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Some of the nation's most respected scholars of international affairs examine the debates over U.S. grand strategy in light of U.S. security policies and interests in tactical regions around the world. The contributors begin by describing the four grand strategies currently competing for dominance of U.S. foreign policy: neo-isolationism argues that the United States should not become involved in conflicts outside specifically defined national interests selective engagement proposes that the United States, despite its position as the world's only remaining superpower, should limit its involvement in foreign affairs cooperative security advocates that the United States is not and should not act as an imperial country primacy asserts that the United States is an empire and therefore it should conduct an expansive foreign policy. Focusing on regions that present new challenges to U.S. grand strategy, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, the contributors offer the most current examinations of U.S. policies and assess the effectiveness of competing strategies in each region. The Obligation of Empire offers an innovative set of foreign policy initiatives that explore the tensions between global agendas and regionalist approaches.

Contributors: Andrew J. Bacevich, Doug Bandow, Dale Davis, Thomas Donnelly, James J. Hentz, Clifford Kiracofe, Charles Kupchan, Jeffrey Stark, S. Frederick Starr, and Brantley Womack.

James J. Hentz, associate professor of international studies at the Virginia Military Institute, is the coeditor of New and Critical Security and Regionalism: Beyond the Nation State.

"A balanced analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of privacy, selective engagement, liberal internationalism, and isolationism as grand strategies for the U.S. in the post-9/11 world. . . . Sophisticated yet still accessible to undergraduates just beginning to study U.S. foreign policy. Recommended."—Choice

"An insightful guide for US foreign policy analysis. . . . Succeeds in broadening the scope of understanding by offering a regional perspective through which more practical approaches can be identified."—Journal of Conflict Studies

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






World politics, United States military policy, United States foreign relations


International Relations

The Obligation of Empire: United States' Grand Strategy for a New Century
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