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November 15, 2017
9781421423777
English
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v2.1 Reference
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November 15, 2017
9781421423784
9781421423777
English
248
94566
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$54.95 USD, £40.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy

How American Presidents Succeed in Foreign Policy

Is following a coherent grand strategy the key to achieving successful outcomes in American foreign policy? For many experts in academia and Washington, the answer is yes. Policymakers usually face criticism when they take incremental actions based on short-term considerations. But could such actions actually converge into a successful emergent strategy over time?

Ionut Popescu conclusively shows that in some cases, an emergent learning model leads to better overall strategic performance than a long-term strategic plan or framework. Popescu argues that it is time to rethink the origins of some of the most important successes and failures of America’s tenure as a global superpower after World War II. Presenting empirical data culled from archival research and interviews with higher-ups, Popescu covers eight US presidential administrations, ranging from Truman to Obama, to demonstrate that senior policymakers should be skeptical of the idea that formulating and implementing a long-term grand strategy is the road to a successful foreign policy legacy.

Instead, the book asserts, leaders should prioritize learning from the almost unavoidable mistakes they will make early in their careers and adapting their plans to unanticipated events and changes in the international environment. Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy thus offers both scholars and practitioners of foreign policy an original theoretical framework to explain strategic success.

About the Author

Ionut Popescu is an assistant professor of political science at Texas State University.

Endorsements

"An extremely ambitious book that makes a strong and novel theory argument on an enduringly important topic."

- Daniel H. Deudney, Johns Hopkins University, author of Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village

"In this all-too-rare product that blends theory and historical practice, Popescu structures a compelling case for emergent learning coupling rigorous planning with equally flexible execution in the face of our pervasive inability to forecast the future. Well researched and highly readable, this book is recommended for students and practitioners alike.   "

- F. G. Hoffman, National Defense University

"In this book, Popescu examines the foreign policy of numerous presidents since the 1940s and concludes that short-term flexibility, adaptation, and improvisation are more important to strategic success than is long-term planning. Drawing on business literature together with broad archival research, his work on emergent strategies is at the cutting edge of realistic historical and current analysis of how American grand strategy is actually made. Clearly written, thoroughly researched, highly relevant, and quite convincing."

- Colin Dueck, George Mason University, author of The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today

Reviews

"This well-written book is highly recommended."

- Choice

"Popescu's analysis raises a number of interesting points, particularly regarding the limitations of grand strategy planning in the Cold War."

- Passport

"Popescu should be lauded for moving beyond the current debate over which grand strategy the United States should adopt to successfully challenge the grand strategy paradigm itself."

- Alexander Kirss - Air and Space Power Journal

"Examining eight US presidential administrations, Popescu considers whether the criticism of policymakers who deviate from grand strategy in the service of short-term considerations is warranted. According to the author, such deviations may develop into a new strategy over time, particularly if leaders focus on learning from their mistakes."

- International Institute for Strategic Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Hardback
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