Choosing Primacy: U.S. Strategy and Global Order at the Dawn of the Post-Cold War Era

Choosing Primacy: U.S. Strategy and Global Order at the Dawn of the Post-Cold War Era

Newly declassified U.S. government records shed some light onto U.S. strategic thinking about the post-Cold War era and the infamous Defense Planning Guidance.

The Meaning of Strategy, Part II: The Objectives

The Meaning of Strategy, Part II: The Objectives

By the end of the 19th century, the study of strategy had become routine for practitioners, but of little interest for theorists. By the end of the 20th century, it had become a matter of endless fascination for theorists, but a puzzle for practitioners.

The Meaning of Strategy, Part I: The Origins

The Meaning of Strategy, Part I: The Origins

The word "strategy," which is now commonplace, only first came into use to understand military affairs at the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. Since then, its meaning has changed in important ways.

Too Much History: American Policy and East Asia in the Shadow of the Past

Too Much History: American Policy and East Asia in the Shadow of the Past

East Asian countries have a tendency to recall their historical grievances with rival nations, thus increasing the risk of eventual conflict. American policy toward East Asia, on the other hand, tends to have too short of a memory.

Why Did America Cross the Pacific? Reconstructing the U.S. Decision to Take the Philippines, 1898-99

Why Did America Cross the Pacific? Reconstructing the U.S. Decision to Take the Philippines, 1898-99

A closer examination of what led President William McKinley to take the Philippines reveals a series of deliberate and thoughtful choices that have often been overlooked or ignored.

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                    [post_content] => In early 1992, the Pentagon’s primary policy office — the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy — prepared a draft classified document known as the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG).[1] In late February and early March, that document was leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of which published extensive excerpts. Those excerpts, which highlighted the most striking language and themes of the document, detailed a blueprint for American strategy in the post-Cold War era. The United States would not retrench dramatically now that its superpower rival had been vanquished. Instead, it would maintain and extend the unchallenged supremacy it had gained when the Soviet empire collapsed. Washington would cultivate an open, democratic order in which it remained firmly atop the international hierarchy. It would discourage any competitor from challenging for global leadership. It would prevent emerging or resurgent threats from disrupting a broadly favorable environment. And to protect this advantageous global order, America would retain unrivaled military power. In essence, the DPG outlined an unabashed program for perpetuating U.S. primacy.[2]

For this reason, and also because it immediately became caught up in election-year politics, the DPG ignited controversy when it was leaked, drawing harsh appraisals from critics on both the left and right. Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden condemned the document as a radical assertion of American hegemony — “literally a Pax Americana.”[3] Patrick Buchanan, a prominent conservative pundit and Republican presidential candidate, alleged that the DPG represented “a formula for endless American intervention in quarrels and war when no vital interest of the United States is remotely engaged.”[4]

More than a decade later, the episode still smoldered. Writing after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, journalist Craig Unger described the DPG as the product “of a radical political movement led by a right-wing intellectual vanguard.” Another assessment labeled the DPG a “disturbing” manifestation of a “Plan…for the United States to rule the world.”[5] More recently, the DPG has received less breathless treatment from insightful academic observers and former U.S. officials.[6] But even from some scholars, the DPG has continued to draw sharp invective. One leading diplomatic historian has critiqued the DPG as a radical rejection of multilateralism and a plan for Washington to serve as the world’s policeman.[7] Another has termed it a program to “remake the world,” “exterminate the evil-doers,” and forge “the Second American Empire.”[8] As former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman observes, “Probably no defense planning document since the end of World War II, with the possible exception of NSC-68…has received as much attention and discussion.”[9]

Yet if the DPG has long been a fount of controversy, only now is declassification of relevant U.S. government records making it possible to fully understand the document’s role in the development of U.S. strategic thinking about the post-Cold War era during the administration of George H.W. Bush. That development actually began before the Cold War ended, as the administration pondered the requirements of U.S. security and global order in a remarkably fluid environment. It subsequently continued amid profound international crises in Europe and the Persian Gulf, which led the administration to refine key aspects of its geopolitical thinking. That thinking was brought into more comprehensive form with the DPG, which outlined a holistic approach to post-Cold War strategy and which was — despite the public furor sparked by its disclosure — broadly affirmed by the administration during its final months. The DPG, then, did not stand alone. It was one important piece of the larger process by which the Bush administration crafted a strategy of American primacy.

This essay re-creates that process, examining the evolution of Bush-era strategic thinking. It explores the more formal planning and strategy processes the administration undertook, as well as the ways that key crises, long-standing beliefs, and other influences shaped official views of America’s place in the post-Cold War world. It does so primarily by examining newly declassified documents that illuminate the administration’s strategic outlook and offer a more detailed portrait of how America selected a unipolar strategy for a unipolar order.

This is an important subject for historians. Although political scientists widely agree that the United States pursued a strategy meant to sustain its geopolitical preeminence after the Cold War, and historians have begun to analyze how key initiatives such as German reunification served this objective, there has yet to be a comprehensive examination, based on the archival record, of how that strategy emerged.[10] This essay not only puts the DPG in its proper context; it also traces the origins of America’s approach to the post-Cold War world.

Three arguments emerge from this analysis. First, the DPG was not, as is commonly believed, a radical document or an outlier from Bush administration strategic thinking. It was, in many ways, the logical culmination of that thinking. From the outset, Bush and his advisers had believed that America should not pull back geopolitically as the Cold War ended. Rather, they insisted that America should lean forward to advance its interests and values and ward off new or resurgent dangers. In their view, the United States should double down on the globalist endeavors of the post-World War II era in the favorable but uncertain climate of the post-Cold War world. These core themes were reinforced by two major international crises — the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany, and the Persian Gulf crisis and war — which underscored the logic of American primacy. In this context, the DPG served primarily to weave together the various intellectual threads of U.S. strategic thinking. The document’s sharp language and undisguised ambition provoked concern and criticism (including from some within the administration), but its basic content represented merely the most unvarnished and coherent articulation of an assertive approach to post-Cold War geopolitics.

[quote id="1"]

Second, this primacist strategy flowed from a potent mix of influences. It had its deepest roots in ingrained beliefs about the imperative of promoting American values abroad and the long-standing U.S. role in upholding the liberal international order that had emerged after World War II. As Bush’s presidency unfolded, these firmly held ideas were reinforced by strong perceptions of both opportunity and danger. Events of the Bush years made clear that America had tantalizing opportunities to lock in its Cold War victory and shape a uniquely favorable international environment, but they also raised the specter of upheaval and instability. In these circumstances, the administration concluded that a grand strategy based on consensual and preeminent American leadership offered the best — indeed the only — approach for grabbing hold of great possibilities, while also ensuring that one period of great danger did not simply lead to another.

Third, the choice of a primacist strategy was, on the whole, a reasonable one. That choice was based on a plausible and intellectually defensible reading of what the end of the Cold War meant for the world and for U.S. policy. Moreover, the problems of American primacy over the past 25 years should not obscure the fact that some key premises of the strategy devised by the Bush administration held up relatively well over time. Whether American primacy and the international system it supports will continue to endure amid the growing challenges the United States confronts today remains to be seen. But with a quarter-century of hindsight, the Bush administration’s strategic thinking — with the DPG as its most candid articulation — seems fairly incisive.

Early Thinking About Post-Cold War Strategy

In retrospect, the choice of a primacist grand strategy can seem overdetermined or even inevitable, given the many influences that ultimately pushed the Bush administration in that direction. But as the Cold War ended, there was a wide-ranging public debate over what international role America should play. Paul Kennedy’s 1987 best-seller, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, had popularized the notion that America risked succumbing to “imperial overstretch” brought on by excessive global commitments.[11] These arguments were often reinforced by the rise of economic competitors such as Japan, which had — many critics alleged — exploited America’s postwar largesse and was poised to displace Washington as global economic leader. “The Cold War is over,” one common saying went. “Japan and Germany won.”[12] Moreover, given that many features of America’s globalism had emerged in the context of the superpower contest with Moscow, the winding down of that competition produced calls for a reassessment of Washington’s global role. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, commentators as varied as Jeane Kirkpatrick and Patrick Buchanan on the right, and Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the left, argued for greater strategic restraint, based on the idea that America lacked the ability or the need to carry on such an ambitious global project after the Cold War. There was “a widespread awareness that we have come to the end of the postwar era,” Clinton said in 1988. “We don’t dominate as we once did.”[13] Likewise, Kirkpatrick argued in a prominent article in 1990 that “it is time to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status” and again become “a normal country in a normal time.”[14] As the 1980s ended, calls for retrenchment were often accompanied by demands for dramatic reductions in America’s alliance commitments, overseas presence, and military spending. Analysts with respected think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, and even former secretaries of defense such as Harold Brown, suggested that the United States could reduce defense spending by as much as half if the Soviet threat continued to fade.[15] Democrat Charles Schumer, then a U.S. representative from New York, talked about “deep reductions in the defense budget.”[16] Other respected congressional observers, such as Sen. Sam Nunn and Rep. Les Aspin, called for lesser but still significant cuts.[17] These arguments were contested by defense hawks and analysts, such as the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer, who argued for a more muscular approach to the post-Cold War world.[18] But throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, demands would persist for a substantial “peace dividend” and a more circumscribed U.S. foreign policy. This was not, however, the approach that the Bush administration chose. Amid the erosion and eventual collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, Bush and his top aides were consumed with superpower relations and crisis management almost from the outset of his presidency, and key officials — Bush included — sometimes seemed wary of declaring the bipolar competition over during much of 1989.[19] Even so, during the first 18 months of Bush’s presidency U.S. officials frequently discussed — in forums both public and private, in ways both systematic and not — what sort of international environment might follow the Cold War and what strategic approach Washington should take in that environment. And even when the outlines of the post-Cold War world were but dimly apparent, these discussions converged around an unmistakable theme: that the United States should not retrench geopolitically, but should lean forward to exploit advantageous change, repress incipient dangers, and mold the new international order. From the start, the sources of this idea were ideological as well as geopolitical. Like countless U.S. officials before him, Bush believed that America had a distinctive moral calling to advance human freedom and well-being and that this responsibility required a self-confident, assertive foreign policy. “We just must not lose sight…of our own raison d’etre as a nation,” he had written in his diary in 1975. “We must be Americans. We must be what we are.”[20] Indeed, while Bush was generally not considered a highly ideological figure, he was certainly part of a long-standing ideological consensus on the moral necessity of U.S. power. America had been the “dominant force for good in the world,” Bush declared during his 1988 campaign, and would remain so in the future.[21] The administration’s early thinking was equally framed by another enduring idea: that American power was indispensable to the preservation of a stable, prosperous, democratic world order. Bush and key aides such as Brent Scowcroft and James Baker were products of World War II and the Cold War. They believed that U.S. engagement had been essential to defeating Nazism and communism, to reconciling former enemies and taming historical antagonisms in Europe and Asia after 1945, and to providing the climate of security and prosperity in which the West had thrived.[22] And just as the drafters of NSC-68 had written that U.S. leadership would be needed “even if there were no Soviet threat,” the Bush administration believed that the imperative of maintaining and advancing a stable, liberal world environment would outlast the Cold War. “America has set in motion the major changes under way in the world today,” Bush asserted in 1988. “No other nation, or group of nations, will step forward to assume leadership.”[23] Or, as a senior National Security Council staffer put it in early 1990, “it’s not as though somehow our postwar responsibilities have ended and our mission is at a conclusion” even though the Soviet threat was waning.[24] From the time Bush took office, these ingrained ideas were reinforced by perceptions of prevailing international trends. In some ways, these changes seemed all to the good. The ebbing of superpower tensions was removing long-standing threats to American interests and raising the possibility that the Cold War would soon end decisively, on U.S. terms. “Containment is being vindicated,” an early classified directive signed by Bush stated, “as the peoples of the world reject the outmoded dogma of Marxism-Leninism in a search for prosperity and freedom.”[25] Looking beyond superpower relations, the rapid spread of democracy and free markets over the previous decade had rendered the international environment more reflective of U.S. values and created openings to advance American security and influence. In the coming years, Robert Zoellick, then State Department counselor, wrote in 1989, “we must concentrate on building a new age of peace, democracy, and economic liberty.”[26] Bush himself asked in a major speech in May of that year:
What is it we want to see? It is a growing community of democracies anchoring international peace and stability, and a dynamic free-market system generating prosperity and progress on a global scale.[27]
At the same time, administration officials also argued that Washington must remain vigilant. In early 1989, Bush and his national security adviser, Scowcroft, were particularly concerned that positive changes in Soviet policy under Mikhail Gorbachev might ultimately be reversed, confronting Washington with a revived challenge. Bush wrote in an early study directive on U.S. defense policy:
It would be reckless to dismantle our military strength and the policies that have helped to make the world less dangerous and foolish to assume that all dangers have disappeared or that any apparent diminution is irreversible.”[28]
Looking beyond the Soviet Union, there were other potential threats. “Security threats were not invented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said, “and threats will remain long after that party’s gone out of business.”[29] Studies commissioned by the Defense Department in the late 1980s emphasized the potential proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the eruption of crises and wars in the Middle East or South Asia, the growth of international terrorism and drug trafficking, and even resurgent economic or political frictions in Europe and East Asia.[30] If anything, the breakdown of bipolarity might encourage such disorder by removing the geopolitical constraints that had long structured world politics. As Peter Rodman, counselor to the National Security Council, put it in a background briefing for reporters in early 1990, “We see a new era of uncertainties, new possible sources of instability, new concerns.”[31] If allowed to fester, these concerns might eventually grow into first-order security challenges in their own right. From the earliest months of the Bush administration, there was thus a consensus that reduced Cold War tensions did not imply a dramatic U.S. retrenchment. In January 1989, Secretary of State James Baker reminded a Cabinet meeting that the “U.S. is both an Atlantic and Pacific power with allies in both regions.”[32] In July, Bush privately reassured the South Korean defense minister that “the U.S. will continue to be a Pacific power with many friends in the region.”[33] Similarly, he made clear that whatever changes occurred in Europe, the United States would remain strategically and militarily engaged so as to discourage a resurgence of historical tensions. “West European countries see the U.S. presence as stabilizing,” Bush explained in a conversation with Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia. “Our view…is that we shouldn’t withdraw and declare peace.”[34] The end of the Cold War might mark a radical break with the past, U.S. officials believed, but it should not usher in radical change in U.S. grand strategy. Rather, Washington should essentially double down on its successful postwar initiatives — the maintenance of alliances and favorable geopolitical balances in key regions, the commitment to playing a leadership role in key international institutions, the efforts to shape a global environment ideologically and economically congenial to the United States — in the more favorable climate that was emerging. These themes were ubiquitous as the administration initiated more systematic planning for post-Cold War strategy. Bush’s first National Security Strategy was drafted by Scowcroft’s staff in late 1989 and early 1990. It represented the administration’s first opportunity to offer a comprehensive assessment of America’s role in a rapidly evolving world, and it was written as the administration grappled with momentous changes in the Soviet bloc. Unsurprisingly, then, the report dealt at length with those changes, arguing that they vindicated the containment strategy pursued since the late 1940s. Yet the National Security Strategy also looked past the Cold War, arguing that America must “help shape a new era, one that moves beyond containment and that will take us into the next century.” Change — “breath-taking in its character, dimension, and pace” — was certain and the United States was likely to confront a range of emerging or resurgent threats. But U.S. global interests were enduring and so Washington would sustain its core alliances and forward military deployments in Europe and East Asia, and it would encourage the further spread of democracy and markets, while also taking the lead in addressing new sources of international tension. “The pivotal responsibility for ensuring the stability of the international balance remains ours,” the National Security Strategy affirmed, “even as its requirements change in a new era.”[35] The counterpart to the National Security Strategy was a major defense review carried out from 1989 to 1990, largely under the leadership of Gen. Colin Powell, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The need for such an exercise was obvious as the easing of superpower tensions exerted downward pressure on the defense budget. “We know it will get smaller,” said Powell. “That is inevitable.”[36] Bush himself argued to resist efforts to “naively cut the muscle out of our defense posture,” but as early as by late 1989 Cheney was conceding that the administration might have to cut as much as $180 billion (out of a total defense budget of roughly $300 billion) over a period of six years.[37] The task, then, was to fashion a new defense concept that could reconcile the realities of coming budget cuts with the enduring requirements of global stability and American influence. “Our challenges,” the 1990 National Security Strategy explained, were to adapt America’s military strength “to a grand strategy that looks beyond containment, and to ensure that our military power, and that of our allies and friends, is appropriate to the new and more complex opportunities and challenges before us.”[38] [quote id="2"] The result of this process — which emerged after significant bureaucratic and inter-service wrangling — was the “Base Force” concept for sizing the U.S. military. The Base Force accepted non-trivial reductions in U.S. military power, envisioning eventual cuts of approximately 25 percent in personnel levels, reductions in carrier battle groups and other power-projection tools, and withdrawal of portions of the American contingent in Europe. Yet as Pentagon officials stressed, unchallenged U.S. military power underwrote global security commitments, dampened long-standing rivalries in key regions, and gave Washington immense diplomatic leverage. Moreover, while there was now less chance of war with Moscow, the potential for conflict remained in the Korean Peninsula; the Persian Gulf; and even Central America, where U.S. forces had recently toppled Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The Base Force thus preserved large-scale overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia; maintained the critical air, naval, and logistical capabilities necessary to dominate the global commons and project power overseas; and preserved intensive research and development efforts to sustain America’s military-technological edge, particularly at the higher ends of the conventional spectrum.[39] “America must possess forces able to respond to threats in whatever corner of the globe they may occur,” Bush said in unveiling the Base Force concept in 1990; it must “protect the gains that 40 years of peace through strength have earned us.”[40] The logic of the Base Force prefigured a great deal of post-Cold War strategic thinking. Its key architects — Powell, Lt. Gen. Lee Butler, and others — rooted their recommendations in the idea that the declining Soviet danger might simply be replaced by the “rise of new hegemonic powers” in regions of strategic importance. They believed that “the United States was the only power with the capacity to manage the major forces at work in the world.” And so they concluded that a high degree of military dominance was critical to preserving the international stability and geopolitical gains offered by the end of the Cold War. In fact, the “Base Force” label was meant to make clear that there was a minimum level of military primacy below which America “dare not go” (as Powell put it) if it were to maintain and expand the stable, liberalizing international order that Washington had built in the West after World War II. “What we plan for,” Powell subsequently explained of the strategy, “is that we’re a superpower. We are the major player on the world stage with responsibilities around the world, with interests around the world.” All of these ideas would figure prominently in subsequent Pentagon planning efforts under Bush and later.[41] Early in Bush’s presidency, then, there was broad internal agreement that America would continue to act as guarantor and stabilizer of the international system. It would encourage favorable trends, hold back threatening ones, and keep the unequaled hard power necessary to do so effectively. This mind-set would influence how the administration approached key crises in 1989-1990. Those crises, in turn, would sharpen official views on America’s global role.

The Collapse of the Bloc and German Reunification

The first such crisis involved the collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe and the redrawing of the region’s political map. This crisis began in mid-1989, with the accelerating breakdown of the Communist regimes, and intensified with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November. That event raised the prospect of German reunification, which then proceeded via an internal track made up of rapidly increasing ties between the two German states, and an external track of multilateral diplomacy primarily involving the United States, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. By the fall of 1990, Germany was reunified within NATO, and the Warsaw Pact was disintegrating as countries throughout Eastern Europe initiated democratic and free-market reforms and requested withdrawal of Soviet troops. In roughly a year, the bipolar order in Europe had been transformed.[42] U.S. policy played little role in initiating those transformations. Bush admitted to Gorbachev in December 1989, “We were shocked by the swiftness of the changes that unfolded.”[43] As events raced ahead, however, the administration became deeply engaged, endorsing and actively pushing for German reunification under Western auspices. “No approach on our part toward Germany is without risk,” Scowcroft wrote in a memo to Bush, “but at this point the most dangerous course of all for the United States may be to allow others to set the shape and character of a united Germany and or the future structure of European security.”[44] By mid-1990 and after, the administration was even considering eventual expansion of NATO further into the former Warsaw Pact area to discourage post-Cold War instability and foster political and economic reform.[45] Existing scholarship has explored the contours of U.S. policy on these issues.[46] More salient here is that events in Europe in 1989 and 1990 powerfully interacted with the main currents in American thinking about the post-Cold War world. In one sense, the breakdown of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe provided a breathtaking demonstration of just how immense the possibilities might be in this emerging era. “We were witnessing the sorts of changes usually only imposed by victors at the end of a major war,” Scowcroft later wrote in his memoir. Reunification on Western terms, he had observed contemporaneously, in November 1989, would “rip the heart out of the Soviet security system” in Eastern Europe and mark a “fundamental shift in the strategic balance.”[47] Moreover, the transitions underway in Eastern Europe were underscoring the possibility for further advances by free markets and free political systems. “We are witnessing the transformation of almost every state in Eastern Europe into more democratic societies, dominated by pluralistic political systems matched to decentralized economies,” Scowcroft wrote in a memo to the president.[48] This prospect was a principal driver of U.S. policy in 1989 and 1990. U.S. officials studiously engaged Moscow in the multilateral diplomacy surrounding reunification, and they carefully avoided humiliating Gorbachev over the catastrophic retreat of Soviet influence. Privately, however, Bush and Scowcroft intended to exploit U.S. strength and Soviet weakness to remake the European order on American terms. “The Soviets are not in a position to dictate Germany’s relationship with NATO,” Bush said at a meeting with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in early 1990. “To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn’t.”[49] Accordingly, the administration encouraged Kohl to move briskly toward reunification, while also pressing Moscow to accept reunification within NATO and decisively rejecting Soviet proposed alternatives such as a neutralized Germany. As they did so, American officials treated Gorbachev with great respect in their bilateral dealings, and Bush and Kohl arranged for concessions — especially German financial assistance to Moscow — to ensure Soviet acquiescence. Yet the guiding assumption remained that Washington and its allies must move decisively to lock in epochal changes. “There is so much change in Eastern Europe,” Bush said in January 1990. “We should seize the opportunity to make things better for the world.”[50] [quote id="3"] The process of German reunification thus offered tantalizing opportunities to ensure American dominance in post-Cold War Europe. At the same time, that process also reinforced the idea that such strategic assertiveness was necessary to manage emerging dangers. Reunification was deeply worrying to Poland, France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, which feared that a united Germany might once again dominate Europe. As NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner privately warned Bush as the diplomacy surrounding reunification heated up, “The Old Pandora’s box of competition and rivalry in Europe” might be reopened.[51] More broadly, there were widespread fears that the collapse of Soviet authority in Eastern Europe could unleash ethnic violence or resurgent nationalist rivalries within that region. “The outlines of ancient European antagonisms are already beginning to emerge,” Scowcroft wrote in late 1989. A “power vacuum is developing” as Soviet influence receded.[52] For the Bush administration, these concerns powerfully underscored the need not to retract U.S. influence but to maintain and expand it. By this logic, keeping a reunified Germany within NATO would preclude resurgent instability by tying the new German state to the West and thereby eliminating the competitive security dynamics that might otherwise emerge. As Baker warned, “Unless we find a way to truly anchor Germany in European institutions we will sow the seeds for history to repeat itself.”[53] Moreover, integrating a reunified Germany into NATO would ensure that the alliance remained relevant after the Cold War, thereby also ensuring a continued role for U.S. power in Europe. The alternatives, Scowcroft warned Bush in a key memorandum, were dangerous: “Twentieth century history gives no encouragement to those who believe the Europeans can achieve and sustain this balance of power and keep the peace without the United States.”[54] From late 1989 onward, this perspective propelled efforts not simply to bring a reunified Germany into NATO but also to adapt that alliance to preserve its utility after the Cold War. Amid German reunification, the Bush administration secured alliance reforms meant to make a strong and vibrant NATO more acceptable to a retreating Soviet Union. The alliance adjusted its force posture to take account of the decreasing Soviet threat, deemphasized the role of nuclear weapons, and stressed NATO’s political (as opposed to strictly military) functions. Likewise, the administration took steps to accommodate European desires for greater influence over their own security affairs in the post-Cold War era, while reaffirming NATO’s primacy on European defense. “Our essential goal,” noted one administration strategy memo from 1990, was “a viable NATO that is the foundation for Atlantic cooperation on political and security concerns and maintains the position of the United States as a European power.[55] What made this goal achievable was that there was widespread European support for a strong and perhaps expanded U.S. role. Although the French did seek a more independent European security identity as the Cold War ended, neither they nor any other ally sought the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe. As British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd would say in 1990, “European security without the United States simply does not make sense.”[56] Even the Soviets and their erstwhile allies agreed. Although he initially resisted German reunification within NATO (and Moscow would later object to NATO expansion during the 1990s and after), Gorbachev ultimately concluded that a united Germany tied to Washington was preferable to an independent, neutral Germany. “The presence of American troops can play a containing role,” Gorbachev acknowledged in a conversation with Baker.[57] And as early as the spring of 1990, Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland and Hungary were inquiring about eventual NATO membership as a guarantee of their own security.[58] The United States did not immediately undertake NATO expansion in the early 1990s, largely for fear of antagonizing Moscow at a time when Soviet troops had yet to be fully withdrawn from Eastern Europe, and because U.S. officials had yet to study or debate the issue in sufficient detail to reach internal consensus.[59] But even in 1990 and 1991, the Bush administration was tentatively taking exploratory steps, such as extending NATO military liaison relationships to the bloc countries, and the basic geopolitical logic of expansion was starting to take hold. The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the State Department Policy Planning Staff believed, as the National Security Council’s director for European security affairs, Philip Zelikow, put it in October 1990, that it was important “to keep the door ajar and not give the East Europeans the impression that NATO is forever a closed club.”[60] Internal documents argued that expansion would help avoid nationalist frictions and security dilemmas in Eastern Europe. Moreover, as one State Department official subsequently wrote in 1992,
Democratization and economic development have a better chance of succeeding if national security concerns in the Eastern democracies were reduced by credible, multilateral security guarantees.[61]
In several respects, then, the European crisis of 1989 to 1990 underscored and helped to clarify key elements of Bush administration thinking. This episode reinforced the idea that U.S. ascendancy and the weakening of traditional rivals had created a moment of transition in which Washington could act decisively to achieve lasting structural changes. It affirmed the notion that American influence and U.S.-led institutions could serve a critical stabilizing purpose amid geopolitical uncertainty. Finally, this episode offered evidence for the idea that insofar as U.S. power promoted stability in the international system, its maintenance and even expansion after the Cold War might be more welcomed than resisted. Many of these ideas would soon reappear in the American reaction to a second major international crisis.

The Persian Gulf Crisis and War

The Persian Gulf crisis and war of 1990 to 1991 followed hard upon German reunification. It had an equally pronounced impact on U.S. views of the post-Cold War order. On Aug. 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait in a bid to bring that oil-rich kingdom under Iraqi control and thereby redress the Baathist regime’s desperate financial and domestic plight. The United States, however, promptly spearheaded a decisive response. The Bush administration mobilized a diverse diplomatic coalition against Iraq while also coordinating a multinational military deployment used first to protect Saudi Arabia and then to evict Saddam from Kuwait. Washington would ultimately deploy nearly 550,000 personnel, 2,000 tanks, 1,990 aircraft, and 100 warships to the Persian Gulf. Its coalition partners would contribute 270,000 troops, 66 warships, 750 combat aircraft, and 1,100 tanks. When, after several months of military preparations and crisis diplomacy, Saddam refused to withdraw, the U.S.-led coalition prosecuted a brief but punishing war to force him out. That conflict did not ultimately oust Saddam from power, as some U.S. officials had hoped, but it did liberate Kuwait and leave Iraq far weaker and more isolated than before.[62] If German reunification primarily demonstrated the opportunities of the new era, the Gulf crisis primarily highlighted the dangers. Most immediately, Saddam’s invasion threatened the security of critical Gulf oil supplies. It also highlighted larger post-Cold War perils. The crisis showed, as Bush noted in a speech on Aug. 2, that “threats…can arise suddenly, unpredictably, and from unexpected quarters.”[63] More specifically, the invasion raised the prospect that aggressive dictatorships, armed with unconventional weapons, might exploit the fluidity of the post-Cold War world to make bold plays for hegemony in crucial regions. Saddam “has clearly done what he has to do to dominate OPEC, the Gulf and the Arab world,” Cheney said at a National Security Council meeting on Aug. 3.[64] This fear of incipient chaos and destabilizing aggression pushed U.S. officials toward a strong response. “This is the first test of the post [-Cold] war system,” Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger commented. “If [Saddam] succeeds, others may try the same thing. It would be a bad lesson.”[65] As early as Aug. 2, Bush framed the crisis as an illustration of why the United States needed to maintain globe-spanning military power, capable of “rapid response” to crises.[66] Similarly, officials continually reiterated that U.S. engagement was essential to ensuring that the end of bipolarity ushered in something better and not something worse. “We did not stand united for forty years to bring the Cold War to a peaceful end in order to make the world safe for the likes of Saddam Hussein,” Baker said in late 1990. America should defend the position of strategic advantage that its Cold War victory had enabled.[67] The Gulf crisis further affirmed that belief by revealing, far more starkly than before, that only Washington could play the crucial stabilizing role. For all the talk during the 1980s about the economic rise of Japan and Germany, when the Gulf crisis broke only America was uniquely capable of spearheading a decisive multilateral response. U.S. diplomacy was central to mobilizing the Gulf War coalition by providing subsidies for key members such as Egypt, offering diplomatic cover to vulnerable participants, and persuading reluctant actors such as the Soviet Union and China not to stand in the way.[68] U.S. power was even more central in the military arena: No other country had the forces necessary to confront Saddam in his own backyard. “It’s only the United States that can lead,” Bush noted in his diary in September. “All countries in the West clearly have to turn to us.”[69] What the Gulf crisis equally demonstrated was robust global demand for such U.S. leadership. Twenty-seven nations ultimately provided military forces for the coalition effort. Coalition partners also provided $53.8 billion in monetary support and in-kind contributions, nearly covering the total U.S. bill of $61.1 billion.[70] This historic multilateral support for U.S. policy was partially a function of easing Cold War gridlock in the U.N. Security Council and partially reflected the heinous nature of Saddam’s aggression. Yet it also showed that the energetic use of U.S. power was widely seen as vital to upholding stability and safeguarding public goods such as global oil flows in the post-Cold War era. “We are protecting their interest as well as ours,” one administration memo explained, “and it is only fair that they share the burden.”[71] Foreign officials acknowledged this dynamic. “The Japanese people, in the last 45 years, have been used to peace provided by you,” Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki told Bush at a meeting in September 1990. The Gulf crisis showed that this reliance had hardly ended.[72] [quote id="4"] The realization that Washington had a chance to establish a model of assertive but consensual primacy was at the forefront of U.S. policy in the Gulf crisis. The administration’s multilateralism and talk of a “New World Order” sometimes gave the impression that Bush believed that the United Nations would be the primary provider of international security in the 1990s.[73] Yet in reality, that multilateralism rested on a growing belief that the end of the Cold War was making it possible to gain broader international support — including through institutions such as the United Nations — for energetic American leadership in pursuit of both U.S. interests and global security. As Bush and Scowcroft later acknowledged, their diplomacy was meant to give “a cloak of acceptability to our efforts and mobilize world opinion behind the principles we wished to project.” Scowcroft expanded on this idea. “The United States henceforth would be obligated to lead the world community to an unprecedented degree,” he wrote. It should therefore “pursue our national interest, wherever possible, within a framework of concert with our friends and the international community.”[74] This concept of enlightened American primacy would soon reappear in the DPG and other administration planning documents. In the meantime, the war underscored just how pronounced that primacy was. Saddam’s roughly million-man army was eviscerated by U.S. forces, which had built advanced, high-tech weapons and capabilities for use against the Soviets in Central Europe and were now deploying them against a weaker regional adversary. In particular, the Gulf War showcased American dominance in high-intensity conventional conflict, made possible by unparalleled strengths in capabilities ranging from precision-guided munitions to infra-red technology. It further demonstrated how the training and doctrinal reforms made since Vietnam had allowed U.S. forces to utilize these capabilities with astonishing lethality. As one postwar assessment noted, Operation Desert Storm revealed that America had achieved “a revolutionary advance in military capability.”[75] Combined with the fact that the Soviet Union, consumed by internal turmoil, had largely been left on the sidelines, the result was to display just how significant the emerging post-Cold War power disparity was between Washington and any potential rival. “The U.S. clearly emerges from all of this as the one real superpower in the world,” Cheney observed in April 1991.[76] Ironically, this military dominance did not secure quite the result U.S. officials had sought, as Saddam Hussein survived the war in power, with a much-reduced but still-threatening military. The Bush administration declined the opportunity to double down on operational success by pursuing Saddam’s forces to Baghdad or otherwise explicitly seeking regime change. In part, this was because the administration hoped — and had, from intelligence sources, some reason to believe — that the historic drubbing Saddam had suffered would cause the Iraqi military to overthrow him. “We genuinely believed…that the magnitude of the defeat was so overwhelming that the army would take out Saddam when the war was over,” Robert Gates, Bush’s deputy national security adviser, later recalled.[77] Bush also mistakenly believed, as he told French officials at the time, that Saddam’s “armor was so decimated that they no longer constitute a military threat to their neighbors.”[78] Yet from a broader perspective, this restraint owed to the fact that an administration fully committed to perpetuating American leadership in the post-Cold War era was also wary of going too far. Bush did not want to fragment the Gulf War coalition by exceeding its U.N. mandate. He and his advisers also worried that ridding Iraq of Saddam might require a full-scale military occupation for which there were no existing plans. “We do not want to screw this up with a sloppy, muddled ending,” Bush said.[79] This restraint was later criticized, for contrary to what Bush and his commanders had expected, a significant portion of Saddam’s forces — including elite Republican Guard divisions and Iraqi armor — had escaped destruction. Moreover, the war was followed not by a Sunni military coup but by Shia and Kurdish uprisings that caused Saddam’s generals to rally around him as the only figure who could preserve a unified Iraq.[80] The Bush administration declined to intervene in this bloody civil war, fearful that doing so might fracture the Iraqi state and bring Iranian-backed Shia groups to dominance. The concern, one State Department adviser recalled, was that “this was going to create a new Lebanon.”[81] As a result, Saddam clung to power and remained capable of threatening the Gulf. “Even in its presently weakened state,” Assistant Secretary of Defense Henry Rowen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee several months after the conflict, “Iraq is still much stronger than any of its neighbors to the south.”[82] In fairness to Bush — and in light of later U.S. experience invading and occupying Iraq — prudence may still have been the better part of wisdom in 1991. In any event, the somewhat muddled outcome of the Persian Gulf War simply increased the tendency to expand U.S. activism after the Cold War. In particular, it ensured that Washington would retain a sizable military presence in the Gulf — where it had previously relied on a light-footprint, “over the horizon” approach — as a way of keeping Saddam’s regime contained. “Saddam Hussein is sanctioned forever,” Bush told European officials in April 1991.[83] And in general, the Gulf War further set the stage for an ambitious post-Cold War strategy. The imperative of unmatched U.S. military power; the need for decisive action to head off emergent upheaval; the sense that there was no good alternative to American leadership; the evidence that leadership employed for the collective good could enjoy broad international acceptance: All of these components of the administration’s strategic paradigm gained strong support from the crisis. As administration officials subsequently attempted a more systematic expression of post-Cold War policy, they would draw heavily on this mind-set.

