On October 17, the Brookings Project on International Order and Strategy hosted a discussion with Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan and MIT Professor Barry Posen on U.S. grand strategy. Amid a background of seeming geopolitical upheaval, the discussion focused on whether the United States should pursue a strategy that seeks to maintain U.S. pre-eminence and global leadership or whether the United States can or must adopt a more restrained posture.
In his May 2014 New Republic essay “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,” Kagan argued that the United States has an enduring responsibility and capacity to shape the world order.
Posen is the Ford international professor of political science and director of the security studies program at MIT. He is the author of the new book, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy (Cornell University Press, 2014). Posen argues that consistent U.S. overreaching has led to numerous failures and unexpected problems and cannot be sustained. Posen urges the United States to adopt a strategy of restraint in the future use of U.S. military strength.
Brookings Fellow Jeremy Shapiro moderated the discussion.