Design and Emergence in the Making of American Grand Strategy

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Date

2013

Authors

Popescu, Ionut

Advisors

Feaver, Peter

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Abstract

The main research question of this thesis is how do grand strategies form. Grand strategy is defined as a state's coherent and consistent pattern of behavior over a long period of time in search of an overarching goal. The political science literature usually explains the formation of grand strategies by using a planning (or design) model. In this dissertation, I use primary sources, interviews with former government officials, and historical scholarship to show that the formation of grand strategy is better understood using a model of emergent learning imported from the business world. My two case studies examine the formation of American grand strategy during the Cold War and the post-Cold War eras. The dissertation concludes that in both these strategic eras the dominating grand strategies were formed primarily by emergent learning rather than flowing from advanced designs.

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Citation

Popescu, Ionut (2013). Design and Emergence in the Making of American Grand Strategy. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8073.

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