To the Defense Planning Guidance

Official thinking about such a policy statement occurred in the context of two key developments in 1991 and 1992. The first was the terminal decline of the Soviet Union. As scholars have noted, the administration’s policy toward Moscow in 1991 was often hedged and tentative, in part because of internal disagreements between the State and Defense Departments. Partially as a result, U.S. policy played only a marginal role in the Soviet disintegration.[84] Yet that disintegration further clarified America’s global position. America’s long-standing competitor had collapsed and Washington was now without military or ideological peers. “We were suddenly in a unique position,” Scowcroft later wrote, “without experience, without precedent, and standing alone at the height of power.”[85] The need to articulate a strategy for this new situation took on greater salience. That imperative was strengthened by issues at home. The Gulf War had, in many ways, shown the value of U.S. military dominance. Yet as the Soviet Union unraveled, calls for a post-Cold War peace dividend intensified; many observers, including most candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, advocated cuts significantly beyond what the Base Force envisioned. Clinton advocated cutting military spending by one-third over five years. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown advocated a 50 percent cut over the same period; Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa called for 50 percent cuts over ten years.[86] In these circumstances, it seemed essential to identify a persuasive paradigm for global engagement after the passing of the Soviet threat. That task fell to the Pentagon — particularly Wolfowitz’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy — which attempted to offer a coherent statement of American purpose in its classified Defense Planning Guidance. Wolfowitz’s staff took the drafting of the report as an opportunity to assess the “fundamentally new situation” in global affairs and to “set the nation’s direction for the next century.”[87] Preparatory work began as early as mid-1991 and, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Wolfowitz’s staff (led by adviser Zalmay Khalilzad) drew up a nearly final version by mid-February 1992.[88] The strategic vision conveyed by the DPG was based on an unvarnished reading of global power dynamics. With the “collapse of the Soviet Union,” “the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence,” and the success of American arms in the Gulf, the United States had established an enviable power position. Moreover, the United States led a “system of collective security and…democratic ‘zone of peace’” that bound the developed West tightly to it. All this amounted to what Cheney publicly described as unprecedented “strategic depth” — a dearth of existential threats, combined with tremendous leeway and influence in shaping global events.[89] The core aim of U.S. strategy, then, should be to extend this situation well into the future. As the DPG stated:
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival…that poses a threat on the order of that formerly posed by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration…and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.
Washington must therefore prevent any adversary from commanding Europe, East Asia, or the Persian Gulf; it should prevent a new hostile superpower from reasserting control over the territory of the former Soviet Union. The goal, in other words, was to avoid a return to bipolarity or multipolarity, and to lock in a U.S.-led unipolar order.[90] The United States should also seek to sustain and even improve this unipolar order by thwarting other emerging threats and further transforming global politics to American advantage. According to the DPG, America would “limit international violence” by confronting dangers such as regional conflict, international terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear arms as well as other advanced weapons. It would also make the international environment still more congenial by advancing “the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems,” particularly in key regions such as the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Kremlin had “achieved global reach and power” because a totalitarian regime had consolidated control of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Preventing another such threat from arising entailed extending the “democratic zone of peace” into the former Soviet empire and beyond.[91] The DPG was a Pentagon document, but it was not blind to the fact that achieving these ambitious goals would require more than military power. Proactive diplomacy and economic statecraft would be essential to promoting democracy and markets, countering terrorism, and impeding proliferation. Most important, maintaining American primacy would require convincing other leading nations to support rather than oppose it. As Khalilzad wrote,
We must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.
The United States should thus promote a positive-sum global economy that would help other countries prosper. It should provide international security, leadership in addressing critical challenges, and other common goods that would persuade key second-tier nations to welcome American preeminence. In essence, the DPG made a version of the argument that would later gain currency among international-relations scholars: that unipolarity need not invite concerted counterbalancing so long as Washington used its power to support a benign and broadly beneficial global system.[92] The DPG, then, was a more nuanced document than some critics later claimed. Yet there was no mistaking another core message: that unrivaled American military might was the hard-power backbone of the post-Cold War order. U.S. force deployments and alliance commitments provided stability and influence in key regions from East Asia to Europe to the Persian Gulf; the DPG even raised the prospect of extending security guarantees to former members of the Soviet bloc. American military dominance fostered a peaceful international environment in which open markets and open political systems could prosper; it would also dissuade potential rivals from seeking to challenge American leadership. “We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role,” the DPG stated. Finally, given the enduring uncertainty of global affairs, unrivaled military primacy would provide the ability to address emerging threats and dangers before they fundamentally disrupted the post-Cold War system. America would not be “righting every wrong,” the document stated, but:
We will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.[93]
To be clear, the DPG did not advocate unrestrained interventionism, for such a view would have been badly out of step with the instincts of key administration leaders. Bush had declined to intervene militarily amid the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in mid-1991, on grounds that there was no vital U.S. interest at stake. “We don’t want to put a dog in this fight,” he wrote in his diary.[94] Similarly, Cheney and Wolfowitz had long understood that any perception that Washington was going about in search of monsters to destroy would drain public support for an assertive post-Cold War policy. “One of the reasons the [Gulf] operation was so successful was that its purposes were very clear and it had public support,” Wolfowitz had commented in 1991. “That doesn’t translate into a blank check to go around the world using force.” Powell, for his part, had argued that same year that America should use force only in cases where U.S. forces could win decisively and then exit the scene, avoiding the sort of open-ended, indecisive missions that had led to such a fierce domestic backlash in Vietnam. “If…military force regrettably turns out to be” necessary, he said, “I think it should be used in a decisive way.”[95] Both halves of the DPG’s formulation regarding the role of American military power were thus important. “The world order,” the document stated forthrightly, “is ultimately backed by the U.S.”[96] But preserving domestic support for such a strategy required avoiding unnecessary interventions and using American power selectively. So how much military power was required to pursue the DPG strategy? The document was somewhat fuzzy regarding specifics, but it left no uncertainty that Washington needed a superiority that was not just unmatched but unrivaled. An initial draft of the document, from September 1991, had stated that “U.S. forces must continue to be at least a generation ahead.”[97] The February 1992 version emphasized the imperative of winning decisively in confrontations with Saddam-like challengers — who might be armed with nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction — as well as the role of vast technological superiority in upholding deterrence. Furthermore, the document affirmed that the United States would act on a multilateral basis when possible but that it must be able “to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated or when an immediate response is…necessary.”[98] In its totality, the DPG expressed a strikingly ambitious vision for American strategy. Yet it was nonetheless basically aligned with the Bush administration’s broader perspective as expressed to date. So many core themes of the document — the promotion of democracy and market economics, the need for globe-spanning and preponderant military power, the idea that Washington could pursue an enlightened sort of leadership that would invite support rather than opposition — were reiterations or refinements of earlier ideas. Nor was the idea of precluding the rise of a new hostile superpower particularly novel. It drew on the same logic that had impelled Bush to prevent Saddam from dominating the Persian Gulf, and thereby amassing dangerous levels of geopolitical power, and the basic concept of using the Cold War’s end to lock in a more favorable international order. (It also drew on an older U.S. strategic concept, dating to World War II, of preventing rivals from controlling key regions of the world.[99]) In effect, the DPG drew together the administration’s core post-Cold War concepts and linked them to a more explicit overall ambition of preserving U.S. international supremacy. It was not a sharp break with the administration’s strategic thinking; it can more properly be seen as the culmination thereof. [quote id="5"] Yet the February 1992 DPG was also still a draft document, and for a time it appeared to be dead on arrival. Late that month the document leaked to the New York Times and Washington Post. Reacting to the DPG’s more striking language and ideas — which were emphasized in the media reporting — critics lambasted the Pentagon’s blueprint. Biden declared that “what these Pentagon planners are laying out is nothing but a Pax Americana.”[100] Sen. Alan Cranston memorably accused the administration of seeking to make America “the one, the only main honcho on the world block, the global Big Enchilada.”[101] The Washington Post editorial board lamented the DPG’s “muscle-flexing unilateralism” as a rejection of Gulf War-era multilateralism.[102] Sen. Edward Kennedy charged that the DPG “aimed primarily at finding new ways to justify Cold War levels of military spending.”[103] Other observers noted that the DPG seemed focused on stymieing the rise not only of American adversaries but also of traditional allies such as Germany and Japan and non-hostile powers such as India.[104] Blindsided by the leak and subsequent chorus of boos, the Bush administration wavered. National Security Council talking points encouraged Bush to play down the DPG in an upcoming meeting with German officials. “Kohl may express displeasure about the leaked Pentagon paper suggesting that the U.S. wants to block the rise of any new superpower, including German-led Europe,” NSC officials wrote in March 1992. “You should explain that we want to see a stronger, more united Europe.”[105] In public, Bush explained that he had not formally approved — or even read — Khalilzad’s draft. Cheney and Wolfowitz subsequently called upon a top Pentagon aide, Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, to rewrite the February 1992 draft. The redraft toned down the language of the earlier version while also playing up the importance of alliance relationships and multilateralism. By May, leading newspapers were reporting that the administration had pulled back from its radical vision. “Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers,” the New York Times proclaimed.[106] The reality, however, was different. The DPG was not, after all, some great substantive departure from administration views on post-Cold War strategy. As noted earlier, many of the key military concepts expressed in the document — the imperative of maintaining military primacy based on high-end technological superiority and the need to head off the emergence of new regional hegemons — had played key roles in the development of the Base Force. Similarly, a document finalized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1992 significantly foreshadowed the DPG, arguing that America must “preserve a credible capability to forestall any potential adversary from competing militarily with the United States.”[107] During early 1992, moreover, Powell and Cheney had publicly advocated some of the core themes of the DPG in speeches and congressional testimony. “We are…the world’s sole remaining superpower,” Powell had said. “Seldom in our history have we been in a stronger position relative to any challengers we might face. This is a position we should not abandon.”[108] These views were not held solely by Pentagon officials. The president himself largely kept quiet about the DPG in public. But Bush did nonetheless convey that he “was broadly supportive of the thrust of the Pentagon document” once he learned of it following the leaks, one reporter noted in March, and his private statements confirm this assessment. “We must remain the active leader of the entire world,” he wrote in a note to White House aides that month. “We must not only have the convictions about democracy and freedom, but we must have a strong National Defense posture.”[109] As discussed subsequently, Bush would also strongly endorse many key tenets of the report in his final National Security Strategy. Likewise, at the State Department, James Baker implicitly affirmed other aspects of the DPG. He noted in early April that although multilateralism would always be the first preference, America would never relinquish the right to act unilaterally when necessary. “We can hardly entrust the future of democracy or American interests exclusively to multilateral institutions,” he said.[110] This is not to say that there was no internal debate or controversy over the DPG. State Department officials — still smarting from intense internal debates over how to handle the breakup of the Soviet Union — offered some anonymous critiques of the DPG, terming the language overblown and counterproductive to the goal of maintaining positive relationships with rising powers such as India.[111] The DPG also leaned further forward than some U.S. officials would have liked with respect to the potential future expansion of NATO. At the NSC, Scowcroft, a stickler for good process, was displeased that the document had leaked and that the debate had played out publicly as opposed to privately. Similarly, Bush and those around him understood that the muscular language of the document was likely to cause political problems for leaders of allied countries, such as Germany and Japan, that the DPG seemed to identify as potential future competitors. “I know the leak of this draft Pentagon report didn’t help,” read Bush’s suggested talking points for the aforementioned meeting with Kohl.[112] Finally, administration higher-ups were clearly nonplussed that the rhetoric of the DPG occasionally seemed to undercut the emphasis on multilateralism that had characterized U.S. policy during the Gulf War. The administration had always recognized that such multilateralism was both dependent on, and a means of advancing, American leadership. But the DPG’s blunt advocacy of preserving American primacy seemed likely to dispel the warm feelings Washington had earned through its reliance on the U.N. Security Council during the Gulf crisis, and to present the image of a superpower determined to maintain hegemony for its own narrow purposes. This was presumably why Scowcroft termed the DPG “arrogant” (as he later put it) and likely to cause diplomatic headaches.[113] Yet these concerns pertained mainly to language, process, and atmospherics, and not to core strategic content. Put differently, it would have been hard to identify any leading officials who did not think that the United States should maintain unrivaled military capabilities, favorable power balances in key regions, and a global network of security alliances, while also working to promote a stable international environment in which democracy and markets were prevalent and U.S. influence was unsurpassed. Scowcroft, for instance, may have criticized the DPG after the fact (and after the Iraq War of 2003 had soured his relationship with Cheney), but at the time his NSC staff does not seem to have objected to the basic ideas — as distinct from the language — conveyed in the report. Indeed, when a revised version of the document — which was substantively quite similar — was subsequently submitted for clearance, the White House approved it with only minor edits.[114] And though State Department officials would later offer, in an end-of-administration review, a vision of post-Cold War policy that placed greater emphasis on international economics and other non-military challenges (as was appropriate in a State Department document), the core premises of the analysis were not dramatically different from those of the DPG. One collection of State Department papers noted, for instance, that “for the first time in fifty years we do not face a global military adversary” and stressed the remarkably advantageous nature of that situation. It spoke of the need to prevent proliferation of WMD to authoritarian regimes, for “such a development would dramatically destabilize important parts of the world, and could even threaten the physical security of the United States.” It stressed the importance of promoting free markets and free political institutions. Above all, it argued that no one else could lead in these tasks:
The bottom line is that in this time of uncertainty, the United States has a unique role to play — as a provider of reassurance and architect of new security arrangements; as an aggressive proponent of economic openness; as an exemplar and advocate of democratic values; as a builder and leader of coalitions to deal with the problems of a chaotic post-Cold War world.[115]
In sum, there was far more consensus than debate about the basic merits of the strategy described in the DPG.[116] As all this indicates, efforts — whether at the time or later — to sharply distinguish between the primacist strategy embodied by the DPG and the liberal internationalist approach favored by other observers rest on a false dichotomy. For the DPG did advance a strategy of liberal internationalism. It emphasized maintaining U.S. leadership of alliances and other institutions, promoting liberal norms, and fostering an open and inclusive international order, in part by ensuring that America retained the preponderant military power and strategic influence needed to accomplish these goals. In the same way, the State Department papers just referenced recognized that American leadership and power were essential components of promoting a cooperative, stable international environment, just as Bush and Scowcroft had recognized during the Gulf War that any “New World Order” would ultimately have to rest on the unrivaled might and unequaled exertions of the United States. The Bush administration recognized, in other words, what some scholars would subsequently become prone to ignoring — that liberal internationalism and U.S. hegemonic leadership were two sides of the same coin.[117] Yet if all this is true, then what caused the public blowup when the DPG was leaked? Much of that furor stemmed from the same factors that had caused insiders some discomfort. Because the administration had used such high-flown multilateral rhetoric during the Persian Gulf War — albeit as a way of asserting American leadership — the DPG’s unembarrassed support for U.S. geopolitical superiority was unavoidably jarring to many outside observers. “I was a little surprised somebody would put this kind of thing down on paper,” the diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis told a reporter.[118] The political context simply fanned the flames. On the right, the DPG landed in the middle of a surprisingly competitive Republican presidential primary, in which Buchanan was calling for geopolitical retrenchment and a more narrowly nationalistic approach to foreign affairs.[119] The leak of the DPG also occurred amid heated debates about military spending levels and as Democratic presidential candidates sought to outdo each other in their critique of Bush’s foreign policy. It was hardly a coincidence that key players in these debates were among the harshest critics of the DPG. Paul Tsongas publicly blasted the administration for ignoring the United Nations; Clinton’s deputy campaign manager, George Stephanopoulos, labeled the DPG exercise “an excuse for big budgets.”[120] The controversy’s intensely political nature would become clear after Clinton won the presidency — and proceeded to follow a national security policy that tracked fairly closely with what the document recommended. Contrary to what the New York Times reported, in fact, the DPG was quietly affirmed by the Bush administration in its final months in office. Wolfowitz and Cheney accepted Libby’s revised draft, which was then approved (notwithstanding minor edits) by the White House. A public version was published in January 1993 as the Pentagon’s Regional Defense Strategy.[121] Although the revised paper had tamer language, Wolfowitz assured Cheney, “It is still a rather hard-hitting document which retains the substance you liked in the February 18th draft.”[122] Indeed, the Regional Defense Strategy fully committed to preserving American primacy in support of an open and congenial order. “America’s strategic position is stronger than it has been for decades,” it averred; Washington must “maintain the strategic depth that we won through forty years of the Cold War.” Likewise, the Regional Defense Strategy reaffirmed the value of U.S. alliances and forward deployments, and it made clear that America must be able to “preclude hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating regions critical to our interests.” The document emphasized protecting the post-Cold War order by confronting terrorism and weapons proliferation, and by extending “the remarkable democratic ‘zone of peace.’” While paying due regard to American alliances and international institutions, the Regional Defense Strategy also left no doubt that Washington would use force — alone, if need be — to defeat serious threats to its interests. Finally, the strategy made explicit the idea that America should “dominate the military-technological revolution” as a means of sustaining its preeminence and deterring current or potential rivals. The Regional Defense Strategy, in other words, was simply the DPG in another guise.[123] Admittedly, the document did not explicitly restate the idea that Washington should prevent the rise of any new hostile superpower.[124] Yet this was a distinction without a difference because the goal of preventing hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating key regions — which ran throughout the document — amounted to the same thing. [quote id="6"] At the close of Bush’s presidency, the administration found other ways of conveying this basic commitment to a primacist strategy. In late 1992, Bush dispatched U.S. troops to provide humanitarian assistance to starving civilians in Somalia. He had done so reluctantly, out of fears that this deployment would result in the sort of open-ended mission he had earlier resisted in the Gulf and the Balkans. As a result, while humanitarian concerns ultimately drove Bush to approve the mission, he sought to define it as narrowly as possible — to limit it to the delivery of aid and the creation of infrastructure for future deliveries. He made clear in two major policy addresses that Washington should always be wary of “running off on reckless, expensive crusades.” But Bush also used these addresses, in December 1992 and January 1993, to further spell out his now-familiar vision for global strategy, a vision that was premised on using unrivaled U.S. influence to promote geopolitical stability, avoid a return to the more threatening climate of earlier decades, and “win the democratic peace…for people the world over.”[125] Bush’s final National Security Strategy put forward much the same idea. The 1993 iteration was Bush’s foreign policy valedictory, issued in the name of the president himself. It represented his concluding effort to enshrine a prudent yet ambitious post-Cold War strategy. Lest there be any thought that the Regional Defense Strategy did not reflect administration policy, or that it was issued simply as a sop to Cheney’s Defense Department as Bush’s tenure expired, the National Security Strategy explicitly endorsed the approach laid out in that document, and even echoed — verbatim — concepts including the importance of “strategic depth” and the democratic “zone of peace.” The lessons of the new era, the National Security Strategy argued, were already clear:
that we cannot be sure when or where the next conflict will arise; that regions critical to our interests must be defended; that the world must respond to straightforward aggression; that international coalitions can be forged, though they often will require American leadership; that the proliferation of advanced weaponry represents a clear, present, and widespread danger; and that the United States remains the nation whose strength and leadership are essential to a stable and democratic world order.
To this end, the document endorsed the retention of critical power-projection capabilities and overweening military power; it called for the United States to promote the forces of global “integration” against threatening “fragmentation.” The National Security Strategy made clear that post-Cold War stability would ultimately rest on “an enduring global faith” in America, and it left little doubt that the United States intended to leave behind an era of balanced power and geopolitical divisions, and to shape a unipolar order in its own image. “Our policy has one overriding goal: real peace — not the illusory and fragile peace maintained by a balance of terror, but an enduring democratic peace based on shared values.”[126] That vision, it turned out, long outlasted Bush’s presidency. There was initially some indication that the Clinton administration might undertake a more effacing approach to world affairs, and on the stump Clinton had pledged to pursue defense cuts far greater than those made by Bush. Yet, as the Clinton administration found itself facing largely the same global panorama as its predecessor, it ultimately embraced a strategy very similar to that charted during the Bush years. As early as September 1993, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake gave a major address noting that the defining “feature of this era is that we are its dominant power” and arguing that Washington must use that dominance to promote continued global stability, to prevent aggressive dictators from menacing the post-Cold War order, and to aggressively promote free markets and democracy. “We should act multilaterally where doing so advances our interests,” Lake added, “and we should act unilaterally when that will serve our purpose.”[127] Likewise, the Pentagon committed to retaining the capacity to defeat two major regional aggressors nearly simultaneously, and in 1996 the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a document advocating “full spectrum dominance” to mold the international environment and constrain potential rivals.[128] All of these concepts could have been ripped straight from the 1992 DPG. Indeed, the outcome of the Pentagon’s Bottom Up Review, undertaken in 1993, demonstrates the strength of the lineage between Bush-era planning efforts and those that followed. Clinton’s first secretary of defense, Les Aspin, had initiated a thoroughgoing review of U.S. military strategy as part of an effort to further reduce defense spending. But as his Pentagon considered the opportunities and imperatives of the post-Cold War world, it ended up embracing its predecessor’s strategy. The final report of the Bottom Up Review emphasized the importance of preventing aggressive authoritarians from dominating key regions. It concluded that America “must field forces capable, in concert with its allies, of fighting and winning two major regional conflicts that occur nearly simultaneously.” This “two MRC” construct was deemed crucial because, as Aspin wrote, “We do not want a potential aggressor in one region to be tempted to take advantage if we are already engaged in halting aggression in another.” Moreover, maintaining a two-MRC capability would serve as insurance against the prospect that any major power might seek to compete militarily with Washington. It would
provide a hedge against the possibility that a future adversary might one day confront us with a larger-than-expected threat, and then turn out, through doctrinal or technological innovation, to be more capable than we expect, or enlist the assistance of other nations to form a coalition against our interests.
Maintaining this dominant force, in turn, was necessary so that
we can replace the East-West confrontation of the Cold War with an era in which the community of nations, guided by a common commitment to democratic principles, free-market economics, and the rule of law, can be significantly enlarged.[129]
The continuity of basic strategy, moreover, was more than rhetorical. U.S. military spending would decline somewhat under Clinton, to around 3 percent of gross domestic product by the late 1990s (although this decline was partially due to the robust economic growth of that decade). But because most other countries reduced their defense spending faster than Washington did, the United States still accounted for roughly 35 to 40 percent of global defense spending, and it preserved military capabilities far in excess of those of all U.S. rivals combined.[130] Like the Bush administration, the Clinton administration also repeatedly proved willing to use those capabilities to face down threats to stability in critical regions, such as when it dispatched additional troops to the Persian Gulf in 1994 after Saddam Hussein once again threatened Kuwait, or when it dispatched two carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific after China sought to use military exercises and missile tests to intimidate Taiwan in 1995 and 1996. That latter episode represented a deliberate display of American primacy. As Secretary of Defense William Perry announced, “Beijing should know, and this [U.S. fleet] will remind them, that while they are a great military power, the premier military power in the Western Pacific is the United States.”[131] More broadly, the Clinton administration would undertake a range of policies that fit squarely within the framework laid down by the Bush administration: retention and updating of U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific, expansion of NATO in Europe, promotion of democratic concepts and market reforms in countries from Haiti to Russia, active containment of Saddam’s Iraq and other aggressive authoritarian regimes, and efforts to stymie nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere. And rhetorically, the Clinton administration embraced the idea of America as the “indispensable nation,” the country with a unique responsibility for upholding global peace and security — and the unique privileges that came with that role.[132] Administrations changed, but the basic logic of post-Cold War strategy endured. In fact, as scholars have now extensively documented, a commitment to maintaining American primacy, and to using that primacy to shape an eminently favorable global environment, became a theme of fundamental, bipartisan continuity throughout the post-Cold War era. This is not to say that there was no change in U.S. strategy from the early 1990s onward, for particular policies and rhetorical and diplomatic styles did shift considerably over time — witness the approaches of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama to Iraq, for instance. Similarly, which of the three key regions of Eurasia would receive the greatest attention from U.S. policymakers also shifted during this period. But the first-order judgments about American strategy remained remarkably consistent, and many core objectives and initiatives persisted as well.[133] Long after the initial firestorm touched off by the leak of the DPG had been mostly forgotten, the basic ideas and policies the document propounded remained quite relevant.

Conclusion

Twenty-five years after it was drafted, the DPG remains a source of controversy in some circles. While some historians and other analysts have begun to better understand the content and nature of that document, critics have continued to see it as “unsettling” and even “Strangelovian.” Likewise, some scholars persist in deeming the DPG an unprecedented assertion of American hegemony.[134] As a review of the declassified record demonstrates, however, the reality was more prosaic — but also, perhaps, more interesting. The DPG offered a program for the retention and improvement of America’s post-bipolar primacy, but it was hardly unique in its arguments. Rather, the DPG fit comfortably within the dominant strategic paradigm of the Bush administration, even if the rhetoric was sharper than many officials would have liked. Even before the superpower conflict ended, Bush and his advisers had argued that the United States must lean forward in shaping a promising but potentially perilous post-Cold War world. The logic of American primacy was then reinforced by crises in Europe and the Persian Gulf. After the Soviet collapse, the DPG drew together the key elements of a coalescing strategic mind-set and made the case for American primacy in its starkest and most explicit terms. The DPG thus encapsulated the Bush administration’s choice of an ambitious post-Cold War strategy, one that was reaffirmed by subsequent administrations. Interestingly, then, a review of Bush administration strategic planning makes the DPG appear both more and less important than it was often seen to be at the time. The document was arguably more important in the sense that it represented the earliest, most comprehensive, and most candid statement of American strategy after the Soviet collapse, and in the sense that its core concepts would endure. Yet it was arguably less important than sometimes thought in the sense that its basic content was not particularly controversial within the administration and that it was only one element of a much larger process by which Bush and his advisers came to identify and articulate a post-bipolar approach to global statecraft. The Bush administration’s choice of that strategy, in turn, drew on a mix of important factors. There were, certainly, the long-standing beliefs — both ideological and geopolitical — about America’s role in the world, which influenced the administration’s outlook from the outset. More immediately, there was the potent cocktail of optimism and wariness that shaped U.S. strategic thinking at the dawn of a new era. Bush and his aides clearly perceived that Washington had a historic opportunity to solidify a post-bipolar order in which U.S. interests and values would be far more privileged than before; they also worried that any lack of assertive American leadership would open the door to multipolar instability and tumult. The result was to push the United States toward an expansive approach meant to reap the benefits while avoiding the dangers of the post-Cold War world. If nothing else, the emerging record of the Bush administration’s approach to global strategy indicates that some interpretations of the forty-first president’s statecraft need to be revised. For years, the standard depiction of Bush’s foreign policy, offered by eminent scholars such as Jeremi Suri as well as former policymakers such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, was that Bush was an adept crisis manager but lacked the vision to identify a new global role for America. Yet in light of the evidence presented here — as well as recent assessments by scholars such as Jeffrey Engel — this interpretation is no longer persuasive.[135] Over the course of his presidency, Bush and his advisers did establish a clear and relatively coherent vision for post-Cold War strategy. That vision was quite ambitious; it was readily apparent in administration strategy documents and key policies. And it would persist, in its broad outlines, long after Bush left office. [quote id="7"] But was this a wise strategy? Since the early 1990s, there has developed a substantial literature critiquing the U.S. decision to pursue a primacist strategy, and thus critiquing — implicitly or explicitly — the Bush administration’s role in making that choice.[136] A full assessment of post-Cold War strategy would require more extensive analysis than is possible here.[137] With the perspective of a quarter-century, however, a more positive view of the Bush administration’s strategic decision-making seems warranted. For one thing, that decision-making was rooted in a generally reasonable assessment of the international environment and America’s role therein as the Cold War ended. As Bush-era officials were acutely aware, this was indeed a moment when the geopolitical tectonic plates were shifting more rapidly and disruptively than at any time since World War II. Many leading international relations scholars were predicting that the post-Cold War world would be a nasty place characterized by multipolar instability, rampant nuclear proliferation, and great-power revisionism by Germany and Japan.[138] Moreover, the major international crises of this period demonstrated that the United States did have a unique capacity to provide stability and leadership amid profound uncertainty and that there was fairly widespread international support for Washington to play this role. In these circumstances, it was hardly surprising or unreasonable that the Bush administration chose a form of consensual but assertive American primacy as the best approach to protecting international security and U.S. interests. Nor was it surprising that subsequent presidents affirmed this basic concept. And in retrospect, many key judgments and premises of that approach have fared passably well with time. Bush administration decision-making was, for instance, based on a fairly accurate assessment of the durability of American primacy. At the dawn of the post-Cold War era, leading academic observers often predicted that unipolarity would rapidly give way to a multipolar system in which Japan, Germany, or a united Europe balanced against the United States.[139] Yet for more than a quarter-century after the Cold War, the United States remained by far the most powerful and capable actor in international affairs. Today, the ongoing rise of China has narrowed America’s lead but not nearly erased it. As the most systematic assessment of global power dynamics today concludes, “Everyone should start getting used to a world in which the United States remains the sole superpower for decades to come.”[140] The Bush administration believed that American preeminence could last for some time; the trajectory of international politics over the course of a generation affirms that judgment more than it undercuts it. The trajectory of international politics also affirmed a second belief, which was that assertive American leadership would attract more countries than it repelled. Today, of course, rivals such as Russia and China are contesting American primacy, as part of an effort to assert their own prerogatives. Yet what is remarkable is that the post-Cold War era has not, at least so far, produced a concerted, multilateral counter-balancing campaign against the dominant country in the international system, and that many key second- and third-tier states have continued to align with Washington. Japan, Germany, and other major industrial countries have remained largely content to be part of the strategic and economic community led by the United States. Front-line states in Eastern Europe and other regions have often seemed to fear American abandonment more than American domination. As Zachary Selden has argued, the dominant tendency has been to balance with the United States against threats to the international system — like those now posed by Russia and China — rather than to balance against the preeminent power that America has wielded.[141] Finally, there is now significant scholarship to support the idea that a primacist strategy indeed accomplished some of the most important goals the Bush administration initially set out. In a recent book, Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth provide a robust body of evidence and analysis demonstrating that the persistence of assertive American engagement did have the effect of suppressing security competitions and instability in key strategic theaters while also providing the overall climate of reassurance in which the international economy could continue to thrive.[142] Other scholars have noted the role of America’s post-Cold War policies in assisting the continued spread of democracy and market institutions, and in limiting nuclear proliferation in East Asia and Eastern Europe.[143] Not least, even consistent critics of America’s post-Cold War strategy, such as John Mearsheimer, have acknowledged that a persistent U.S. presence in key regions such as Europe and East Asia helped to avoid the major interstate wars that characterized many earlier historical eras, and to avert a rapid return to the more unstable and violent climate that many observers feared when the Cold War ended.[144] All of these points could, surely, be debated at length. Yet if a key premise of a primacist strategy was that assertive American engagement would help produce a more stable and liberal international order than one might otherwise have expected, then there is a defensible argument to be made that this premise, too, looks fairly good twenty-five years later. A primacist strategy has never been without its problems, from the economic costs associated with a global military presence to the fact that the United States has periodically succumbed to the temptation to overuse its tremendous power. Today, moreover, the United States faces more serious challenges to its primacy and global interests than at any other time in the post-Cold War era, from a rising China, a resurgent Russia, and an international rogues’ gallery that is more empowered and better armed than at any moment since Saddam Hussein’s defeat in 1991. Not least, there is some uncertainty as to whether American leaders and the body politic still support such an engaged and assertive strategy, and the policies and mannerisms of the Trump administration may well pose their own challenge to U.S. effectiveness and leadership on the global stage.[145] Yet when one considers the more constructive effects that a primacist strategy has arguably had, and the fact that some of its foundational premises have proven fairly solid over time, one does, perhaps, gain a greater degree of appreciation for the logic of America’s post-Cold War strategy, and for the Bush administration’s role in shaping that strategy at a moment of great promise and uncertainty in international affairs. Hal Brands is a Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the author or editor of several books, including Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (2016), What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush (2014), Latin America’s Cold War (2010), From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (2008), and The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft (co-edited with Jeremi Suri, 2015). He was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow from 2015 to 2016. He has also consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities. ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: Wikimedia Commons [post_title] => Choosing Primacy: U.S. Strategy and Global Order at the Dawn of the Post-Cold War Era [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => choosing-primacy-u-s-strategy-global-order-dawn-post-cold-war-era-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:10:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:10:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=436 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => Newly declassified U.S. government records shed some light onto U.S. strategic thinking about the post-Cold War era and the infamous Defense Planning Guidance. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 2 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG was not, as is commonly believed, a radical document or an outlier from Bush administration strategic thinking. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => From the earliest months of the Bush administration, there was thus a consensus that reduced Cold War tensions did not imply a dramatic U.S. retrenchment. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => There were widespread fears that the collapse of Soviet authority in Eastern Europe could unleash ethnic violence or resurgent nationalist rivalries within that region. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => The Gulf crisis demonstrated robust global demand for U.S. leadership. ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG was nonetheless basically aligned with the Bush administration’s broader perspective as expressed to date. ) [5] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => The DPG was quietly affirmed by the Bush administration in its final months in office. ) [6] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG encapsulated the Bush administration’s choice of an ambitious post-Cold War strategy, one that was reaffirmed by subsequent administrations. ) ) [style] => scholarly [type] => Scholarly [style_label] => The Scholar [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 554 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 9 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] This article significantly expands on arguments first made in the author’s recent book. See Hal Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016). [2] See Draft of FY 94-99 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), in Vesser to Secretaries of Military Departments, CJCS, et al., Feb. 18, 1992, Electronic Briefing Book (EBB) 245, National Security Archive (NSA). [3] Barton Gellman, “Keeping the U.S. First,” Washington Post, March 11, 1992. [4] Quoted in Joshua Muravchik, The Imperative of American Leadership: A Challenge to Neo-Isolationism (Washington: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1996), 136. [5] Craig Unger, The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 148; David Armstrong, “Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance,” Harper’s, October 2002, 76, https://harpers.org/archive/2002/10/dick-cheneys-song-of-america/ [6] See Melvyn P. Leffler, “Dreams of Freedom, Temptations of Power,” in The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989, ed. Jeffrey A. Engel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 132-69; Eric S. Edelman, “The Strange Career of the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance,” in In Uncertain Times: American Policy After the Berlin Wall and 9/11, edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011); Paul Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future: Planning at the Pentagon, 1989-1993,” in In Uncertain Times, edited by Leffler and Legro, 44-62; Zalmay Khalilzad, The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Chapter 7; James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Penguin, 2004), 198-215. [7] Lloyd Gardner, The Long Road to Baghdad: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy From the 1970s to the Present (New York: The New Press, 2008), 98-100. [8] Richard Immerman, Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism From Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 218-20. [9] Edelman, “Strange Career,” 63. There is also a smaller body of literature arguing that the DPG was not as important as all this attention might make it seem. See, for instance, Ionut Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy: How American Presidents Succeed in Foreign Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), 123-25. [10] Political scientists differ considerably on whether that strategy has been wise. See, variously, Barry Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014); John Mearsheimer, “Imperial by Design,” National Interest 111 (January/February 2011): 16-34; Peter Feaver, “American Grand Strategy at the Crossroads: Leading From the Front, Leading From Behind, or Not Leading at All,” in America’s Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration, eds. Richard Fontaine and Kristin Lord (Washington: Center for a New American Security, 2012), 59-70. On German reunification and NATO expansion, see Mary Elise Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to ‘Bribe the Soviets Out’ and Move NATO In,” International Security 35, no. 1 (2010): 110-37; Joshua Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7-44. [11] Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Vintage, 1987); Peter Schmeisser, “Taking Stock: Is America in Decline?” New York Times, April 17, 1988, http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/17/magazine/taking-stock-is-america-in-decline.html?pagewanted=all. [12] Quoted in Homer A. Neal, Tobin Smith, and Jennifer McCormick, Beyond Sputnik: U.S. Science Policy in the Twenty-First Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008), 81. [13] Schmeisser, “Taking Stock: Is America in Decline?”; Patrick Buchanan, “America First — and Second, and Third,” National Interest 19 (Spring 1990): 77-82. [14] Jeane Kirkpatrick, “A Normal Country in a Normal Time,” National Interest 21 (Fall 1990): 40-44. [15] See Patrick Tyler, “Halving Defense Budget in Decade Suggested,” Washington Post, Nov. 21, 1989. [16] Alan Murray and Jeffrey Birnbaum, “Post-Cold War Budget Is Here, So Where Is the Peace Dividend?” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 29, 1990. [17] Patrick Tyler and Molly Moore, “Soviet Defense Spending Cut As Promised, CIA Reports,” Washington Post, Nov. 15, 1989; Helen Dewar, “Nunn Warns Pentagon to Fill Blanks in Budget,” Washington Post, March 23, 1990. [18] Charles Krauthammer, “Universal Dominion: Toward a Unipolar World,” National Interest 18 (Winter 1989-1990): 46-49. [19] Michael R. Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993). [20] Bush Diary, Feb. 15, 1975, in George H.W. Bush, All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (New York, 1999), 215. [21] “Bush: ‘Our Work Is Not Done; Our Force Is Not Spent,’” Washington Post, Aug. 19, 1988. [22] Jeffrey A. Engel, “A Better World…but Don’t Get Carried Away: The Foreign Policy of George H.W. Bush Twenty Years On,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 25-46. [23] Andrew Rosenthal, “Differing Views of America’s Global Role,” New York Times, Nov. 2, 1988; “A Report to the National Security Council by the Executive Secretariat on United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” April 14, 1950, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/coldwar/documents/pdf/10-1.pdf. [24] “Foreign Press Center Background Briefing,” March 20, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, George H.W. Bush Library (GHWBL). [25] National Security Review-3, “Comprehensive Review of U.S.-Soviet Relations,” Feb. 15, 1989, NSR File, GHWBL. [26] RBZ (Robert B. Zoellick) Draft, “Points for Consultations with European Leaders,” Nov. 27, 1989, Box 108, James A. Baker III Papers, Mudd Library, Princeton University. [27] Remarks at U.S. Coast Guard Academy, May 24, 1989. [28] NSR-12, “Review of National Defense Strategy,” March 3, 1989, NSR File, GHWBL. [29] Cheney Remarks to American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 4, 1990, Federal News Service transcript. [30] See The Future Security Environment: Report of the Future Security Environment Working Group, submitted to the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Washington: Government Printing Office, October 1988). [31] “Background Briefing by Senior Administration Official,” March 20, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL; also Michael Hayden to Scowcroft, March 15, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL. [32] “Talking Points: Cabinet Meeting — January 23, 1989,” Box 108, Baker Papers, Princeton. [33] Memorandum of Conversation (MemCon) between Bush and Lee Sang Hoon, July 20, 1989, OA/AD 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHBWL. [34] MemCon between Bush and Vaclav Havel, Feb. 20, 1990, OA/AD 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHBWL. [35] National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1990), 1-2; also Hayden to Scowcroft, March 15, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL. [36] Powell Remarks to National Press Club, June 22, 1990, Federal News Service transcript. [37] Alan Murray and David Wessel, “Bush Is Likely to Seek Defense Increase For ’91, Despite Reduction in Tensions,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 28, 1989; David Hoffman, “Bush Cautions Against Big Defense Cuts,” Washington Post, Jan. 13, 1990. [38] National Security Strategy (1990), 23. [39] Lorna S. Jaffe, The Development of the Base Force, 1989-1992 (Washington: Joint History Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1993); Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future,” 48-54; Michael Gordon, “Pentagon Drafts Strategy for Post-Cold War World,” New York Times, Aug. 2, 1990. [40] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado, Aug. 2, 1990. Coincidentally, this speech was delivered less than 24 hours after Saddam Hussein’s forces had invaded Kuwait. [41] Don Oberdorfer, “Strategy for Solo Superpower: Pentagon Looks to ‘Regional Contingencies,’” Washington Post, May 19, 1991; Jaffe, Development of the Base Force, 7-8, 29. For a similar assessment, see Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of the United States (January 1992), http://history.defense.gov/Portals/70/Documents/nms/nms1992.pdf?ver=2014-06-25-123420-723. [42] See State Department Bureau of Public Affairs, “Movement Toward German Unification, March 1989-July 1990,” Box 2, Zelikow-Rice Files, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. [43] Excerpts from Soviet Transcript of Malta Summit, Dec. 2-3, 1989, EBB 296, NSA. [44] Scowcroft to Bush, undated, CF00182, Robert Blackwill Files, GHWBL. [45] The debate over what, precisely, the Bush administration promised Moscow regarding future NATO enlargement during 1989 to 1990 has generated a substantial literature of its own. What can briefly be said here is that Washington never provided the Soviets with a formal pledge that NATO would not expand further into Eastern Europe, and U.S. policymakers certainly did not believe that they were constrained from doing so. During negotiations with Gorbachev in February 1990, Baker did float — as a trial balloon — the idea that Moscow might accept reunification of Germany within NATO in exchange for NATO not expanding its military structures into the former East Germany. But even that more limited assurance was overtaken within days as it quickly became clear that a reunified Germany could not sit half inside and half outside of NATO. The argument that the United States subsequently violated an agreement not to expand NATO is, therefore, inaccurate. Some Russian observers, however, may have believed that there was some type of informal understanding on NATO expansion (in part because, in early 1990, West German officials sometimes floated this idea publicly), and the perception that such an assurance had existed played some role in the subsequent souring of U.S.-Russian relations. Moreover, in the early 1990s, the Clinton administration appears to have told Russian officials that expansion was not being contemplated, which led to increased Russian annoyance once expansion unfolded. See Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2009): 39-61; Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment Toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 119-40; James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016, https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/promises-made-promises-broken-what-yeltsin-was-told-about-nato-in-1993-and-why-it-matters/. [46] See Mary Elise Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995). [47] Scowcroft to Bush, Nov. 29, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Vintage, 1999), 230. [48] Scowcroft to Bush, undated (late 1989), OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; also Bush to Kohl, undated, CF00717, Condoleezza Rice Files, GHWBL. [49] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 253. [50] MemCon between Bush and Douglas Hurd, Jan. 29, 1990, OA/ID 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. See also Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence”; Joshua Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal?” [51] MemCon between Bush and Wörner, Feb. 24, 1990, OA/ID 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; also Gorbachev-Mitterrand TelCon, Nov. 14, 1989, EBB 293, NSA; Thatcher-Gorbachev Conversation, Sept. 23, 1989, EBB 293, NSA; Meeting between Kohl and Walesa, Nov. 10, 1989, Cold War International History Project. [52] Scowcroft to Bush, Dec. 22, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. [53] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 273. [54] Scowcroft to Bush, Dec. 22, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. [55] Zelikow to Gates, Nov. 28, 1990, OA/ID CF00293, Heather Wilson Files, GHWBL; also “President’s Intervention on the Transformation of the North Atlantic Alliance,” July 1990, CF00290, Heather Wilson Files, GHWBL. [56] London to State, Dec. 11, 1990, CF01468, Philip Zelikow Files, GHWBL. [57] Gorbachev-Baker Meeting, Feb. 9. 1990, in Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, eds. Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010), 683; also USDEL Secretary Namibia to State, March 20, 1990, Department of State FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [58] “Summit Intervention Statement,” undated (1991), CF01693, Summit Briefing Books, NSC Files, GHWBL; also Sicherman to Ross and Zoellick, March 12, 1990, Box 176, Baker Papers, Princeton; MemCon between Baker and Mr. Balladur, June 3, 1991, Box 110, Baker Papers, Princeton. [59] “Points to Be Made for Working Dinner With Prime Minister Mulroney in Canada,” undated, CF01010-CF01010-009, Briefing Books/Briefing Materials, European and Soviet Directorate Files, GHWBL. [60] Zelikow to Gates, Oct. 26, 1990, OA/ID CF00293, Heather Wilson Files, NSC Files, GHWBL. [61] Stephen Flanagan to Ross and Zoellick, May 1, 1992, OA/ID CF01526, Barry Lowenkron Files, GHWBL; also “Rome Declaration on Peace and Cooperation,” Nov. 8, 1991, CF01526, Barry Lowenkron Files, GHWBL. [62] Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (New York: Penguin, 2006), 337-38; “Sharing of Responsibility for the Coalition Effort in the Persian Gulf (Feb 8 Update),” OA/ID CF01110 to CF01362, Virginia Lampley Files, Box 53, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. Other helpful sources include Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Kevin Woods, The Mother of All Battles: Saddam Hussein’s Strategic Plan for the Persian Gulf War (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2008); Christian Alfonsi, Circle in the Sand: Why We Went Back to Iraq (New York: Doubleday, 2006); Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, The Generals’ War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995); and many others. [63] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado, Aug. 2, 1990, APP. [64] NSC Meeting, Aug. 3, 1990, Richard Haass Files, Box 42, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. [65] NSC Meeting, Aug. 3, 1990, Richard Haass Files, Box 42, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. [66] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado. As noted previously, this was the same speech in which Bush publicly introduced the Base Force. [67] James Baker, “America’s Strategy in the Persian Gulf Crisis,” Department of State Dispatch, Dec. 10, 1990, http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/briefing/dispatch/1990/html/Dispatchv1no15.html. [68] James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War, and Peace, 1989-1992 (New York: Putnam, 1995), 1-16, 275-99. [69] Bush Diary, Sept. 7, 1990, in Bush, All the Best, 479. [70] Office of Management and Budget, “United States Costs in the Persian Gulf Conflict and Foreign Contributions to Offset Such Costs,” Report No. 20, October 1992, in Darman to Bush, Oct. 15, 1992, Department of Defense FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [71] “Talking Points” for Bush’s meeting, undated, Box 1, CF00946, Robert Gates Files, GHWBL; also “Executive Summary,” Aug. 27, 1990, Box 1, CF00946, Robert Gates Files, GHWBL. [72] Bush-Kaifu MemCon, Sept. 29, 1990, Digital National Security Archive (DNSA). [73] Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and the Federal Budget Deficit, Sept. 11, 1990. [74] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 491, 400. [75] William J. Perry, “Desert Storm and Deterrence,” Foreign Affairs 70, no. 4 (1991): 66-67, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/iraq/1991-09-01/desert-storm-and-deterrence; also Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Congress, April 1992, Department of Defense FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [76] Cheney Remarks to American Business Council Conference, April 9, 1991, Federal News Service; also “America’s Postwar Agenda in Europe,” March 1991, CF01468, Zelikow Files, GHWBL. [77] Robert Gates Oral History, 59, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia. [78] Bush-Dumas MemCon, Feb. 28, 1991, GHWBL. [79] Herbert S. Parmet, George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2001), 483. See also Gates Oral History, 59; Richard Cheney Oral History, June 21, 2006, 27, Box 7, Baker Oral History Collection, Mudd Library, Princeton; Alfonsi, Circle in the Sand, 172-76. [80] See Gordon and Trainor, Generals’ War, 416-29, 444-46. These issues were compounded by the decision of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf — who handled the cease-fire negotiations in the absence of detailed instructions — to permit Iraqi forces to fly helicopters in the struggle against rebellious forces. [81] Dennis Ross Oral History, Aug. 2, 2001, 42-43, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia. [82] Rowen Statement to Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 6, 1991, CF01391, Virginia Lampley Files, GHWBL. [83] Bush-Santer-Delors MemCon, April 11, 1991, GHWBL. [84] James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2003), 18-40. [85] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 564. [86] Alan Murray, “Growth Formulas: Democratic Candidates Offer Host of Proposals to Spark the Economy,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 1992; “Differences Among the Democratic Candidates,” New York Times, Feb. 16, 1992; Norman Kempster, “U.S. Candidates’ Stand on Foreign Issues,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1992. [87] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Barton Gellman, “Keeping the U.S. First; Pentagon Would Preclude a Rival Superpower,” Washington Post, March 11, 1992. The version of the DPG quoted here consists of the text that was released to the National Security Archive through the FOIA process as well as the text that earlier became available through media leaks. [88] On the process and context, see Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future”; Edelman, “Strange Career”; see also Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy, 123-25. [89] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Cheney Remarks to Senate Budget Committee, Feb. 3, 1992, Federal News Service. [90] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [91] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [92] Ibid.; also William Wohlforth, “The Stability of a Unipolar World,” International Security 24, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 5-41; G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011). [93] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Patrick Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop,” New York Times, March 8, 1992. [94] Diary entry, July 2, 1991, in Bush, All the Best, George Bush, 527; Bush-Wörner MemCon, June 25, 1991, GHWBL. [95] Quotes from Don Oberdorfer, “Strategy for Solo Superpower: Pentagon Looks to ‘Regional Contingencies,’” Washington Post, May 19, 1991. [96] Draft of FY 1994-1999 DPG; Patrick Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop,” New York Times, March 8, 1992. [97] Dale Vesser to Libby, Sept. 3, 1991, EBB 245, NSA. [98] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [99] See Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992). [100] Melissa Healy, “Pentagon Cool to U.S. Sharing Its Power,” Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1992. [101] Barton Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan Supported by Bush: But President Says He Has Not Read Memo,” Washington Post, March 12, 1992. [102] “The New Pentagon Paper,” Washington Post, May 27, 1992. [103] Barton Gellman, “Pentagon War Scenario Spotlights Russia,” Washington Post, Feb. 20, 1992. [104] Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan Supported by Bush”; also Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan.” [105] See Scowcroft, “Meeting with Chancellor Kohl of Germany,” March 19, 1992, OA/ID CF01414, Hutchings Country Files, GHWBL. [106] Patrick Tyler, “Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers,” New York Times, May 24, 1992; “Pentagon Abandons Goal of Thwarting U.S. Rivals,” Washington Post, May 24, 1992; Memo to Cheney, March 26, 1992, EBB 245, NSA; “Issues in the Policy and Strategy Section,” April 14, 1992, EBB 245, NSA. [107] Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of the United States, January 1992, http://history.defense.gov/Portals/70/Documents/nms/nms1992.pdf?ver=2014-06-25-123420-723. [108] “The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1992), 367; also Cheney and Powell Remarks to Senate Budget Committee, Feb. 3, 1992, Federal News Service. [109] Bush note to speechwriters, March 14, 1992, in Bush, All the Best, George Bush, 551; Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan.” [110] Baker Remarks to Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, April 2, 1992, Box 169, Baker Papers. [111] Patrick Tyler, “Senior U.S. Officials Assail Lone-Superpower Policy,” New York Times, March 11, 1992; also Edelman, “Strange Career.” [112] “Chancellor Kohl of Germany,” undated (March 1992), OA/ID CF01414, Country Files, Hutchings Files, GHWBL. [113] On Scowcroft’s views, see Bartholomew Sparrow, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security (New York: Hachette, 2015), 485-86. [114] See Memo from Don Pulling, April 23, 1992, in EBB 245, NSA; also Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 5, 1992; Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 13, 1992, EBB 245, NSA. [115] See Lawrence Eagleburger to Warren Christopher, Jan. 5, 1993, Freedom of Information Act, in author’s possession. I thank Jim Goldgeier for sharing this document with me. [116] Partially in response to the DPG saga, there was a wider-ranging academic debate over the value of U.S. primacy.  Robert Jervis, “International Primacy: Is the Game Worth the Candle?” International Security 17, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 52-67; Samuel P. Huntington, “Why International Primacy Matters,” International Security 17, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 68-83. [117] On this debate, see G. John Ikenberry, “The Future of the Liberal World Order: Internationalism After America,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3 (May/June 2011): 56-68; vs. Robert Kagan, The World America Made (New York: Vintage, 2012). [118] Peter Grieg, “Hot Debate Over U.S. Strategic Role: Draft Pentagon Paper Stirs Up Controversy on How, and Why, Military Funds Are Spent,” Christian Science Monitor, March 16, 1992. [119] On Buchanan’s views, see, for instance, Robin Toner, “Buchanan, Urging New Nationalism, Joins ’92 Race,” New York Times, Dec. 11, 1991. [120] Patrick Tyler, “Lone Superpower Plan: Ammunition for Critics,” New York Times, March 10, 1992. [121] Dick Cheney, Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy, January 1993, EBB 245, NSA. [122] Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 5, 1992; also, Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 13, 1992; Memo from Don Pulling, April 23, 1992, all in EBB 245, NSA. In his own account, Wolfowitz recalls that the Department of Defense could not get the revised version approved by the White House or other interagency actors. In fact, the revised DPG (which was subsequently published as the Regional Defense Strategy) was approved by the White House in the spring of 1992. And as Wolfowitz himself notes, “Far from being an extreme strategy developed by a small group of Defense Department officials, the DPG not only reflected the consensus thinking of the first Bush administration but became generally accepted defense policy under President Clinton.” See Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future,” 59, 206. [123] Dick Cheney, Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy, January 1993, EBB 245, NSA. [124] On this point, see Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy, 123-24. [125] Remarks at Texas A&M University, Dec. 15, 1992; remarks at West Point, Jan. 5, 1993. [126] National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993), ii, 1, 6, 13. [127] Anthony Lake, “From Containment to Enlargement,” Sept. 21, 1993, https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/lakedoc.html. [128] Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, May 1997, Section 3, “Defense Strategy”; Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2010, 2; also Alexandra Homolar, “How to Last Alone at the Top: U.S. Strategic Planning for the Unipolar Era,” Journal of Strategic Studies 34, no. 2 (2011): 202-12. [129] Les Aspin, Report on the Bottom Up Review, issued by Defense Department, October 1993, iii-iv, 7-8. [130] For military spending figures, consult the data available through the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual reports and military spending database, available at https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex; also Homolar, “How to Last Alone at the Top.” [131] Art Pine, “U.S. Faces Choices on Sending Ships to Taiwan,” Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1996. [132] On Clinton-era statecraft, see Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of American Diplomacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); Patrick Porter, “The American Way: Power, Habit, and Grand Strategy,” International Security, forthcoming. [133] See, on this continuity, Leffler, “Dreams of Freedom, Temptations of Power”; Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment; P. Edward Haley, Strategies of Dominance: The Misdirection of U.S. Foreign Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); Posen, Restraint. [134] Eugene Jarecki, The American War of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril (New York: Free Press, 2008), 12; also Joan Hoff, A Faustian Foreign Policy From Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush: Dreams of Perfectibility (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 138. [135] Jeremi Suri, “American Grand Strategy From the Cold War’s End to 9/11,” Orbis (Fall 2009): 611-27; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Second Chance: The Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower (New York: Basic Books, 2007). For another early interpretation that has been overtaken, see Hal Brands, From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008). For a more positive recent take, see Jeffrey Engel, When the World Seemed New: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2017). [136] For instance, Posen, Restraint; Mearsheimer, “Imperial by Design”; Stephen Walt, “The End of the American Era,” National Interest 116 (2011): 6-16. [137] But see Hal Brands, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2018), Chapter 1. [138] John Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War,” Atlantic Monthly, August 1990, 35-50. [139] Kenneth Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” International Security 18, no. 2 (1993): 44-79; Christopher Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise,” International Security 17, no. 4 (1993): 5-51. [140]  Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, “The Once and Future Superpower: Why China Won’t Overtake the United States,” Foreign Affairs 95, no. 3 (2016): 91-104. [141] Zachary Selden, “Balancing Against or Balancing With? The Spectrum of Alignment and the Endurance of American Hegemony,” Security Studies 22, no. 2 (2013): 330-64. [142] Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). [143] See Paul Miller, “American Grand Strategy and the Democratic Peace,” Survival 52, no. 2 (2012): 49-76; John Dumbrell, Clinton’s Foreign Policy: Between the Bushes, 1992-2000 (New York: Routledge, 2009), 41-61; Mark Kramer, “Neorealism, Nuclear Proliferation, and East-Central European Strategies,” in Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War, edited by Ethan Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 385-463. [144] John Mearsheimer, “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” European Political Science 9, no. 2 (2010): 387-97. [145] See Hal Brands, “Is American Internationalism Dead? Reading the National Mood in the Age of Trump,” War on the Rocks, May 16, 2017, https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/is-american-internationalism-dead-reading-the-national-mood-in-the-age-of-trump/. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 413 [post_author] => 59 [post_date] => 2018-02-01 04:00:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-01 09:00:52 [post_content] => In discussing the subject of “the objective” in war it is essential to be clear about, and to keep clear in our minds, the distinction be­tween the political and military objective. The two are different but not separate. Nations do not wage war for war’s sake, but in pursuance of policy. The military objective is only the means to a political end. — Basil Liddell Hart, Strategy: The Indirect Approach (1967)   Liddell Hart’s famous book, which includes this observation, was first published as The Decisive Wars of History in 1929.[1] Here was found the early version of his much-quoted definition of strategy as the “art of distributing and applying military means to fulfill the ends of policy.”[2] André Beaufre later recalled the impact the book made on him as a young French officer after World War I, disillusioned with the state of French strategic thinking.[3] Before the war, Ferdinand Foch, who became commander in chief of Allied forces, had made his name directing the École de Guerre, formulating what Beaufre described as a “Prussian school.” Foch insisted upon the necessity of a “decisive battle” achieved through “bloody sacrifice” and this had resulted in a “systematically extreme strategy.” After the war, a new school, led by Marshal Philippe Pétain, dismissed strategy as irrelevant to modern warfare and concentrated instead on assessing “tactics and matériel.” This was the context in which Beaufre picked up his French translation of Liddell Hart’s book. He found it a “breath of fresh air” and vital to the “rediscovery of strategy.” Later in his career Beaufre became an acclaimed strategic thinker, with his own definition that followed Liddell Hart in accepting the centrality of politics. For Beaufre, strategy was the “the art of the dialectic of two opposing wills using force to resolve their dispute.”[4] Liddell Hart continues to be cited whenever strategy is being defined. Arthur Lykke is responsible for a definition popular in military circles: “Strategy equals ends (objectives toward which one strives) plus ways (courses of action) plus means (instruments by which some end can be achieved).” In making the case for this definition, Lykke argued that:
Military strategy must support national strategy and comply with national policy, which is defined as “a broad course of action or statements of guidance adopted by the government at the national level in pursuit of national objectives.” In turn, national policy is influenced by the capabilities-and limitations of military strategy.[5]
Here he used the Liddell Hart quote with which this article opens as his authority for his contention that military means must serve political ends. That strategy has something to do with translating political requirements into military plans now appears to be self-evident, yet for the period from the Napoleonic Wars up to the aftermath of World War I, it played no part in discussions of the meaning of strategy. Instead prevailing definitions concentrated on how best to prepare forces for battle, with tactics coming into play once battle was joined. In a previous article, I considered the origins of this earlier approach, demonstrating that while strategy first entered the modern European lexicon in 1771, the word itself would not have posed any difficulty to an audience schooled in the classics of Greek and Roman military literature and already familiar with cognate terms such as stratagem.[6] The early use of the term reflected the stratagem tradition, referring to ruses and other indirect means of avoiding pitched battles. The term also helped to fill a gap in the lexicon, distinguishing the higher military art from the more mechanical requirements of tactics. The meaning shifted during the first decades of the 19th century under the influence of the Napoleonic wars and the theories of Baron Antoine-Henri de Jomini as well as Carl von Clausewitz. This is how strategy became linked with battle, stressing the importance of defeating the enemy forces in order to achieve a decisive result. In this article, I show how little the general meaning of the term changed during the 19th century. Throughout Europe, discussion about strategy and tactics continued to be shaped by the sharp focus on battle and what this required of commanders. Whereas the early discussions concerning strategy in the late 18th century opened up new possibilities for thinking about the changing art of war, later discussion shut it down and thus constrained thinking. Despite the strong nationalist sentiments that shaped thinking about war, the participants in this debate were normally senior military figures who were still serving or were recently retired and were primarily concerned with officer education. They read each other’s books, if necessary in translation, and studied the same great battles of history from which they drew similar lessons.[7] The stress on the importance of military history, which meant careful study of the great battles of the past, taken out of their wider context, encouraged a profoundly conservative approach to strategy. The accepted Jominian view was expressed in the mid-19th century in a moderately influential book by a Swiss general with French training. Gen. Guillame-Henri Dufour explained how strategy looked back while tactics must look forward. Strategy, he suggested, was subject to timeless principles, while tactics was changing all the time and so varied with the “arms in use at different periods.” This meant that:
Much valuable instruction in strategy may therefore be derived from the study of history: but very grave errors would result if we attempt to apply to the present days the tactics of the ancients. [8]
Leaving aside the question of whether the principles of strategy were really timeless when new technologies were transforming the practice of war, this view helps explain why there was far more focus on tactics than strategy. It reflects the practical nature of the literature, which was full of detailed advice, illustrated with diagrams, on how to cope with all battlefield contingencies. Accepting the limitations of Google N-gram,[9] the graph below is illustrative in terms of the relative importance attached to military tactics and military strategy over the past couple of centuries in the English language (a French version produces a similar result). It demonstrates that, until World War II, tactics appeared far more often than strategy in books on military matters. Regular discussion of strategy only really began in the run up to World War I. This is not surprising, as the basic focus was on the need to prepare officers to lead troops into battle. The starting point for the debate on strategy (or grand tactics) was how to raise the sights of those who were normally preoccupied with the drills and maneuvers necessary for battle, but also needed to understand the challenges involved in getting forces in the optimum position when the moment for battle came. At a time when symmetry in the composition and capabilities of armies was assumed, as was the convention that the decision of battle would be accepted, tactical competence could make all the difference. This practical focus came at the expense of the theoretical. With such a sharp focus there was little interest in exploring alternatives ways of resolving differences by force. In order to demonstrate the stagnant nature of 19th century writing on military strategy, I first turn to the British discourse of the period. At this time, the British were largely consumers of foreign concepts. The definition of strategy that initially had the most influence, and that lingered for the rest of the century, was that developed by the Prussian Dietrich von Bülow. He distinguished between strategy and tactics largely in terms of whether the operations in question were undertaken within sight of the enemy.[10] Conceptually, Jomini was the larger influence. His works were required reading for the officer class of Europe and the United States. Bülow’s contribution was not acknowledged because his core theories were so dated. Although Clausewitz’s work was known, it took until late in the century before his ideas began to have a strong and palpable influence. I then examine the challenge that came from two major conflicts — the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War — noting how the largely apolitical view of strategy was not dislodged by reflections on these experiences. By the start of the 20th century, the idea that strategy and policy represented two distinct competencies was being challenged, in part as a delayed reaction to these wars, but also because of the looming prospect of another great European war. Up to this point, the occasional references to grand strategy in the literature were no more than etymological false positives. In other words, these usages meant something different from our current understanding of the term.[11] Only the British maritime strategist Julian Corbett saw the possibilities in the run-up to World War I. After the war, the combined efforts of John Fuller and Liddell Hart not only established grand strategy as essential to thinking about war, but also redefined strategy so that it was no longer linked directly to battle. Strategy could now address many contingencies and so became an arena for intense theorizing.

