Geopolitics and grand strategy: Foundations of American national security [electronic resource].

Harth, Anthony Christian.
463 p.
Political Science
United States -- History
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Political science.
Political science -- Penn dissertations.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
States pursue different grand strategies at different times with different degrees of success. Why? Why select one grand strategy (an integrated, multidimensional approach to security) and not another? Why not deal with all threats in the same manner? And why, once selected, do some strategies succeed and provide security (i.e., territorial integrity, political independence, economic viability, environmental sustainability, and social cohesion) while others fail? As part of a larger effort to reintroduce the natural world to security studies, this dissertation analyzes the relative causal influence of geopolitics (encompassing geographic features as modified by technological advances). Adopting an ecological perspective and focusing primarily on policy formulation and functionality (inputs and outcomes), I advance two lines of argument: perceptual and operational. First, decision-makers consider geopolitical circumstances when crafting grand strategies; thoughts about location, distance, interaction capacity, and connectedness---captured in mental maps---help shape strategic preferences and policies. Second, once selected, these security strategies must be played out on that same field---the material context. Strategies with high landscape fitness have a higher probability of success; unsuitable strategies tend toward dysfunction and crashes. Using process tracing in a structured, focused comparison of crucial cases, I test this argument against the historical experience of the United States. Evaluated against three of the most prominent grand strategies adopted by the United States over the last two centuries---(1) non-entanglement, or hiding, with the Monroe Doctrine; (2) containment, or balancing, with the Truman Doctrine; and (3) enlargement, or binding, with the Clinton Doctrine---this argument stands up well. Abundant discursive and cartographic evidence indicate profound cognitive and causal connections between geopolitics and grand strategies. While other factors also matter, geopolitics is critical to explaining variation both across and within these cases. The implications of this study are important, the approach widely applicable. No less than the outcome and the nature of the game are at stake, as developments in communication, transportation, and destruction dramatically increase interaction capacity and fundamentally alter the emergent landscape. States that fail to recognize these changes and adjust their strategies accordingly do so at their own peril.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Political Science) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2003.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 64-04, Section: A, page: 1390.
Chair: Avery Goldstein.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
Goldstein, Avery, advisor
University of Pennsylvania.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 64-04A.
Access Restriction:
Restricted for use by site license.
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