Journal Article - International Affairs

Comparative Grand Strategy: A Framework and Cases—Book Review

| January 2020


William James reviews Comparative Grand Strategy: A Framework and Cases edited by Thierry Balzacq,  Peter Dombrowski, and Simon Reich (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Should the United States seek to maintain primacy or should it chart a more restrained grand strategy? Much of the contemporary literature on grand strategy is fixated with this question. Comparative grand strategy makes for a welcome exception, as it brings together country specialists to cover a broader range of cases, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and the US), the European Union, regional powers such as India and Brazil, and the 'pivotal states’'(p. 13) of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran. In doing so, it challenges the common assumption that grand strategy is the preserve of Great Powers. The editors, Thierry Balzacq, Peter Dombrowski and Simon Reich, outline four objectives: to establish a framework for analysing a state's grand strategy that goes beyond a rationalist approach, by including domestic and perceptual factors; to develop standards for theory-building; to compare the processes of formulating and implementing grand strategies; and to examine cases beyond the usual suspects....

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For Academic Citation:

James, William. "Comparative Grand Strategy: A Framework and Case" (Book Review) International Affairs, vol. 96. no. 1. (January 2020): 235–237.

The Author