Home / Articles / Stumbling into the Future? The Indirect Approach and American Strategy
The United States has yet to reconcile its strategic culture to the realities of the post-9/11 era. In the absence of a consensus on grand strategy, America’s military and civilian leadership is arguing that in a world of “persistent conflict,” America must exercise its power in increasingly indirect ways. This essay explores the current surge of interest in the so-called “indirect approach” and its possible relevance for the strategic environment of today and tomorrow. We briefly consider a strategic framework for an indirect approach, what true implementation would take, and the attendant risks of such a path. Pursuing a global indirect approach in the absence of such a framework could send America stumbling to the farthest corners of the globe only to harm her own strategic interests.