Two of the three authors of U.S. Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy: The Evolution of an Incidental Superpower spoke at the Eight Bells Lecture held on October 29 in the Brett Hall Lounge. One of the presenters was Derek Reveron, Professor of National Security Affairs and the EMC Informationist Chair at the U.S. Naval War College. The other was Nikolas K. Gvosdev, a professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
The rise of U.S. dominance on
the world stage since World War II found its basis in the decisions made
conducting foreign policy, a defense strategy, and commercial activities with
partners around the world. Following the
war, the US promoted de-colonization and was generous to allies and the
vanquished alike. Unlike in previous
wars when victors extracted compensation from the defeated in the form of
resources or territory, the United States sought to rebuild infrastructures and
supply foodstuffs. Economically, this
was good business and there was a direct benefit to the businessmen and farmers
in the U.S.
The U.S. economy, unlike
those of Europe and Asia, was in high gear after the war and largely
unscathed. As a result, the post-war
systems that were put in place were heavily influenced by the U.S. and, as
described in the lecture, (the systems) spoke with an American accent. To this day, the U.S. dollar is the global reserve
But, are the systems and
alliances put in place over sixty-five years ago becoming sclerotic? Most definitely, some are becoming bloated
and are no longer as responsive as when first implemented. Additionally, the reasons for having some of
the systems no longer exist and Americans are beginning to question their
value, especially when the beneficiaries of the efforts by the United States are
military and economic competitors. Some
commentators cite the changing nature of war and conflict as a reason for a
re-evaluation of present policies, strategies, and military philosophy. Others foresee a neo-isolationism evolving.
book and others are for sale in the Naval War College Foundation Store located
in Brett Hall, first floor.
John W. Kennedy
Director of Education and Community Outreach