The British Consume Strategy

In Part I of this article, I drew attention to the 18th century belief that classical authors provided vital keys to military wisdom.[12] This was reflected in the reading habits of British officers. During the course of that century, there was a growing interest in foreign — in particular French — authors. This included the Chevalier de Folard, Marshal de Saxe, Frederick the Great, and Comte de Guibert.[13] The sensitivity to foreign publications meant that the arrival of the concept of strategy in France and Prussia was also noted in Britain. A 1779 article in the Critical Review, for example, discussed the introduction to the German edition of Leo’s Taktiká by Johann von Bourscheid.[14] This is where the French distinction (from Guibert) between greater and lesser tactics was reported along with a complaint that the “ancients” were better at finding great commanders. Was this, the anonymous author asked, because there was once a “comprehensive and systematical theory of instruction while our modern generals merely confine themselves to mechanical exercises?” The answer from Bourscheid was that this “defect” could only be addressed by a “systematical instruction in strategy.” This is why he had translated a “didactic work on that subject.”[15] A couple of years later, however, when the same journal reviewed translations of Guibert and Joly de Maizeroy,[16] there was no reference to strategy. The review of Guibert opened with a complaint that would appear regularly over the next century: The principles of tactics, “or the art of war in general,” had “hitherto hardly been established with any tolerable degree of certainty or precision.”[17] It is also important to keep in mind when evaluating the British debate that during the Napoleonic years, while the French were demonstrating the possibilities of new forms of warfare, this was not matched by any advances in the concept of “strategy.” One of the most important French texts during this period was Gay de Vernon’s Traité élémentaire d’art militaire et de fortification, which gained its authority from being approved by the emperor himself. Vernon did not write of strategy or even of grand tactics but of “la tactique générale.”[18] In the translation available from 1817, this appeared as “grand tactics” and related to the rules of “attack and defence of two hostile corps d’armée acting on uniform ground.”[19] Over the first years of the 19th century, there was little discussion of the concept in Britain, and even then it appeared as part of an effort to introduce an apparently parochial English military audience to current debates in countries where the discussion of these matters was more advanced. Thus, the British Military Library described itself as “comprehending a complete body of military knowledge,” including selections “from the most approved and respectable foreign military publications.” The editors had “spared no expense to procure the most respectable Military Journals and other works published upon the Continent.” In 1804, it included extensive excerpts from Bülow, without attribution and excluding his discussion of how best to define strategy, but with lots of diagrams and formulae. Strategy was described as commencing with establishing a base, and tactics as commencing with the unfolding of the line of order of battle.[20] Another publication, The New Military Dictionary, also advertised its adoption of French terminology. In the first edition, in 1802, there was no mention of strategy, but it did define tactics as the “knowledge of order, disposition, and formation, according to the exigency of circumstances in warlike operations.” The item on tactics referred to a higher branch — la grande tactique — that should be thoroughly understood by all general officers, although it was sufficient for more junior officers to look at the less demanding minor tactics. There was also, following the practice of other dictionaries, a lengthy discussion of stratagems, described as one of the “principal branches of the art of war,” related to surprise and deception, plus the obligatory minor reference to stratarithmometry.[21] In 1805, strategy made an appearance as “the art or science of military command.” The editor observed that the term did “not exist in any of our English lexicographers,” and there was no agreed view. “Neither the dogmatic authors nor the military [agree] unanimously of its nature and definition; Some give too much, and the others too little extended and the whole consonant with the strategy.” Strategy was the “art of knowing how to command, and how to conduct the different operations of war.” The readers were introduced to Nockhern de Schorn’s distinction between grande and petite strategie, the higher and the lower, the one for the “officer of superior rank, whose mind is well stored with military theory,” and the second that “appertains to the staff and to a certain proportion of the subaltern officers.”[22] In 1810, however, preceding the entry for strategy in the New Military Dictionary was strategics, using Malorti de Martemont’s translation of Bülow, distinguishing between what was in and out of the visual circle. Tactics was now defined as “the distribution of things by mechanical arrangement to make then subservient to the higher principles of military science, i.e., of strategy.”[23] [quote id="1"] Bülow was the first in the field largely by virtue of this relatively early translation. Clausewitz’s On War was not translated until 1873, although a review did appear in the Metropolitan Magazine in 1835.[24] Jomini’s Precis was published in English translation in 1862 (in a U.S. edition), before his Treatise in 1865, although sections of the Treatise had become available in an English translation as early as 1823.[25] This did not mean that their work was ignored in the English debate. Officers were often fluent in French and occasionally in German. Moreover, two of the most influential commentators, both former major-generals, William Napier and John Mitchell, were au fait with the continental literature. Napier, an accomplished military historian, was one of the few in Britain at the time who could have written an original book on strategy; but, though he was asked to do so, he declined.[26] He introduced Jomini to a British audience in a lengthy, anonymous article about The Treatise in 1821, focusing on Jomini’s consideration of the vital importance of directing the mass of the army against a decisive point. Napier also reaffirmed the importance of military genius. “It is in strategy,” he wrote, “that the great qualities with which a general may be endowed will have ample room to display themselves: fine perception, unerring judgement, rapid decision, and unwearied activity both of mind and body, are here all requisite.”[27] Thereafter, his own approach to strategy was largely based on the maxims of Napoleon as interpreted by Jomini. He endorsed a book by a civilian, Edward Yates, who sought to produce a treatise on the military sciences “on the model of the best treatises on the Mathematical sciences.”[28] Mitchell[29] was an avowed follower of Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst and familiar with the work of Clausewitz. He wrote that Clausewitz contributed “a very able, though lengthy, and often obscure book on War.” Clausewitz was destined to be represented as something of an intellectual challenge. For the rest of the century, whenever he was mentioned, it came with a warning that he was difficult to follow.  Mitchell deplored the lack of a British contribution to the “science of arms” despite the country’s accomplishments in other fields. The idea that “generals, like poets, must be born such; and that learning and knowledge are but secondary objects to a military man” he dismissed as “excuses for ignorance.” When it came to strategy and tactics, he added what had also become a standard comment, that
no two writers have in our time, agreed about the exact meaning of either; a fact which already tells against modern pretension, for no science ever made any great progress so long as its most important technical terms remained vague and undefined.[30]
He then went on to offer his contribution, essentially by delineating the tasks that went under each heading. Tactics was the “science that instructs us in the choice, power, effect, and combination of arms.” It was about “how the individual soldier is to be trained” so that the “thousands” could be instructed “to execute the commands of the one with exact and simultaneous uniformity.” It therefore included “everything that is, or should be, taught on the drill-ground, in order to render the soldier, whether acting individually or in mass, as formidable a combatant as may be consistent with his moral and physical powers.” Strategy, by contrast, was the “art [not a science] of marching with divisions, or with entire armies.” It was about
employing the tactical soldier to the best advantage against the enemy; and, therefore, presupposes in the strategist a perfect knowledge of tactics; it is generalship, in fact, and includes of course what has lately been termed the science of battles.[31]
This did not catch on. From 1846 to 1851, a committee of officers from the Royal Engineers produced three volumes for an Aide-mémoire to the Military Sciences in order “to supply, as far as practicable, the many and common wants of Officers in the Field, in the Colonies, and remote Stations, where books of reference are seldom to be found.” In the first volume, Lt. Col. C. Hamilton Smith provided a “Sketch of the Art and Science of War.” This contained an early reference to “great operations” (the French concept of grande tactique) and then a reference to strategics, “a term to which it has been vainly endeavored to affix a strict definition” from Folard to Klausewitz [sic], Dufour, and Jomini. A “dialectician,” noted Smith, “might hint that a distinction might be pointed out between Strategics and Strategy, or Strategique and Strategie; but no inconvenience seems to have arisen from the promiscuous use of both.” He attempted to distinguish between Jomini making war upon a map as strategics, while activities that are then
strategical in their direction, and tactical in the execution, such as landings, march manoeuvres, passage of rivers, retreats, winter-quarters, ambuscades, and convoys, might take the denomination of Strategy, so long as they are executed without the presence of an enemy prepared for resistance; for then they become Tactics.
Here strategy would be comparable to grand tactics. He set out essentially Jominian principles, adding that:
The study of all past wars, ancient and modern, the systems of war of Frederick the Great, of the French Revolution, of Napoleon, and, finally, of the Duke of Wellington, will all be found to have derived their success and glory by conducting the armies in harmony with these principles ; and the loss of battles, failures in campaigns and entire wars, will be seen to originate in the non-observance of them, either through the prejudices raised by ignorance or routine, political interference, or unavoidable geographical causes.[32]
This was the “clearest general strategic statement likely to be known to British officers” in the early 1850s.[33] The Crimean War (1853-56), conducted incompetently by the British army, still “failed to initiate much serious thought … about its strategic role or tactical doctrine.”[34] Military history was viewed as “a great quarry of principles and examples to be judiciously selected to bolster pre-conceived idea or traditional doctrines.”[35]

The Unchanging Meaning of Strategy

The debate, such as it was, often concerned the boundary line between strategy and tactics. In 1856, Lt. Col. Patrick McDougall, superintendent of studies at the Royal Military College and Napier’s son-in-law, noted wearily that although the “science of war” had been divided into these two branches, “no very cogent reason exists for such separation, the objects as well as the principles of both being identical.” The distinction between strategy and tactics was “arbitrary,” because in both cases “the aim was to place a body of troops in the right position at the right time in fighting order superior to that body which your enemy can there oppose you.” Nonetheless, “such distinction having been made, it is better to preserve it.” Here he displayed the (unacknowledged) influence of Bülow, distinguishing between strategy and tactics according to whether one was in the “actual presence or eyesight of an enemy, however great or small the distances which separate them.” McDougall approached the issue largely in terms of demands on a commander’s time. Tactical activity was quite rare, despite handling troops in the presence of the enemy being the most “prominent and showy quality in a commander.” By contrast, the preparation of troops for battle, as opposed to directing them in battle, was “called forth and exercised in the ratio of twenty to one.” That was why he was so preoccupied with looking after the army, marching, bivouacking, provisions, and movement.[36] Col. Edward Hamley’s The Operations of War became the core British Army text for much of the rest of the century. It was much more substantial than McDougall’s book and earned an international reputation.[37] Until 1894, his was the sole text used in the entrance examination for the Camberley Staff College. In 1907, it was revived as an essential primer on strategy for the army, though not readopted at the Staff College.[38] Hamley — a professor of military history, strategy, and tactics at the Staff College, and its commandant from 1870-1878 — was a clever and versatile writer, yet still looked back to the practice of the Napoleonic Wars. Unlike McDougall, he stressed the importance of actual fighting. There was no point in getting an army into “situations which it cannot maintain in battle.” His view of strategy was that it did its job by reducing the need for actual fighting. The aim, which was pure Jomini (whose influence pervades the book), was to “effect superior concentrations on particular points,” getting the army into such a position that it enjoyed critical advantages. Otherwise, too much would be left to tactics. Yet, like McDougall, he was not convinced of the need for a sharp separation of tactics and strategy. His concern was that an officer untrained in strategy would rely simply on the routines of military affairs. Strategy meant moving beyond precedent, that is, beyond existing scripts, to be able to “meet new circumstances with new combinations.” This was why it deserved careful study.[39] Gen. Francis Clery’s book, Minor Tactics, first published in 1875, went through many editions (the 13th in 1896) and was based on a “course of lectures delivered to sub-Lieutenants studying at Sandhurst.” In this work, Clery distinguished strategy and tactics largely on the basis of size, though as always, “The issue, to which all military operations tend, is a battle.”[40] The lack of a fixed view about the terminology, though not the underlying issue, can be illustrated by Col. G. F. R. Henderson, considered one of the ablest military historians of his time and a charismatic teacher at the Staff College, Camberley. His concern was that officer education was failing to develop the skills necessary for great generalship. While this was a consistent theme, Henderson’s approach to terminology evolved rapidly. In a lecture to the United Services Institute in 1894, he noted that officers learned about minor tactics to pass examinations for promotion.[41] He complained that “the higher art of generalship, that section on military science to which formations, fire, and fortifications are subordinate, and which is called grand tactics, has neither manual nor text-book.” Henderson regretted that he could not find an exact definition of the difference between minor and grand tactics. He offered his own:
Minor Tactics includes the formation and disposition of the three arms for attack and defence, and concern officers of every rank; whilst Grand Tactics, the art of generalship, includes those stratagems, manoeuvres, and devices by which victories are won, and concern only those officers who may find themselves in independent command. [42]
Minor tactics were more or less mechanical, while grand tactics were less predetermined, that is they could not be identified by following the standard scripts.
They are to Minor Tactics what Minor Tactics are to drill, i.e. the method of adapting the power of combination to the requirements of battle; they deal principally with moral forces; and their chief end is the concentration of superior force, moral and physical, at the decisive point.
Henderson’s thinking was influenced by his studies of the Civil War. As a company officer, he wrote The Campaign of Fredericksburg: A Tactical Study for Officers, the focus of which was indicated by the subtitle. In 1898, now at the Staff College, he wrote an admired biography of Stonewall Jackson.[43] Grand tactics was forgotten, and strategy came to the forefront. His descriptions still combined elements of Bülow (what was and was not in the enemy’s sight) with Jomini (with references to strategy being worked out on the map).[44] In 1898, Henderson lectured on how strategy should be taught. As I note below, this lecture was interesting for its observations on the interaction of strategy and policy, but it also reflected Henderson’s conviction that the status of strategy needed to be elevated. The tactician, he noted, was the “more popular personage than the strategist, poring over his map, and leaving to others the perils and the glories of the fight.” The strategist only really came into his own when looking beyond the principles of warfare — “which to a certain extent are mechanical, dealing with the manipulation of armed bodies” — to what he called the “spirit of warfare.” This involved the moral element that could inspire troops, the elements of “surprise, mystery, strategem.” Henderson criticized Hamley for his neglect of these elements, for they were not “mere manoeuvres,” but in practice were “the best weapons of the strategist.” The published version of his lecture included an appendix on “strategical procedure,” which began: “The object of the strategist is to concentrate superior force on the field of battle.” [45] In 1902, Henderson wrote the entry on strategy for the Encyclopedia Britannica. Here he observed that civilians continually confounded strategy with tactics.[46] Despite his earlier complaint that grand tactics lacked definition, when it came to strategy, the problem was the opposite: “Almost every military writer of repute has tried his hand at it, and the only embarrassment is to choose the best.” As such, he adopted the definition employed by the official text-book of the British infantry. Strategy was “the art of bringing the enemy to battle, while tactics are the methods by which a commander seeks to overwhelm him when battle is joined.” This meant that “while the two armies are seeking to destroy each other it remains in abeyance, to spring once more into operations as soon as the issue is decided.” Thus, the end of strategy was “the pitched battle,” and the aim was to gain every “possible advantage of numbers, ground, supplies, and moral” to ensure the “enemy’s annihilation.” Thus, throughout the 19th century, British definitions encouraged the view that there was no sharp distinction between strategy and tactics, for the same unit would be involved in one and then the other. At issue were the requirements of officer education, and in particular the balance between mechanical drills, with their fixed scripts, and the need to move beyond those scripts. This required a flexibility of mind and imagination to be able to handle the larger challenges that would be faced in a campaign. This occurred at the strategic level, but the demands of strategy also involved paying attention to very practical matters for which the texts offered clear guidance: how to move forces over long distances, paying attention to medical needs, as well as food and accommodation. When it came to the very highest levels of command, knowledge of military history — looking back rather than forward — was seen as the best form of instruction. The effect was to reinforce the fixation with battle in military discourse, which continued throughout the 19th century. The fact that Henderson could make exactly the same points talking about grand tactics in 1894 and then strategy in 1902 (using the same reference to Napoleon’s observation in his published maxims that this level required the study of military history) was telling.

The Impact of the Civil War

The most likely challenge to the established frames of reference for thinking about war and strategy was a major conflict. The Napoleonic Wars had set the frames for the century. The wars that followed this set of great and iconic battles lacked the unexpected and distinctive features sufficient to challenge these frames. The Civil War, by virtue of its length and ferocity, posed more of a challenge, yet its impact on how strategy was conceptualized was also limited, even in the United States. Russell Weigley notes that “the experience of the Civil War failed to inspire any impressive flowering of American strategic thought.” The output from West Point reflected stagnation. American writers stuck to unimaginative concepts of European-style war, not even exploring whether the Indian wars had much to say about strategy.[47] American strategic thought had a strong French influence from the start. The first textbook at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was a translation of Gay de Vernon’s Traité élémentaire d’art militaire et de fortification, which included a separate section on grand tactics written by the translator.[48] A key position at West Point was the chair of civil and military engineering (a focus which itself says something about the practical nature of officer training). Dennis Mahan occupied it from 1832-1871. One of Mahan’s protégés was Henry Halleck, who became known as a cautious Union general during the Civil War. In 1846, he published a series of lectures, entitled the Elements of Military Art and Science. In this work, he observed that strategy could be “regarded as the most important, though least understood, of all the branches of the military art.”[49] Mahan’s writings adopted a similar Jominian framework.[50] Yet little time was spent by West Point cadets actually studying strategy, and there was a general distrust of the learned professional soldier as opposed to the inspired military genius. Col. Henry L. Scott’s Military Dictionary simply expanded the standard definitions to provide a reminder of the topics that might come under the headings:
The art of concerting a plan of campaign, combining a system of military operations determined by the end to be attained, the character of the enemy, the nature and resources of the country, and the means of attack and defense.
Having quickly disposed of strategy, Scott’s next entry on “street-fighting” was far longer as this was clearly a more enthralling topic. An earlier entry on battle discussed at greater length the views of “Professors of Strategy” on how battle was best approached.[51] Whether Jomini’s ideas as interpreted by his American followers influenced the conduct of the Civil War has been questioned, not least by Carol Reardon.[52] Carl von Decker’s Tactics of the Three Arms[53] was considered better for instruction, while another writer who had fought with Napoleon, Marshal Marmont, had not only reached a far higher rank but also had a more dynamic style.[54] Nor did Jomini play much of a role in the lively debate that lasted the course of the Civil War in the North on how that war should be best conducted. My concern, however, is with definitions of strategy. As with most definitions (including that of Clausewitz), Jomini’s definition alluded to a wider theory, but was not dependent upon it. Despite the experience of the war, in its aftermath no other work commanded the same authority. The war highlighted the importance of political context and showed how it affected strategy, but not to the extent of forcing a reappraisal of strategy’s essentially military character. Cornelius J. Wheeler, who took over at West Point from Mahan in 1865 and held the position until 1884, showed more interest in war as a political phenomenon, but the stress was still on following Jomini.[55] Only with his successor, James Mercur, do we start to see new possibilities. The first object of the “art of war,” he explained was “to determine the time, place and character of battles and conflicts so that the greatest benefit may result from victory and the least injury from defeat.” This was to be accomplished by strategy, including logistics. The second objective was “[t]o make one’s self stronger than the enemy at the time and place of actual combat.” This required “Logistics, Discipline, Grand and Minor Tactics, and Military Engineering.”[56] Strategy took priority, but without knowledge of the other branches its limitations could not be understood. Mercur opened his discussion of strategy by setting as its first goal taking “advantage of all means for securing success.” The second aim was to “cause the greatest benefits to result from victory and the least injury from defeat.” The first involved “questions of statesmanship and diplomacy.” Mercur’s list of what this entailed would feature in later considerations of grand strategy, such as “managing the military resources of a nation”; and “conducting international intercourse that when war becomes necessary or desirable, favorable alliances may be made with strong power, and hostile combinations of nations may be avoided.” He urged that due weight be given to “financial and commercial considerations” including when choosing campaign objectives, and when deciding on how to organize and train military forces.[57]  He even discussed what would now be called the “security dilemma.”[58] The organization of armies may “constantly suggest an early conflict, and thus produce an irritation which may soon lead to open hostility.” He observed that when it came to choosing when to accept or avoid conflict “statesmanship becomes strictly strategical.” Yet after that promising opening, the analysis became entirely orthodox, with the “hostile army” selected as the strategic objective.[59] Mercur’s book was only used as a text for a short period and is now largely forgotten. [quote id="2"] The only book-length study of any note, according to Weigley, was Capt. Bigelow’s Principles of Strategy: Illustrated Mainly from American Campaigns.[60] Bigelow was amongst those who took the view that a grasp of strategy was essential for officers of all grades, writing that, “A lieutenant in charge of a scouting party may be confronted with problems which nothing but generalship will enable him to solve.” Although his basic definition of strategy — the art of conducting war beyond the presence of the enemy — was entirely conventional, he sought to redress the balance between tactics and strategy, complaining that too many writers favored tactical skill at the expense of strategic skill. Most importantly, he divided strategy into three kinds: “regular, political, and tactical.” Tactical strategy was about getting “better men than the enemy’s upon the field of battle,” while political strategy focused on “undermining the political support of the opposing army, or at effecting recall from the war.” These forms of strategy were normally practiced in combination. He was not proposing a new hierarchy, and his discussions suggested that the tactical and political forms of strategy were all, in the end, geared toward the purpose of regular strategy, which was to destroy the hostile army. Yet in his discussion of Gen. William T. Sherman’s campaign, Bigelow was at least starting to assess variations on the standard scripts.[61] Sherman wrote a war memoir published as a magazine article with the intriguing but, to modern eyes, misleading title of “The Grand Strategy of the Wars of the Rebellion.” Despite the fact that his Georgia campaign challenged assumptions about how wars should be fought — with the morale of the adversary’s population the target as much as the adversary army — he stressed that the principles of war were fixed and unchanging. They were “as true as the multiplication table, the law of gravitation, or of virtual velocities, or any other invariable rule of natural philosophy.” He found that his best guide was a treatise by France J. Soady, which was actually a compilation of thoughts extracted from major texts, although it did refer to Sherman as a “man of genius” and gave a favorable account of his Georgia campaign.[62] The lack of progress in the American debate is illustrated by an article published in 1908 titled, “The Conduct of War.” In it, the author, Capt. Matthew Steele, argued that it was better to read military history than military textbooks. Military writers undertook to define strategy, yet it resulted in “definitions as various as the writers were numerous.” With each, the term meant what most suited the author’s treatise. Steele adduced that the term could not be defined. Instead, “its meaning must be arrived at by [a] sort of process of absorption.” According to him, there was only one principle of strategy that has “undergone no alteration either real or apparent.” In the end, it all came down to being “strongest at the decisive point.”[63]

The Impact of the Franco-Prussian War

The other great conflict that might have been expected to have a major influence on thinking about warfare was the Franco-Prussian War. The shock to the French led to urgent efforts to reform the army and restore an interest in strategy. To the fore was Gen. Jules Louis Lewal, who became director of the revived École de Guerre and at one point became minister of war.[64] His project included developing a professional general staff and encouraging a hitherto dormant interest in Clausewitz. A new translation of Clausewitz’s work was published in French in 1886.[65] Lewal, according to Luvaas, “was reluctant to admit the existence of strategy as such,” and eventually came to see it as little more than mobilization, doubting that there would be much choice as to where a battle would actually be fought.[66] The debate was substantial, but the inclination was still to look backward rather than forward, returning to the Napoleonic era and the spirit of that time. Victor Derrécagaix summarized the debate on strategy in the late 1880s by observing that some who were “desirous of finding in new arguments a remedy for past mistakes” had sought new theories. He continued:
Others have denied that there is such a thing as strategy, and attributed all the results of war to tactics. For a small number strategy is the conception, and tactics is the execution. According to some writers strategy is the science of operations; tactics, that of battles.
Derrécagaix concluded that it was best to stick with Jomini. Strategy was about maneuvering armies in the theater of operations, while tactics was about disposing them upon the battlefield. His contribution was to identify the principles of Napoleon’s system and note that Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke had achieved victory through their sound application.[67] This debate, therefore, reaffirmed the importance of eliminating the enemy army as a fighting force. The intellectual and emotional effort went into demonstrating how offensive élan could contribute to a weaker force overcoming a stronger. While still instructing young officers at the start of the 20th century, Ferdinand Foch stressed the importance of tactics over strategy. “Following a study which has led to so many learned theories," he asserted that “fighting is the only means of reaching the end.” Strategy was “not worth anything without tactical efficiency.”[68] The stress elsewhere in the military literature was also on battle: According to Gen. Jules Lewal, the objective in warfare “was to win, overwhelm the adversary materially and morally, to oblige him to ask for mercy,” while for Gen. Adolphe Messimy, “Victory is not achieved through the possession of a town or territory, but through the destruction of the adversarial forces.” For Lt. Col. Léonce Rousset, “One has to think exclusively of battle. All efforts, all thoughts, all preparations have to pertain to its success.” Lt. Col. Hippolyte Langlois added that the main aim was “to ensure that one wins the battle.”[69] The German debate was more substantial, although established definitions of strategy remained intact. The architect of the Prussian victory in the wars of German unification, Field Marshal Moltke, was more cautious in drawing lessons from his successful campaign, and had a subtle understanding of strategic practice. As a follower of Clausewitz, he shared the view that tactical successes drove strategic outcomes. That is why, to him, strategy was a “system of expedients.” Preparations for battle must be meticulous. But whereas Clausewitz saw the completion of battle as a task for strategy, it was Moltke’s view that once battle began strategy became “silent” as tactics took over. Only once battle was over could strategy come back into play.[70] A number of those who worked closely with Moltke wrote their own books on strategy, including Wilhelm von Blume and Gen. Bronsart von Schellendorf.[71] They followed established definitions of the term. Blume warned against disregarding “the nature of strategy to seek to transform it into a learned system exactly determined,” and stressed the importance of tactics as dealing with the “proper ordering” of the action of troops “towards the object of fighting.” He asserted that all that was “not embraced under the head of tactics is strategy.” This included the “decision as to when and for what object battle shall be joined, the assembly of the necessary forces, and the reaping of the proper result.” One of the more thoughtful contributions was Prince Kraft’s Letters on Strategy. Kraft, who had held more junior roles during the wars of 1866 and 1870 but now had access to Moltke’s papers, observed how the strategist, while not at personal risk, must decide “whether a battle is to be fought or not; on his fiat depends the lives of thousands.” Although he took the accepted line that “it must always be the aim of strategy to unite the greatest possible strength for the tactical blow,” and that it was impossible to be too strong for a decisive battle, he also allowed that there were occasions when actions might have to be taken for purely political reasons, such as storming a particular fortress. He was also aware of campaigns that lacked declarations of war or a concluding peace treaty, or when fighting occurred when there was no actual war. This raised in his mind whether other ideas might one day be held “upon what we now describe as Peace and War, Policy and Strategy.”[72] [quote id="5"] One vital question addressed in the German debate was whether the second phase of the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War represented the future more than the first. After the French army had been comprehensively defeated in a conventional battle at Sedan, there followed a period of irregular French resistance. Moltke remained troubled for the rest of his life by the thought that the 1866 war against Austria marked the end of Kabinetskrieg, a Cabinet War — one decided upon and settled by governments and fought by professional armies. Instead, future war would take the form of a Volkskrieg, with the whole nation engaged in the military effort, rendering it bloodier and harder to conclude. Any peace negotiations would be less straightforward than those following the complete elimination of the enemy army. Yet he did not see any alternative strategic objective. This theme was picked up in one of the most influential books of the period. Colmar von der Goltz, a rising star in the German army, explored the implications in Das Volk in Waffen.[73] The logic pointed to the exhaustion of the belligerent nations rather than victory through a few great decisive battles, until the exhaustion itself created the conditions for one side to make a breakthrough. The entire resources of the nation would be engaged, and conscript armies would be formed. Battle would still be necessary, however, and that remained the business of strategy. The counter to Goltz’s pessimism was to put the effort into developing an even bolder plan for the opening stage of a war so that it could be won on conventional lines before it was allowed to turn into such a titanic struggle. This was the approach taken by Moltke’s successor, Count Alfred von Schlieffen, who worked on a plan to ensure the “annihilation” of the French Army in the event of a war, warning that failure to do so would mean an “endless war.”[74] In 1879, a young historian, Hans Delbrück, reviewed Frederick the Great’s Military Testament and concluded that Frederick had been no fan of battle. For him, it had been at most an occasional and necessary evil. This was a provocative claim, for Frederick had been portrayed as setting the path that Napoleon followed, thus pointing to the modern way of warfare. Goltz was one of the first to respond. The debate over Frederick’s philosophy of war and its implications for strategy continued for the next three decades. As Foley notes, Delbrück succeeded in uniting an otherwise fragmented officer corps against him.[75] He also came up with another heresy: He suggested that Clausewitz himself had seen the possibility of an alternative to winning through decisive battle (based on his reading of Clausewitz’s notes about revising On War). Delbrück set out his challenge to established German views in an 1889 article arguing that it was possible to win wars by maneuver as well as great battles.[76] Here came the distinction between Niederwerfungsstrategie, a strategy of annihilation that would eliminate the enemy’s army as a fighting force through battle, and Ermattungsstrategie, a strategy of exhaustion (or attrition) in which battles would not be decisive, but there would instead be an accumulation of pressure that would wear the enemy down. The implication of Delbrück’s argument was that, whatever the general staff’s preferences, the conditions might not fit the plans and war might take a quite different form to the one intended. At issue was also a definition of strategy. The military’s view was that there was a “single, correct and legitimate form of strategy,” geared toward battle, such that Delbrück’s exploration of how, employing Clausewitz’s schema, a different policy might lead to a different strategy missed the point. [77] Looking back over the strategic thinkers of the 19th century, Lt. Gen. Rudolf von Caemmerer of the German Army mocked Bülow for having claimed at its start to be writing in the spirit of the age. In practice, argued Caemmerer, Bülow completely failed to understand the century’s new spirit, as exemplified by Napoleon. Instead of looking forward to an age of decisive battles, he was looking back to a war of positions.[78] Caemmerer did not entertain the thought that the same mistake was being repeated, by assuming that the great encounters of the previous century were setting the terms for 20th century wars. He failed to consider the possibility that some equally transformational changes were underway.

