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A nation must think before it acts.
The Truman Doctrine is seventy years old, which means it could easily be considered an artifact of history. In the age of Donald J. Trump, one might reasonably ask, what use is there for a doctrine that set forth the grand strategy of containment? Regardless of the Cold War, the doctrine’s essential pieces—applying a combination of political, economic, and military strength; building regional and bilateral alliances based on collective defense; cultivating existing liberal democracies and future liberal democratic regimes; containing totalitarianism and promoting its demise; and fostering an American-built-and-led liberal world order—are still being or should be used. At the present, critical time when national security threats issue from revisionist great powers, lesser-yet-still-hostile state and non-state actors, and WMDs and cutting-edge technologies in the hands of all these entities, it is important to understand not only the Truman Doctrine’s origins but also the reasons that the fundamental insights of this grand strategy should still inform U.S. foreign policy.