discombobulated effort to topple Moammar Gadhafi? This, too, could augur plenty more anti-American terrorism. If Gadhafi survives, watch out. If he doesn’t, but his family members do, watch out.

History and Strategies: Grand, Maritime, and American

Of sea-captains young or old, and the mates, and of all intrepid sailors,
Of the few, very choice, taciturn, whom fate can never surprise nor death dismay.
Pick'd sparingly without noise by thee old ocean, chosen by thee,
Thou sea that pickest and cullest the race in time, and unitest nations,
Suckled by thee, old husky nurse, embodying thee,
Indomitable, untamed as thee.

Too Cheap to Rule: Political and Fiscal Sources of the Coming American Retrenchment

As implied by its evocative title, The Frugal Superpower, the theme of Michael Mandelbaum’s recent book on grand strategy is retrenchment. [1] Mandelbaum argues that U.S. grand strategy is entering into a period of limited resources in which the U.S. will have no choice but to pull back from some international commitments. Mandelbaum is probably right: perceived fiscal constraints probably will drive U.S.

Leadership for Military Professions: A Real Strategic Means for America


As a participant this year in the Consortium on Grand Strategy, a collaboration between Temple University's Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy and the Foreign Policy Research Institute, I noticed that our discussions usually assumed that one of the principal strategic means in which the United States held a comparative advantage was in our human resources, the men and women serving in our armed forces.