Strategy and Policy

The argument between Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and Moltke about the best approach to take toward French resistance after September 1870 raised the issue of the extent to which military operations should be shaped by political considerations. Moltke insisted that while policy must set the goals “in its action, strategy is independent of policy as much as possible. Policy must not be allowed to interfere in operations.”[79] The evident flaw in Moltke’s argument, which Bismarck pointed out, was that the political considerations then in play, including the possibility of other states coming to the aid of France as irregular French resistance continued, had little to do with preparing to fight a pitched battle. Bismarck confessed that he had not read Clausewitz, but he saw clearly the continuing role of politics once war had begun. He wrote:
To fix and limit the objects to be attained by the war, and to advise the monarch in respect of them, is and remains during the war just as before it a political function, and the manner in which these questions are solved cannot be without influence on the conduct of the war.[80]
This remained the view of the German army. While the militarist Gen. Friedrich von Bernhardi accepted that war was a means to an end that existed “entirely outside its domain” and so could “never itself lay down the purpose by fixing at will the military object,” he was clear that politicians should not “interfere in the conduct of war itself and attempt to order to take a particular course to actually reach the military targets. Attempts to do so put at risk military success.”[81] The sentiment of political non-interference was universal across European armies. The regularity and insistence with which it was expressed betrayed an underlying anxiety that it was not the easiest position to defend. In addition, the more Clausewitz was read, the more the relationship between strategy and policy came to the fore. However, this was a slow process, and did not get beyond the formula that, though the statesman set the objectives, the general must have independence when deciding on action.[82] This was also the position reached in the British debate, although influenced more by the Civil War than the Franco-Prussian War.[83] President Abraham Lincoln, after all, had not only hired and fired generals according to their strategic competence, but also had engaged directly on what needed to be done to win the war. In a classic example of the inseparability of strategy and policy, when Gen. George Meade, the victor of Gettysburg, spoke triumphantly of driving “the invaders from our soil,” Lincoln was distressed that the Confederate States Army had been able to retreat. The generals needed to get that idea out of “their heads,” he complained, for the “whole country is our soil.” The enemy was “within your easy grasp,” he wrote to Meade, “and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely.”[84] A biography of Lincoln by his two secretaries published in 1890 observed that “talk of military operations without the direction and interference of an Administration is as absurd as to plan a campaign without recruits, pay, or rations.”[85] Yet in his review of the evident tensions between the generals and the political leadership on both sides during this war, British commentator G. F. R. Henderson reasserted the importance of preventing politicians from interfering in military decision-making:
That the soldier is but the servant of the statesman, as war is but an instrument of diplomacy, no educated soldier will deny. Politics must always exercise a supreme influence on strategy; yet it cannot be gainsaid that interference with the commander in the field is fraught with the gravest danger.[86]
At the same time, Henderson was acutely aware of the growing importance of the contextual factors that would determine whether it would be possible to get into an optimal position for battle. In his lecture “Strategy and its Teaching,” for all its concluding conformity, Henderson underlined how much good strategy depended on good statesmanship. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to divorce soldiering and statesmanship. The soldier must often be the adviser of the statesman.” Strategy should be “concerned as much with preparation for war as with war itself.” He spoke of these preparations as the “Peace Strategy” (that is, strategy pursued at a time of peace as opposed to one geared toward achieving peace). [87] This aspect of strategy was given more attention, as the state of alliances became more salient in assessing the likely character of a future war. Thus T. Miller Maguire, a barrister, who was a regular commentator on international affairs, referred to “international strategy” in a lecture he gave at the Royal United Services Institution in 1906.[88] The poor performance of the British army in the Boer War led to introspection as well as respect for Germany’s growing strength and the leading role of its general staff, and interest in German military thinking. This interest resulted in the translation of key German texts into English. Maguire, quoted above, even complained about the unwarranted influence of German ideas in British military doctrine:
We are overwhelmed with translations of the literary labours of German generals; our tables groan beneath the ponderous and dreadfully dull tomes of a generation of writers who seem to thrive on knowledge of the minutest details of two campaigns — 1866 and 1870 — and of these only. [89]
The greater awareness of Clausewitz brought with it his insistence on war as a continuation of politics, although as much, if not more, interest was shown in his discussions of friction and the interaction of the offense and the defense.[90] Stewart Murray, who provided a short guide to Clausewitz, insisted that during actual operations the statesman should exercise the greatest possible restraint, and avoid all interference, except when demanded by overwhelming political necessity.” If pre-war preparations were inadequate, that would clearly be a political failure more so than a military one. Politicians were responsible for the war as much as the peace policy, for “preparing, ordering, guiding, and controlling of war.” [91] Moreover, as Lt. Col. Walter James observed, it was, at times, advantageous to follow a more political than purely military strategy to bring home to an enemy the futility of resistance.[92] The established view depended on a clear division of labor between the statesman and the commander. This would only work if they understood one another. A debate at the Staff College among senior officers in 1911 indicated the extent to which questions of politics kept on intruding into strategic matters. The received view was that the education of officers required that they write “strategical papers, referring to military operations in which they might one day be engaged,” but as they did so they should keep clear of political matters. Yet one officer, Col. Launcelot E. Kiggell, observed that when studying and teaching war “politics were at the back of all strategical problems.”[93]

The Naval Contribution

The period beginning in the late 1880s also saw a growing influence of naval thinking on wider strategy. It was surprising that it took so long, given the well-established importance of the Royal Navy to Britain’s international standing. Introducing a book published in 1891, Rear Adm. Philip Columb observed that there had been an abundance of literature describing war on land — here he mentioned Hamley — but little attention had been given to naval war: “Of writers of naval strategy there were absolutely none; writers on naval tactics were few and far between.”[94] He did not offer his own definition of strategy, other than to refer in passing to the standard distinction between strategy “determining the locality of battle,” and tactics its “conduct.”[95] In his introduction, Colomb expressed his pleasure at the recent publication of what he described as a work complementary to his own, written by an American, Alfred Thayer Mahan, the son of Dennis Mahan. The younger Mahan developed his theories at a relatively late age after being put in charge of the new U.S. Naval War College in 1886.[96] He focused on the importance of control of the sea to Britain’s rise as a great power, thus providing a broad and historical context to naval operations. By advocating that America follow the British example, he can be seen as a pioneer of grand strategy, although this was only by implication. It was not a term he used.[97] In 1911, Mahan published his original lectures in a revised and expanded form under the title Naval Strategy, but the revisions did not extend to his definition of strategy, which he had developed in his first book. When he began, Stephen Luce, the first president of the Naval War College, urged him to follow Jomini, although he appears to have required little persuading to do so. In his introduction to The Influence of Sea Power, Mahan identified the point of contact between armies or fleets as “the dividing line between tactics and strategy.” He shared Jomini’s belief in the permanence of the general principles that came under the heading of strategy. This is why they could be deduced from history. Tactics, by contrast, were more subject to the “unresting progress of mankind.”[98] When it came to battle, the organized forces of the enemy provided the strategic objective, just as they would do on land. His definition of grand tactics was taken directly from Jomini: “the art of making combinations preliminary to battle as well as during their progress.” [quote id="3"] Yet there was one sense in which Mahan did accept a difference between naval and military strategy. Military strategy tended to be confined to a “combination, either or wholly distinct or mutually dependent, but always regarded as actual or immediate scenes of war.” This could be considered too narrow for the naval sphere. Here there were positions that could be occupied at times of peace that would be of value at times of war. From this came his definition of the goals of naval strategy: “to found, support, and increase, as well in peace as in war, the sea power of a country.”[99] This was somewhat circular, as the purpose of strategy was to increase the power that made the strategy possible. Nevertheless, the stress on peacetime was significant. If the opportunity could be taken to establish naval bases at critical points across the globe, for example, then wartime operations should be much easier. In fact, as with Henderson, the importance of peacetime preparedness as an aspect of strategy was already being picked up by army theorists. As Mahan noted, the importance of certain geographical points as “strategic” in their importance went back to early 19th century strategists such as the Archduke Charles. In Colomb’s work, great stress also was placed on the importance of advantageous strategic positions. Mahan worked with a narrow definition of strategy while emphasizing the potential political and economic consequences of naval operations. This stress on the wider context and the importance of peacetime dispositions pushed naval thought to a more expansive definition of strategy. This was an opportunity to build upon Clausewitz’s view of politics and war, which his disciples in the German general staff had found awkward, but Mahan came to Clausewitz late, and his works had little evident influence on Mahan’s thinking. This was not the case with the British maritime theorist Sir Julian Corbett, an influential civilian who studied Clausewitz.[100] Corbett believed that naval and military strategy should be considered in relation to each other, and that both needed to be released from the fallacy “that war consists entirely of battles between armies and fleets.” He went back to the assumption of the pre-Napoleonic period that the main objective was territory and not the enemy armed forces, whose destruction was at most a means to an end. Thus, he defined strategy as “the art of directing forces to the ends in view.” In 1906, in his “Strategical Terms and Definitions Used in Lectures on Naval History” pamphlet, Corbett divided strategy into “major” (or “grand”) dealing with ulterior objects and “minor” dealing with “primary objects,” which were essentially concerned with war plans and operational plans respectively. The vital feature of major/grand strategy was that it involved the “whole resources of the nation for war” and not just armed force. In 1911, when he revised these notes, he left it as a distinction between major and minor.[101] The distinction, however, represented a breakthrough in thinking about strategy. The ends of major or grand strategy were a matter for the statesman while the army or navy was responsible for the minor strategy, whose purpose was how to achieve those ends. The ulterior and primary objects had to be kept in mind when planning operations. With major strategy, there was a tension between the use of the army and navy as instruments in war while keeping in view the politico-diplomatic position of the country, along with the commercial and financial. This led to the “deflection of strategy by politics” and was “usually regarded as a disease.” This was, however, “inherent in war:” Neither strategy nor diplomacy ever had a clean slate. This interaction had to be accepted by commanding officers as part of the inevitable “friction of war.”[102]

After the Great War

There was no evident need to reappraise the concept of strategy after the end of World War I.[103] Despite the fact that at the war’s start the “narrow political vision” of the soldiers was “matched by the remarkable military ignorance of the political leaders,”[104] the interaction of strategy and policy was still being viewed as it had been prior to the war. One widely read book by Maj. Gen. Wilkinson Bird still kept the political and military aspects of war-making separate. He defined strategy “as the direction or management of war” and divided his definition into a peace strategy so “that should war take place it may be waged with every prospect of success.” This would involve questions of funding and alliances, as well as describing the interests to be protected and the “localities where the enemy may be struck.” In the event of war, “the primary purposes of military strategy are to allot and dispose the forces so that the victory in battle will be probable, and if gained will be decisive.” He expressed concern with the fact that “non-military considerations” formed “a large item in the broader aspects of policy” and would encourage “the tendency to meddle with the conduct of operations which some statesman appear to have found difficulty in resisting.”[105] Even by 1927, the diplomat, politician, and military historian, Sir William Oman, recognized he was being controversial when he urged the need for “the directing classes in any nation” to “have a certain general knowledge of the history of the Art of War” and not feel “bound to accept blindfold the orders of their military mentors.” He was aware that he was ignoring warnings of “amateur strategy.” Still, he could not accept the view that once a political leader set down the political ends of war, it could “wash his hands of the whole matter, and make no comment, criticism, or interference on what the military authority may do.” It was not good enough to see the political role as simply making sure that the military had “whatever men, money and munitions as required.” The military were as fallible as anybody else. However sparingly used, the civilian leadership “must retain some power to comment, to criticize, even to quash.” It was dangerous to lay down a strict and rigid rule of non-interference by the civil power.[106] The views of Col. John “Boney” Fuller and Capt. Basil Liddell Hart had both been shaped by the fighting on the Western Front and they originally made their names by developing ideas for the mechanization for the Army. In 1923, Fuller, the senior and more original of the two, picked up on Corbett’s reference to grand strategy.[107] Once it was accepted that the effectiveness of the military instrument had to be discussed in the context of the other instruments of state policy, then it was clear that a military victory was no longer adequate. The focus of war, insisted Fuller, should be “to enforce the policy of the nation at the least cost to itself and to the enemy and, consequently, to the world.” The grand strategist had to understand commerce and finance, as well as politics, culture, and history, in order to “form the pillars of the military arch which it is his duty to construct.” Fuller offered a completely new approach to warfare in his 1926 book, The Foundations of the Science of War.[108] The ambition and complexity of the book’s arguments limited its appeal. In the book, Fuller argued that the aim of military operations was to encourage a form of nervous breakdown on the enemy side rather than to emerge victorious from battle. With grand strategy, “the political object” was to win the war, while with grand tactics the object was the “destruction of the enemy’s plan.” The object of strategy was “to disintegrate the enemy’s power of cooperation” and of tactics “to destroy his activity.” Yet while this was a bolder conceptual framework, Fuller’s actual understanding of strategy remained orthodox. In lectures given in the early 1930s, he was still describing strategy in terms of battle: “the advance to the battlefield is a strategical act.” As soon as there was contact, tactics would “begin to shape themselves.”[109] It is important to note that, although grand tactics has been compared to contemporary descriptions of the “operational level,” for Fuller it does not appear simply as an intermediate stage between strategy and minor tactics. Minor tactics, he explained, reflected a “different expression of force.” Whereas grand tactics were concerned with the “mental destruction” of the enemy, minor tactics came into play when it was necessary to move into physical destruction (“when the mind of the enemy’s commander can only be attacked through the bodies of his men”).[110] As Milevski notes, Fuller’s use of the term strategy is often “odd.” Fuller admitted to Liddell Hart that "'I find it most difficult to suggest a suitable definition of strategy.’”[111] On strategy, Liddell Hart, though more derivative in his ideas, produced sharper and, in the end, more lasting language.[112] The key conceptual breakthrough came in a short piece written in June 1924 titled “The Napoleonic Fallacy,” which was published in a relatively obscure journal, although it was eventually reworked (as was Liddell Hart’s habit) in his first theoretical book, Paris; Or the Future of War[113] and in subsequent books. There was no new definition of strategy, but, following Fuller, he established that the objective of war was a good peace — an “honourable, prosperous, and secure existence.” This set as the military’s aim to subdue the enemy’s “will to resist, with the least possible human and economic loss.” On this basis, and in contrast to “The Napoleonic Fallacy,” the “destruction of the enemy’s armed forces is but a means and not necessarily an inevitable or infallible one to the attainment of the real objective.” It was “the function of grand strategy to discover and exploit the Achilles’ heel of the enemy nation; to strike not against its strongest bulwark but against its most vulnerable spot.”[114] [quote id="4"] In a letter in late November 1927, Liddell Hart denied that he was offering a “one-sided refutation of battle as a means of victory,” but more an argument “to remedy the lopsidedness which has arisen through over-emphasis on battle as the all-important means to victory.” Here he identified for the first time his theory of “The Strategy of the Indirect Approach,” according to which “the dislocation of the enemy’s moral, mental or material balance is the vital prelude to an attempt at his overthrow.”[115] This was the theme of his most lasting book, The Decisive Wars of History,[116] in which he rejected Clausewitz’s definition — “the employment of battle as a means to gain the object of war” because this took for granted the necessity of battle. He preferred a definition he attributed to Moltke: “the practical adaptation of the means placed at a general’s disposal to the attainment of the object.”[117] From this definition, he formulated his own: “the distribution and transmission of military means to fulfill the ends of policy.” Much later, “transmission” was replaced by “employment.”[118] He limited tactics to matters concerned with “the fighting.” Grand strategy was about the coordination and direction of all the resources of the nation to the attainment of the political object of the war. Unlike Fuller, Liddell Hart saw no need for a separate concept of grand tactics. His definitions were part of a package of propositions geared to the promotion of his indirect approach so as to avoid desperate frontal assaults. In his wariness of battle, he was looking back to the 18th century and some of the ideas that animated the earliest discussions of strategy. But the advantage of his definitions was that they did not require accepting the whole package. The key shift was to accept that there were a number of ways to use armed force, and that the most advantageous way in a given scenario depended on a keen understanding of the political context. During the interwar years, references to grand strategy became increasingly frequent. This was the combined result of more thought being given to World War I and the rise of aggressive militarism in the 1930s. In a book published during World War II, the historian Cyril Falls did not seem to understand that the term grand strategy was of comparatively recent origin. He considered strategy to be a matter for the “commander-in-chief, and described tactics as the “art of fighting,” beginning where strategy ended. This left the demarcation point between the two hard to identify. This was an observation that could have been made a century earlier. Or else, Falls suggested, perhaps strategy referred to what was done on a great scale and tactics on a minor scale, or else strategy was “the province of the virtuoso, tactics that of the artisan.” In practice, the strategic choices were usually limited, and so it was the slog of tactics that got results.[119] Also during the war, Field Marshall Lord Wavell, who had begun his military career in the Boer War and ended it as commander-in-chief for India, challenged Liddell Hart’s view that strategy was gaining in importance: “I hold that tactics, the art of handling troops on the battlefield, is and always will be a more difficult and more important part of the general’s task than strategy, the art of bringing forces to the battlefield in a favorable position.”[120] It was after World War II that Liddell Hart’s definition began to stick, helped by his growing reputation as a prophet of limited war and the publication of his classic book on strategy in 1967. In a volume published in 1970 titled Problems of Modern Strategy, Michael Howard opened his essay observing that Liddell Hart’s definition was “as good as any, and better than most.”[121]

Conclusion

In the same volume as Howard’s essay, the French political theorist Raymond Aron noted that the appropriate contrast for strategy was tactics, but that “modern authors” tended to contrast it instead with “policy.” The result was that there was “now no difference between what was once called a policy and what one now calls strategy.”[122] In 2005, Hew Strachan made a similar point. The view of strategy developed by the early 20th century was “based on universal principles, institutionalized, disseminated, and at ease with itself.” Strategy was only one of the components of war, but it was “the central element sandwiched between national policy on the one hand and tactics on the other.” If there was a problem it “lay not in its definition but in its boundaries with policy.”[123] This was a natural consequence of the decline of the soldier-sovereigns and the need to manage relations between the civil and military spheres, each with its distinct role and responsibilities. As this article has shown, there was a boundary problem on the other side as well. Numerous writers observed that the distinction between strategy and tactics was hardly clear-cut. It was difficult to separate out the preparations for fighting and actual fighting, or to distinguish activities according to the responsible level of command. This was why ideas of grand tactics kept on intruding. It was also the area in which writers on colonial wars saw the most significant difference with regular warfare. The impact of colonial wars, which was the main preoccupation of the army, was more ambiguous because these wars tended to be seen as special cases.[124] This particular boundary problem, unlike that with policy, was manageable because all the activities were military responsibilities. The boundary problem between strategy and policy went to the heart of civil-military relations and by the start of the 20th century was increasingly hard to play down. The proper relationship was supposed to involve the government setting policy which would be handed down as the objectives of the war to the military commanders responsible for strategy. They would then turn them into war plans. The basic problem, perhaps more in theory than in practice, was that war plans were always expected to come down to the elimination of the enemy army as a fighting force. That is how strategy was presented for purposes of officer education. Without such a sharp focus on defeating the enemy army, discussions of strategy would have opened up earlier. In that case, however, the need to cover a great variety of types of engagement would have undermined all efforts to provide detailed advice on standardized operations. The narrow approach therefore facilitated the military curriculum but at the expense of failing to prepare officers for contingencies other than those of a pitched battle. After World War I, a narrow approach to strategy appeared inadequate. Historian Edward Mead Earle brought scholars interested in the increasingly pressing questions of national security to a seminar in Princeton, where a broader view of the subject emerged. In his introduction to his landmark collection of essays, Makers of Modern Strategy, published in 1943, Earle explained that, narrowly defined, strategy was “the art of military command, of projecting and directing a campaign,” where tactics was “the art of handling forces in battle.” But war and society had “become more complicated,” and so “strategy has of necessity required increasing consideration of nonmilitary factors, economic, psychological, moral, political, and technological.” Strategy, therefore, was not “an inherent element of statecraft at all times.” His definition tended toward grand strategy:
In the present-day world, then, strategy is the art of controlling and utilizing the resources of a nation — or a coalition of nations — including its armed forces, to the end that its vital interests shall be effectively promoted and secured against enemies, actual, potential, or merely presumed.[125]
As Strachan pointed out in another article, the category of grand strategy was not always helpful because it suggested that it was in some way comparable to military strategy.[126] The original concept was closely connected to war and could be taken to refer to all of those things, including military preparations and action, required to prosecute war effectively. This included peacetime preparations for conflict, such as allocating military budgets and forming alliances. But these preparations might be undertaken in such a way that they made war unlikely (deterrence) and so, over time, could be hard to distinguish from a more general foreign and defense policy. Thus, just as strategy lost its specificity when it became unhinged from battle, so too did grand strategy lose its specificity as it became detached from war. Instead of discussions on strategy staying close to those on tactics they moved to a much higher plane. In the period under discussion, an “operational level” was not identified.[127] A number of theorists did write about grand tactics, largely referring to the more demanding actions needed prior to actual battle, at which point ordinary tactics would come into play. Strategy itself best covered what is now considered the operational level, and the introduction of the latter can be seen as a response to the loss of a purely military definition of strategy.[128] These different categories — grand strategy/policy, strategy, grand tactics/operations, tactics — could be seen as representing different levels of command, and so serve as a way of delineating the responsibilities of each. But the issue was always the dynamic interaction between these distinct concepts, and the more categories, the more complicated that interaction became. When strategy only entailed preparing for battle, it was a chapter heading, a set of practical issues that any commander would need to address when moving large bodies of men, properly equipped and provisioned, into position for the coming encounter. Once battle was no longer the certain objective and the relationship between military means and political ends was opening up a range of operational possibilities, the topic of strategy became more challenging for purposes of officer education. But for the same reasons it also became much more interesting for theorists. Instead of looking to the past to help deduce the unchanging principles of war, strategy came to mean looking to the future to explore new ways in which changing political circumstances might interact with new forms of armed force. There is an unavoidable tension between strategy as theory, a way of thinking about the interplay of political and military affairs, and strategy as guidance, a way of preparing for likely contingencies. The first breaks down boundaries. The second requires boundaries to keep the task manageable. By the end of the 19th century, the study of strategy had become routine for practitioners, but of little interest for theorists. By the end of the 20th century, it had become a matter of endless fascination for theorists, but a puzzle for practitioners.   Sir Lawrence Freedman is professor emeritus of war studies at King’s College London. Freedman became professor of war studies at King’s College in 1982. In 2002, he became head of the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy at King’s College. In June 2009, he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Before joining King’s College, Freedman held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1995, he was appointed official historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. His most recent books are Strategy: A History (2013) and The Future of War: A History (2017). ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: The British Library [post_title] => The Meaning of Strategy, Part II: The Objectives [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meaning-strategy-part-ii-objectives [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:13:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:13:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=413 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => By the end of the 19th century, the study of strategy had become routine for practitioners, but of little interest for theorists. By the end of the 20th century, it had become a matter of endless fascination for theorists, but a puzzle for practitioners. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 2 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The item on tactics referred to a higher branch — la grande tactique — that should be thoroughly understood by all general officers ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => Military writers undertook to define strategy, yet it resulted in “definitions as various as the writers were numerous.” ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The period beginning in the late 1880s saw a growing influence of naval thinking on wider strategy. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => During the interwar years, references to grand strategy became increasingly frequent. ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => The German debate was more substantial, although established definitions of strategy remained intact. ) ) [style] => scholarly [type] => Scholarly [style_label] => The Scholar [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 561 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 59 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] I am grateful to Beatrice Heuser and Hew Strachan for their comments on an earlier draft of this article. [2] Basil Liddell Hart, Strategy: The Indirect Approach (London: Faber, 1967), 351. In the original version published in The Decisive Wars of History (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1929), strategy was defined as the art of “the distribution and transmission of military means.” [3] Général d’Armée André Beaufre, “Liddell Hart and the French Army, 1919-1939,” The Theory and Practice of War: Essays Presented to Captain B. H. Liddell Hart on his 70th Birthday, ed. Michael Howard (London: Cassell, 1965). [4] André Beaufre, Introduction à la stratégie (Paris: Libraire Armand Colin, 1963). Published in English as Introduction to Strategy (New York: Praeger, 1965) [Introduction à la stratégie, Paris, 1963)]. [5] Col. Arthur Lykke Jr., “Strategy = E + W + M,” Military Review LXIX, no. 5 (May 1989): 2-8. [6] Lawrence Freedman, “The Meaning of Strategy, Part I: The Origins,” Texas National Security Review 1, no. 1 (October 2017), https://tnsr.org/2017/10/meaning-strategy-part-origin-story. [7] Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 120-121. [8] Guillame-Henri Dufour, Strategy and Tactics, trans. William Craighill (New York: Van Nostrand, 1864), 8. [9] The Google Books N-gram Viewer displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books over the selected years. [10] Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow, The Spirit of the Modern System of War, trans. Malorti de Martemont (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013). [11] Lukas Milevski, The Evolution of Modern Grand Strategic Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). [12] Freedman, “The Meaning of Strategy, Part I." [13] Ira Gruber, Books and the British Army in the Age of the American Revolution (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), Part I. [14] Johann W. von Bourscheid, trans. Kasier Leo des Philosophen Strategie und Taktik in 5 Bänden (Vienna: Jospeh Edler von Kurzboeck, 1777-1781). [15] “Foreign Articles,” The Critical Review, or, Annals of Literature 48 (October 1779): 310, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015071095007;view=1up;seq=23. [16] Joly de Maizeroy, A System of Tactics, Practical, Theoretical and Historical, trans. Thomas Mante (London: Cadell, 1781); Comte de Guibert, A General Essay on Tactics, trans. Lt. Douglas (London: J. Millar, 1781). [17] It is notable that the reviewer clearly found the section of Guibert dealing with politics more interesting than that on the purely military issues. It did refer to elementary and “great,” rather than “grand” tactics. The Critical Review: Or, Annals of Literature 52 (December 1781). Another review of Maizeroy [The Monthly Review, Or, Literary Journal: Vol. 71: From July to December, Inclusive, 1784 (London: R. Griffiths, 1785)] noted his enthusiasm for classical texts and wondered whether these could provide guidance of tactics under modern conditions, and regretted the concentration on the higher tactics while taking the knowledge of the elementary for granted. [18] Simon-François Gay de Vernon, Traité élémentaire d’art militaire et de fortification: à l'usage des élèves de l’École polytechnique, et des élèves des écoles militaries, 2 vols. (Paris: Libr. Allais, 1805), 79. [19] John Michael O’Connor, A Treatise on the Science of War and Fortification (New York: J. Seymour, New York, 1817), 104. [20] British Military Library, 2 vols. (London: Richard Phillips, 1804). [21] Charles James, New and Enlarged Military Dictionary, Part I (London: T Egerton, 1802), https://books.google.com/books?id=pixOAAAAYAAJ&q=stratarithmetry#v=onepage&q=stratarithmetry&f=false. The now lost word “stratarithmometry,” which was spelled in a number of different ways, was concerned with drawing up an army or any part of it in a geometric figure. [22] Charles James, New and Enlarged Military Dictionary, 2nd ed. (London: T Egerton, 1805), 915-916. Milevski notes its appearance, but not the fact that this was borrowed directly from Nockhern de Schorn. Milevski, Evolution, 15. [23] Charles James, New and Enlarged Military Dictionary, 3rd. ed. (London: T Egerton, 1810), https://books.google.com/books?id=-l0UAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false. [24] Unsigned review of Carl von Clausewitz, "On War," Metropolitan Magazine (May and June, 1835): 64-71, 166-176; this was also published in the Military and Naval Magazine of the United States V and VI (August and September issues, 1835): 426-436, 50-63. Clausewitz’s The Campaign Of 1812 In Russia, trans. Francis Egerton (London: John Murray, 1843) was translated into English in 1843, so he was appreciated at first largely as a military historian more than theorist; Christopher Bassford, The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). [25] J. A. Gilbert, An Exposition of the First Principles of Grand Military Combinations and Movements, Compiled from the Treatise upon Great Military Operations by the Baron de Jomini (London: T. Egerton, 1825). [26] Jay Luvaas, The Education of an Army: British Military Thought, 1815-1940 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964), 18. The proposed title was “The Philosophy of War.” [27] William Napier, “Review of Traité des grandes opérations militaires,” Edinburgh Review XXXV (1821): 377-409. [28] Edward Yates, Elementary Treatise on Tactics and on Certain Parts of Strategy (London: Boone, 1855), 1. His distinction between strategy and tactics owes much to Bülow: “Strategy is that division of the science of war, which superintends the direction of all operations and the construction of all combinations, except during the intervals of action; the instant at which the opposing forces, of whatever magnitude, come into sight of one another.” At this point, strategy left “its presidency,” until the two armies lost sight of one another, and then it would return. Tactics was what was left over; it was “that division of the science of war which presides over all operations over whatever strategy does not preside.” [29] Luvaas, Education, Chapter 2. [30] John Mitchell, Thoughts on Tactics (London: Longman et al., 1838), https://archive.org/details/thoughtsontacti00mitcgoog. [31] Mitchell, Thoughts. Brian Holden Reid has emphasized the anti-intellectual culture of the army over the 19th century in Brian Holden Reid, Studies in British Military Thought: Debates with Fuller and Liddell Hart (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), 67, 70. [32] Committee of the Corps of Royal Engineers, eds., Aide-memoire to the military sciences, 3 vols. (London: John Weale, High Holbern, 1846-52), 5-7. For another example of guidance on strategy involving repetition of Jomini, see Hon. F A Thesiger, Strategy, A lecture delivered at the United Services Institute of West India, Poona, 1862 (Bombay, Alliance Press, 1863). [33] Hew Strachan, “Soldiers, Strategy and Sebastopol,” The Historical Journal 21, no. 2 (1978): 307. [34] Brian Bond, The Victorian Army and the Staff College, 1854–1914 (London: Eyre Methuen, 1972). For a less damning verdict see Hew Strachan, From Waterloo to Balaclava: Tactics, Technology, and the British Army 1815-1854 (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985). [35] A. W. Preston, “British Military Thought 1856–1890,” The Army Quarterly 89, no. 1 (October 1964), 60. [36] Lt. Col. P. L. McDougall, The Theory of War: Illustrated by Numerous Examples from Military History (London: Longmans, 1856), 2-3. [37] Edward Bruce Hamley, The Operations of War: Explained and Illustrated (London: William Blackwood, 1866). It was read by Moltke. [38] Luvaas, Education, 151. It stayed in print until 1923. [39] Hamley, The Operations of War, 55-7. Hamley struck a modern note with his stress on the need to “read the theatre of war” and references to the “narrative of campaigns” — essentially a way of thinking through the demands of strategy. [40] Maj. Gen. C. Francis Clery, Minor Tactics, 13th ed. (London: Kegan Paul, 1896), 1. [41] Here Henderson had Clery in mind. [42] Col. G. F. R. Henderson, “Lessons from the Past for the Present,” Lecture at the United Services Institution, May 25, 1894, published in a collection of his essays: Col. G. F. R. Henderson, Science of War: A Collection of Essays and Lectures 1891-1903, ed. Neill Malcom (London: Longmans, Green & Co.: 1906), 168. [43] Lt. Col. G. F. R. Henderson, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, 2 vols. (London: Longman Green, 1898). For an appreciation of Henderson, see Jay Luvaas, “G. F. R. Henderson and the American Civil War,” Military Affairs 20, no. 3 (Autumn 1956): 139-15. Also, see Luvaas, Education, Chapter 7. [44] He noted that “strategy, unfortunately, is an unpopular science, even among soldiers, requiring both in practice and in demonstration constant and careful study of the map, the closest computation of time and space, a grasp of many factors, and the strictest attention to the various steps in the problems it presents … the determining factor in civilised warfare …trained common sense.” [45] Lt. Col G. F. R. Henderson, “Strategy and its Teaching,” Journal of the Royal United Services Institution XLII (July 1898), 761. [46] Strategy, from the Encyclopedia Britannica supplement 1902. Reprinted in Henderson, Science of War. While strategy was clearly the higher art Henderson was strongly of the view that this did not mean that strategy was “the province of the few” while “tactics of the many,” so that only those expecting high command “need trouble about what is perhaps the most important branch of the art of war.” Yet soldiers could not know if circumstances would push them into command at a critical moment. Those without this knowledge would be “terribly one-sided creatures.” [47] Russell F. Weigley, “American Strategy from Its Beginnings through the First World War,” Makers of Modern Strategy, ed. Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 438-9. See also Brian McAllister Linn, The Echo of Battle (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009). [48] This was unusual as a key text first translated into English by an American (see footnotes 18 and 19). Michael Bonura, Under the Shadow of Napoleon: French Influence on the American Way of Warfare from Independence to the Eve of World War II (New York: NYU Press, 2012), 76. [49] Henry Hallek, Elements of the Military Art and Science (New York: 1846). See Azar Gat, The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 16-22. Halleck did note the importance of the “Policy of War,” or “the relations of war with the affairs of state.” [50] Dennis Mahan, Elementary Treatise on Advanced Guard, Outposts, and Detachment Service of Troops (New York: Wiley, 1847; revised, 1862). [51] Col. H. L. Scott, Military Dictionary (New York: Van Nostrand, 1861), 574. This had not been prepared “in view of the existing disturbances.” [52] Carol Reardon, With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other: The Problem of Military Thought in the Civil War North (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012). [53] Carl von Decker, The Three Arms or Divisional Tactics, Maj. Inigo Jones, trans. (London: Parker, Furnivall, and Parker, 1848). The translator, Maj. Inigo Jones, had improved the text, however, by interspersing Decker’s thoughts with some from Jomini. [54] Interestingly there was both a Union translation and edition: Marshal Marmont, The Spirit of Military Institutions, trans. Henry Coppee (Philadelphia: J P. Lippincott, 1862); and one from the Confederacy: Marshal Marmont, The Spirit of Military Institutions, trans. Col. Frank Schaller (Columbia, S.C.: Rvans and Cogswell, 1864). Marmont worked with established definitions of strategy. [55] Junius Wheeler, A course of instruction in the elements of the art and science of war. For the use of cadets of the United States military academy (New York: Van Nostrand, 1878), 11. He defined strategy as “the science of directing, with promptitude, precision and clearness, masses of troops to gain possession of points of importance in military operations.” [56] James Mercur, The Art of War: Prepared for the Cadets of the United States Military Academy (New York: John Wiley, 1898), 16, 140. Grand tactics referred to “planning battles, perfecting the preliminary arrangements, conducting them during their process and securing the results of victory, or avoiding the consequences of defeat.” [57] Mercur, The Art of War, 272. [58] Ken Booth and Nicholas Wheeler, The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (London: Palgrave, 2007). [59] Mercur, The Art of War, 272. [60] Russell F. Weigley, “American Strategy from Its Beginnings through the First World War,” in Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy, 438-9. Linn also accepts that Bigelow was “insightful and original.” [61] John Bigelow Jr., Principles of Strategy: Illustrated Mainly from American Campaigns (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1894). [62] Gen. W. T. Sherman, “The Grand Strategy of the Wars of the Rebellion,” The Century Magazine (February 1888): 582-597. Lt. Col. Frances Soady, Lessons of war as taught by the great masters and others; selected and arranged from the various operations of war (London: W. H. Allen, 1870). [63] Capt. Matthew Steele, “The Conduct of War,” Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States XVII (1908): 22-31. Here he was quoting from Colmar Freiherr Von der Goltz, The Conduct of War, trans. Maj. G. F. Lereson (London: Kegan Paul et al, 1899), whose work is discussed below. Steele noted that strategy could “not even be held to a military sense; there is a political as well as a military strategy, and they both fall within the scope of the conduct of war.” [64] J. L. Lewal, Introduction à la partie positive de la stratégie (Paris: Librarie Militaire Baudoin, 1892). See Gat, The Development of Military Thought, 123. [65] Published as Théorie de la Grande Guerre, trans. Lt. Col. De Vatry. See Beatrice Heuser, Reading Clausewitz (London: Pimlico, 2002), 15. A much earlier edition was out of print. [66] Jay Luvaas, “European Military Thought and Doctrine,” in Howard, ed., The Theory and Practice of War, 78. [67] Victor Bernard Derrécagaix, Modern War, Vol. 1 Strategy, trans. C. W. Foster (Washington: James Chapman, 1888), 3-4. [68] Marshal Foch, The Principles of War, trans. Hilaire Belloc (New York: Henry Holt, 1920). This was first published in French in 1903. [69] Cited in Heuser, Evolution, 144-5. [70] Antonio Echevarria II, After Clausewitz: German Military Thinkers Before the Great War (Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2000), 142. [71] Wilhelm von Blume, Strategie (Berlin: E.S. Mittler und Sohn, 1882); Gen. Bronsart von Schellendorff, The Duties of the General Staff, 4th ed. (London: H.M.S.O., 1905), 2 vols. (London: Kegan Paul, 1877-1880). [72] Kraft fought in the wars of German unification, but did not exercise senior command. Gen. Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, Letters on Strategy, 2 vols. (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner &​ Co., Ltd., 1898), 1-2, 11. [73] Colmar von der Goltz, Das Volk in Waffen (Berlin: R. von Decker, 1883). Published in Britain in 1905 (based on 5th edition in 1898), trans. Philip Ashworth (London: Hugh Rees, 1906). [74] Robert T. Foley. ed., Alfred von Schlieffen’s Military Writings (London: Frank Cass, 2003), 172 [75] Robert J. Foley, German Strategy and the Path to Verdun: Erich von Falkenhayn and the Development of Attrition, 1870–1916 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 39-40; Gat, The Development of Military Thought; Echevarria II, After Clausewitz. [76] Hans Delbrück, “Die Strategie des Perikles erläutert durch die Strategie Friedrichs des grossen,” Preußische Jahrbücher 64 (1889). [77] Arden Bucholz, Hans Delbrück & the German Military Establishment (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1985), 35. Delbrück’s magnum opus, Geschichte der Kriegskunst im Rahmen der politischen Geschichte, was published in 4 vols. from 1900 to 1920. A further 3 vols. in the series were completed by other writers by 1936. Delbrück had a limited influence on British and American debates. His significance was first identified in Gordon A. Craig, "Delbrück: The Military Historian," Edward Mead Earle, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy; Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy. His work did not begin to appear in English until 1975: Hans Delbrück, trans. Walter J. Renfroe, Jr., History of the Art of War within the Framework of Political History, 4 vols. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975-1985). [78] Lt. Gen. Rudolf von Caemmerer, The Development of Strategical Science During the 19th century (Berlin: Baensch, 1904), trans. Lt. Gen. Karl von Donat (London: Hugh Rees, 1905). [79] Daniel Hughes, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1995), 35. See also Barry Quintin, Moltke and his Generals: A Study in Leadership (Solihull, Helion & Co., 2015). [80] Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 105-7. [81] Friedrich von Bernhardi, Vom heutingen Kriege (Berlin: Mittler, 1912); Friedrich von Bernhardi, On War of To-day, trans. Karl von Donat, 2 vols. (London: Hugh Rees, 1912-13), vol. 2. [82] See, for example, Commandant Mordacq, Politique et stratégie dans une démocratie (Paris: Plon-Nourrit, 1912); Benoît Durieux, Clausewitz en France: Deux siècles de réflexion sur la guerre (1807-2007) (Paris: Bibliothèque Stratégique, 2008). [83] In Luvaas, Education, 109, he notes that MacDougall was the first European to include lessons from the Civil War into a military text. Hamley was criticized in a Spectator article for his inaccuracies on the American war: “Hamley’s Operations of War,” The Spectator 39 (June 23, 1866), 695-696. [84] Eliot Cohen, Supreme CommandSoldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), 40-41. [85] John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln: A History IV (New York: The Century Co., 1890), 359-360. [86] Henderson, Stonewall Jackson, Vol. 1, Chapter 7. [87] Lt. Col. G. F. R. Henderson, “Strategy and its Teaching,” Journal of the Royal United Services Institution XLII (July 1898): 761. [88] T. Miller Maguire, “International Strategy Since 1891 and its Present Condition,” Journal of the Royal United Services Institution 50, no. 1 (1906): 637-655. [89] T. Miller Maguire, Our Art of War as Made in Germany (London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1900), 2. The timing suggests he had Goltz particularly in mind. Maguire was unusual in seeing strategy as a way for the weaker power to avoid battle on unfavorable terms. Geoffrey Demarest, T. Miller Maguire and the Lost Essence of Strategy (U.S. Army War College, Strategy Research Paper, 2008). [90] See Bassford, The Reception of Clausewitz. For example, Henderson described Clausewitz as “the most profound of all writers on war,” but “geniuses and clever men have a distressing habit of assuming that everyone understands what is perfectly clear to themselves.” As Henderson was thinking of instructing officers, he observed the Prussian’s uselessness for men of “average intelligence.” [91] Stewart Murray, The Reality of War: A Companion to Clausewitz (London: Hugh Rees, 1914), 128-133, https://archive.org/details/realityofwarcomp00murruoft. [92] Lt. Col. Walter James, Modern Strategy: An Outline of the Principles Which Guide the Conduct of Campaigns (London: Blackwood, 1903), 17, 18. Though James had a conventional view of strategy as being “concerned with the movement of troops before they come into actual collision,” his description of what this involved indicated just how broad the discussion was becoming. It included “the selection of the country in which to fight” and “the objects against which the armies should be directed.” [93] Bond, Victorian Army, 266. [94] Rear-Adm. P. H. Colomb, Naval Warfare: Its Ruling Principles and Practice Historically Treated (London: W. H. All, 1891), v-viii. [95] Rear-Adm. P. H. Colomb, Naval Warfare, 76. [96] Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660–1783 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1890) and The Influence of Sea Power Upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1892). Robert Seager, Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His Letters (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 1977). For a collection of his writings, see Alfred Thayer Mahan, Mahan on Naval Strategy: Selections from the Writings of Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, with an introduction by John Hattendorf (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991). [97] Jon Tetsuro Sumida, Inventing Grand Strategy and Teaching Command: The Classic Works of Alfred Thayer Mahan Reconsidered (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1999). Milevski, Evolution, 29, describes Mahan as implying grand strategy. [98] Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power, 8. [99] Alfred Thayer Mahan, Mahan on Naval Strategy, 22. [100] J. J. Widen, Theorist of Maritime Strategy: Sir Julian Corbett and His Contribution to Military and Naval Thought (Abingdon; Routledge, 2016); Donald M. Schurman, Julian S. Corbett, 1854–1922 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1981). See also Azar Gat, Development of Military Thought. [101] In an earlier work, he had referred to “higher” strategy. Milevski, Evolution, 37. [102] Julian Corbett, Some Principles of Maritime Strategy (Longmans, Green & Co., 191), 308. The “The Green Pamphlet” of 1909 appears as an appendix. [103] See for example William Keith Naylor, Principles of Strategy with Historical Illustrations (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: General Services School Press, 1921): ‘‘The division between strategy and tactics is generally known and everyone fairly knows under which head to place any single act, without knowing distinctly the grounds on which the classification is founded.” Naylor stuck with Jomini. German military writing kept the old definitions. [104] Hew Strachan, The First World War, Vol. I: To Arms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 99. [105] Gen. W. Bird, The Direction of War: A Study of Strategy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920), 14, 27, 43. The list of authorities he provides are largely those mentioned in this study based on the Napoleonic wars. He does not include Corbett. This was, however, part of a series of which Corbett was the general editor. [106] Sir Charles Oman, “A Defence of Military History,” The Study of War for Statesmen and Citizens, ed. Sir George Aston (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1927), v-vi, 40-1. The former Foreign Secretary, Viscount Grey of Fallodon, introduced the volume observing that civilians who may play a part in government in time of war should study the principles of war, and particularly the great mistakes that civilian governments have made in military and naval strategy (adding he must share responsibility for some of those in the recent war). [107] J. F. C. Fuller, The Reformation of War (London: Hutchinson and Co, 1923), 214. On Fuller, see Gat, Fascists and Liberal Visions of War (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998) and Brian Holden Reid, Studies in British Military Thought. [108] J. F. C. Fuller, The Foundations of the Science of War (London: Hutchinson, 1926). [109] Reid, Studies in British Military Thought, 107-8, 154-5. [110] J. F. C. Fuller, Foundations, 110. [111] Milevski, Evolution, 51. [112] His first effort at definitions was unsuccessful. In 1923, he distinguished between tactics as the “domain of weapons” and concerned with destruction, while strategy was the “the science of communications,” largely concerned with movement. B. H. Liddell Hart, “The Next Great War,” Royal Engineers Journal XXXVIII (March 1924). An excellent source on the development of Liddell Hart’s concepts is Lt. Col. Richard M. Swain, B. H. Liddell Hart; Theorist for the 21st Century (Fort Leavenworth, KA: Advanced Operational Studies School for Advanced Military Studies, U. S. Command and General Staff College, 1986). See also Swain’s “B. H. Liddell Hart and the Creation of a Theory of War, 1919-1933,” Armed Forces & Society 17, no. 1 (1990): 35-51 and Brian Bond, Liddell Hart: A Study of his Military Thought (London: Cassell,1977). [113] B.H. Liddell Hart, Paris: Or, The Future of War (London: Dutton, 1925). [114] B. H. Liddell Hart, “The Napoleonic Fallacy; The Moral Objective in War,” Empire Review 1 (May 1925), 510-520. For the date of composition, see B. H. Liddell Hart, Memoirs, 2 vols. (London: Cassell, 1965), I, 75. [115] Swain, “B. H. Liddell Hart,”42. The extent to which Liddell Hart’s ideas derived from Corbett and Fuller is well-known. Less appreciated, perhaps, is his debt to Sun Tzu, which he read for the first time in 1927. He later attested to Sun Tzu’s impact upon him and quoted him liberally. “In one short book,” he observed, “was embodied almost as much about the fundamentals of strategy and tactics as I had covered in more than twenty books.” B. H. Liddell Hart, “Foreword” in Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), vii. See also Derek M. C. Yuen, Deciphering Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War (London: Hurst & Co, 2014). The links between Sun Tzu’s formulations and his own are pronounced. [116] B. H. Liddell Hart, The Decisive Wars of History (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1929). [117] Robert Foley has been unable to trace this quote and notes that Liddell Hart’s source is unclear, and is possibly a poor translation. “Can Strategy be Reduced to a Formula of S=E+W+M?” Defence in Depth (November 2014), https://defenceindepth.co/2014/11/03/can-strategy-be-reduced-to-a-formula-of-s-e-w-m. [118] “Transmission” was removed in the 1954 version, published as “Strategy: The Indirect Approach” (always his preferred title). The 1967 edition has the definition now generally used. [119] Cyril Falls, Ordeal by Battle (London: Methuen, 1943), vol. 5, 74. He mentions Fuller in passing but not Liddell Hart, although there is a slighting reference to the indirect approach: “the neophyte may imagine that the ideal procedure would be to march straight round the enemy’s flank and get astride his communications. … But it would only serve against an army which could be relied upon to submit tamely to the process.” [120] Lord Wavell, Soldiers and Soldiering (London: Jonathan Cape, 1953), 47. Cited in Bernard Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), 12-14. [121] Michael Howard, “The Classic Strategists,” Problems of Modern Strategy, ed. Alastair Buchan (London: Chatto & Windus for the Institute for Strategic Studies, 1970), 47. He also opened with Liddell Hart in Michael Howard, “The Forgotten Dimensions of Strategy,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1979), 975-986. A reader for the National Defense University published in 1980, while including a rather long-winded definition of strategy from the Joint Chiefs, opened with Howard’s essay and a number of extracts from Liddell Hart’s book. Col. George Holt Jr. and Col. Walter Milliken, Strategy: A Reader (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 1980), iii. The Joint Chiefs’ definition was: “the art and science of developing and using political, economic, psychological, and military forces as necessary during peace and war, to afford maximum support to policies, in order to increase the probabilities and favorable consequences of victory and to lessen the chances of defeat.” [122] Raymond Aron, “The Evolution of Modern Strategic Thought,” in Buchan, Problems of Modern Strategy, 14-15. [123] Hew Strachan, “The lost meaning of strategy,” Survival 47, no. 3 (2005), 36. [124] “It is a singular feature of small wars that from the point of view of strategy the regular forces are upon the whole at a distinct disadvantage as compared to their antagonists.” Col. C. E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice (London: HMSO, 1896). [125] Edward Meade Earle, “Introduction,” Makers of Modern Strategy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1943), viii. On Earle see Michael Finch, ‘'Edward Mead Earle and the Unfinished Makers of Modern Strategy,” Journal of Military History 80, no. 3 (2016): 781-814; David Ekbladh, “Present at the Creation: Edward Mead Earle and the Depression Era Origins of Security Studies,” International Security 36, no. 3 (Winter 2011/12): 107–141. [126] Hew Strachan, “Strategy and Contingency,” International Affairs 87, no. 6 (2011): 1281-1296. Strachan’s writing on these issues were collected together in The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013). [127] Justin Kelly and Mike Brennan identify a reference in the 1982 Field Manual 100-5 to an “operational level of war,” which involved “planning and conducting campaigns” as the source of what they consider to be a major confusion. Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2009). The idea, however, had already been introduced by Edward N. Luttwak, “The Operational Level of War,” International Security 5, no. 3 (Winter 1980-1981): 61-79. [128] Jean Colin saw grand tactics as having a place between strategy and tactics. Strategy was about the general control of operations. It “concerns itself with the combining of movements regulated so as to obtain a predetermined result.” Grand tactics concerns itself with the combined movements which prepare battle, and also organizes the march of divisions up to the point where they become engaged. Jean Colin, The Transformations of War, trans. Bvt. Maj. L.H.R. Pope-Hennessy (London: High Rees, 1912). ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 300 [post_author] => 59 [post_date] => 2017-11-26 03:45:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-26 08:45:27 [post_content] => At the heart of the historical study of strategy is a tension between the consideration of strategy as practice, which is bound up with the history of human conflict, and strategy as theory.[1] The theorists can draw on all the practice, but their task is complicated by the fact that many practitioners did not describe themselves as strategists or, if they did, the term meant something different from how it is now understood.[2] The word “strategy” first came into use in discussions of military affairs in Europe during the 1770s,[3] but it was not until the 20th century that it acquired the broad meanings now attributed to it and that now tend to be applied retrospectively to past practitioners. Prior to World War I, the term had a specifically military character. Only later did it become concerned with the relationship between military means and political ends. Eventually the term became so detached from its military origins to be applied to all fields of human endeavor from sports to business,[4]  which is why it has now become necessary to talk of “military strategy” as a sub-category of this much broader field. The much narrower and largely apolitical early usage needs to be kept in mind when contemporary practitioners of military strategy turn to the classics of the Napoleonic period, especially Carl von Clausewitz, when seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their trade. It is best to do this critically, recognizing the specific issues these earlier theorists were addressing and the conceptual framework with which they were working. In this, the first of two articles, I explore how “strategy” was understood when it first appeared. I first consider why it would not have been difficult to introduce strategy into the military lexicon at this time. As the value of the word was to help distinguish the higher levels of command from the lesser levels of command, I show how the concept of strategy developed in tandem with that of tactics. One issue was whether this higher level was the domain of natural creativity, normally spoken of as “military genius,” or else involved principles that could be learned and applied in a variety of different situations. The first of these was more of a French approach and the second more German. Both, however, were superseded by the focus on the decisive battle that was a feature of the work of both Baron Antoine-Henri de Jomini and Clausewitz, inspired by the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte. In a second article, I will show — largely by looking at discussions of strategy in Britain and the United States — how much a consensus on the general meaning of the term, if not a precise definition, was established during the first half of the 19th century and why this changed little during the second half. Once it was established that strategy was essentially about preparing forces for a decisive battle, this constrained — rather than liberated — thinking. Scholars now routinely use the word “strategy” to discuss how wars were fought in the past, enabling them to explore continuities in practice and compare cases over time and space. Such explorations are undertaken, however, with a contemporary understanding of the term, which stresses the importance of using military means to achieve political objectives. In the period considered in this article, the general assumption was that any political objectives for which it was worth going to war could be achieved through the defeat of the enemy in battle. It is also important to keep in mind that even during this period, those practicing strategy by and large did not use the term. This is certainly the case with Napoleon, whose campaigns shaped the way strategy came to be viewed in the 19th century. When he eventually pondered the term in exile, he did not find it useful, reflecting his suspicion of attempts to over-intellectualize the art of war. The question of how strategy should be defined and understood, therefore, was largely a matter for military theoreticians. The theoreticians had military experience of their own, and in the case of the two great figures Jomini and Clausewitz, their ideas developed through their participation in the campaigns of the Napoleonic War. But their theories were still reflections on the practice of others and were not forged through their own practice. Clausewitz, for example, had worked out his definitions of strategy and tactics by 1805, and they had not varied significantly by the time he came to write “On War,” although his broader understanding of warfare undoubtedly did mature over this period.[5] Jomini insisted that the innovations in warfare were in the realm of tactics, while strategy had timeless characteristics. One of the striking features of this story is the lack of interaction between particular military events and the use of the term. All authors drew on military history to make their points, although at first the examples were as likely to be drawn from the ancient world as recent experience. In the concluding section of my Strategy: A History, I considered strategies as scripts. In cognitive psychology, a script is defined as “a predetermined, stereotyped sequence of actions that define a well-known situation.”[6] The basic idea is that when we come across a situation we think we recognize, we draw on an available mental script that creates expectations about how events are likely to unfold. It offers guidance on how others will behave and how we, in turn, should behave, at least until we start to note deviations from the script. Then, improvisation is required. My discussion of the advantage of thinking of strategy as a script was meant not only to explain why much strategy was intuitive, but also to point to the importance of adaptability and flexibility as it became more deliberative. [quote id="1"] Scripts are also appropriate with regard to the material considered in this article. The tactical manuals used to prepare forces for battle were often set out as scripts on the appropriate responses to defined situations. An efficient army required an almost intuitive mechanical response to the challenges of warfare. Appropriate responses were drilled into troops who were trained to follow orders mechanically so that they knew without asking how to wheel, form squares, defend, and attack, and when to fire and charge. In the manuals, the scripts were set out in meticulous detail, with diagrams and recommended formations. The purpose of drill was to make all of these actions second nature to the troops so that they would always know what was expected of them and would move expeditiously into position, neither flinching nor breaking in the face of the enemy. The more these scripts were internalized by the fighting units, the more effective they would be in a campaign. The drills became increasingly demanding in the face of the complexity of potential maneuvers and the need for disciplined responses in the face of fire that was becoming heavier. But this created its own problems when circumstances arose in which mechanical responses were inadequate and improvisation was needed. By the middle of the 18th century it was apparent that command at the higher levels must have a creative aspect. This was the level at which opportunities that might be fleeting or missed by a duller eye could be seized boldly with speed and confidence. This was where “military genius” made its mark. For those engaged in officer education, this posed a problem because not every officer would be a genius. It was here that one could address the key question of whether genius was a gift bestowed upon a few great commanders or whether there were rules and principles that could be followed that could get the commander close to genius-like decisions without actually being a genius. This was the level that came to be described as “strategic.” The context in which these issues came to be identified and addressed has been well described and explored elsewhere.[7] The spirit of the enlightenment era demanded a more scientific approach to all human affairs, even war. The systematic study of phenomena such as war required careful classification of its different branches, better to explore its differences. Innovations in cartography allowed generals to work out how they might advance from their home base to confront an enemy, with an eye to logistics, and then plot the conduct of battle. In Britain, for example, the need for better maps for war-making had been underlined during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. What became known as the Ordnance Survey began in 1790, under the Board of Ordnance, the government body responsible for the defence of the realm.[8] The growing size and complexity of modern armies demanded far more attention to the problems of how they were to be drilled, moved, sustained, deployed, and commanded. The first general staff designed to support the commander-in-chief was introduced in Austria after the 1750s, although it was the Prussians who made the system work most effectively.[9] Lastly, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 to 1748) and then the Seven Years War (1756 to 1763) involved tactical innovations, notably in the campaigns of Frederick the Great. In the 1757 Battle of Rossbach, Prussian forces under Frederick defeated a combined French and Holy Roman Empire force twice their size, imposing massive losses while suffering few themselves.[10] After this, the French avoided further combat with Prussia and an introspective debate began into the failings of the French military system and the need for reform. Demands for reform extended to the wider political and economic system, leading to the upheavals resulting from the French Revolution. This provided the setting for Napoleon’s wars of conquest, pushing all the issues connected with strategy to the fore, as the defeat of the enemy army in battle became the prime objective.

