The Structure of Domestic Politics: Assessing the Obstacles to a Grand Strategy of Restraint

36 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 24 Feb 2013

Justin Logan

Cato Institute

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

In recent policy debates, realists have urged a grand strategy of “restraint” or “offshore balancing” on the United States. Policymakers have largely ignored them. This paper explains why. To advise that America should adopt restraint implies that it can do so. I argue that as a result of the lack of powerful structural pressures on the United States, as well as the alignment of domestic foreign policy inputs within it, Washington is unlikely to adopt a grand strategy of restraint. Ironically, structural realists should pay more attention to the structure of domestic politics if they seek dramatic changes in U.S. grand strategy.

Keywords: realism, grand strategy, unipolarity, offshore balancing, restraint

Suggested Citation

Logan, Justin, The Structure of Domestic Politics: Assessing the Obstacles to a Grand Strategy of Restraint (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1643877

Justin Logan (Contact Author)

Cato Institute ( email )

1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States

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