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New Course: U.S. Strategy after the Cold War

I am teaching a seminar on “U.S. Strategy after the Cold War” during the Yale 2012 summer session. Here’s a short description of the course:

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has enjoyed a preponderance of power in the international system. With a quarter of the world’s GDP; a military one order of magnitude greater than any other; a defense budget close to half of global defense expenditures; a blue-water navy superior to all others combined; a chance at nuclear superiority over its erstwhile foe, Russia; and a defense R&D budget that is almost twice the total defense expenditures of its most obvious future competitor, China; the United States has unprecedented relative power. Although several other states would likely be able to avoid defeat in case of a U.S. attack, none comes anywhere near its surplus of usable, globally-deployable power. The United States thus has incomparable freedom projecting its power around the world. It has no peer competitors, and none are likely to emerge in the near future.

What are the main threats facing the United States in this new environment? How should the United States behave in these different circumstances? What should U.S. grand strategy be? What, if any, are the constraints on American power? What are the challenges to American power? Are peer competitors rising?

The purpose of this course is to address each of these questions, encouraging students to form their own views on contemporary international politics and U.S. grand strategy. Readings encompass the theoretical and historical aspects of the post-Cold War world, including U.S. grand strategy and foreign policy, the evolution of power trends, and the recent history of armed conflicts.

If you want to know more, you can find the syllabus here.

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categories: IR theory, national security, nuclear weapons, teaching, war. | tags: , .

Posted at 3:03 pm

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