"Strategy" Enters the Lexicon

The agreed view is that the word “strategy” arrived in the modern European lexicon in 1771 when the French officer Paul Gédéon Joly de Maizeroy published his translation of the Byzantine emperor Leo VI’s Taktiká. This included references to strategía as well as taktiké. Strategía, previously discussed as the science of the general, was now transliterated simply as stratégie. A word was born.[11] By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, “strategy” was in use by military theorists across Europe. When Clausewitz came to discuss the question of strategy and tactics at the opening of Book 2 of On War, he was almost apologetic, assuming that what he had to say was now familiar. Strategy and tactics were so “closely related” that any careful distinction would be considered “superfluous” by many readers. People knew of the distinction (“now almost universal”) and could distinguish between the two (“everyone knows fairly where each particular factor belongs”), even if they could not always understand why the distinction was being made.[12] Black notes an appearance in a Danish military dictionary in 1810. It was present in Italy by 1817, in Spain and Holland by 1822 and a bit later in Portugal.[13] As we will see in my next article for this journal, the new word was noted almost immediately in Britain, although not actively discussed until the first years of the 19th century. Why was the adoption of “strategy” so widespread and so rapid? The first reason is that it was not really a neologism and would have been understood (if not always in the same way) without much explanation. Those who aspired to contribute to the theory of war in the 18th century were likely to have a firm grounding in the classic Greek and Roman writing on the subject. The key words came from Greek. Taktiké meant “order” while strategos and strategía referred to generals and the things generals did.[14] They would have read Polybius (c.200 to 118 BCE), whose treatise on tactics was lost, but regular reference was made to it in his subsequent histories of the wars of the Greeks and the Romans.[15] The Greek Aelian of the second century provided a detailed discussion of Greek tactics, which was an important source for later writers concerned with the organization of their own forces.[16] Aelian in turn influenced Arrian (86 to 180), who discussed the concept in his History of Alexander and also wrote a treatise on Roman tactics, Techne Taktike.[17] The Roman Senator Frontinus (40 to 103) wrote a wide-ranging work on strategy, which was lost, but an extract covering stratagems survived.[18] Stratagems were also addressed in Onasander’s Strategikos  from the first century.[19] Frontitus’s writings, including possibly his lost work, influenced Flavius Vegetius Rematus of the late fourth century. Vegetius’s De Re Militari (“The Military Institutions of the Romans”) never lost its popularity and by the 18th century was seen as a vital guide to the military art.[20] As Christopher Duffy has observed, “intelligent officers knew far more about classical military history than they did about the events of their own time.” Vegetius had become “effectively an eighteenth century author.”[21] A study of the reading habits of British officers during the course of the 18th century confirms the predominant role for the classics (Polybius, Arrian, Frontinus, Vegetius, etc.) that only latterly gave way to more contemporary authors.[22] [quote id="2"] So even before the words strategy and tactics made their way to the center of military theory over the final three decades of the 18th century, they would not have been alien to those educated in the classics.[23] It did not take a great etymological leap for strategía and taktiké to turn into strategy and tactics. It might have been common, as with Sir John Cheke’s 1554 translation of Leo‘s Taktiká from Greek into Latin, to refer to the art of the general or of command (ars imperatoria),[24] but elsewhere, variants of the Greek word were in use. They just did not employ contemporary spelling. One known instance comes from the early 17th century. James Maxwell translated Herodian of Alexandria’s History of the Roman Empire. Against the following words in the text, “All Places of Martiall command they gave to brave noble Captains and Souldiers expert in Marshalling of Armies and Military Exploits,” the translator added his own marginal note: “In which words the author hath couched both the parts of war: viz, tactick and Strategmatick.”[25] As we will see when other cognate words were used, there was always this dichotomous relationship between the derivatives of strategía and taktiké. Although the greatest interest has been in the emergence of strategy, it should be noted that tactics was also not in regular use until well into the 18th century. Up to that point, it was largely used in connection with the wars of antiquity. French dictionaries beginning in 1694 defined “tactiques” by reference to “the Ancients,” as “L'art de ranger des troupes en bataille.” (“The art of putting troops into battle.”)[26] The key figure in persuading Europe that tactics were “worthy of serious study” is considered to be the Chevalier de Folard.[27] He published his Nouvelles découvertes sur la guerre in 1724. This was followed by a new translation of Polybius’s History, which Folard had commissioned and for which he contributed comments of his own.[28] In Britain, John Harris’s Lexicon Technicum, published in 1723, defined tactics as “the Art of Disposing any Number of Men into a proper form of Battle.” Harris reported that the Greeks were very “skilful” in this branch of the military art, “having Public Professors of it,” who were called Tactici.[29] He referred to the Emperor Leo VI, as well as Aelian and Arrias. The word “tacticks” appeared, but not with its own entry, in Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary,[30] under the heading of “Evolutions,” a term used to describe the point when an army shifted its position, for example to move from attack to defense or defense to attack:
The motion made by a body of men in changing their posture, or form of drawing up, either to make good the ground they are upon, or to possess themselves of another; that so they may attack the enemy, or receive his onset more advantageously. And these evolutions are doubling of ranks or files, countermarches, and wheelings.[31]
There was no reference to tactics in Humphrey Bland’s 1727 A Treatise of Military Discipline or in Lt. Col. Campbell Dalrymple’s 1761 “Military Essay.”[32] Nor was there a mention in the most influential British work on the Seven Years War, by Major-General Henry Lloyd.[33] It was, however, introduced when Lloyd added new material as a second part of the book in 1781. Then, he described his outline of the principles of war as “the foundation of all tactics, which alone can offer us some certain and fixed principles to form and conduct an army.”[34] The most admired commander of his day, Frederick the Great of Prussia, wrote his General Principles of War applied to Tactics and the Discipline of Prussian troops, in 1748. Written in French, it was not translated into German until 1753 and then at first issued only to his generals. It was widely published in 1762, late in the Seven Year’s War, after a copy had been taken from a captured general. Despite the title, the text did not actually discuss tactics (and discipline was clearly the highest priority). In his Élements de Castramétrie et de Tactique, published in German in 1771, he considered as tactics issues that would soon come under the heading of strategy.[35] Therefore, when it came to new ways of thinking about the art of war, tactics had a definite head start over strategy, and could cover the same ground, but the lead was not that substantial.

The Origins of "Strategy"

As for strategy, close cousins of the word were already in use. There were at least two important derivations from the original strategía in the lexicon prior to 1771. The first, which was well-established, was stratagem. Strategy and stratagem had the same origins but over time developed separately.[36] The Oxford English Dictionary (an invaluable source on these matters) identifies stratagem’s first English use in 1489 in a military sense (“Whiche subtilites and wylis are called Stratagemes of armes”).[37] It soon came to refer to any cunning ploy or ruse, in some ways suffering the same fate as the modern strategy as a term with a military meaning that became adopted more generally. This can be seen in Shakespeare. In “All’s Well That Ends Well,” it is used in a military sense (“If you think your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of honour again into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the enterprise and go on”) and then in a wider sense (“for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum; he says he has a stratagem for't”).[38] Samuel Johnson referred regularly to stratagems, in a wide and not uniquely military way. Stratagem, however, not only remained an essential element in the art of war, but also there were a number of derivations, identified by the Oxford English Dictionary, in use from the 16th through the 18th centuries — stratagematic, stratagematical, strategematist, and stratagemical.[39] Another related word, now wholly obsolete, was stratarithmetrie (made up of the Greek words for army, number, and measure). This was a form of military arithmetic. John Dee, a highly influential mathematician and an important figure in the Elizabethan Court, wrote an introduction to a new translation of Euclid in 1570 in which he explained the relevance of its principles to a variety of human affairs, including war. He distinguished between “Stratarithmetrie” and “Tacticie,” and in so doing referred to the Emperor Leo VI’s work (this was not long after Sir John Cheke’s Latin translation had been published). Stratarithmetrie, according to Dee, offered a way “by which a man can set in figure, analogicall to any Geometricall figure appointed, any certaine number or summe of men.” It would be possible to choose the best geometrical figure (perfect square, triangle, circle, etc.) that had been used in war “for commodiousness, necessity, and advantage.” It differed from the “Feate Tacticall” that would necessitate the “wisedome and foresight, to what purpose he so ordreth the men.”[40] Dee was cited as an authority on this matter long after he died. The word was used as he intended, for example, in 1652:
Stratarithmetrie is the skill appertaining to the warre to set in figure any number of men appointed: differing from Tacticie, which is the wisdom and the oversight.[41]
The potential of mathematics as a guide to the optimum organization of troops for military engagements was a familiar theme in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was satirized by Shakespeare in Othello with Iago’s disparaging comments about Michael Cassio, a “great arithmetician” who “never set a squadron in the field/Nor the division of a battle knows more than a spinster—unless the bookish theoric.”[42] Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopædia, the first edition of which was in 1728, contained a reference to tactics, taken directly from Harris’s Lexicon Technicum. Unlike Harris, however, Chambers also included as items stratagem (a “military wile”), stratarithmetry (“the art of drawing up an Army or any part of it, in any given Geometric figure”) and, lest the origins of the word be forgotten, strategus (as one of the two appointed Athenians who would “command the troops of the state”).[43] Thereafter, it was hard to find a dictionary without similar or replicated entries as they were habitually copied. In Britain, similar references were found in Chambers’ competitors, for example in Rees’s Cyclopaedia,[44] and the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, published from 1788 to 1797.[45] This edition was reproduced in its entirety as Dobson's Encyclopædia, published in the United States from 1799. [quote id="3"] The first edition in 1694 of the authoritative Dictionary of the French Academy had a reference to stratagem as “ruse de guerre,” repeated in later editions. The 5th edition in 1798 made no mention of stratégie.[46] The great Encyclopédie, compiled by Denis Diderot, was originally intended as a French translation of Chambers, and the eventual version, first published in 1765, had a number of items attributed to Chambers. These included entries for “stratagem” and “stratarithmetry,” noting that the latter was not used in France.[47] There was also a discussion of the role of the strategos.[48] Unlike Chambers, however, there was a long section on tactics. This was described as “the science of military movements,” and then, with reference to Polybius, “the art of matching a number of men destined to fight, to distribute them in rows and rows, and to instruct them in all the manoeuvres of war.” This discussed at length the practices of the Romans, the more recent application of the core principles, and addressed the issue of whether or not the French should imitate Prussian methods, clearly an issue after the defeat of French forces in the Seven Years war.

Why the Concept of Strategy Was Readily Adopted

Thus, when Maizeroy used “strategie” by itself and without translation in his 1771 translation of Leo VI’s Taktiká, its appearance would not have posed great difficulties for the more educated students of warfare in the late 18th century. There was the same contrast with tactics as before. Was there, however, also continuity in meaning? Through the 18th century, stratagem had been recognized as an important part of the art of war, fitting in with a preference for what later became known as an indirect approach. According to this approach it was usually best to avoid a pitched battle but if this was not possible then every available ruse should be used to fight only in the most propitious circumstances. The classics encouraged this view, and also emphasized the use of skillful techniques to outsmart the enemy. When Polybius discussed tactics in his histories, he referred to one encounter during the Punic Wars that illustrated the difference “between scientific and unscientific warfare: between the art of a general and the mechanical movements of a soldier.” At issue was not the ability to fight with fury and gallantry, but the use of tactics that helped avoid a “general engagement” by relying instead on wearing the enemy down through surprise ambushes and pushing them into positions where they could neither escape nor fight and risked starvation. Frontinus described strategy (strategikon) as “everything achieved by a commander, be it characterized by foresight, advantage, enterprise, and resolution,” of which stratagem (strategematon) was a subset, including aspects of trickery but was more generally about how success could be achieved by “skills and cleverness.”[49] A key  theme for Vegetius was the need to avoid battle unless necessary: “Good officers decline general engagements where the danger is common, and prefer the employment of stratagem and finesse to destroy the enemy as much as possible in detail and intimidate them without exposing our own forces.” Stratagem was thus one way of waging war, distinct from more direct action.[50] Onasander’s “Strategikos” described ruses designed to mislead an enemy into misapprehensions about the size of the army, or to maintain the morale of troops by demonstrating that things were not as bad as they might suppose. In this way, the “world of war” was one of “deceit and false appearances.” This was the tradition carried through the great works of Byzantium. The Strategikon of Byzantine Emperor Maurice (582 to 602) contained the same theme of relying on cunning rather than brute force to gain victory:
Warfare is like hunting. Wild animals are taken by scouting, by nets, by lying in wait, by stalking, by circling around, and by other such stratagems rather than by sheer force. In waging war we should proceed in the same way, whether the enemy be many or few. To try to simply overpower the enemy in the open, hand in hand and face to face, even though you may appear to win, is an enterprise which is very risky and can result in serious harm.
In addition: “A wise commander will not engage the enemy in pitched battle unless a truly exceptional opportunity or advantage presents itself.”[51] Here was a distinction between strategy and military skill. Strategy made use of times and places, surprises and various tricks to outwit the enemy with the idea of achieving its objectives even without actual fighting. It was “essential to survival and is the true characteristic of the intelligent and courageous general.”[52] The “Strategikon” was not known to Europe’s military innovators as they mined the classics for useful ideas, but, along with Onasander, it influenced the later Emperor Leo VI’s work, completed in the 10th century, with the same key themes (although it had a greater emphasis on the need to pray before battle).[53] As the Russians had followed Byzantine usage, for them the art of the general was very much bound up with stratagem.[54] The Chevalier de Folard, while gaining his notoriety by his promotion of the column as a way to win battles, also shared the classical view that battle was best avoided.[55] Black describes Folard as debating Vegetius “as if he was a contemporary.”[56] One of the best known works of military theory of the mid-century, Count Turpin’s “Essay on the Art of War” included strong advocacy of stratagems to help generals get out of difficult situations.[57] Frederick the Great also had seen battle as subject to too many chance factors to be embraced as a preferred method.[58] The overlap between stratagem and strategy is evident in Chambers’ entry for stratagem, although this also indicates that changes in the nature of warfare might require a different approach. “The Ancients dealt mightily in Stratagems; the Moderns wage War more openly, and on the Square.”[59] Thus, when Maizeroy translated Leo’s Taktiká, he was taking on a work heavily influenced by the stratagem tradition. The prolific Maizeroy took the view that the French had paid far too much attention to other European armies and not enough to the ancients. When later he came to identify the rules of strategy, the links with stratagem became clear:
not to do what one’s enemy appears to desire; to identify the enemy’s principal objective in order not to be misled by his diversions; always to be ready to disrupt his initiatives without being dominated by them; to maintain a general freedom of movement for foreseen plans and for those to which circumstances may give rise; to engage one’s adversary in his daring enterprises and critical moments without compromising one’s own position; to be always in control of the engagement by choosing the right time and place.[60]
One additional factor that might possibly have affected the debate about strategy and stratagems in the early 1770s was the publication of the first Western translation of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War by Father Joseph Amiot, a Jesuit missionary and sinologist. This was one of a number of texts grouped together in a more general collection entitled, Military Art of the Chinese.[61] According to one source, this was received with considerable enthusiasm, with one reviewer describing this as containing “all the elements of the great art which had been written by Xenophon, Polybius, and de Saxe.”[62] Yet, other accounts suggest that the positive response was fleeting, and there was even less impact when it was re-published a decade later.[63] Little admirable was seen in Chinese military practice at this time. Despite claims that it was read by Napoleon, there is no evidence of this, and it would certainly be stretching a point to suggest he was at all influenced.[64] Amiot’s translation is now considered to be poor,[65] and not based on the most reliable version of the text. In this translation, neither the terms tactics nor strategy appear, though they were prominent in later English translations. There were a few references to stratagems.[66] Nonetheless, if this translation had any impact, it would have been to reinforce a stratagem-based, indirect approach that saw battles as events to be avoided if at all possible.

"Strategy" Gave a Name to the "Higher" Parts of War

In addition to the familiarity with the language and the stratagem tradition, a third reason why the concept of strategy was adopted so readily lay in its value in filling a gap in contemporary discussions about the problem of levels of command. Marshal Maurice de Saxe’s My Reveries Upon the Art of War was written in 1736, but only published posthumously in 1756. Saxe was one of the most successful French generals of the 18th century. In his Reveries, he referred to neither strategy nor tactics, but did distinguish between the “higher” and “lesser” parts of war. He argued that commanders must understand the lesser parts, though elemental and mechanical, covering methods of fighting and discipline, as they provided the “base and the fundamentals of the military art.” Once Saxe had dealt with those in the first part of his book, he then moved on to the higher — “sublime” — parts, which he suspected might interest only experts. This meant moving beyond the “methodical,” suitable for ordinary minds, to the “intellectual,” with which the ordinary might struggle. This is why war was like the other “sublime arts.” Application was not enough. There must be talent and excellence.[67] What this part lacked was a name. This sense that there was a level of activity that lacked a proper name is evident in Maizeroy’s prolific output from the 1760s to the 1780s, which included not only his translation of Leo VI, but also editions of his Cours de tactique, théoretique, pratique et historique, first published in 1766, as well as works on stratagems and his own Théorie de la Guerre.[68] Maizeroy, a lieutenant colonel in the French army who had served as a captain under Saxe, explored the distinction between the higher and lesser forms of the art of war. The lesser was,
Merely mechanical, which comprehends the composing and ordering of troops, with the matter of encamping, marching, manoeuvring and fighting … may be deduced from principles and taught by rules.
In his Traité de tactique, published in 1767, he referred to the higher as “military dialectics,” including “the art of forming the plans of a campaign, and directing its operations.”[69] By the time of his 1777 Théorie de la Guerre, and following his translation of Leo, the higher form was strategy, which was “quite sublime” (using Saxe’s word) and resided “solely in the head of the general, as depending on time, place and other circumstances, which are essentially varying, so as never to be twice the same in all respects.” Here is how he distinguished between the two:
Tactics is easily reduced to firm rules because it is entirely geometrical like fortifications. Strategy appears to be much less susceptible to this, since it is dependent upon innumerable circumstances – physical, political, and moral – which are never the same and which are entirely the domain of genius.[70]
Thus, tactics could depend on scripts that could be developed in advance and followed mechanically. It was extremely important, but intellectually undemanding. Strategy, however, came into play when there was no script, when the circumstances were unique and varied. [quote id="4"] A number of authors also addressed the potential value of the term strategy. In 1779, the Portuguese Marquis de Silva published Pensées sur la Tactique, et la Stratégique. For Silva, strategy was the science of the generals and employed and combined the different branches of tactics. [71] In 1783, there was the first reference to “grand strategy,” although in a book now largely forgotten, by Colonel Nockhern de Schorn. He defined strategy as, “The knowledge of commanding armies, one comprehending the higher and the other the lower branches of the art.” He then divided strategy into the higher (La Grande Stratégie) and lower (La Petite Stratégie) in the following way:
The first embraces all that a commander in chief, and all that his subordinate generals should be acquainted with; and the second, which may be called le petit guerre, the diminutive of the first, appertains to the staff and to a certain proportion of the subaltern officers.[72]
Yet when it came to classification, the most influential work of the 1770s dealt with the distinction between the higher and the lesser parts of the art of war without reference to strategy. In his Essai Général de Tactique, published in 1772, Jacques-Antoine-Hippolyte, Comte de Guibert, made his distinction solely on the basis of tactics. Tactics were the “foundation” of the science of war, “since they teach how to constitute troops, appoint, put in motion, and afterwards to fight them.” He divided tactics into two parts: “the one elementary and limited, the other composite and sublime.” Again, note the use of Saxe’s word “sublime.” Elementary tactics contained “all detail of formation, instruction, and exercise of a battalion, squadron, or regiment.” The higher level, to which all other parts were “secondary,” contained “every great occurrence of war” and was “properly speaking … the science of the generals.” This part was “of itself everything, since it contains the art of conveying action to troops.”[73] What was art and what was science was constantly in flux over this period, and the terms often seemed to be used interchangeably,[74] yet if generalship was a matter of science and not just genius, then there was a possibility of a script that could help the general think through possibilities. In 1779, Guibert, in Défense du Système de Guerre Moderne, referred to la stratégique.[75] But this book was largely ignored. It was the earlier Essai Général de Tactique that remained the most influential text of this period. As noted below, it was Guibert’s original classification that stuck with Napoleon Bonaparte.

The German Development of Strategy

The Francophone debate, therefore, was bound up with this question of levels of command and the role of the sublime or genius. In the German-speaking world, the development was different. The Austrian Johann W. von Bourscheid, who translated Leo‘s Taktika into German in 1777, also referred to “strategie” and urged readers to develop their understanding of this approach to military affairs.[76] One of the more original contributions to the German literature of this period was made by Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst (1733 to 1814). He was wary of extreme rationalism, stressing genius rather than a search for rules to unlock the secrets to military success. Too much depended on factors that were “unpredictable and incalculable,” including “blind chance.”[77] He followed Guibert in failing to discuss strategy, but not in relying on a sharp distinction between a higher and lower form. Instead, he identified many potential subdivisions of the art of war.[78] The most influential figure in establishing strategy as a distinctive realm of analysis was Heinrich von Bülow, son of a minor nobleman, who had served in the Prussian army. His military career had not advanced far and his independence of mind did not endear him to the authorities. He ended up in prison for his criticisms of the Prussian failure at Austerlitz. His Spirit of the Modern System of War, published in 1799, was in the Stratarithmetrie” tradition, involving the application of geometrical and mathematical principles. Commentators have not been kind to Bülow. Clausewitz considered him a charlatan and dismissed his book as the “Children’s military companion.”[79] Even his English translator was skeptical. Yet, according to Palmer, Bülow can be credited with “giving currency, as words of distinct meaning” to strategy and tactics, though his definitions were not “generally accepted.”[80] It was certainly the case that his work reached Britain before other continental works, with the appearance of Malorti de Martemont’s translation in 1806, and his influence lingered through the 19th century. His mathematics was suspect, while his resistance to the idea of battle put him at odds with the developing Napoleonic method. (“If we find ourselves obliged to fight a battle, mistakes must have been committed previously.”) Yet, if it was not quite in the spirit of its time, in some respects it now has a contemporary feel. At his theory’s heart was an army’s relation to its base, objective, and “lines of operations.” Rather than fight a “hostile army,” better to attack the means by which this army kept itself supplied, which meant that the “flanks and rear must be the objective of operations,” even in an offensive war, and frontal operations should be avoided. In a rare sign of a debate about potentially different meanings of the term, Bülow saw his concepts of “Strategics” as different from the French concept of “la stratégique.” In an observation, significant in the light of my earlier discussion, he considered the French concept as being too limited for it was defined by “the science of the stratagems of war.” Alternatively, he noted, that: “Some, tracing the term to its origins, have denominated it the General’s Art.” Bülow deemed this to be too extensive, “for the General’s Art comprehends the whole art of war, which consists of Strategics and Tactics, sciences being essentially different.”[81] His view was that this was not a matter of sublime military genius, but the sensible application of mathematical models: “the sphere of military genius will at last be narrowed, that a man of talents will no longer be willing to devote himself to this ungrateful trade.”[82] This need not be a “sublime” art, but a disciplined application of set mathematical formulae. The importance of Bülow, therefore, lay in his insistence that scripts were possible and necessary. Good strategy could follow well-founded scripts. He also established the circumstances in which these scripts were relevant. In his opening chapter, he had asserted that,
all operations of which the enemy was the object, were operations of Tactics; and that those of which he was merely the aim and not the direct object, were made a part of Strategics.
Later, he saw a problem in that it was possible to march in column formation preparatory to battle without actually engaging (this being a time when the range of sight was longer than the range of cannon). So, “a general may manoeuvre tactically before an army, and in sight of it, to make a show of attacking it, without having the least intention of it. Here we have Tactics, and no battle.” Bülow, therefore, put aside the question of intent and made his definition on the basis of position and proximity. He defined strategics as “the science of the movements in war of two armies, out of the visual circle of each other, or, if better liked, out of cannon reach.” By contrast, tactics were “the science of the movements made within sight of the enemy, and within reach of his artillery.”[83] With strategics, there should be no apprehension of attack, and so no immediate readiness to fight. It consisted of “two principal parts; marching and encamping.” There were also two parts to tactics — “the forming of the order of battle, and battles, or actual attack and defence.” Taken together, this constituted the whole of the art of war:
Tactics are the completion of Strategics; they accomplish what the other prepares; they are the ultimatum of Strategics, these ending and in a manner flowing into those. The rules of one were applicable to the other. The focus was geographical, giving priority to the importance of the land held, which explains his lack of enthusiasm for battle.
In both these respects, a focus on the land held and the potential value of mathematics, Bülow was followed by the Austrian Archduke Charles, one of the more accomplished Habsburg generals. In his 1806 Principles of the Higher Art of War, published as advice for generals, he showed his interest in “mathematical, evident truths” and in holding positions as much as defeating the enemy (a criticism Napoleon made forcibly of his practice). His Grundsätze der Strategie (“Principles of Strategy”), which appeared in 1814 and was soon widely translated (although not into English) must also take some credit for the dissemination of the term.[84] This may have been largely because of the prestige of the author as much as the novelty of the content. What was agreed was that strategy was the responsibility of the “supreme commander,” while tactics, “the way in which strategic designs are to be executed” was the responsibility of “each leader of troops.”[85] Napoleon soon provided good reason to doubt both Bülow and Charles. He encouraged the idea that military genius was essential to military success, and that the test of success was the annihilation of the enemy army. Napoleon spoke of this genius as an inborn talent with which he had been fortunately blessed. It was the ability to see at a glance the opportunities for battle. This was the issue addressed by Clausewitz and Jomini, both of whom had fought in the Napoleonic wars, as it was unsatisfactory for the purposes of theory if this aptitude was intuitive and exceptional. They had to hold on to the possibility that it could be developed through experience and education, otherwise their writing had no purpose. [86] Clausewitz published an anonymous review of Bülow in 1805 that included his formulation on the relationship between strategy and tactics, from which he did not deviate, and which made intent important. This had little impact at this stage. “Tactics constitute the theory of the use of armed forces in battle; strategy forms the theory of using battle for the purposes of the war.”[87] The same formulation appeared in some of his notes in 1811 and then in On War, where his formulation was far subtler than anything else produced by this time, moving beyond simple classification of activities.[88] He emphasized the need to think of fighting not as a single act but as a number of single acts — or “engagements” — each complete in itself. Tactics were about the form of an individual engagement, so it could be won, strategy about how an engagement was to be used, and therefore its significance in terms of the overall objective of the campaign. He gave the example of ordering a column to head off in a particular direction with an engagement in mind, as being strategy, while the form taken by the column on its travels by way of preparation for the engagement would be tactics.[89] [quote id="5"] In terms of levels of command, strategy was clearly superior to tactics, yet the point of his analysis in On War was that however much the strategist might set the terms for coming battles, the strategy would have to respond to the outcomes of the battles. Capturing perfectly the idea of a strategic script, Clausewitz explained that the strategist wrote a plan for the war, but it could only be in draft.[90] Tactical outcomes shaped strategic outcomes, which could only take shape “when the fragmented results have combined into a single, independent whole.”[91] Clausewitz did not make further subdivisions. In notes written in 1804, he had distinguished between elementary and higher tactics, the first appropriate to small units and the second to larger formations.[92] There is just a trace of this in On War, with a mere reference at one point to “elementary tactics.” Clausewitz’s approach depended on the dialectical relationship of tactics and strategy. One could not be considered independently of the other.[93] It took time before Clausewitz was appreciated, and readers were often warned of the difficulty of his analysis. By contrast, the Swiss Baron Antoine-Henri de Jomini was generally considered a more straightforward and valuable thinker. Jomini, along with most of the new wave of military theorists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, developed his thinking through a consideration of the campaigns of Frederick the Great of Prussia, although Napoleon’s victory over the Austrians at Marengo in Italy in 1800 gave him his ideas on how the Napoleonic method might work.[94] He was stimulated by Bülow, although took a completely different tack. In his first major book, Traité de Grande Tactique (a title that betrays the influence of Guibert), he began to work out his theory.[95] He described war as being made up of “three combinations.” The first was the “art of adjusting the lines of operations in the most advantageous manner, which has been improperly called ‘the plan of campaign.’”[96] The second, “generally understood by strategy,” was “the art of placing the masses of an army in the shortest space of time on the decisive point of the original or accidental line of operations.” He saw this as no more than providing the “means of execution.” The third was the “art of combat,” which had been “styled tactics” and was the “art of combining the simultaneous employment of masses upon the important point of the field of battle.” He did not suggest that these were alternative levels of command, only that a general accomplished in one of these combinations might be less effective with the other two.[97] His ideas were fully formed in his Precis de l’Art de la Guerre, published in 1838. Here, Jomini defined strategy in terms of the preparation for battle, while tactics was bound up with the actual conduct of battle, a sequence that again followed Bülow. However, his approach was focused on annihilating the enemy army. Jomini’s description of strategy was about making war “upon the map,” taking a view of the whole theatre of operations and working out where to act. “Grand tactics” was about implementation. It was
the art of posting troops upon the battle-field according to the accidents of the ground, of bringing them into action, and the art of fighting upon the ground, in contradistinction to planning upon a map.
In his most concise formulation:
Strategy decides where to act; logistics brings the troops to this point; grand tactics decides the manner of execution and the employment of the troops.[98]
In contrast to Bülow, therefore, strategy was geared toward the campaign’s overall concept rather than its execution, and it was not a substitute for grand tactics. At the same time, he also accepted that strategy did not depend solely on a general’s genius, but could benefit through the application of timeless principles which he, Jomini, had been able to discern. Thus, he wrote in the Traité de Grande Tactique that while new inventions threatened a “great revolution in army organization, armament and tactics,” strategy would “remain unaltered, with its principles the same as under the Scipios and the Caesars, Frederick and Napoleon, since they are independent of the nature of the arms and the organization of the troops.”[99] And then in the Précis, he suggested that strategy “may be regulated by fixed laws resembling those of the positive sciences.”[100] This conclusion, which actively discouraged conceptual innovation, depended on a fixation with battle. As with Clausewitz, he was aware of the possibility of exceptions, but the model of war he most had in mind involved the destruction of the enemy’s army so that they had no choice but to seek a political settlement on the victor’s terms. This sharp focus on battle clarified the tasks for both tactics and strategy, and the forms of their potential interaction.

