On Strategy, Grand and Mundane

Abstract

Is “grand strategy” a useful concept? What is it, and how is it different from “strategy”? Some definitions of grand strategy—as an all-encompassing idea for coordinating the resources of an entire nation to achieve its ultimate goals—are unachievable, overly focused on strategy as a master concept, could unintentionally militarize domestic policy, and blur the lines between strategy and policy. The concept is salvageable. Grand strategy is best thought of as both the intellectual framework or master concept that ties together whole-of-government (but not whole-of-nation) planning, and the long-term pattern of behavior that reveals states’ behaviors and priorities in action.

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