Conclusion

Napoleon Bonaparte, who had provided the stimulus for these thoughts, gave little away while he was earning his reputation. And, for that matter, not much was revealed after his defeat at Waterloo. What was known about his approach to war was contained in a set of published maxims. In one of these, the emperor distinguished between what an “engineer or artillery officer” might need to know, which could “be learned in treatises,” whereas “grand tactics” (Guibert’s phrase) required experience and study of “the campaigns of all the great captains.”[101] Once exiled on St. Helena after his defeat at Waterloo, he kept himself informed on developments in military theory. His comments, generally bad-tempered and disparaging about the many authors he read, were well-recorded. Only once did he discuss strategy, and it was when considering Archduke Charles’s book on the subject. “I hardly bother with scientific words,” he remarked, “and cannot care less about them.” He was skeptical about the value of books — there should not be so much “intellect” in war. “I beat the enemy without so much intellect and without using Greek words.” Nor could he make sense of the Archduke’s distinction between strategy and tactics, as the science and art of war. He had a higher opinion of Jomini’s formulation — “strategy is the art of moving troops and tactics the art of engaging them.” He then offered his own, and only known, definition: “strategy is the art of plans of campaign and tactics the art of battles.”[102] It left little scope for serious consideration of how to conduct war when the annihilation of the enemy army was neither practical nor appropriate. For practitioners like Napoleon who seemed to have little use for the word, and theorists who analyzed its place in the operations of war, there was no agreed early definition of strategy, and its emergence was not announced with any great fanfare. It seeped into discussions of military strategy, but only really became a way of framing these discussions at the start of the 19th century, in part under the influence of Bülow and the Archduke Charles and the pressing need to make sense of Napoleon’s string of victories. All the early efforts at definition saw strategy as a purely military concept, interacting with tactics but not with policy. This included Clausewitz, who understood better than most how political ends shaped military means. This is why there is a divergence between studies of strategy in practice over the 18th and 19th centuries, which invariably look at the interaction with policy, and the development of strategy as theory.[103] This limitation was important not because it precluded theorizing about the relationship of policy to war, for Clausewitz showed how this could be done, but because it shaped the education of the officer class in Europe and North America, and the way in which they were encouraged to think about the responsibilities and possibilities of command. The Napoleon-Jomini view that the scripts of strategy could only be learned by studying those that worked well in the past meant that rather than being a new way of thinking, exploring the implications of a changing political context as well as technological innovations, strategy became profoundly conservative, looking to replicate the triumphs of the past. In my second article, I will demonstrate the impact of this narrow and conservative approach on British and American thinking on strategy in the 19th century, so that even when wars took place that might have questioned its validity, notably the 1861-1865 American Civil War and the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War, they did not. They did not lead to any revisions of the concept of strategy. It was only the shocking experience of World War I that led to attempts to broaden the meaning of strategy and seek new definitions.   Sir Lawrence Freedman is professor emeritus of war studies at King's College London. Freedman became professor of war studies at King's College in 1982. In 2002, he became head of the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy at King's College. In June 2009, he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Before joining King's College, Freedman held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London. Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1995, he was appointed official historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997.  His most recent books are Strategy: A History (2013) and The Future of War: A History (2017). ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: Wikimedia Commons [post_title] => The Meaning of Strategy, Part I: The Origins [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meaning-strategy-part-origin-story [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:17:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:17:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=300 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => The word "strategy," which is now commonplace, only first came into use to understand military affairs at the beginning of the 19th century in Europe. Since then, its meaning has changed in important ways. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 1 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => Once it was established that strategy was essentially about preparing forces for a decisive battle, this constrained – rather than liberated — thinking. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, “strategy” was in use by military theorists across Europe. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The potential of mathematics as a guide to the optimum organization of troops for military engagements was a familiar theme in the 17th and 18th centuries. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => In 1783, there was the first reference to “grand strategy.” ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => Clausewitz’s approach depended on the dialectical relationship of tactics and strategy. ) ) [style] => scholarly [type] => Scholarly [style_label] => The Scholar [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 456 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 59 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] =>   [1] I am indebted to comments from Jeremy Black, Ryan Evans, Beatrice Heuser and Benedict Wilkinson. [2] Beatrice Heuser described “strategy” as a word in evolution to which she casts with a small “s,” as opposed to a practice in evolution, when she gives it a capital “S.” This article is about small “s” strategy and, for that matter, small “t” tactics. Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 3. [3] Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy, and The Strategy Makers: Thoughts on War and Society from Machiavelli to Clausewitz (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International, 2010). [4] It was used in other contexts during the 19th century, but (as with revolutionary strategy) with a military analogy in mind. For the history of the concept see Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History, (New York: OUP, 2013). [5] Hew Strachan, Clausewitz's on War (London: Atlantic Books, 2007). [6] Freedman, Strategy; Roger Schank and Robert Abelson, Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding: An Inquiry into Human Knowledge Structures (UK: Psychology Press, 1977), 41. [7] In addition to Heuser’s work, see: Azar Gat, The Origins of Military Thought: From the Enlightenment to Clausewitz (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1989); Azar Gat, The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1992); Hew Strachan, “The Lost Meaning of Strategy,” Survival, 47, no. 3 (2005), reprinted with other relevant essays in Hew Strachan, The Direction of War: Contemporary Strategy in Historical perspective (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014). [8] Rachel Hewitt, Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (London: Granta, 2010). [9] Martin van Creveld, Command in War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985). [10] Dennis Showalter, Frederick the Great: A Military History (London: Frontline Books, 2012). [11] This has been most definitively established by Heuser in The Evolution of Strategy as well as The Strategy Makers. [12] Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 128. [13] Jeremy Black, Plotting Power; Strategy in the Eighteenth Century (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017). The Russians had never really lost the word, because of the Byzantine influence, although, as noted below, this was more closely associated with stratagem. [14] Edward Luttwak, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 239. Luttwak notes that the Greek word does not have the same connotation as the modern word. He suggests this would have been strategike episteme (general’s knowledge) or strategon sophia (general’s wisdom). [15] Fridericus Hultsch and Evelyn S. Shuckburgh, The Histories of Polybius (London: Macmillan, 1889). [16] Christopher Matthew, The Tactics of Aelian (London: Pen & Sword Military, 2012). [17] Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, trans. Aubrey de Selincourt (London: Penguin, 2003). [18] Sextus Julius Frontinus, The Stratagems and The Aqueducts of Rome, trans. Charles E. Bennett (London: William Heinemann, 1980). [19] Smith, C.J., “Onasander On How To Be A General,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 42, no. S71 (1998): 151-166. [20] Flavius Vegetius Renatus, The Military Institutions of the Romans (De Re Militari), ed. Thomas R. Phillips, trans. John Clark (Mansfield Centre, CT: Martino, 2011). [21] Christopher Duffy, Military Experience in the Age of Reason (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), 39. [22] Ira Gruber, Books and the British Army in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). [23] Although Latin was much more in use than Greek, recent scholarship suggests that Greek was better known than had previously been supposed. Micha Lazarus, “Greek Literacy in Sixteenth-Century England,” Renaissance Studies 29 (2014), 433-58. I am grateful to Dr. Naoise MacSweeney of Leicester University for this reference and also for her observation that strategos may well have been one of the first words that students of Greek might have learned, as it is a regular second declension noun and suitable for teaching. She suggests that it is possible that a much wider set of people had a sense of strategos and strategia than would necessarily have had a working knowledge of Greek. [24] Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy, 4-5. [25] Herodian of Alexandria, his History of twenty Roman Caesars and emperors (of his time.), trans. James Maxwell (London: Printed for Hugh Perry, 1629). [26] Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1694. By the 1798 version camping and making evolutions had been added to the definition. The appearance of words in French dictionaries can be explored on http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/node/17. [27] Duffy, Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 40. [28] History of Polybius, newly translated from Greek by Dom Vincent Thuillier, with a commentary or a body of military science enriched with critical and historical notes by F. de Folard (1729). [29] John Harris, Lexicon Technicum: or, A Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Explaining Not Only the Terms of Art, But the Arts Themselves, Vol. II, 2nd ed. (London: Brown, 1723). [30] Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (London: 1755), http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com. Johnson gives Harris as his authority. [31] Frederick II ("the Great") of Prussia, "General Principles of War" (1748/1753), accessed at http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=3582. [32] Humphrey Bland, A Treatise of Military Discipline: In Which is Laid Down and Explained the Duties of Officer and Soldier (London: 1727). This book, which was essential reading in the British army and went through a number of editions, does contain a chapter, “Evolutions of the Foot, with an Explanation, and General rules for Wheeling;” Campbell Dalrymple, A Military Essay: Containing Reflections On The Raising, Arming, Cloathing, And Discipline Of The British Infantry And Cavalry (London: D. Wilson, 1761). [33] Major-General Lloyd, The History of the Late War in Germany Between The King Of Prussia, And The Empress Of Germany And Her Allies, Vol. 1 (London: S. Hooper, 1781). This part was first published in 1766. [34] Major-General Lloyd, Continuation of the History of the Late war in Germany, Part II (London: S. Hooper, 1781), 20. [35]Castramétrie (Castramation) referred to laying out of a military camp. [36] Everett L. Wheeler, Stratagem and the Vocabulary of Military Trickery, Mnemoseyne supplement 108 (New York: Brill, 1988). [37] William Caxton, C. de Pisan's Book Fayttes of Armes, (1489). [38] William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, First Folio (England: 1623), III.vi.59, III.vi.32. [39] Richard Collier, The Great Historical, Geographical, Genealogical and Poetical Dictionary; Being a Curious Miscellany of Sacred and Prophane History (London: Henry Rhodes, 1701). In 1701, Collier referred to a Frederick Marabotti as “a good soldier, and particularly considerable in the Stratagemical Part of War.” This was originally a translation from the French of Louis Moréri's encyclopedia, The Great Historical Dictionary, or Curious Anthology of Sacred and Secular History (first published in 1674). The usage here is Collier’s. [40] John Dee, The Mathematicall Praeface to The Elements Of Geometrie of the most auncient Philosopher EVCLIDE of Megara (London: John Daye, 1570), accessed at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22062/22062-h/22062-h.htm. [41] Silvanus Morgan, Horlogiographia optica (London:  Andrew Kemb and Robert Boydell, 1652). [42] William Shakespeare, Othello, First Folio (England: 1623), I, i. [43] Ephraim Chambers, Cyclopædia, or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (London: J. and J. Knapton, 1728), 135. [44] Abraham Rees, The Cyclopaedia; or Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Literature (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brow). [45] Encyclopaedia Britannica: or, A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, 3rd ed., ed. Colin MacFarquhar and George Gleig, 1797. This contained a tiny reference to tactics in general although a long section on naval tactics. [46] Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. Sixième Éd. It only made an appearance in the 6th edition, published in 1835 (“Faire une belle disposition, de belles dispositions, des dispositions savantes, etc., Disposer habilement son armée pour combattre”). [47] It did include a similar word, Strataryhmetrie, as “the art of placing a battalion in battle on a given geometrical figure, and of finding the number of men contained in this battalion, whether we see them closely, or we see them from afar.” [48] Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 15, 541. A dictionary published in 1801 of new words had nothing on strategy, but included tactican as (the art of training soldiers to form various military evolution); William Dupré, Lexicographia-neologica gallica (London: Baylis, 1801). [49] Frontinus had long been available in French. A new edition was published in 1765. An English translation was not published until 1811, although later superseded, but it was well known as a Latin text. [50] Clarke’s translation was first published in 1767. It had a single mention of tactics, with reference to the Athenian schools of tactics, but a number on stratagem. An English translation was published by Caxton in 1489. [51] Emperor Maurice, Strategikon: Handbook of Byzantine Military Strategy, trans. George T. Dennis (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), 65, 86; Edward Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009). Luttwak discusses relational manoeuvre as an alternative to attrition and to stratagems. [52] Ibid, 23. [53] Edward Luttwak, The Taktika of Leo VI, trans. George T. Dennis (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Texts, 2014), Chapter 12. Paradoxically, Dennis notes, Maurice’s Strategikon was mainly about tactics (as defined by the Byzantines), and Leo’s Taktiká was mainly about strategy. One possibility is that the works would not have had titles and that librarians with limited knowledge of the subject mislabeled the two works in their catalogues. [54] Black, Plotting Power, 255. [55] Ibid, 122. [56] Ibid, 122. [57] Count Turpin, An Essay on the Art of War, trans. Joseph Otway (London: W. Johnston, 1761). First published in French in 1754. [58] He had provided a list of the tricks and stratagems of war intended to “oblige the enemy to make unnecessary marches in favour of our own designs. Our own intentions are to be studiously concealed, and the enemy misled by our affecting plans which we have no wish to execute.” Frederick the Great, Instructions for his Generals, 1797. On French tactical debates, see Robert S. Quimby, The Background of Napoleonic Warfare: The Theory Of Military Tactics In Eighteenth-Century France (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956). [59] The importance of the Infantry Square, as a means of dealing with cavalry charges had been underlined during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701 to 1714). The formation of an effective square required considerable skill and discipline. It was dealt with extensively in Bland, A Treatise of Military Discipline, 90, in his discussion of how infantry should cope with “Attacks of Horse.” Bland referred to stratagems as feints a number of times in this book. The most elaborate discussion of the Infantry Square over this period was in General Richard Kane, A New System of Military Discipline for a Battalion of Foot on Action (London: J. Millan, 1743) published posthumously. Kane had fought in the War of the Spanish Succession. [60] Joly De Maizeroy, Théorie de la guerre (Lausanne: Aux dépens de la Société, 1777), 304-5. [61] Joseph Marie Amiot, Art militaire des Chinois, ou, Recueil d’anciens traités sur la guerre: composés avant l’ere chrétienne, par différents généraux chinois (Paris: Didot l’ainé,1772). Bachmann, “Jean Joseph Marie Amiot Introduces ‘The Art of War’ to the West,” The Shelf, January 28, 2014, http://blogs.harvard.edu/preserving/2014/01/28/jean-joseph-marie-amiot-introduces-the-art-of-war-to-the-west/. See also “Sun-tse: Les treize articles sur l’art militaire,” Chine Ancienne, accessed October 2017, https://www.chineancienne.fr/traductions/sun-tse-les-treize-articles-sur-l-art-militaire. [62] Corneli, Alessandro, “Sun Tzu and the Indirect Strategy,” Rivista di Studi Politici Internazionali 54, no. 3 (1987): 419-445. For a suggestion of the influence of Amiot’s translation on French plans to wage guerrlla war in Britain in the 1790s, see Sylvie Kleinman, “Initiating insurgencies abroad: French plans to ‘chouannise’ Britain and Ireland, 1793–1798,” Small Wars & Insurgencies 25, no. 4 (2013): 663. [63] “1772, Sun Tzu atteint l’Occident,” accessed October 2018, http://suntzufrance.fr/1772-sun-tzu-atteint-loccident. [64] There is, for example, no reference to Amiot’s translation in Bruno Colson, Napoleon on War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). [65] When Lionel Giles later translated the book into English, he described this “so-called translation” to “be little better than an imposture. It contains a great deal that Sun Tzu did not write, and very little indeed of what he did.” Sun Tzu on The Art of War. Amiot is also blamed for assigning to Sun Tzu a traditional Western title The Art of War, already used for Machiavelli and soon to be used by Jomini. [66] For a comparison of the Roman and Byzantine texts on stratagems with Sun Tzu, see David A. Graff, “Brain over Brawn: Shared Beliefs and Presumptions in Chinese and Western ‘Strategemata,’” Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident, no. 38 (2014): 47-64. Smith, op.cit., makes a similar point. [67] Marshal Maurice de Saxe, My Reveries Upon the Art of War, trans. Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Phillips, Roots of Strategy, 1 (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1985), 191, 248. On Saxe, see Jon Manchip White, Marshal of France: The Life and Times of Maurice, Comte de Saxe, 1696-1750 (Sevenoaks: Pickle Partners, 2011). [68] On Maizeroy, see David, Alexandre. ‘“L’interprète des plus grands maîtres: Paul-Gédéon Joly de Maizeroy l’inventeur de la stratégie,” Stratégique  99 (2010/11); Black, Plotting Power, 129-133; and Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 39-43. [69] Paul Gédéon Joly de Maizeroy, Traité de tactique, Two volumes (Paris: J. Merlin, 1767). [70] Maizeroy, Theorie de la guerre. [71] Marquis de Silva, Pensées sur la Tactique, et la Stratégique (Impr. Royale, 1778). On Silva, see Black, Plotting Power, 133-35. [72] F. De Nockhern Schorn, Dees Raisonnees Sur Un Systeme General Suivi Et De Toutes Les Connoissances Militaires Et Sur Une Methode Etudier Lumineuse Pour La Science De La Guerre Avec Ordre Et Discernement En Trois Parties Avec Sept Tables Methodiques (Nuremberg et Altdorf: chez George Pierre Monath, 1783), 198-9. In his detailed discussion of the French debate of the time Black does not mention this book. [73] Jacques Antoine Hippolyte Comte de Guibert, Essai général de Tactique (1770). Translation in Heuser, The Strategy Makers, 161. This is based on Lt. Douglas’s translation from 1781. See also Jonathan Abel, Guibert: Father of Napoleon's Grande Armée (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016); Beatrice Heuser, Strategy Before Clausewitz: Linking Warfare and Statecraft, 1400-1830 (London: Routledge, 2017). [74] Beatrice Heuser, “Theory and Practice, Art and Science in Warfare: An Etymological Note,” ed. Daniel Marston and Tamara Leahy, War, Strategy and History: Essays in Honour of Professor Robert O’Neill (Canberra: ANU Press, 2016). [75]  R. R. Palmer, “Frederick the Great, Guibert, Bülow: From Dynastic to National War,” Peter Paret ed., Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986), 107. [76] Johann W. von Bourscheid, trans. Kasier Leo des Philosophen Strategie und Taktik in 5 Bänden (Vienna: Jospeh Edler von Kurzboeck, 177-1781); Heuser, The Strategy Makers, 3; Hew Strachan, “The Lost Meaning of Strategy,” Survival 47 no. 3 (August 2005): 35; J-P Charnay in Andre Corvisier, A Dictionary of Military History and the Art of War, ed., John Childs (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 769. [77] Gat., The Origins of Military Thought, 155. [78]These were: the “elementary,” which was essentially about how to prepare soldiers for battle; the movement of larger formations, such as a battalion, in order of battle and ‘lets them advance towards the enemy who is within a shot’s or a throw’s reach, or lets them retreat’; the “higher” science of war, based on tactics, and involving the “art of marching with the entire army or substantial parts thereof, to advance, to retreat … of establishing … strongholds; of choosing campsites; of using the surface of the earth’; and, lastly, the great art of making apposite, reliable plans and to … adapt them cleverly to new developments, or to abandon them and to replace them by others.” Georg Heinrich von Berenhorst, Betrachtungen über die Kriegskunst, über ihre Fortschritte, ihre Widersprüche und ihre Zuverlässigkeit, (Osnabrück, Biblio Verlag, 1978), 7f. Citation and translation from Heuser, Etymology, 181-2. On Berenhorst see Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 150-5. [79] Carl von Clausewitz, “On the Life and Character of Scharnhorst,” in Historical and Political Writings, ed. and trans. Peter Paret and Daniel Moran (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), 103. In On War, it became a “toy,” resting ‘on a series of substitutions at the expense of truth,” 409. Howard describes it as “rococo absurdity.” Michael Howard, Studies in War and Peace (London: Temple Smith, 1970), 25. On von Bülow, see Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 79-94. [80] Palmer, op.cit., 115. [81] Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow, The Spirit of the Modern System of War, trans. Malorti de Martemont, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013). [82] Ibid, 228. [83] Ibid, 88. [84] A Grundsätze der Kriegskunst für die Generale (1806) had been published as Principles of War. Daniel Radakovich, who has translated it (Nimble Books, 2010) suggests a more accurate title would refer to “higher warcraft.” [85] Archduke Charles, Habsburg Commander in the wars against Napoleon, in 1806. Cited in Heuser, Evolution of Strategy, 6. [86] Clifford J. Rogers, "Clausewitz, Genius, and the Rules," The Journal of Military History 66 (October 2002): 1167-1176; Jon T. Sumida, “The Clausewitz Problem,” Army History (Fall 2009): 17-21. [87] Cited by Peter Paret, Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 100. The review was published anonymously. His ideas were developed in an unpublished manuscript, under the heading Strategie, and contains the same theme. Donald Stoker, Clausewitz: His Life and Work (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 32-5. [88] Hew Strachan, Carl von Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography (London: Atlantic Books, 2007), 108. [89] Clausewitz, On War, 128-132. [90] Ibid, 177 [91] Ibid, 206-8. [92] Strachan, Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, 87. [93] Antulio J. Echevarria II, Clausewitz & Contemporary War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 140. [94] He later described a meeting with Napoleon in 1806 in which he told the emperor how he thought the Jena campaign would unfold. When asked who had told him, he replied “the map of Germany, Your Highness, and your campaigns of Marengo and Ulm.” For a skeptical view of the relationship between Napoleon and Jomini, noting that all the evidence comes from the latter, see Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 132-3. [95] On the interaction of von Bülow and Jomini, see Peter Paret, The Cognitive Challenge of 1806 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), 110-111. [96] He disliked the idea of a plan, as it was “impossible in a plan of operations to see beyond the second movement.” [97] Henri Jomini, Traité de grande tactique, ou, Relation de la guerre de sept ans, extraite de Tempelhof, commentée at comparée aux principales opérations de la derniére guerre; avec un recueil des maximes les plus important de l'art militaire, justifiées par ces différents évenéments (Paris: Giguet et Michaud, 1805). In English translation as: Jomini, Antoine-Henri, trans. Col. S.B. Holabird, U.S.A., Treatise on Grand Military Operations: or A Critical and Military History of the Wars of Frederick the Great as Contrasted with the Modern System, 2 vols (New York: D. van Nostrand, 1865), 277, 432. This was published in English after the Art of War. [98] Jomini did envisage other “operations of a mixed nature,” including “passages of streams, retreats, surprises, disembarkations, convoys, winter quarters, the execution of which belongs to tactics, the conception and arrangement to strategy.” Antoine Henri de Jomini, The Art of War, trans. G.H. Mendell and W.P. Craighill [1838] (Texas: El Paso Norte Press, 2005), 79–100. [99] Jomini, Treatise, 48. On this point see Gat, The Origins of Military Thought, 114-5. [100] Charles, The Art of War, 321. [101] In the original French, this is “la grande tactique.” Maximes de Guerre de Napoleon (Paris: Chez Anselin, 1830)., accessed at https://ia800209.us.archive.org/26/items/bub_gb_ezQLTogcgfAC/bub_gb_ezQLTogcgfAC.pdf. This English translation, from Colonel D’Aguilar, first published as The Officer’s Manual: Military Maxims of Napoleon (Dublin: Richard Milliken & Son, 1831), replaces “la grande tactique” with the “science of strategy.” [102] Colson, Napoleon on War, 84. [103] Black, Plotting Power, is quite explicit on this point. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 129 [post_author] => 20 [post_date] => 2017-11-26 03:40:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-26 08:40:21 [post_content] => The great genius but also the Achilles’ heel of American diplomacy is an irrepressible “can do” optimism — a conviction that every problem has a solution, that no conflict is too wicked or too intractable to defy resolution. De Tocqueville observed that Americans “have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man. ... They all consider society as a body in a state of improvement.”[1] That view has propelled America to great achievement in forging an era of peace and prosperity for nearly three-quarters of a century after World War II, ending wars and brokering peace among apparently implacable foes, and building institutions to tame economic cycles and interstate rivalries. Much of that optimism stems from our “eyes forward” approach to contemporary challenges, a conviction that the past is not prologue and that past performance is not indicative of future results. This optimism is rooted in our earliest experiences as a nation, a belief that the New World could and should forge a fresh approach to foreign policy, one not snared in the ancient quarrels of the Old World, but springing from an enlightened vision of harmonious relations among free peoples. It was an approach fitting for a nation whose very founding was an attempt to escape from the past. As Thomas Paine noted, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”[2]  The founders were not ignorant of history — they simply were determined not to be shackled by it. [quote id="3"] That inclination to put history behind us, to focus on present interests rather than past slights, has been and remains evident in the U.S. approach to East Asia. It was reflected in our willingness to enter into an alliance with Japan only a decade after it launched a surprise attack on our homeland; it could be seen in the decision to normalize relations with a Communist China which had fought us in Korea, because contemporary security and economic interests were more important than past grievances; and in the decision to reconcile with Vietnam, two decades after a bloody war came to a bitter end for the United States. But to our friends and interlocutors in East Asia, as T. S. Eliot observed, “Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past.”[3] Their national narratives as well as their perspectives on self and others are deeply rooted in their historical experience. It is a history that in most cases — from China, Japan, and Korea to Thailand (Siam) and Cambodia (Khmer Empire) — is measured in centuries and even millennia. These images are powerful forces both constraining the choices available to policymakers and providing tools that policymakers can use to justify their actions and mobilize their publics. Scholars have long debated whether history influences policymakers’ perceptions and choices,[4] including whether and to what extent a historically based “strategic culture” shapes contemporary policy.[5] As Robert Jervis has written, “Previous international events provide the statesman with a range of imaginable situations and allow him to detect patterns and causal links that can help him understand his world.”[6] Some go beyond the impact of history on individual decisionmakers to suggest that a historically based strategic culture” can shape national choices.[7]  Although there are skeptics (A.J.P.  Taylor observed “men use the past to prop up their own prejudices,”[8]), there seems to be little doubt that images of self and others drawn from the past heavily infuse the contemporary debate about the future of East Asian security. [quote id="1"] Nowhere is this more evident than in modern China. President Xi Jinping’s first evocation of the “China Dream” came in a speech pithily entitled “To Inherit From the Past and Use It for the Future, and Continuing What Has Passed in Beginning the Future: Continue to Forge Ahead Dauntlessly Towards the Goal of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese People.”[9] Xi’s speeches frequently draw on historical images and experiences, contrasting the period of China’s greatness with the “Century of Humiliation” from the Opium War to the Nanjing massacre. Lessons are to be learned from both. What made China great — its military and economic strength and its distinctive culture — is to be put at the center of policy, while what made China vulnerable — weakness and the inability to resist foreign pressure — is to be avoided. At the center of this historic narrative is the danger posed by Japan. The “history issue” is not merely a scholarly debate but also informs China’s views of Japanese behavior today. China opposes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s effort to make Japan a “normal” nation with the usual right to pursue individual and collective self-defense, because “history” shows that an unshackled Japan is inherently a threat to its neighbors and thus is not entitled to the same rights of sovereignty enjoyed by China and others. China refused to accept the Noda administration’s 2012 decision to “nationalize” the Senkaku Islands as an effort to insulate the islands from provocative actions of the far right, led by former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara. Instead, China insisted it was proof of a more aggressive policy.[10] Nor are China’s leaders willing to let the historic lesson fade from the public mind; just three years ago, Xi led the first “national day of remembrance” for the Nanjing massacre — 77 years after the event.[11] At the speech, President Xi cautioned that “forgetting history is a betrayal.”[12] By contrast, from China’s perspective, its own breathtaking military modernization is not a threat to its neighbors (unlike Japan’s comparatively modest defense increases and operations) because “history” shows that when China was powerful in the past it did not threaten others but used its power to establish an era of peace and prosperity. Chinese officials’ resurrection of the story of Ming Dynasty Admiral Zheng He over the past decade coincided with their effort to make the case that China’s growth would be a “peaceful rise.” Chinese officials regularly insist:
During the overall course of six voyages to the Western Ocean, Zheng He did not occupy a single piece of land, establish any fortress or seize any wealth from other countries.[13]
Former President Wen Jiabao cited this example to show that “Hegemonism is at odds with our cultural tradition.”[14] Of course, for Japan, history offers quite a different story. To Japan, the story of the “divine winds” — the typhoons that thwarted China’s attempt to subjugate Japan in 1274 and 1281 — is not simply a tale of Japanese heroic resistance but, perhaps more important, a caution about the risk to Japan of a powerful China.[15] For the Republic of Korea, too, history powerfully shapes contemporary policies and choices. Despite South Korea’s strong shared interest with Japan in addressing common threats, particularly those posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, cooperation is hamstrung by lingering Korean resentment of the Japanese colonial occupation and treatment of Korean “comfort women” during World War II. This grievance is apparent not only in popular sentiment but also in the actions of Korea’s leaders. It can be seen in the decision of then-President Park Geun-hye to join China in dedicating a statue to Ahn Jeung Geun, the Korean who killed Japan’s imperial governor in 1907,[16] and her participation in the World War II commemoration parade in Beijing in 2015. Other historical disputes continue to dog cooperation between the two would-be allies: a territorial dispute over the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands[17] and even the name of the body of water between the two countries (“The Sea of Japan is established internationally as the only name” Japan’s chief cabinet secretary insisted when lodging a diplomatic protest against a South Korean video promoting the name “East Sea”).[18] Both Koreas in turn are cautious about too great a dependence on China — despite the strong economic pull exerted by Beijing — informed by a history of tensions between the two empires. The seemingly arcane dispute over whether the Goguryeo Empire was Korean or Chinese still inflames passions on both sides of the Yalu.[19] The contrast between American and East Asia worldviews was evident during the meeting between Xi and President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in April 2017. In recounting the meeting, President Trump told The Wall Street Journal
[Xi] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years … and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that not — it’s not so easy. [20]
It could be seen in President Trump’s suggestion during the U.S. presidential campaign that it might be a good thing for Japan to acquire nuclear weapons instead of relying on U.S. extended deterrence — a suggestion that sent shock waves through East Asia.[21] Ironically, the contemporary political identity of each of the key countries of North East Asia was forged through a dramatic leap to “escape history.” For China, the strategy of leaders as diverse as Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong was not to find solutions for China’s problems in its past but, rather, to denigrate the past and to look to other models to achieve security and prosperity. Sun looked to the West, while Mao found inspiration in the Soviet Union during the early years of the People’s Republic.[22] Similarly, Meiji Japan reacted to growing pressure from the West in the mid-19th century not by trying to strengthen the traditional approaches of the shogunate that had successfully resisted foreign invasion in the past but by dramatically embracing modernity and key aspects of Western institutions and strategy, borrowing heavily from Germany, which — under Bismarck — had thrown off its own feudal past to achieve independence, unification, and prosperity. This move to “escape the past” was replicated again after World War II; under the tutelage of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Japan adopted Western institutions and strategies as varied as labor unions and women’s suffrage.[23] More recently, South Korea — the 19th-century “Hermit Kingdom” — propelled itself to the front ranks of the global stage by following in Japan’s footsteps to embrace democracy and integration in the global economy. Why does history have such a hold on contemporary relations in East Asia? After all, in other regions and other times, historic enemies have reconciled in the face of compelling contemporary challenges. Think France and Germany in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after World War II. [quote id="2"] Some might argue that the talk of history is mere rhetoric — that international relations theory would predict tensions between Japan and China in terms of the inevitable conflicts between a rising power and an established one. Others might point to domestic politics and the mobilization effect of using historic images to rally support for the governing parties based on patriotism and the need to unite against a foreign threat.[24] For many leaders in the region, bitter historic memories provide a convenient anchor (“useful adversaries” in Tom Christensen’s evocative characterization) for nationalist policies.[25] Such policies in history textbooks can indoctrinate future generations into stereotypes of others.[26] Undoubtedly, all these forces are at work. But there is reason to believe the structural tensions are exacerbated by the historic context.[27] As one scholar has observed:
the rivalry context may play a causal role in determining which arms race, power transition, etc., escalate to war.... That past conflicts condition current ones and future expectations, that leaders learn realpolitik lessons, and that peoples learn to hate each other all mean that theories of enduring rivalries are historical theories.[28]
Indeed, there is evidence to suggest the propensity for the diversionary use of force is more likely in the context of historic rivalries. “[L]eaders can capitalize on a hostile interstate environment where the relevant target public may be persuaded to consider alleged threats plausible”[29] — and the historic experience appears to establish the plausibility of the threat. Of course, the past is not necessarily prologue. At times, countries in the region have been able to overcome historic suspicions. Consider for example the decades of Sino-Japanese reconciliation that followed normalization in the 1970s, which featured little of the rhetoric of historic grievance. Similarly, Japan’s relations with Southeast Asia have improved dramatically despite the legacy of the East Asia Prosperity Sphere and the occupations of World War II. But during periods of change and uncertainty about the present and future intentions of key countries in the region, past behavior offers a convenient answer for political leaders and for publics to answer the inherent ambiguity of future actions. Thus, while one can argue about whether the perpetuation of historic grievances is cause or effect, their persistence contributes to the precarious situation in East Asia. And in the absence of concerted efforts by regional leaders to counteract this dynamic, the risk only grows of a vicious cycle leading to conflict. Fortunately, there have been a few hopeful signs. Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s statements in connection with the 70th anniversary of World War II, along with the decision (at least up to now) not to repeat the 2013 visit to the Yasakuni shrine, have helped bring about more measured Sino-Japanese relations.[30] Positive change can be seen in a joint ceremony in September 2017 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Sino-Japanese relations — an event to mark the 40th anniversary in 2012 was cancelled after the Japanese purchase of the Senkakus[31] — and Abe attended a similar event in Tokyo.[32] With the election of a new president in South Korea, and the possibility of new mandates for Xi following the 19th Party Congress in October and for Abe in the upcoming Diet election, the key leaders will be well positioned to take steps to overcome the historical legacies (or, at a minimum, to avoid fanning the historical flames further). The challenges facing East Asia are severe enough without having to refight past wars. At the same time, the U.S. administration must recognize the ever-present shadow of the past as this country seeks to build a sustainable long-term policy toward the region. President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima in 2016 demonstrated that it is possible to be cognizant of the past without being trapped by it. In recent years, calls have grown for a more systematic effort to overcome U.S. ahistoricism. The proposal by Graham Allison and Niall Ferguson for a White House Council of Historical Advisers reflects one such effort. But their suggestion focuses primarily on learning from historical analogy, proposing that
the charter for the future Council of Historical Advisers begin with Thucydides’s observation that “the events of future history … will be of the same nature—or nearly so—as the history of the past, so long as men are men.”
But the problems of history in East Asia are of a different kind. The tensions between China and Japan, or between Korea and Japan, are not “of the same nature” as rivalries in other contexts; rather, they are specific to the history of these nations and these peoples. What is needed are policymakers who understand “deep” history, or “the ways in which policymakers underst[and] the historical context from which the current conflict arose.”[33] In this respect, the current disdain for the value of long-serving career officers in the Foreign Service, with deep grounding in the languages, culture, and history of key countries and regions, poses a serious risk to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Similarly, the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate U.S. government funding for the Fulbright Hays regional studies program under Title VI of the Higher Education Act is deeply shortsighted.[34] One dinner with Xi Jinping is not enough to compensate for the loss of generations’ worth of insight if the United States is to navigate the perils of East Asia in the 21st century.   James B. Steinberg is University Professor of Social Science, International Affairs, and Law at Syracuse University, where he was dean of the Maxwell School from July 2011 until June 2016. Prior to becoming dean, he served as deputy secretary of state (2009 to 2011). From 2005 to 2008, he was dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2005, Steinberg was vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.  Steinberg served in a number of senior positions under President Bill Clinton, including deputy national security advisor and director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff. Steinberg’s most recent books are A Glass Half Full: Rebalance, Reassurance and Resolve in the US-China Relationship and Strategic Reassurance and Resolve: US-China Relations in the 21st Century, both with Michael O’Hanlon. Steinberg has an A.B from Harvard University (1973) and a J.D. from Yale Law School (1978). ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: Wikimedia Commons [post_title] => Too Much History: American Policy and East Asia in the Shadow of the Past [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => much-history-american-policy-east-asia-shadow-past [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:18:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:18:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=129 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => East Asian countries have a tendency to recall their historical grievances with rival nations, thus increasing the risk of eventual conflict. American policy toward East Asia, on the other hand, tends to have too short of a memory. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 1 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => China’s leaders [are not] willing to let the historic lesson fade from the public mind. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The “history issue” is not merely a scholarly debate but also informs China’s views of Japanese behavior today. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => That inclination to put history behind us, to focus on present interests rather than past slights, has been and remains evident in the U.S. approach to East Asia. ) ) [style] => strategist [type] => Strategist [style_label] => The Strategist [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 460 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 20 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (London: Saunders and Otley, 1835). [2] Thomas Paine, Common Sense, Appendix to the Third Edition (Philadelphia: W. and T. Bradford, 1776). [3] T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton,” Four Quartets (London: Faber and Faber, 1936). [4] See, for example, Robert Jervis, “How Decisonmakers Learn From History” in Perception and Misperception in International Politics, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017). [5]In a seminal piece, Jack Snyder defined strategic culture as “the sum total of ideas, conditioned responses, and patterns of habitual behavior that members of a national strategic community have acquired through instruction or initiation and share with each other with regard to nuclear strategy.” Jack L. Snyder, The Soviet Strategic Culture: Implications for Limited Nuclear Operations (Santa Monica CA: RAND 1977). The concept has since evolved to embrace approaches to national security more broadly. See Alastair Iain Johnston, “How New and Assertive is China’s New Assertiveness?” International Security 37, No. 4 (Spring 2013). [6] Robert Jervis, “How Decisonmakers Learn From History” in Perception and Misperception in International Politics, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017). [7] For a discussion of strategic culture and its applicability to China’s grand strategy, see Alaistair Iain Johnston, Cultural Realism: Strategic Culture and Grand Strategy in Chinese History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). On the impact of strategic culture on U.S.-China relations, see James Steinberg and Michael O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), 38-40. [8] Jervis, “How Decisionmakers Learn From History,” 217. [9] It is noteworthy that Xi’s initial articulation of the China Dream was a speech at an exhibition called “The Road to Revival,” dedicated to the history of China’s victimization from the Opium Wars through World War II by the West. See Camilla T.N. Sorensen, “The Significance of Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Dream’ for Chinese Foreign Policy: From ‘Tao Guang Yang Hui’ to Fen Fa You Wei,’” Journal of China and International Relations 3, no. 1 (2015), https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/jcir/article/viewFile/1146/967. See also Benjamin Carlson, “The World According to Xi Jinping,” The Atlantic, September 21, 2015,  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/xi-jinping-china-book-chinese-dream/406387/. [10] One writer has suggested that China’s anger over the decision was exacerbated by the fact that it came during a period when China typically commemorates the Japanese aggressions of the 1930s and 1940s. See Scott Cheney-Peters, “How Japan’s Nationalization Move in the East China Sea Shaped the U.S. Rebalance,” The National Interest, October 26, 2014, http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-japans-nationalization-move-the-east-china-sea-shaped-11549. [11] Agence France-Presse, “China Holds First Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day,” The Telegraph, December 13, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11291820/China-holds-first-Nanjing-Massacre-memorial-day.html. [12] Ben Blanchard, “Set Aside Hate, China’s Xi Says on Nanjing Massacre Anniversary,” Reuters, December 12, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-japan/set-aside-hate-chinas-xi-says-on-nanjing-massacre-anniversary-idUSKBN0JR03F20141213. [13] See Steinberg and O’Hanlon, Strategic Reassurance and Resolve, 39-40. Many commentators have questioned the accuracy of the official Chinese version of Zhang He’s voyages. For the exposition of China’s peaceful rise, see Zheng Bijian, “China’s ‘Peaceful Rise’ to Great-Power Status,” Foreign Affairs, September-October 2005, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/2005-09-01/chinas-peaceful-rise-great-power-status. [14] Denny Roy, Return of the Dragon: Rising China and Regional Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 28-29. [15] During the Mongol dynasty, Emperor Kublai Khan mounted two attempts to conquer Japan. On both occasions the effort was thwarted by typhoons (“kamikaze” or “divine wind”) that severely damaged the Mongol fleet and saved Japan from invasion. [16] Emily Rauhala, “Why a Korean-Chinese Statue Is Upsetting Japan,” Time, November 25, 2013, http://world.time.com/2013/11/25/why-a-korean-chinese-statue-is-upsetting-japan/; Steven Denney and Christopher Green, “National Identity and Historical Legacy: Ahn Jung-geun in the Grand Narrative,” SinoNK, June 2014, http://sinonk.com/2014/06/06/national-identity-and-historical-legacy-ahn-jung-geun-in-the-grand-narrative/ [17] Japan claims that it established sovereignty over the islands in the 17th century. See “Japanese Territory: Takeshima,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accessed September 2017, mofa.go.jp. Korea argues that Japan has long acknowledged Korea’s sovereignty; “Not only has the East Sea designation been in continuous use for over 2,000 years, it is also inappropriate to name a sea after a single country.” “Dokdo and the East Sea,” Korea.net, accessed September 2017,  http://www.korea.net/Government/Current-Affairs/National-Affairs?affairId=83. [18] See “South Korea Video Renaming Sea of Japan Fuels Tension,” Japan Times, Feb. 22, 2017, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/22/national/politics-diplomacy/south-korea-video-renaming-sea-japan-fuels-tension/. Tellingly, the video was titled “East Sea: The Name From the Past, of the Present and for the Future,” claiming that the body had been named the East Sea for 2,000 years. [19] Taylor Washburn, “How an Ancient Kingdom Explains Today's China-Korea Relations” The Atlantic, April 15, 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/04/how-an-ancient-kingdom-explains-todays-china-korea-relations/274986/. [20] “WSJ Trump Interview Excerpts: China, North Korea, Ex-Im Bank, Obamacare, Bannon, More,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2017, https://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2017/04/12/wsj-trump-interview-excerpts-china-north-korea-ex-im-bank-obamacare-bannon/. [21] “Now wouldn’t you rather in a certain sense have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons” Donald Trump, Town Hall, moderated by Anderson Cooper, CNN, March 29, 2016. See also “Transcript: Donald Trump Expounds on his Foreign Policy Views,” The New York Times, March 26, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/us/politics/donald-trump-transcript.html?_r=0; Austin Ramzy, “Comments by Donald Trump Draw Fears of an Arms Race in Asia,” The New York Times, March 28, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/29/world/asia/donald-trump-arms-race.html. [22] Odd Arne Westad, Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750 (New York: Basic Books, 2012). [23] Fukuzawa Yukichi, one of the most prominent essayists of the Meiji era, summed it up simply: “In Japan’s present condition, there is nothing in which we may take pride vis-à-vis the West. All that Japan has to be proud of is its scenery.”  (quoted in James L. McLain, Japan: A Modern History (New York: W.W. Norton and Co. 2002)). On the influence of the Prussia experience on Meiji state building, see McLain, Japan: A Modern History, pp 191-197.  For an account of the “McArthur constitution” which re-established Japan’s political institutions along U.S. and Western parliamentary lines, see McLain, Japan: A Modern History, pp 537-550. [24] There is extensive literature on the “diversionary” effect in international relations. [25] Thomas J. Christensen, Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). [26] The Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center conducted an intensive three-year project examining the role of history textbooks in the formation of historical memory about World War II in East Asia. The results were published in 2011. See Gi-wook Shin and Daniel C. Schneider, eds., History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia: Divided Memories (New York: Routledge, 2011). Interestingly, the study found that Japanese textbooks “do not highlight patriotism, revisionism or nationalism,” in contrast to the more “passionate” accounts in Korea and China, where nation building and national-identity formation are more central. See Yves Russel’s review of the book in China Perspectives 2 (2014), 79-81, http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6494. [27] Gary Goertz and Paul F. Diehl, “Enduring Rivalries: Theoretical Constructs and Empirical Patterns,” International Studies Quarterly 37, no. 2 (June 1993): 14; Sara McLaughlin and Brandon Prins, “Rivalry and Diversionary Use of Force,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 48, no. 6 (December 2004): 937-61. [28]  Gary Goertz, Contexts of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 213. [29] Andrew J. Enterline and Kristian S. Gleditsch, “Threats, Opportunity, and Force: Repression and Diversion of Domestic Pressure, 1948-1982,” International Interactions 26, no. 1. 28 (2000). [30] Tomohiro Osaki, “Abe and His Cabinet Steer Clear of War-Linked Yasakuni Shrine on Anniversary of World War II Surrender,” Japan Times, August 15, 2017, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/15/national/politics-diplomacy/abe-cabinet-steer-clear-war-linked-yasukuni-shrine-anniversary-world-war-ii-surrender/. [31] “Five Years After Nationalization of the Senkaku Islands,” Japan Times, September 11, 2017, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/09/11/editorials/five-years-nationalization-senkaku-islands/. [32] Charlotte Gao, “Abe Makes a Surprise Appearance, Hails 45 years of Japan-China Relations,” The Diplomat, September 29, 2017, https://thediplomat.com/2017/09/abe-makes-a-surprise-appearance-hails-45-years-of-japan-china-relations/. [33] James B. Steinberg, “History, Policymaking and the Balkans: Lessons Imported and Lessons Learned,” in Hal Brands and Jeremy Suri, eds. The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2016): 238. As I note in the chapter, this is similar to what Richard E. Neustadt and Ernest R. May called “issue history”; Neustadt and May, Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers (New York: Free Press, 1988). [34]  Thomas P. Pepinsky, “The Federal Budget’s Threat to Foreign Policy,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 16, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Federal-Budget-s-Threat/239796. See also Nathan J. Brown, “In Defense of Area Studies,” The Washington Post, October 30, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/10/30/in-defense-of-u-s-funding-for-area-studies/. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 284 [post_author] => 102 [post_date] => 2017-11-25 03:45:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-25 08:45:32 [post_content] => Robin Collingwood, a British historian and philosopher, saw history as a reservoir of knowledge gained through instructive re-enactment. Consider Julius Caesar’s decision to “cross the Rubicon” with his army and challenge his Roman Republic. To understand Caesar’s choice, “This implies envisaging for himself the situation in which Caesar stood, and thinking for himself what Caesar thought about the situation and the possible ways of dealing with it.” The work of the historian in this case is not mere reproduction or description. To offer insight, “this re-enactment is only accomplished … so far as the historian brings to bear on the problem all the powers of his own mind and all his knowledge of philosophy and politics.” Such critical analysis “is not something secondary to tracing the history of it. It is an indispensable condition of the historical knowledge itself.”[1] This essay offers a micro-historical reconstruction of a fateful choice made by the United States. Satisfactory reconstructions of this kind are rare. When it comes to historical episodes of import, even those that have been extensively written about and researched, it is often difficult to identify when the critical choices actually occurred. It is even more difficult to reconstruct, with a policymaker’s eye, the information available at the time, the institutional context and the plausibly available alternative courses of action. This essay analyzes the U.S. decision to take the Philippines. It was fateful. Since the decision was followed by an ugly war, it seemed even at the time to symbolize a loss of American innocence, or worse, in the country’s dealings with the world. By 1934, when the Philippines seemed to be a strategic millstone and the United States chose a path to full independence for the islands, the majority Democrats in Congress led the way, eager to gain American “freedom from the colony.”[2] But before America could gain this “freedom,” the American presence in the Philippines became a great pivot point of world history. In 1940 and 1941, Japanese naval planners concluded that any move through the South China Sea into the resource-rich Dutch East Indies and British Malaya had to include an attack on American bases in the Philippines. To the Japanese, this conclusion meant that, if they moved south, war with America was unavoidable. They then developed a war plan that included an opening attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the Philippines.[3] After World War II, the American presence across the Pacific was vastly enlarged in every way. During and after the Vietnam War, historians again looked back at the 1898-99 decision to take the Philippines. They viewed it as a sort of original sin, one that now seemed to have foreshadowed all the other sins to come. As in the story of how America stepped across the Pacific, the grand strategies in U.S. international history usually have had a traumatic birth. Grand strategies do not typically arise from visionary thinking about the future. They arise instead from the collective experience of some great disturbance, looking backward at some catalytic episode that practically everyone remembers. As people try to make sense of what has just happened, they construct quick and understandable rival narratives to explain that past, the present and maybe the future. The shorthand narratives become entrenched, decaying into shibboleths — until the next trauma displaces them. Meanwhile, historians can slowly try to reconstruct what really did happen in the first place. Yet the rewards of micro-historical reconstruction of fateful choices can be great. The episodes are usually ones that people, including most historians, think they already understand. But in my experience the more one digs, the stranger the stories get. That is, the fateful choices become more lifelike, more interesting and more truly educational. The Philippines decision was made, principally, by President William McKinley. For generations, McKinley himself and the way he made this decision have seemed like an opaque blur. Some historians see McKinley as a dupe of clever would-be imperialists such as the young Theodore Roosevelt and his influential friend Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge. Or they see him as driftwood pushed about by domestic politics or by great cultural or economic currents, like an American search for new markets in places like China. Or they regard him as a kind of pious nincompoop who, as one standard work puts it, permitted “missionary and business expansionists to persuade him of what he may already have believed.”[4] There is a quote, supposedly from McKinley, that is the perfect caricature. It has McKinley describing how he “went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance” until he saw
that there was nothing left to do but take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men, for whom Christ also died.
For generation on generation this quotation has been repeated in innumerable accounts, including standard history textbooks. It is catnip for a teacher, a vivid quote to spark up a lecture. Even though the source of the quote, repeating years later what he thought McKinley had said, has long been suspect, that should hardly get in the way.[5] In the Philippines case, part of the cartoon is the image of President McKinley himself. There is that dreamy missionary zeal. There is also the view, as another standard work put it, that McKinley “simply lacked ideas …. as usual, he was bereft of ideas.”[6] Even those historians who are more sympathetic to McKinley, either seeing him as a hidden mastermind or agreeing that he seems to have had little choice, have not adequately understood his decision-making process in this case. As this article will show, McKinley made, in fact, five distinct sets of choices. In each he went through a fairly involved set of consultations, gathering information and weighing alternative courses of action. [quote id="1"] In his first major public address after his decision, in Boston on February 17, 1899, before a huge crowd gathered in a large hall, McKinley’s tone was somber. He gave the crowd not one whit of self-congratulation. “I do not know why in the year 1899 this republic has unexpectedly had placed before it mighty problems which it must face and meet,” McKinley announced. “They have come and are here and they could not be kept away.” It was the just-concluded war with Spain. “Many who were impatient for the conflict a year ago,” McKinley went on, “apparently heedless of its larger results, are the first to cry out against the far-reaching consequences of their own act.” Here he was referring to the opposition Democrats and Populists — then a third party with a strong following in the rural Midwest and South. In early 1898 the Democrats and Populists, along with many members of his own Republican Party, had joined the clamor for war with Spain. Then, clearly referring to himself and his conservative Republican allies who had been less interested in war or expansion, McKinley reminded his audience, “Those who dreaded war most and whose every effort was directed to prevent it, had fears of new and grave problems that might follow its inauguration.” McKinley did not offer his audience much optimism. He did not borrow so much as a word from the political or economic arguments that the expansionist jingoes had been making to defend the taking of the Philippines. Instead, his message was that “Grave problems come in the life of a nation” and that “the generation on which they are forced cannot avoid the responsibility of honestly striving for their solution.”[7] It remains then to better understand just how these “grave problems,” seemingly so unavoidable, had actually arisen.  Why, in a war to end years of bloody fighting and devastation in nearby Cuba, did the United States end up becoming the ruler of the faraway Philippine Islands? True, the Filipinos, like the nearby Cubans, had also rebelled against Spanish rule. But hardly anyone in the United States had noticed or cared. Also, the Philippines were really far away. They were a month’s journey by steamship from California. They were a vast chain of thousands of islands. Their population was large, about 10 percent of the population of the entire United States (about 7.5 million at a time when there were 75 million in the United States). Moreover, the United States had no colonial service. Its regular Army was tiny, about 28,000 strong. So, simply on these bare facts, an American conquest of the Philippines would seem absurdly impractical. How and why then did the United States of America take such a fateful step across the Pacific?

Dewey to Manila, April to May 1898

If there was a war with Spain, everyone knew the issue would be Cuba. Since the 1820s, Spain’s only remaining colonies in the Western Hemisphere were Cuba and Puerto Rico. The Cubans had rebelled and fought a “10 years war” from 1868 to 1878. War broke out again in 1895. Years of violence across the island had become a bloody stalemate. Neither side could defeat the other. Spain would not grant independence. The Cubans would not settle for anything less. It was obvious to Americans at the time that the United States might get pulled in. There was no mystery there. Any administration from that day to this, confronted with such awful conditions in that enormous neighboring island, would be arguing about whether or how to try to stop it. And back then Cuba was much more important to America than it is today. Many Americans had direct interests of every kind on both sides. The Cuban rebellion was headquartered in New York City. Many of the rebel leaders were American citizens. They called loudly for American intervention to stop the suffering. In 1898, the opposition Democrats and Populists were united in favor of intervention in Cuba. It is easy to see why. Flip through the pages of the Congressional Record of the time. The volume might fall open to remarks such as these, from a Kansas congressman, a Populist, that the past two years have been “years of blood and carnage; two years of nameless atrocities practiced upon the innocent and helpless portion of the Cuban population; two years of waiting and vacillation on the part of our Government; two years of our quiet consent to these butcheries.” The congressman suspected that McKinley stood by because he and other conservatives were “under the powerful influence of bond syndicates” that had loaned money to Spain and were “being controlled more by commercial considerations than by the interests of humanity and the cause of freedom.”[8] While the Democrats called for war, the majority Republicans were split. Conservative Republicans tended to see the war fever as a press-fueled distraction from more important matters. They thought a war might be bad for business. President McKinley had little desire for war and little interest in expanding America’s domain. His most trusted advisers felt the same way.[9] McKinley was a private man of relatively modest personal means. He was devoted to his wife, an invalid whose health had broken after the death of their child. He was the last American president whose demeanor and values would now be called Victorian. He was soberly dressed, very concerned for the proprieties of public appearance and behavior, religious, dignified, and virtuous. Outsiders often misjudged McKinley. Careful, gentle and conscientious in his personal manner, he was often assumed to be dull and weak. He was neither. McKinley probably had more personal experience as a front-line combat soldier than any American president in history except for George Washington. The last veteran of the Civil War to serve as president, he had experienced that war from start to finish. He had enlisted as a private in a regiment from his native Ohio. He had been promoted after a display of personal heroism on the terrible battlefield of Antietam, driving a supply wagon forward to beleaguered front-line troops under heavy enemy fire, an episode that stayed in the memories of all who witnessed it. Much of his fighting was as a cavalryman in the campaigns of the Shenandoah Valley, ending the war with the rank of major. One old comrade from the war wrote to McKinley after he was elected president, confessing that, “I knew you as a soldier, as a congressman, as a governor, and now as president-elect. How shall I address you?” “Call me Major,” McKinley replied. “I earned that. I am not so sure of the rest.”[10] Returning after the war to his native Ohio, the major became a lawyer, gaining renown for defending striking miners. As a Republican politician, he was mentored by some of Ohio’s most famous officeholders, including Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and James Garfield, men who had known McKinley during the war. McKinley’s father had been an ironworker and McKinley’s politics were the politics of economic growth and tariff protection of American business. McKinley held his seat in Congress in a battleground district of a battleground state. In the tightly matched politics of the 1880s and 1890s, Ohio was usually the crucial swing state (along with New York and Indiana). McKinley held on because he could reach some Democratic and independent voters. He was known as an honest man. His political style was not fiery or inspiring; it was amiable and deliberate. One of the great journalists of his generation, William Allen White, recalled an interview with President McKinley. He went to the president’s modest home in Canton, Ohio. By then a heavy man but “never paunchy,” McKinley was clean-shaven and immaculately dressed. He laid his cigar aside so it would not show in a picture. “We must not let the young men of this country see their President smoking!” “I was sweating,” White recalled, “for it was a hot day. He was stainless, spotless, apparently inwardly cool and outwardly unruffled. I thought then, and I think now, that he sensed what I was seeking and guarded it from me, maybe consciously.” White recalls that “his mistrust was sweet and friendly and was revealed only by the guarded complacence in what he said. He refused to tousle his hair politically. He was the statue in the park speaking.”[11] That was the McKinley outsiders saw. His path to the presidency had not been easy. The nomination fight inside the Republican Party had been the hardest part. To win, McKinley had taken on his party’s leading political bosses. Through a political adviser, businessman Mark Hanna, McKinley had been offered a deal. If he promised to make one of the bosses the secretary of the Treasury, the boss would help clear the way for McKinley to get the nomination. One of those present remembered that, hearing this offer, “McKinley’s face grew serious — in fact, hard.” He remained silent for a while and then said, “Mark, some things come too high. If I were to accept the nomination on those terms, the place would be worth nothing to me and less to the people. If those are the terms, I am out of it.” McKinley and his allies had gone on to win the party nomination by beating the party bosses. They had outfought them with an extraordinarily well-organized grass-roots effort among the state party conventions.[12] McKinley came to the presidency hoping to concentrate on domestic matters, working closely with Congress. Most congressmen liked him. One frequent opponent (Sen. George Hoar of Massachusetts) acknowledged that McKinley’s “great wisdom and tact and his delightful individual quality” gave him unusual influence.[13] The waspish Henry Adams, a longtime White House watcher from his perch on the other side of Lafayette Park, usually reflected the “smart” Washington view that McKinley was little more than an amiable figurehead. Adams got some advice from his longtime friend John Hay, who had been an aide to Lincoln and was then in London as McKinley’s ambassador to Britain. Hay warned Adams.
[D]on’t you go to making mistakes about McKinley! He is no tenderfoot — he has a habit of getting there. Many among the noble and the pure have had occasion to change their minds about him.[14]
Taking office in 1897, McKinley had chosen a Cabinet with carefully balanced political interests. McKinley soon came to regret some of these choices. At the State Department, McKinley had already been working around his senile secretary, John Sherman. He replaced Sherman as soon as the war with Spain began in April 1898. For McKinley, getting his War Department ready for war was a hard problem. His secretary of war, Russell Alger, was a former governor of Michigan. The War Department’s deputy head (then called the “adjutant-general”) was a general named Henry Corbin. The U.S. Army then had only 28,000 regulars, scattered around the country in 78 posts; the largest had a garrison of fewer than 850. The Army had leveled off at this strength since the mid-1870s. It was about one-twentieth the size of the German army and a good deal smaller even than the army of Mexico. It was not “that there was opposition to a proper military establishment,” Corbin recalled later, “but rather that the people as a whole were indifferent about it, fascinated, as they were, with the wonderful growth and development of the country then going on.” Corbin had seen combat both in the Civil War and later skirmishes against Indian tribes. Where he could, he had arranged peace with Indians. He would have preferred peace with Spain. With the Civil War 33 years in the past, Corbin thought most Americans had forgotten what real war was like. “Only the poetry and fiction of war existed; the actual hardships and privations of war our young men knew nothing about.”[15] [quote id="2"] Fortunately for McKinley, the first actions in any war with Spain would fall to the Navy. The Navy would be ready. It had been developing plans for a possible war with Spain for years, after the Cubans began their latest revolt. Naturally its plans mainly focused on operations in the Caribbean. Also fortunate for McKinley was that Secretary of the Navy John D. Long was the president’s close friend. Raised in Maine, Long had made a legal and political career in Massachusetts. An occasional poet and playwright, Long had a gracious style that made him a popular speaker of the Massachusetts House, then governor, then member of Congress. It was in the House of Representatives during the 1880s that Long and then-Rep. McKinley became friends. Long’s deputy at the Navy Department was a young up-and-comer from New York, Theodore Roosevelt. A prolific writer, Roosevelt had written a good history of the naval War of 1812 and was devoted to naval readiness. McKinley and Long knew that Roosevelt was an outspoken expansionist. They had appointed him as a concession to the lobbying efforts of Roosevelt’s similarly inclined friend, Massachusetts Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge. Long, who was nearly 60, enjoyed Roosevelt, who was about to turn 40. Long regarded his deputy about the way a parent might regard an exceptionally precocious but somewhat wild teenager. To his diary, Long appraised Roosevelt as a man “so enthusiastic and loyal that he is in certain respects invaluable; yet I lack confidence in his good judgment and discretion. [Roosevelt] goes off very impulsively …. He has been of great use; a man of unbounded energy and force, and thoroughly honest — which is the main thing. … His forte is his push. He lacks the serenity of discussion.”[16] As the Navy planned for a war in the Caribbean, one of the lesser planning problems among its officers was: In a war with Spain, what should be done with the Navy’s Asiatic squadron? Since the 1830s the U.S. Navy had maintained a few warships in Pacific waters to protect American merchantmen from pirates and show the flag. The ships usually called at ports in China and Japan, and occasionally in Korea. In the Navy’s first plans, the Asiatic squadron would go after Spain’s ships and its Pacific base in the Philippines, in Manila Bay. That way the squadron could eliminate the Spanish threat to America’s Pacific commerce. Also, any gains in Manila might then become bargaining leverage for peace talks. This sort of logic was familiar to any student of the only recent transoceanic naval wars anyone could study, the wars of the rival empires long ago during the age of sail. Some naval officers had another idea for the Asiatic squadron: Send it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean to attack Spain’s Canary Islands, near the Spanish coast. But this idea seemed too risky and impractical.[17] Long relied on the career officials running the Navy bureaus. A special planning board had junked the Canary Islands attack idea by the summer of 1897. It went back to the Manila Bay objective, which would attack the nearby enemy and might give the Americans “a controlling voice, as to what should become of the islands, when the final settlement was made.”[18] Why do anything with the Asiatic squadron at all? Why not just let them keep sailing around doing what they usually did? There were two problems, which can be summarized in shorthand as coal and neutrality. This was an age in which the steamships ran on hundreds of tons of coal, which had to be regularly resupplied from a place where thousands of tons of coal could be stored and transferred into ship bunkers. Coal was not the only reason for a base or friendly port. The ships also needed access to repair facilities as well as occasional supplies of food and water. But coal was the most complex problem, in part because it was so difficult to store and transfer large amounts of coal at sea and to transfer it between ships. In East Asia, the United States “had no docking or coaling facilities for its handful of vessels and was completely dependent upon the British and the Japanese for these services.”[19] If war broke out with Spain, the U.S. squadron on the East Asian coast could sail the 700 miles from Hong Kong to Manila in less than a week, with all the coal its ships could carry. But unless the ships could secure a new base, they would have to sail around for a few weeks until the coal and other supplies ran low and then go off to some place where they could put thousands of tons of coal back in their fuel bunkers.  The closest American coaling station was in Hawaii, established by agreement with the Hawaiians in 1887. Then there were the problems of neutral rights. If there was a war with Spain all the usual ports of call for America’s Asiatic squadron — Hong Kong, Singapore and Nagasaki — would be in neutral countries such as Britain and Japan. Under the prevailing understanding of neutral rights, rights the United States had loudly insisted upon during its civil war, a neutral country could not host and supply ships of a power that was at war. If the ships of the belligerent power did not leave, the neutral power would have to intern them and their sailors. That meant that the neutral power would impound the ships and hold the sailors until they could be returned home in some neutral way. In short, the Asiatic squadron would not be able to stay where it was, based in Hong Kong. The squadron would have to leave. Where could it go after sailing around for a while? The only possible places would be to the nearest American coaling station, which was thousands of miles away in Hawaii, or go all the way home to the nearest U.S. naval base, in California. If that happened the Asiatic squadron might play no useful part in the war at all. Worse, the squadron’s withdrawal thousands of miles away would then open up the Asiatic shipping lanes to a potential Spanish attack on American merchantmen, since the Spanish did have an Asiatic base, in Manila Bay. The only other choice was for the squadron to attack Manila Bay. There it could try to blockade the Spanish for a few weeks, until the American squadron ran short on coal and had to run home. Or, more risky, the squadron could attack the Spanish squadron in Manila Bay and try to seize it to turn it into an American base. There was then little geopolitics or grand strategy in the paragraph of the Navy plan that dealt with the Asiatic squadron. There was a more banal question: What are we going to do with the Asiatic squadron during a war with Spain? Something had to be found for the ships to do. They could not just hang out in East Asia because of the neutrality problem in the region’s ports of call. So, unless they had an object, the handful of warships would have to spend a month sailing home and effectively sit out the war. If the Navy did not want to bring the ships the long way home, it had to find something for them to do in the Atlantic, like the Canary Islands scheme, or else send them to attack Manila. Of those two options, Manila was judged to be more practical, if risky. That risky option was therefore what the Navy expected the Asiatic squadron to do. It was led by Commodore George Dewey, a 60 year-old Vermonter who had been in the Navy since he arrived at the Naval Academy at age 17. He had last seen combat in the Civil War. But he had wanted this sea duty and he had an aggressive spirit. That was the spirit needed for this mission, which had a bit of a “win or die” atmosphere about it. If something went badly wrong with his attack, he would be thousands of miles away from any U.S. base to which he could retreat. [quote id="7"] When war came, the main U.S. naval forces were concentrated in the Caribbean and the Atlantic to be ready around Cuba. The five remaining battleships were assigned to the Caribbean and Atlantic. So were most of the modern cruisers. Of the 15 modern (armored or protected) cruisers in the Navy, Dewey’s squadron had only four. In principle, Dewey’s squadron could still outgun the Spanish ships in Manila Bay. But Dewey’s ships had to run through the entrance to the bay, which could easily be covered by shore batteries and mined. Then, even if they ran that gauntlet, Dewey’s ships would have to pummel the Spanish vessels that might be supported by shore batteries. The Spanish understood all of this. They too had expected and planned for possible war with the United States. They had developed the right kind of defensive plans for Manila Bay. But the Spanish had not implemented those plans. They had not installed enough of the needed artillery, observation posts or mines. An intrepid American consul in Manila observed the Spanish preparations and kept Dewey informed, escaping Manila to join Dewey just as the war began.[20] After a mysterious explosion sank the U.S. battleship Maine, then visiting Havana harbor, on February 15, 1898, preparations for a war with Spain quickened. Dewey had been told to gather his squadron in Hong Kong and prepare. There is an often-repeated story about how Roosevelt and Lodge schemed to send orders to Dewey to attack the Philippines on a day in February while Long was out of the office. The story is a myth that Lodge embellished in a later memoir. In fact, the orders that went out when Long was out that day had followed up on prior plans. Long reviewed them on his return to the office.[21] Relations were broken and war began on April 21. That day Long walked over to see President McKinley. It was a short walk. Back then the White House had no West Wing. Long would have strolled on a short path by some gardens between the State, War and Navy Building over to the door to the executive mansion. He was used to this. He would sometimes go over at night, dropping in on his friend to join a family dinner or while the president was reading the paper in the evening. The Navy Department, the State Department and the War Department were housed in the new ornate building completed in 1888, just west of the White House. Called the State, War and Navy Building until after World War II, this is now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (and has been taken over by staff in the Executive Office of the President). Before walking to the executive mansion Long had discussed the first set of war orders with his Naval War Board. Then he and McKinley strolled for an hour that afternoon through the streets of Washington. The months leading to war had taken a toll on McKinley. He seemed visibly careworn and losing sleep. Long noted to his diary that the president “opens his heart to me, with reference to the struggle through which he has been and the anxiety it has involved.” Probably during this walk, Long explained that the Navy’s long-standing plans were to send Dewey on to Manila to attack the Spanish forces there. McKinley took this in. But he “preferred to consider the matter a little longer.” A couple of days later, there was still no approval from McKinley. There is no evidence about why he hesitated. Then news arrived from Dewey. As expected, the British governor in Hong Kong had just communicated the order: Dewey and his warships must leave their neutral harbor immediately. Neutral harbors in China and Japan were also expected to be unavailable, except as way stations home to America. On Sunday, April 24, Long went back to the White House and reviewed the situation with the president. Now the matter was urgent. What else could Dewey do but go on to Manila Bay, as planned? Long’s staff had drafted the order. The president finally approved it.[22] It took about a week for the Asiatic squadron to reach Manila Bay. On May 1, Dewey’s ships fought their battle. During the night, the Americans slipped into the bay without interference. The Spanish warships were engaged. All were sunk or disabled. Not one American life was lost. What a victory! From top to bottom the country was relieved and electrified by the news. Now what? What could Dewey’s squadron do next? The Navy had not planned for this. The Spanish garrison in Manila remained intact. It did not surrender. Dewey could put some Marines ashore at the Cavite Navy Yard, about eight miles from Manila. He could hang around for a while, patrolling the bay and maintaining a blockade. But he could not remain for months unless he could secure control of the port and its facilities. Dewey could not capture Manila. After hanging around in Manila Bay for a couple of weeks, Dewey cabled home that even if the Spanish surrendered he could not hold Manila without getting some troops. He estimated the Spanish troop strength at about 10,000 men. There were numerous Filipino rebels hemming in the Spanish by land, “although they are inactive and making no demonstrations.” Dewey asked for a “well equipped force of 5000 men.”[23] McKinley had anticipated this request. He had decided to send out an expedition to hold Manila, which Dewey’s victory had not quite placed in U.S. hands. A few months later McKinley would smilingly tell a friend, “If old Dewey had just sailed away when he smashed that Spanish fleet, what a lot of trouble he would have saved us.” But recounting the matter later in 1898 to a more knowledgeable group, McKinley was less airy. The problem, McKinley explained, was that the battle had
taken place at Manilla and not on the high seas[.] Manilla became a question from which we could not escape. Dewey had to go there to find the Spanish fleet. … [A]nd having destroyed their fleet Dewey found [Manila] to be the safest and indeed the only harbor open to him as by laws of neutrality he was excluded from all other countries[’] ports.[24]
Once the post-battle situation became clear, an expedition was put together to secure American occupation of the port. The Army had no plan whatsoever for the Philippines. It began looking frantically for regiments and officers that could go help hold on at least in Manila until there was a peace conference. The Army made its estimates of how many troops were needed to be sure of defeating a Spanish force of about 10,000 troops. The Army and Navy agreed to send some 15,000 to 20,000 troops, including many of the new volunteers enlisted for the war, to have enough soldiers to outnumber the Spanish. The Army’s commanding general, Nelson Miles, clarified the expedition commander’s mission. His orders told the commander, Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt, that this was not some force “expected to carry on a war to conquer an extensive territory.” The expedition was only to establish “a strong garrison to command the harbor of Manila” and to relieve the burden on Dewey’s sailors and Marines.[25] The expedition went out in three waves as the Navy scrounged ships to carry and escort them.[26] The first group sailed at the end of May and arrived in Manila Bay on July 4. The remaining troops, including Maj. Gen. Merritt, arrived later in July. Waiting for the expedition week after week, Dewey’s situation was uneasy. Word spread that the Spanish were sending a naval force out to recapture Manila and that the force would include battleships that could outgun anything in Dewey’s force. Dewey’s ships might have to retreat. If American soldiers arrived, they might have to fade into the hills.[27] Meanwhile, warships from Germany, Britain, France and Japan arrived in Manila Bay. All these countries already had nearby bases in East Asia. These four squadrons waited watchfully, like carrion birds circling in the sky over a fallen animal. The German force alone was significantly more powerful than Dewey’s squadron and, as I discuss below, it was Germany that had the most ambitious designs for the Philippines. The potential longer-term significance of American occupation of this port began to dawn on both the McKinley administration and the American public. In the United States, the news of Dewey’s victory had set off a whirl of speculation. Some wondered whether the United States should even try to take the islands as a possession. All sorts of pressures in the United States were building about the future of the Philippines. For decades Americans had been arguing about how to assert themselves in the world. The American population was one of the largest in the world, and the U.S. economy was already the world’s largest. But no one was quite sure what being a world power meant. The 1890s had been a decade of great contrasts of old ways and new machines, as well as all sorts of domestic scars and divisions — old wounds of North and South plus new wounds from battles between labor and management in all the new industries. Amid this division, perhaps because of it, shows of patriotism, parades and flag-waving were so common and exuberant as to almost seem neurotic, as if a frantic outward display of pride and union was the constant, soothing balm applied to ease so much inward pain and striving. [quote id="3"] Some leading Americans had looked for ways the country could show off, could test its strength. But against whom? For what? [28] Meanwhile, for nearly 20 years since the British occupation of Egypt in 1882, the great European powers had been racing to expand their empires, competing in a frenzied land grab to include every open scrap of earth in the world. These scrambles had mainly focused on Africa and Asia. By comparison the Americans had seemed passive, preoccupied with what was going on in their own vast country. “As of the early 1880s educated Americans nearly all doubted the value of colonies and regarded efforts to conquer other populations as morally wrong.” But, reading the news of an apparent imperialist consensus in Europe, especially among British Liberals, during the 1880s and after the former “unanimity” of American opinion leaders “had begun to break down.”[29] Some outspoken men believed that the United States had to join this global imperial race and try to catch up. These advocates were called “jingoes,” a derision to mock such “by jingo” enthusiasms. The jingoes had applauded in 1893 when Hawaii’s American planters and professionals had engineered a coup to overthrow Hawaii’s native government. The leaders of the new government wanted to bring Hawaii into the United States. As noted earlier, Hawaii had the only U.S. coaling station in the Pacific and it had long been under American protection. But this Hawaiian government’s pleas for annexation had been tabled for nearly five years. The jingoes did not control the Republican Party in Congress or in the White House. McKinley had finally sent a Hawaiian annexation treaty to the Senate. But McKinley did not expect two-thirds of the Senate to ratify the treaty and he did little to press it.[30] When the war began, however, Congress immediately moved on the long-simmering Hawaiian question and annexed the islands. A public debate about the Philippine islands had begun. Yet in secret, McKinley wanted to use the Philippine position as a bargaining chip, just as the prewar Navy plans had envisioned. He was prepared to give the islands back to Spain, if that would indeed bring about “an honorable and durable peace.” McKinley left in his papers an undated note in which he had jotted: “While we are conducting war and until its conclusion we must keep all we get; when the war is over we must keep what we want.”[31]

The Secret Offer, May to June 1898

As spring turned to summer, McKinley’s main worry was about how to land troops and win the battles in Cuba. When war came, Alger, the secretary of war, was overwhelmed by his job. The Army had begun the war with no particular plans for how to fight it. To the better-prepared Navy Secretary, Long, it seemed the Army was “ready for nothing at all.”[32] As if to underscore this point, just as the war was getting underway the Army’s commanding general, Nelson Miles, wrote to McKinley opposing any expedition to Cuba during the summer of 1898. “This letter reached the President two or three days after war had been declared,” Corbin later recorded privately. “It shocked him beyond words. Only on one other occasion did I see him show more feeling. Among other things he said, ‘God willing and not failing us, we shall end the war before the General would have us begin operations. He little understands me; no more does he know the temper of our people. I deplore the war, but it must be short and quick to the finish.’”[33] With Alger difficult and Miles untrustworthy, McKinley decided to oversee the War Department as directly as he could. He personally supervised the Cuban campaign plan. To help, McKinley relied on Corbin, who was always just a short walk away in the new building west of the executive mansion. At the Navy Department, Long grew wearier as the conflict went on. With his young deputy, Roosevelt, off to the Army, his new deputy turned out to be very competent. But Long himself flagged. By mid-May, a McKinley aide observed,
Secretary Long moves along quietly. He is not sure-footed as his friends would have us believe. He hesitates, questions too much, seems hampered by too great conservatism and often he seems to be in the position of the surgeon who fails of … ‘nerve’ and decision at the critical moment.[34]
McKinley ordered the creation of a War Room in the executive mansion. It was staffed with clerks and telegraphers; large maps were hung with pins stuck in to show the positions of troops and ships. McKinley would often be there, reading cables as they came in and studying the maps.[35] McKinley’s style of leadership was not charismatic. He did not point the way and rally the troops. Cabinet meetings remained informal. McKinley might open with a story to put others at ease. His was another kind of leadership style — that of a judge. People would make their arguments. He would hear them out, not revealing his own views until the time for decision. When all had spoken, McKinley would state a decision and go around asking, “You agree?” To one of McKinley’s aides, the president “is the strong man of the Cabinet, the dominating force; but with it all, is a gentleness and graciousness in dealing with men that some of his greatest victories have been won apparently without any struggle.” His later secretary of war, Elihu Root, remembered McKinley as a “man of great power because he was absolutely indifferent to credit. His desire was to ‘get it done!’ He cared nothing about the credit, but McKinley always had his way.”[36] The new secretary of state, William Day, was used to McKinley’s style. A former judge from Ohio, Day had been the deputy to his aged predecessor in the job, John Sherman. From the start, it was Day who had done most of the foreign policy work for the president. As soon as war began, McKinley pushed Sherman out and Day took over the top job. A small-framed, thin-faced mustachioed lawyer nearing 50, Day had long been a fact-finder for McKinley on many problems. He was discreet and thorough. McKinley’s secretary noted, “Here is a quiet, one might almost say country, lawyer who has so conducted the foreign affairs of this administration as to win unanimous commendation.”[37] As soon as he was elevated, Day named his deputy, picking the best expert on international law that he could find. This was a bearded, stocky former State Department official (and Democrat), a Columbia professor named John Bassett Moore.[38] Day and Moore were McKinley’s allies when he made his high-risk move to use the Philippines as a bargaining chip. After the Spanish defeat at Manila Bay, there was turmoil in Madrid. London got word that the queen regent and key ministers might be ready for a deal, to give up Cuba in exchange for peace. The British came to the U.S. ambassador in London, John Hay, who relayed the private question: What peace terms might America accept?[39] Moore promptly drafted an answer. Terms could be generous “if immediately proposed by Spain, directly or by some mediator.” Spain would evacuate Cuba. The United States would manage a transition of power to the Cubans. Spain would cede Puerto Rico to the United States. If the Spanish did that, then the Philippines would “be allowed to remain with Spain.” In the Pacific the United States would only want “a coaling station,” either in the Philippines or in the neighboring Spanish-held Carolines island group.[40] On May 11, about a week after news had arrived about Dewey’s naval victory in Manila Bay, Day put this proposal for a deal before the Cabinet. Alger disagreed, but there is no evidence why. There the matter rested for a couple of weeks. McKinley was preoccupied with plans to launch a large U.S. expedition to eastern Cuba. This expedition was to land near the port of Santiago de Cuba, where the Navy had just bottled up the fleet that Spain had sent to Cuba. It was a risky plan, relying on a lot of improvisation and luck. The Americans would try to establish a firm hold in eastern Cuba and put off the huge challenge of trying to take on Havana, where the Spanish had the bulk of their strength.[41] Once that expedition plan was set, the diplomats went back to the peace move. Day’s plan now was to bypass the Cabinet and take the proposed bargain directly to McKinley. He would leave it to the president to “ascertain what his ‘jingos’ thought about it.” Day was “very strongly opposed to retaining the Philippines, except possibly some coaling station in them, upon any terms.” Day met with McKinley. They agreed on what to do. Day then instructed Hay, his man in London, to float the deal. The president, “speaking for himself, would be inclined to grant terms of peace” with the Philippines to remain with Spain, ceding only a coaling station, if Spain would give up Cuba. This deal would avoid the need for “further sacrifice and loss of life.” But Day asked Hay to warn that “Prolongation of war may change this materially.” To help make sure the proposed deal got through to Madrid, Day apparently also privately briefed the British ambassador in Washington. That envoy informed his French, German and Austrian colleagues. Thus the terms soon became known on the diplomatic circuit, though there was nothing in public that linked the offer directly with McKinley. Nor is there any evidence that this secret diplomatic move was discussed with other members of McKinley’s Cabinet. No one appears to have known about McKinley’s personal authorization except for Day and Moore in Washington, and Hay in London. Day reminded Hay to hide McKinley’s hand in this. The proposal to give up the Philippines could not be seen as “coming from us.”[42] Secrecy for McKinley was vital; he was taking a great risk by making this offer. Spain was the enemy. Its rule in Cuba was regarded as a loathsome tyranny. Its rule in the Philippines was getting similar attention. The jingoes, like Lodge and Roosevelt (then a colonel helping to lead a volunteer regiment preparing to go to Cuba), already felt strongly that, whoever ended up with them, the Philippine Islands had to be taken from Spain. Roosevelt, writing to Lodge from his Army camp in Texas on May 19, advised: “do not make peace until we get Porto Rico, while Cuba is made independent and the Philippines at any rate taken from the Spaniards.” He repeated this suggestion to Lodge on May 25.[43] To many Americans it would already have seemed wrong, even immoral, for America to hand Manila and the Philippine Islands back to Spain under any circumstances. To make it worse, the American president was the one suggesting this. Disclosure of McKinley’s move could have set off a terrific political storm. Further, Spain had not yet asked for peace or tabled any ideas. The Americans feared that making the first move would signal weakness or unreadiness to fight. So the plan was for the terms to be passed secretly to the Spanish. Then the Spanish would make the proposal, knowing that it was likely to be accepted. The first part worked. The terms were passed to Spain and its friends in Europe.[44] [quote id="4"] The second part failed to launch. The Spanish preferred to keep fighting. They had been encouraged by a naval skirmish in May and hopeful that the latest group of ships sent to Cuba might do well. They had belatedly dispatched another squadron to the Philippines. Instead, during June, Spain’s main diplomatic move was to ask the other great powers to join its fight in the Philippines, to mount a joint military intervention to take over Manila. “Spain,” Hay reported, “was not yet sensible enough to ask for peace, on even the most reasonable terms.” The secret offer dissipated. Day thanked Hay for his handling of “this most delicate matter.”[45]The war continued. There were more Spanish defeats. By the end of June, the American expedition to eastern Cuba had landed. The siege of Santiago de Cuba by land and by sea had begun. In the first days of July, American troops seized the high ground near Santiago in the fights at San Juan Heights and Kettle Hill. The Spanish fleet in Santiago went to sea and accepted battle. On July 3 it was destroyed. The remaining garrison in Santiago de Cuba surrendered. The other Spanish fleet, the one that had been sent to the Philippines, stopped. As a neutral power, the British refused to allow the Spanish warships to pass through the Suez Canal. The Spanish recalled the fleet to Spain, now worrying that the Americans might attack Spanish home waters.[46] From the Philippines came more news. A native Filipino government had declared its independence. Its soldiers were fighting as America’s friends, alongside the troops of the newly arrived U.S. expedition. The option of returning the islands to Spain had become a good deal more complicated.

Terms for an Armistice, July to August

During the summer of 1898 Americans started learning a lot more about the Spanish possessions in the Pacific. At the beginning of June, Albert Shaw, the editor of the Review of Reviews, one of the most-read news digests in America, observed, “A few weeks ago the great majority of the people of the United States knew nothing about the Philippines except in the vaguest possible way.” Now a great many American families were becoming aware of it because some of their young men were being deployed across the Pacific in a far-reaching expedition “absolutely without any precedent in our national history.”[47] Shaw’s digest, like many newspapers, included articles that described the situation in the Philippines. McKinley himself read these and other articles, leaving behind clippings or references to some notable articles in his papers. Anyone reading the articles in Shaw’s Review, or any other major newspaper, would learn that the Philippines was a group of islands with 6 million to 8 million inhabitants. The native racial background was given as “Malay,” with deep hostility among native groups in different portions of the islands (Tagal versus Visayan versus Moro, for example). They would also learn that a substantial number of Chinese and Chinese-descended families dominated the retail trade as well as a handful of foreign trading houses, mainly British. There were few available experts on the Philippines in the English-speaking or scholarly world. The best account to appear in English that summer in any source, in or outside of government, was an article from one of those few experts, an Englishman, John Foreman. He had long known Spain and the Philippines as a businessman and explorer, as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and he knew the Filipino revolutionary leaders too. McKinley read Foreman’s article.[48] Every account, including Foreman’s, stressed Spanish misrule. Spanish rule was portrayed as anti-modern and purely predatory. It had added little of value and it had stunted development and education in the islands. Local priests, the friars, routinely abused their authority, answerable to no law but that of their protective bishops, while there was a veneer of mediocre Spanish administrators who were corrupt, lethargic and cruel. Therefore, the Filipino revolutionaries were usually portrayed sympathetically. Foreman, for instance, regarded the young rebel leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, as a “smart, intelligent man, of a serious mien” with a real following, especially among the Tagal elite in Luzon. Aguinaldo was a “would-be reformer” who had resorted to force out of necessity. Yet every account also stressed that the local inhabitants were not nearly ready for or capable of self-government. Spain had created no intermediary institutions — no native assemblies or cadres of trained officials. There was the condition of the population, the absence of any infrastructure for modern government, and the deadly hostility among the different ethnic groups in the islands. Foreman concluded: “At first, no doubt, the islanders will welcome and co-operate in any arrangement which will rid them of monastic oppression. The Philippine Islands, however, would not remain one year a peaceful united Archipelago under an independent native government. It is an utter impossibility.” Worse, Foreman noted,
If the native Republic did succeed, it would not be strong enough to protect itself against foreign aggression. … I entertain the firm conviction that an unprotected united Republic would last only until the novelty of the situation had worn off. Then, I think, every principal island would, in turn, declare its independence. Finally, there would be complete chaos, and before that took root America, or some European nation, would probably have interfered.
For the readers of his day, Foreman did not need to do more than gesture at the recent record of what had happened in other lands that had thrown off Spanish rule. Throughout their adult lives, his 1898 readers had read accounts of the revolutions, civil wars, and foreign interventions that tormented Latin America throughout the 19th century, in every liberated province of the former Spanish empire. The possibility of foreign intervention was not abstract. During the 1880s and 1890s, every habitable rock on Earth had been claimed. Americans could remember having been caught up briefly in a strange little 1888 crisis involving British and German claims over the tiny islands of Samoa. Outside of the Qing Empire in China and the Kingdom of Siam (a kind of demilitarized zone between the British in Burma and the French in Indochina), there were no spots in East Asia and the Pacific that were not in European or Japanese control. The German, British, French, and Japanese warships were anchored watchfully in Manila Bay. Of these the German squadron was the most intimidating presence. This was no accident. From the outset of the crisis the German navy minister, unbeknownst to the United States, was “firm as a rock in his conviction that we must have Manila and that this would be of enormous advantage to us.” Kaiser Wilhelm II considered it “the first task of German diplomacy … to obtain naval bases in the Far East.”[49] The Philippines problem had arisen in what, in 1898, was probably the part of the globe most likely to set off a worldwide war. The breakup and possible partition of China seemed imminent. Korean independence was tenuous and near the most volatile spot on Earth, the place where the next general war then seemed most likely to break out. It was, a veteran British leader secretly confided, a crisis “pregnant with possibilities of a disastrous kind; and it might result in an Armageddon between the European Powers struggling for the ruins of the Chinese Empire.”[50] This was the Far Eastern crisis: the simmering cauldron of Qing, Russian, Japanese, German, and British interests in northeast China and Manchuria. During the spring of 1898 Hay had sent a handwritten letter directly to McKinley, outside of official channels. “The conditions of things in China is to the last degree serious,” he had warned. “[T]he present crisis is considered by English statesmen one of the gravest of our times.”[51] So far, the United States had endeavored to stay clear of this Far Eastern broil. The British secretly asked the Americans if they would consider joint action to protect everyone’s trading rights in China. The McKinley government had turned down the British request. But it obviously did not want to make the situation worse and trigger a possible world war.[52] The British ambassador to Germany had confided to Hay the British government’s hope that the United States would just keep the Philippines. There was, he said, “not a power in Europe [that] would seriously object to that disposition of them, while any other [choice] might disturb the peace of the world.”[53] Foreman thought a foreign power should establish a protectorate over the Philippines. That power would organize a largely native government while providing overall direction and defense. Foreman did not believe the Americans were up to the job. England, he thought, “would probably find it a less irksome task.” Shaw’s conclusion, in the Review of Reviews article mentioned earlier, was similar to Foreman’s, except that he thought America had to assume the burden.[54] All these considerations also had to account for a new factor. The Filipino insurgents had announced their own government. In late May, Aguinaldo and a number of his colleagues had returned to the Philippines from exile, encouraged by the U.S. consul in Hong Kong and aided by Adm. Dewey. Digesting all this, officials in Washington realized that the insurgents had to be taken into account. Yet the United States wanted to do nothing to foreclose its options. They cautioned Dewey, the expedition commanders, and their diplomats. All said they had made no compromising pledges to the insurgents. Dewey added: “In my opinion these people are far superior in their intelligence and more capable of self-government than the natives of Cuba, and I am familiar with both races.”[55] In mid-July, the Spanish were ready to talk about peace, using France as their diplomatic channel. The first step was to arrange terms for an armistice, while a peace treaty could be negotiated. From his perch in the Senate, Lodge weighed in about what he thought the terms should be. Lodge’s position was intricate. He wanted the United States to take all of the Philippines from Spain but then keep only the island of Luzon. Cede the rest to Britain, he argued, in a deal to get more Caribbean islands. Lodge spent hours in meetings and dinners lobbying McKinley and Day. They gave him the impression that they were still making up their minds.[56] McKinley and Day wanted to hear what John Hay thought, from London. Hay still liked the earlier idea of giving the islands back to Spain if there could be some “strong guarantee of fair treatment of natives” and a ban on Spain selling the islands to some other power (such as Germany). Hay reported that the British did, though, “prefer to have us retain Philippine Islands, or, failing that, insist on option in case of future sale.” The German government’s interest in getting something was all too evident.[57] What about Japan? The Japanese ambassador in Washington advised that “the Japanese government would be highly gratified if the United States would occupy the Islands.” The ambassador very politely added that “it would not be as agreeable to the Japanese Government to have them turned over to some other power.”[58] Hay’s views remained “conservative” (the usual adjective for Republicans not among the jingoes). But he was not sure his position was still workable. Reading that industrialist Andrew Carnegie was against the United States taking the Philippines, Hay wrote to Carnegie, “I am not allowed to say in my present fix, how much I agree with you. The only question in my mind is how far it is now possible for us to withdraw from the Philippines. I am rather thankful it is not given to me to solve that momentous question.”[59] On a hot July afternoon, McKinley invited his Cabinet members to join him on a Potomac River cruise on the presidential yacht. He wanted them to discuss peace terms. The Cabinet had longer arguments about this topic, mainly about the Philippines, than about any other subject during McKinley’s presidency. McKinley’s Cabinet, sitting together on the yacht on the Potomac, began its discussion. Day led off. He was still for giving the islands back to Spain, except for a coaling station. About half the Cabinet (including Navy Secretary Long) agreed with him. Those on the other side pointed out that returning the islands to Spain would seem appalling, given the sort of Spanish misrule that had led to war over Cuba. One Cabinet member quoted a distinguished senator who was against American expansion but still said he would “as soon turn a redeemed soul over to the devil as give the Philippines back to Spain.” Opinions wavered. The agriculture secretary wanted to keep all the islands and evangelize them. But he altered his views as he learned more about the Filipino insurgency. War Secretary Alger went back and forth. Another Cabinet member spoke for keeping Luzon and setting up a protectorate for the rest. The interior secretary saw great commercial opportunities and wanted to hold the islands. One of the more capable Cabinet members, the attorney general, also thought the United States should keep them all. The Treasury secretary, on the other hand, argued for complete withdrawal and returning all of the Philippines back to Spain. Through all this, hour after hour, McKinley offered little comment. He just kept the discussion going. The next day the arguments continued. As they kept going over the problems, several began emphasizing that the government needed more information about the situation, including the advice of people on the scene such as Adm. Dewey. At this point the U.S. government had not yet received a single serious written analysis of the situation in the Philippines, nor any recommendations, from any of its officers posted there.[60] Humility and caution prevailed. Defer, wait for more information from the field: That was the consensus. Peace commissioners would be appointed. They would sort out the Philippines problem as they got more information back from the islands. Beyond Spanish evacuation of Cuba and Puerto Rico and an island in the Ladrones (Marianas) that turned out to be Guam, the cease-fire terms for the Philippines were simple. The United States would occupy “the city, bay, and harbor of Manila pending the conclusion of a treaty of peace which shall determine the control, disposition, and government of the Philippines.”[61] McKinley and Day gave the terms to the French ambassador, Jules Cambon, representing Spain. Cambon complained that the terms were harsh. McKinley replied that Spain could have had a much better deal had it sought peace sooner. The armistice and cease-fire was signed on August 12. At the end of August, the Americans controlled and protected the city of Manila and surrounding waters. Little more. Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government was taking control of the rest of the surrounding island of Luzon. It organized a congress to meet in the government’s improvised capital, Malolos. Aguinaldo sent a message to the foreign powers reiterating the new government’s independence. They ignored him. No foreign country would recognize his government. The Spanish still held the Visayan islands south of Luzon, including Panay. Spain also retained nominal control of the large Muslim “Moro” islands in the south. Picking the peace commissioners, McKinley immediately put his most trusted aide, Day, in the lead. Moore would be the commission’s secretary. To go to Paris for the negotiations, Day would have to resign as secretary of state. John Hay was asked to come back to Washington and take over the State Department in Day’s place.[62]

Gen. Greene’s Mission and the Decision to Take the Philippines, August to October 1898

After the July debates, the Cabinet and McKinley agreed it was most important to get information and recommendations from the Americans who were on the scene in the Philippines. Of these men, none turned out to be more influential than a brigadier general named Francis Vinton Greene. It was an illustrious name. Greene came from one of the most respected military families in America. His grandfather was Nathaniel Greene, one of the most celebrated generals in the Revolution. His father had been a general during the Civil War, commanding a Union brigade at Gettysburg. Following the family tradition, Francis Greene had graduated from West Point in 1870 at the top of his class. Commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, he had been one of the surveyors on a renowned expedition during the 1870s in the Rocky Mountain West. As a staff officer in the War Department Greene had become close to President Ulysses S. Grant as well as to Gens. William Sherman and Philip Sheridan and other leading officers of the day. In these years, he first met the young naval officer George Dewey. Greene was assigned to go out and observe the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. He witnessed the principal campaigns and wrote a book about the war that became a standard account, establishing a unique reputation as a soldier-scholar. Greene left the Army in 1886 to go into business in New York City. Running an asphalt paving company, he became a powerful force in all the civic improvement and road-building issues of that city and beyond. That connected him well to local Republican politics. He was also elected colonel of one of New York’s militia regiments, the 71st New York. As war with Spain threatened, one of Greene’s friends, Theodore Roosevelt, pleaded with the colonel to accept him as a deputy in that regiment, a lieutenant colonel, if war came. (Roosevelt ended up finding such a place in a different regiment, commanded by Leonard Wood.) When the war did come, as Greene and his regiment readied for service in Cuba, Greene was ordered to command one of the brigades being assembled for the Philippines. It was not a hard call for Corbin at the War Department.  Corbin would later privately record that he regarded Greene as “one of the most competent soldiers I have ever known.”[63] After a difficult siege in the rainy season and a brief assault, Greene’s brigade and the other American troops had accepted the surrender of Manila. Greene, who could speak Spanish and French, was promptly put in charge of all the finances of the Philippine administration. He met with all the Spanish officials and leading private bankers and took actions to head off a financial crisis. This was the context when McKinley asked Dewey to provide his best advice about the situation in the Philippines. He asked Dewey to even consider returning to Washington to report directly to him on this vital matter. Dewey sent a brief reply, noting the desirability of Luzon but saying nothing about the revolutionary government that had been created by Aguinaldo. Dewey said he hoped he would not have to go to Washington while matters remained “in present critical condition.” Dewey, Army expedition commander Merritt, and Greene conferred. They decided that Greene should be the man to go to Washington.[64] News arrived of the armistice with Spain. Outside of official channels, Greene received a telegram from a well-connected associate. It advised him that the war was considered closed. Commissioners would determine the disposition of the Philippines. Greene’s friend thought the Army would just retain a garrison there. This informal news shocked the commanders in Manila. They feared the United States was planning to withdraw from the islands and thought that leaders in Washington did not understand the “critical” situation. On August 25, Merritt and Greene fired a salvo of telegrams to Washington through official and unofficial channels. In one, Greene asked his friend to go see Corbin as soon as possible, to even see President McKinley if necessary. He recommended that the president should send for “a competent and responsible person immediately” to come and brief them — either Maj. Gen. Merritt or himself, going to Washington or to Paris (to see the commissioners). Greene also cabled Day and Hay to the same effect. Washington reacted promptly. Merritt was ordered to turn over his command to a newly arrived major-general, Elwell Otis, and hurry at once to Paris. There he could brief the peace commissioners. Greene was ordered to Washington “by first transport.” Dewey said his views would come back with Greene. He again called for holding on to Luzon. He wrote little about politics or practicalities. The Filipinos, he did add, “are gentle, docile and under just laws and with the benefits of popular education would soon make good citizens” with capacities for self-government superior to the Cubans. On August 30, the day after he received his order from Washington, Greene boarded a steamship for Hong Kong. Boarding the ship with Greene was Aguinaldo’s representative, Felipe Agoncillo, who also hoped to see and influence the American president. Greene liked and respected Agoncillo. During the weeks of traveling the two men frequently dined together and chatted. Greene brought with him every book and relevant document he could find. He used the ensuing weeks of travel to draft a detailed report for McKinley, more than 60 pages, on “The Situation in the Philippines.”[65] Knowing how long his trip would take, Greene sent a preview. On September 5, as he changed ships in Nagasaki, Greene personally encoded an unusual telegram sent outside of standard Army channels. Written in the tightly abbreviated style of telegrams in that era, Greene sent his message directly to Day. It read:
Rep of Aguinaldo with me. Comes solely on his own responsibility. In my opinion Spanish Power Philippines dead. Any attempt revive it will result Civil War, anarchy and foreign intervention.
Once the 13,000 Spanish prisoners already in American hands were sent home, “Aguinaldo’s army will probably dissolve. He cannot maintain independent gov’t without protection of some strong nation.” Therefore: “Only safe course is for United States to hold islands and not divide them. British sentiment will support this unanimously. Have expressed these views Admiral Dewey. He fully concurs.”[66] Thus for the first time, in early September, McKinley and Day finally received a very plain statement about what their commanders in the Philippines thought about the points they and their Cabinet colleagues had been debating. In addition to the substance of this advice, McKinley would have realized its political significance. He could presume that eventually such advice would become publicly known. It would not be easy for the president to break with the advice he had received from his men on the spot, including the new national hero (Dewey). McKinley was still not quite convinced. Later in September, he convened his freshly appointed peace commissioners to discuss their instructions. Out for a carriage ride with one of them, a vigorous expansionist, McKinley seemed (to his companion) to be “timid about the Philippines.” To him, McKinley seemed “oppressed with the idea that our volunteers were all tired of the service and eager to get home. ‘The whole shooting match wants to quit,’ was the way he expressed it.” McKinley thought the country was in no mood for further military operations, including fights for expansion. At the meeting, the expansionist commissioners debated Day, whom McKinley had put in charge of the delegation. Day had not budged from his view that the United States should take as little as possible. To Day, the Americans had only liberated Manila. They had no obligations beyond that. Washington, Day argued, had to place some limit on humanitarian enterprise:
Because we had done good in one place [Cuba], we were not therefore compelled to rush over the whole civilized world, six thousand miles away from home, to undertake tasks of that sort among people about whom we knew nothing, and with whom we had no relation.
McKinley summed up. He could see why many Americans found the acquisition of territory naturally attractive. But he thought these attractions would wear off “when the difficulties, expense and loss of life which it entailed, became more manifest.” However, McKinley said he could no longer see how to return liberated Manila to Spain. Flowing from that, it also seemed doubtful to hold Manila without holding more of the surrounding island of Luzon. “Beyond this he did not seem inclined to go.” He then drafted the commission’s instructions accordingly. He privately told Day that, if territory was returned to Spain, it would be good to try to get some guarantees about the treatment of the inhabitants.[67] After four weeks of travel by ship and railroad, Greene’s train steamed into Washington on September 27. Greene went straight to the White House. McKinley practically cleared his schedule for him. Greene met for two hours with McKinley on the day he arrived. He delivered his report, which the president read and reviewed with him. The report was clear and vividly written. The next day McKinley had a copy of it sent to Paris for the commissioners, commending it to them. The next morning Greene was back at the White House, now joined by the new secretary of state, Hay. He stayed for lunch. Greene was back yet again in the evening, now joined by his wife, for a visit that mixed business and socializing. Two days later Greene was at the White House for still more discussions. Greene also arranged for McKinley to meet with his traveling companion, Aguinaldo’s representative Agoncillo. Greene joined that meeting too. Agoncillo was received purely as a private traveler since neither the United States nor anyone else had recognized his revolutionary government. While en route to Washington, Agoncillo had also previewed his position. Meeting with reporters he outlined that, above all, his government wanted absolute independence. If absolute independence was not possible, the next preference was to become a protectorate of the United States. A third preference was to be an American colony or, worse still, a British one. What they could not accept was any return to Spanish rule.[68] [quote id="5"] In their meeting Agoncillo told McKinley about the revolution and the new government. McKinley was noncommittal. Agoncillo’s written position was passed along to the commissioners in Paris, Agoncillo’s next destination.[69] In his own meetings with McKinley, in addition to going over his long report, Greene boiled down the options he thought were left to the United States. He wrote these out separately, as follows:
There are five courses open to us in the Philippines: first, to return them to Spain, which would mean Civil War for we have destroyed Spanish authority in the Philippines; second, to hand the Philippines over to the Filipinos, which would mean anarchy for they are at present incapable of self-government; third, to hand the Islands over to Germany or Japan, either one of which could probably take them over, but this would be an act of cowardice of which we are incapable; fourth, to put the Islands under some form of joint protectorate like that which was established [by Britain] for Egypt in 1882, but this has not proved successful and has resulted in one nation taking the whole responsibility; fifth, to take all the Islands as possessions of the United States and gradually work out their destiny, and this is the only proper solution.
McKinley read this over and over again, in silence. Then “with that kindly smile which was so characteristic of him,” he observed “gently,” that: “General Greene, that is very advanced doctrine. I am not prepared for that.” McKinley asked Greene if he knew what instructions he had just given to his peace commissioners. Greene did not. McKinley summarized his instructions as having been “to take the City and Bay of Manila and such additional portions of the Island of Luzon as they think necessary for naval purposes, and to return the rest of the Islands to Spain.” This summary by McKinley is somewhat different and narrower than the language he had signed off on September 16. But Greene’s account may give a truer sense of what McKinley actually had in mind.[70] Greene then set out to change McKinley’s mind, to persuade him that the United States had to take control of the whole Philippines. He went over all that he had done and learned in his six weeks in the Philippines. He talked about how he had used his Spanish to have long exchanges with all the prominent Filipinos in Manila and how he had spent more time learning from Agoncillo. Therefore he had to disagree, “respectfully but with extreme urgency.” Greene had time to go into great detail about his analysis of the situation during the three extended meetings he had with McKinley, each of which were two to three hours.  It was, as Greene had explained in his written report, a situation “without precedent in American history.” There were more than 7 million people in the Philippines. Manila, a city of 400,000, was already under U.S. military rule. All of this had been ruled by a Spanish officialdom of no more than 30,000, most of whom were now trying to escape back to Spain. “The Spanish officials have intense fear of the Insurgents; and the latter hate them, as well as the friars, with a virulence that can hardly be described.” The Spanish could neither cope with the insurgents nor surrender to them. An attempted restoration of Spanish power would produce “civil war and anarchy, leading inevitably and speedily to intervention by foreign nations whose subjects have property in the Islands which they would not allow to be destroyed.”[71] As for the Revolutionary Government of Aguinaldo, Greene assessed that it would be a “Dictatorship of the familiar South American type …. a pure despotism.” He saw “no reason to believe that Aguinaldo’s Government has any elements of stability.” Aguinaldo was a young man of 28. Though Greene thought Aguinaldo was able, Greene did not think he could command wide or enduring support. Also, the insurgents were purely “Tagalo” in ethnic composition. Greene did not assume that the Visayans, more numerous than the Tagalos, would fall in line. There were plenty of fault lines for conflict among “the thirty races in the Philippines, each speaking a different dialect.” Greene believed the United States could gain the support of the educated and propertied Filipino elite, since they “fully realize that they must have the support of some strong nation for many years before they will be in a position to manage their own affairs alone.” Their ideal for this was a Philippine Republic under American protection, “much as they heard is to be granted to Cuba.” On this desire for a protectorate, “all are agreed” among the Filipino elite. Only Aguinaldo and his inner circle were doubtful. But, Greene argued, the protectorate option was harder than it might seem. “[I]t is difficult to see how any foreign Government can give this protection without taking such an active part in the management of affairs as is practically equivalent to governing in its own name and for its own account.”[72] Just taking only some portion of Luzon would, Greene had written, be “a terrible mistake” for all, including for McKinley’s presidency. It could embroil the United States in a conflict with another country that later intervened in the other islands. What if Aguinaldo and the insurgents did not accept U.S. rule, even temporary rule? Greene admired the way the insurgents had fought the Spanish:
Nevertheless from daily contact with them for six weeks I am very confident that no such results could have been obtained against an American Army, which would have driven them back to the hills and reduced them to a petty guerrilla warfare. If they attack the American Army, this will certainly be the result, and while these guerrilla bands might cause some trouble so long as their ammunition lasted, yet with our Navy guarding the coasts and our Army pursuing them on land it would not be long before they were reduced to subjection.
McKinley gave Greene ample time to describe the situation and make his case. At the time, Greene thought that he had not been convincing enough. He thought he had “utterly failed to shake” the president’s reluctance to take the Philippines. Looking back on it years later, Greene saw that perhaps his seeds had borne fruit after all. He recalled that, as the two men parted at the end of September, McKinley said he intended to start a trip to the West to make a series of speeches about the unexpected results of the war. Smiling, he told Greene, “Perhaps when I come back I may think differently from what I now think.”[73] McKinley kept gathering information. During early October, Day and Moore sent him detailed, substantive reports from Paris summarizing what the commissioners had learned from Merritt and other experts, including Foreman. All of the information gathered in Paris seemed to line up with what McKinley had heard from Greene. A report given great weight by Merritt was the view of the Army’s lead surgeon in the Philippines, Frank Bourns. Bourns had spent years visiting the islands as a scientist during the early 1890s. Returning with the Army, Bourns had taken charge of public health in the Philippines after the American occupation of Manila. He had worked directly with Filipino leaders to make progress. From Paris, Bourns was reported as believing that “if a few ambitious insurgent Chieftains could be disposed of, masses of natives could be managed by the United States. Considers natives incapable of self-government because of lack of good examples, lack of union in Luzon and throughout Archipelago, and existence of race, tribal and religious differences.”[74] Outside of formal channels, McKinley had access to a more unvarnished side of Bourns’ views. Someone had given the president part of a lengthy private letter Bourns had written from Manila. In this letter Bourns did write that “these people could be managed if properly handled.” Yet Bourns was angry about the attitudes of his fellow Americans. He warned that none of the other American officers, with one exception, “seem to have cared to inform themselves either of the character of the people or their desires, nor do they even care to explain our desires and intentions.” In his letter, left in McKinley’s papers, Bourns bluntly sized up the situation this way:
Aguinaldo has the whole Philippine population at his beck and call. He is the successful man and has the successful man’s influence. The lower classes have a blind confidence in him. With the middle classes it is an ambitious confidence; that is they do not know quite enough to understand that an independent government cannot long continue to exist and are anxious to see it, because they expect to get the plums. With the well educated and wealthy people it is merely a question of expediency; they support the Philippine Government so that they may influence it for the best. I venture to say that ninety-five percent of them at heart want to see American protection, and a good many of the most influential want to see annexation, but the masses of the people know nothing about Americans and think we are just like the Spaniards. Our officials take no trouble to educate them; our men simply refuse to have anything to do with them, will not recognize them nor write to them officially, and many of the line officers, such as colonels, majors, and captains, treat them as cattle to be knocked around as suits their pleasure.
Of course, Bourns wrote, “This is all wrong.” If the United States did not do better, Bourns feared that it would find itself in a war with the Filipinos. Yet Bourns thought the problem was still manageable. With some “tact and patience,” and attention to the Filipinos, “the whole Filipino government could be swung our way without bloodshed.”[75] In mid-October, having received no further guidance from Washington, Dewey weighed in again. He sent a terse cable pleading for a decision about the Philippines “as soon as possible, and a strong government established.” In Luzon, Dewey wrote, Spanish authority had been “completely destroyed.” Outside Manila, “general anarchy prevails.” The islands to the south would soon fall into the same state. “Distressing reports have been received of inhuman cruelty practiced on religious and civil authorities in other parts of these islands. The natives appear unable to govern.”[76] McKinley left Washington for about 10 days in October, traveling around the Midwest to rally support for the upcoming midterm elections. It was during this trip that McKinley began to speak publicly, in vague terms, about American duty and unexpected obligation. At one point some scholarly opinion tended to think McKinley was trying to gauge public opinion. In fact he was deciding how to lead it, and lead it toward the conclusion firming up in his own mind.[77] By the time he returned to Washington, McKinley had decided that there was no good middle ground. No government had recognized Aguinaldo. With the notable exception of Germany, the other great powers seemed to prefer American control now that Spanish rule was gone.[78] Back in Washington, Secretary of the Navy Long wrote to his wife,
If I could have had my way, I wouldn’t have had the war, and I wouldn’t have been burdened with Porto Rico or Cuba or the Philippines. They are an elephant, just as everything else is an elephant that disturbs the even tenor of our national way, but there they are, and my shoulder goes to the wheel.
McKinley cabled the commissioners: “We must either hold [the Philippines] or turn them back to Spain.” McKinley now saw “but one plain path of duty — the acceptance of the archipelago. Greater difficulties and more serious complications — administrative and international — would follow any other course."[79] A few weeks later, McKinley talked privately to a colleague about how he had worked through the arguments. The islands could not go back to Spain. If they went to another European power “we should have a war on our hands in fifteen minutes” and the United States would be responsible, having let it happen just to escape responsibility for its actions. McKinley reviewed the geography of the islands. He discussed why it had seemed so difficult to separate them. His visitor congratulated McKinley on his decision and remarked on what great confidence the people had in him. McKinley was having none of it:
Yes that confidence, that awful confidence. Consider what a burden that imposes on me. I almost wish these questions were not so much left to the decision of any small number. I can foresee for myself and for the people nothing but anxiety for the next two years.[80]

The Attempt to Negotiate a Peaceful Settlement With the Filipinos, January to June 1899

Analysts of the American choice in the autumn of 1898 can easily overlook that there was no ready way the U.S. government could simply turn the Philippines over to the revolutionary Filipino republic, even if it wished to do so. Under international law and in the view of other powers, the Philippines was still sovereign territory of Spain, as was Cuba, until they were lawfully ceded to another recognized government. No foreign government had recognized the Filipino republic or had any plans to do so. If the United States refused to take the islands, it would be leaving them with Spain. Even U.S. recognition of the Filipino republic, if America had wished to offer it, might not have disturbed other powers’ belief in Spain’s claim. If tired Spain wanted to give up its territories in the Pacific, the German government was already secretly discussing with Spain its hopes to get them. And Spain did end up selling to Germany all its Pacific territories that were not ceded to the United States — the Caroline, Palau and Marianas island chains (except for the island of Guam).[81] If the United States wished to grant self-government to the Filipinos it would have to do what it was doing with Cuba: first take legal control of the territory, then decide what to do. That is what McKinley had decided to do. The United States took over sovereignty of the Philippines, paying $20 million to Spain as compensation. Then President McKinley planned to decide what to do in a negotiation with the Filipinos. The treaty of peace went to the U.S. Senate for ratification. A two-thirds majority was needed. Opponents fought hard for votes to block ratification. Some opposed taking the Philippines because they were anti-imperialist. Racism influenced arguments all around — “white man’s burden” arguments on one side; “we don’t want to have anything to do with them” on the other. Both sides argued business advantages or disadvantages. Progressive reformers tended to support the treaty.[82] As McKinley worked on how to organize governance of the Philippines with the Filipinos, he was working on a similar problem with Cuba. The two cases might seem different since Congress had decreed that Cuba was to be assured independence. But, despite that apparent difference in the legal situation, McKinley appears to have adopted the same basic approach for both cases. Both had been ceded to the United States. In both, McKinley set up interim U.S. military governments. He wanted to then replace these with local self-government. The new Cuban government took office in 1902.  Cuban independence, promised by the prewar Teller Amendment, was granted with conditions imposed by another act of Congress, the Platt Amendment. The new Cuban government agreed that it would not submit to control by another foreign power and that it would not take on unpayable foreign debts (which could lead to such control). It granted America the right to intervene “for the preservation of Cuban independence” and granted naval basing rights to the United States. Many Cubans found these conditions offensive. But, seen from Washington, this outcome was a defeat for the hopes of the jingo faction. The jingoes had schemed to maneuver the United States into annexing Cuba. They failed. American military occupation wound up its work in 1902. The United States did have to intervene in civil conflict in 1906 but withdrew after order was restored. The Platt Amendment had ultimately been supported by anti-imperialists such as George Hoar because of a
general recognition that the amendment represented a true compromise. It promised to give the Cubans real internal self-government. … Besides, no one could find an alternative that had any reasonable chance of acceptance in both Cuba and the United States. [83]
As with his plans for the Cubans, McKinley hoped to work out a plan of government peacefully with the Filipinos. As he assembled a commission to do this on his behalf, McKinley issued repeated instructions to his commander in Manila, Gen. Otis, to occupy strategic points in the islands but do everything necessary to avoid conflict with the insurgents. Otis was to be “firm but conciliatory.” The interim military rulers were to aim at some sort of “benevolent assimilation, substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule” for “the greatest good of the governed.”[84] This goal was necessarily vague. To lead his commission, McKinley did not choose an expansionist. He did the opposite. He called on Jacob Gould Schurman, the president of Cornell University. McKinley knew Schurman had been opposed to territorial acquisitions; they had exchanged letters about it in August. Schurman was startled to be asked to lead such a commission. Meeting McKinley in January 1899, he said straight out, “To be plain, Mr. President … I am opposed to your Philippine policy: I never wanted the Philippine Islands.” “Oh,” McKinley answered, “that need not trouble you; I didn’t want the Philippine Islands, either … but in the end there was no alternative.” McKinley reviewed his reasons. Now Schurman had to work out what government should come next. He recalled that McKinley’s mind was entirely open on how to settle the governance question. “It was still open to us, in dealing with the Filipinos, to grant them independence, to establish a protectorate over them, to confer upon them a colonial form of government” or even to consider statehood. “Absolutely nothing was settled.” Schurman confirmed that his commission would be McKinley’s eyes and ears. He was instructed to heed the aspirations of the Philippine people “en masse” along with the various “tribes and families which compose that heterogeneous population.” Schurman helped select the other commissioners and they left America at the end of January 1899.[85] Meanwhile, McKinley asked Gen. Greene to give him some more help. He wanted Greene to talk to and reassure Aguinaldo’s envoy, Agoncillo, who had returned to Washington. Getting his instructions from the president, Greene gathered that what McKinley intended for the Philippines was to build up a large system of public education with “a constantly increasing participation in civic rights and duties, starting with local government and then progressing to the governance of all the islands.” Greene was taken aback by McKinley’s plan. To Greene, it seemed like “a novel experiment” and a risky one: “Englishmen of long experience in colonial affairs doubted its wisdom.” To Greene, McKinley’s ideas seemed unprecedented. “Self-government has hitherto grown up from the bottom; McKinley planned to donate it from the top.” Despite his doubts, Greene followed orders. He met with Agoncillo in January 1899. He outlined American hopes. Greene urged Agoncillo to wire Aguinaldo and help head off a conflict. Agoncillo refused to do it. He feared that if he sent such a message the revolutionaries back home would regard him as a traitor. He could do nothing, he said, “unless the United States could grant absolute independence to the Filipinos under American protection against foreign nations.” It is again worth noting Agoncillo’s language: “absolute independence” yet with “American protection.” There was an obvious tension between these two goals that would have to be worked out, presumably in negotiation. But Greene had no authority to preempt what the Schurman commission might work out. So Greene argued that, at this stage, Washington could not simply grant independence. The Filipinos should trust the U.S. government “to work out such a scheme of government as would be most suited to their conditions.” He warned that if the Filipinos attacked the Americans, the results would be disastrous. Agoncillo said that even to relay such a message would be the end of his career.[86] Readers today should not assume that any negotiated agreement on Filipino self-government in some form of American protectorate was ruled out by the prevalence of racist American attitudes toward the Filipinos. Such attitudes were certainly a serious obstacle to understanding. Some advocates of American expansion were Anglo-Saxon racial exceptionalists, such as Roosevelt, Lodge, and the still-emergent Albert Beveridge, as were some presumed experts on the Philippines. Yet there is not good evidence that such racial views were held by McKinley and his inner circle. In the context of his party, McKinley himself had been relatively forward on defending the rights of African-Americans in the South and had made news by meeting with African-Americans during the 1896 campaign. Corbin had come from an abolitionist family background, had commanded a “colored” regiment during the Civil War (clashing with another such commander whom Corbin thought had needlessly risked his “colored” troops), and had been critical of officers in the Indian wars who had sought conflict rather than compromise. Long wrote of the Anglo-Saxon character, but he diarized admiringly about black troops in U.S. service and detested Southern racial practices.[87] [quote id="6"] Among the presumed experts on the Philippines, Foreman, Greene, and Bourns all made strong, sympathetic connections with many Filipinos. Foreman and Bourns were openly scornful about ignorant Americans who would not take the trouble to understand the Filipinos.[88] Schurman and his fellow commissioners started their journey across the Pacific. War started before they arrived. McKinley can perhaps be excused for not realizing that war in the Philippines might be imminent. He might well have thought he had more time. Again and again he had instructed his field commander, Gen. Otis, to “proceed with great prudence, avoiding conflict if possible … be kind and tactful, taking time if necessary to accomplish results desired by peaceful means.” Otis was repeatedly also urged to rely on Bourns, whose views had obviously impressed someone in Washington. Otis had reassuringly reported that “order prevails.” His messages discussed the tension but also conveyed that conditions were “quiet” or “improving.”[89] It was early in February 1899, while Schurman and his commissioners were on their steamship, that news flashed to Washington that fighting had begun. McKinley had been working on the speech he was to give in Boston in a couple of weeks. His assistant brought in the dispatch with the tragic news. McKinley stopped his work. He read and reread the wire. He sat well back in his chair and finally said,
It is always the unexpected that happens, at least in my case. How foolish those people are. This means the ratification of the treaty; the people will understand now, the people will insist upon its ratification.[90]
Two days after the fighting started, on February 6, the U.S. Senate voted 57-27 to ratify the peace treaty, a margin of only one vote more than the required two-thirds. The Senate debate had been eloquent and well-covered in the nation’s newspapers. Every imaginable argument had been made for why America should expand across the Pacific; every argument had been made for why it should not. Now the Senate had decided. McKinley had spent much of the past month talking to the senators. Between the loud arguments of the imperialists and anti-imperialists, the “truly decisive figures” were the “conservative men” of the Senate. These men had shown no enthusiasm for expansion. Like McKinley himself, these senators had “resisted war with Spain almost to the bitter end” and they had grave doubts about the Philippines. They had finally gone along with this “radical” treaty because they had decided to follow the lead of their president.[91] McKinley continued to remain open-minded about the political future of the Philippines. In his February 17 Boston speech, the one that was so somber in tone, he said:
No one can tell to-day what is best for them or for us. I know no one at this hour who is wise enough or sufficiently informed to determine what form of government will best serve their interests and our interests, their and our well-being.
But his audience should be sure, he added, “No imperial designs lurk in the American mind.” To this at least, the audience applauded.[92] The fighting in the Philippines escalated into a full insurgent offensive against Manila. The insurgent attack was bloodily defeated. The campaigning began. By the time Schurman and his fellow commissioners finally arrived, the war had been underway for a month. Even under these circumstances, there was an episode that showed how close the two sides might have been to a negotiated agreement on a model similar to that which was worked out for Cuba. Schurman proposed, with McKinley’s approval, that an American governor-general, appointed by the president, would rule with a Cabinet he would select and grant Filipinos “the largest measure of local self-government consistent with peace and good order.” The Filipino Revolutionary Congress voted unanimously to accept these terms. The revolutionary Cabinet was replaced on May 8 by a new “peace” Cabinet. Aguinaldo sent word to Schurman that his new Cabinet was “more moderate and conciliatory.” His envoy revealed that Aguinaldo was prepared to drop his demand for independence and accept American sovereignty. Determined to fight the Americans, the violent-tempered commander of Aguinaldo’s revolutionary army, Gen. Antonio Luna, arrested the leaders of this new peace Cabinet. Aguinaldo went along with this. The previous Cabinet returned to power. Part of this battle was an increasingly bitter struggle among Filipinos in Luzon about who would collect taxes, own land, and wield police power when Spanish colonial rule collapsed. The war continued. The next month, in June 1899, Aguinaldo, or at least his inner circle, apparently arranged the assassination of Gen. Luna. It was too late. By this time, Schurman was being challenged within his commission by its other members, which included Otis. Schurman wanted to enlarge guarantees of Filipino participation and was open to a cease-fire while negotiations went on. His colleagues now preferred “prosecution of the war until the insurgents submit.” McKinley was caught between his desire for peace with “kindness and conciliation” and his readiness to send whatever forces were needed to end the fighting if Filipino resistance continued. McKinley ended up deferring to Otis. Schurman returned home toward the end of 1899, his mission a failure.[93] That war unfolded over the next three years about the way that Greene had foretold it might in his September 1898 report to McKinley. The Filipinos were soon driven “into the hills.” Conflict quickly degenerated into savage guerrilla fighting. Deprived of access to outside arms by American control of the sea, after a few years practically all resistance collapsed. By this time most of the Filipino elite had decided to work with the American government. Filipino soldiers fighting alongside the Americans were key to the U.S. victory.[94] The war devastated regions, divided Filipinos against each other, and led to many atrocities. Thousands of American soldiers died, as did many more thousands of Filipinos.[95] After Schurman returned home, McKinley tried again. To lead this second commission McKinley picked a federal appeals judge, one sitting on the same circuit court to which Day (returned from Paris) had been appointed. Day arranged an introduction. All were impressed with this young judge, William Howard Taft. It was Schurman all over again. McKinley asked Judge Taft to lead the commission. Taft answered, “Why, Mr. President, that would be impossible. I am not in sympathy with your policy. I don’t think we ought to take the Philippines.” “Neither do I,” McKinley retorted. “But that isn’t the question. We’ve got them. What I want you to do now is to go there and establish civil government.”[96] Taft’s work outlived McKinley, who was assassinated in September 1901. The civilian Taft commission clashed with the U.S. military and some jingo sentiment, but it forged a consensus that worked for Americans and a great many Filipinos, especially the much-discussed Filipino elite. That elite class, the ilustrados, continued to dominate the country’s politics, before and after independence. U.S. military rule ended in 1901. Taft became a civilian governor. The Philippine Organic Act of 1902 created a Bill of Rights and a process for nationwide elections. This codified an American protectorate with increasingly Filipino self-government. More legislation in 1916 advanced that objective. Advocates on both sides of the Pacific, including Filipinos, argued about whether or when to end the American protectorate and fix the date for full Filipino independence. The argument was settled in 1934. The Philippines transitioned to commonwealth status with full independence set for 1944 — a date delayed until 1946 because of another war.

Alternative Futures?

Studying the exercise of judgment, the main purpose of this essay is to offer a more educational “re-enactment” of a fateful choice, in light of the information and possibilities reasonably visible at the time. Carefully reconstructed, without the blinding effect of hindsight, McKinley does seem to have made remarkably deliberate, thoughtful choices at all five stages of his Philippines decisions. At each point he also improvised to get the best information he could from a system that did not naturally provide it. Whether, in hindsight, these decisions turned out to be “right” or “wrong” is a different question.  That question is worth a brief epilogue. After all, historians are like most citizens: They tend to praise ill-judged decisions that they think turned out well and condemn well-judged decisions that they think turned out badly. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to argue about McKinley’s decisions. Critics can stress the subsequent agony of the Philippine-American war, the legitimacy of Filipino aspirations, and note the patronizing incompetence of many American administrators. [quote id="8"] Yet it is still hard to sketch a plausible alternative path, one more peaceful and more prosperous, for an immediately independent Philippines. The self-government concerns were real. Such a Philippines would have had no American shield from other foreign intervention. That danger also was real. The German Empire snapped up all the Spanish Pacific possessions it could get, all that Spain had not ceded to the United States. The Filipinos also would not have had the trade openings to the American market that their business leaders considered vital. Nor would they have had the benefit of later American nation-building efforts and infrastructure investments, which were substantial.[97] It is not hard to imagine alternative paths that could have been worse, perhaps much worse. The histories of other lands liberated after longtime Spanish rule, from Mexico to Argentina, offer a picture book of tragic examples. And, as in much of Latin American history, arguments about alternative Filipino futures soon focus more attention on the fault lines within Filipino society itself, such as the divide between pro-American ilustrados and others. Such fault lines produced a nationwide insurgency after 1946 (the “Huk” insurrection). They remain fault lines in Filipino life today. Assessing the alternative futures for the United States are another matter. Americans could have shrugged and regarded the future of the islands and its inhabitants as someone else’s fault and someone else’s problem. The United States would have had little or no Filipino blood directly on its hands. American soldiers would not have engaged in a bitter war, stained by outrages of every kind. McKinley did not take the Philippine islands because he was confident that America would gain power or profit by it. In every aspect of his public and private life, McKinley was a man, like many then, who tried to live by codes of duty. In his Boston speech, McKinley explained his conception of America’s duty “after freeing the Filipinos from the domination of Spain” to prevent a descent of the islands into violent anarchy. He told his audience, frankly, that “It is sometimes hard to determine what is best to do, and the best thing to do is oftentimes the hardest. The prophet of evil would do nothing because he flinches at sacrifice and effort, and to do nothing is easiest and involves the least cost.” For McKinley, circumstances had placed the United States into a position of responsibility. To him and many of his contemporaries, abandoning the islands to their fate would not have ended that responsibility. It would merely have shirked it. Was the acquisition of the Philippines good for the United States? The liability side of the ledger is clearest: the horrors of the war and the burdens of occupation. The islands were never great net boons to U.S. trade. Nor was Manila a key to the China trade. The U.S. position in the Philippines did extend American military power across the Pacific in a new and lasting way. In the short run, the United States used this base to help with the multinational intervention during the Boxer crisis of 1900 in China. But later that year, after the immediate crisis had passed, McKinley pulled most U.S. troops out of China, over the bitter objections of Secretary of State Hay. McKinley did not wish to use those troops as chess pieces in the great game over China’s future.[98] There would come a time, though, when the U.S. military presence in the Philippines did change the course of the history of the world. But no one in 1899 could foresee how the American presence in the islands would figure in the analysis of grand strategists in Tokyo, studying their options during 1941.     Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He has also served at all levels of American government.  He began his professional career as a trial and appellate lawyer in Texas and, after returning to graduate school and then teaching for the Navy, he joined the Foreign Service and served as a career diplomat.  He was posted overseas and in Washington, including service on the National Security Council staff for President George H.W. Bush.  His Ph.D. is from Tufts University's Fletcher School.  Since leaving regular government service in 1991 he has taught and directed research programs at Harvard and at Virginia.  At Virginia he directed the Miller Center of Public Affairs from 1998 to 2005.  While there, he directed the 2001 commission on national election reform, chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford, that led directly to passage of the bipartisan Help America Vote Act of 2002.  He returned to full-time government service from 2003 to 2004, to direct the 9/11 Commission and again from 2005 to 2007 to serve as Counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Rice.  In later academic service at Virginia, Zelikow was the dean in charge of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2011 to 2014).  He was a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board for President Bush (2001to 2003) and for President Obama (2011 to 2013) and a member of the Defense Policy Board (2015 to 2017).  He has also advised the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s program in global development (2007 to 2012). His books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (1995, with Condoleezza Rice); The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis (2001, with Ernest May); Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (rev. ed., 1999, with Graham Allison); and America's Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age (2015, drafted on behalf of the Markle Foundation group, "Rework America"). ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: Cornell University Library [post_title] => Why Did America Cross the Pacific? Reconstructing the U.S. Decision to Take the Philippines, 1898-99 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => america-cross-pacific-reconstructing-u-s-decision-take-philippines-1898-99 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:19:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:19:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => A closer examination of what led President William McKinley to take the Philippines reveals a series of deliberate and thoughtful choices that have often been overlooked or ignored. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 1 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => Grand strategies do not typically arise from visionary thinking about the future. They arise instead from the collective experience of some great disturbance... ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => For McKinley, getting his War Department ready for war was a hard problem. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => For decades Americans had been arguing about how to assert themselves in the world. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The proposal to give up the Philippines could not be seen as “coming from us.” ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => However, McKinley said he could no longer see how to return liberated Manila to Spain. ) [5] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => Yet there is not good evidence that such racial views were held by McKinley and his inner circle. ) [6] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The months leading to war had taken a toll on McKinley. He seemed visibly careworn and losing sleep. ) [7] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => McKinley did not take the Philippine islands because he was confident that America would gain power or profit by it. ) ) [style] => scholarly [type] => Scholarly [style_label] => The Scholar [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 458 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 102 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] Robin G. Collingwood, The Idea of History [1936-1940], edited by Jan van der Dussen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 215; see also William Dray, History as Re-Enactment: R.G. Collingwood’s Idea of History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). "In imagining how things might have been different, the restrained counterfactualist tries to understand better what actually did happen." Allan Megill, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error: A Contemporary Guide to Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 153. Following on work by James Fearon more than 20 years ago, there is also growing acceptance in political science that "[c]ounterfactuals can alert us to the possible operation of dynamics and pathways that we would otherwise be prone to ignore,” Robert Jervis, “Counterfactuals, Causation, and Complexity,” in Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics, eds. Philip E. Tetlock and Aaron Belkin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), 309-16. [2] Frank Hindman Golay, Face of Empire: United States-Philippine Relations, 1898-1946 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1998), 443. From the 1920s until 1941, the U.S. Army’s top strategic planners had been pressing for a withdrawal from the Philippines and adoption of an Alaska-Hawaii-Panama defensive perimeter in the Pacific. Brian McAllister Linn, Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 182-83. [3] On this logic chain in the Japanese war planning, see, for example, Tsunoda Jun, “The Navy’s Role in the Southern Strategy,” trans. Robert Scalapino, in The Fateful Choice: Japan’s Advance into Southeast Asia, 1939-1941, ed. James William Morley (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), 244-48. [4] George Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 320. [5] The original source is a 1903 article by James Rusling, recounting a meeting with President McKinley in November 1899. “Interview With President McKinley,” Christian Advocate, January 22, 1903. Rusling was no official; he had been at the White House with the General Missionary Committee of the Methodist Episcopal Church and years later wrote up what he recalled for a church newspaper. McKinley was a lifelong Methodist. He had hosted a substantial White House reception for the committee the previous evening and this committee of Methodist bishops and church leaders had come to see the president and deliver a formal resolution of thanks. According to Rusling, McKinley asked the committee to play a role helping the Army vet people being appointed as Methodist chaplains (one such had just been court-martialed for misconduct). Since the Philippines issue was then much in the news, McKinley added an explanation of the reasons for his decision, which he had made a year earlier. In Rusling’s account, it is impossible to tell whether the high religiosity and florid prose is Rusling’s gloss (it turns out that Rusling had a characteristic style in these things) or was the style McKinley chose to adopt for this particular group. It is certainly not the way McKinley spoke about these matters to his colleagues in government. Yet it is, of course, the florid style and the religiosity that have given the quote its persistent allure. There are much more contemporaneous and detailed accounts of McKinley explaining his reasons, displaying quite a mastery of the substance, without any such diverting artifice or haloed color. See Ephraim K. Smith, “‘A Question From Which We Could Not Escape’: William McKinley and the Decision to Acquire the Philippine Islands,” Diplomatic History 9, no. 4 (October 1985): 363-75; see also Lewis Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1982), 109. [6] Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Random House, 1989), 108, 113. Karnow’s work is deservedly well-regarded. But, shaped by his own experience with the Vietnam War, Karnow also exemplifies the jaundiced mind-set. For background on the historiographical debate, see James Field Jr., “American Imperialism: The ‘Worst Chapter’ in Almost Any Book,” and comments by Walter LaFeber and Robert Beisner, American Historical Review 83 (June 1978): 644-83; and Ephraim Smith, “William McKinley’s Enduring Legacy: The Historiographical Debate on the Taking of the Philippine Islands,” in Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War and Its Aftermath, ed. James Bradford (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1993), 205-50. [7] The details of the Boston speech are all from a pamphlet prepared at the time that included photographs of the hall and the text of McKinley’s address as taken down by The Boston Globe. Souvenir of the Visit of President McKinley and Members of the Cabinet to Boston, February 1899 (Boston: Home Market Club, 1899). [8] Rep. Jeremiah Botkin, Congressional Record, April 12, 1898, 4149, 5151. [9] Another reason the war over Cuba is not mysterious is because the quality of historical work on the events leading to war is now very high. John Offner devoted much of his professional life to a thorough scouring of the evidence on both sides of the Atlantic. His account of the diplomacy and the run-up to the war is definitive. See John Offner, An Unwanted War: The Diplomacy of the United States & Spain Over Cuba, 1895-1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992). [10] H. Wayne Morgan, William McKinley and His America (Kent: Kent State University Press, rev. ed., 2003), 26. The best biographies of McKinley are this one and the knowledgeable, beautifully written evocation by Margaret Leech, In the Days of McKinley (New York: Harper & Bros., 1959). Nick Kapur has placed McKinley’s character firmly in the Victorian cultural context (including that era’s ethic of exhibiting manliness with rationality and self-restraint, rather than strenuous demonstration) along with other aspects of his values, including the then-common belief in arbitration of international disputes. Nick Kapur, “William McKinley’s Values and the Origins of the Spanish-American War: A Reinterpretation,” Presidential Studies Quarterly 41, no. 1 (March 2011): 18-38 (though Kapur can’t resist the silly Rusling quote). [11] William Allen White, The Autobiography of William Allen White (New York: Macmillan, 1946), 333. [12] Karl Rove, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015) offers the most detailed account of McKinley’s road to the candidacy, which was a much more challenging path than the one he faced in the general election against Bryan. The quote on McKinley’s reaction to the 1895 proposal conveyed by Hanna is on page 134. [13] Morgan, William McKinley, 210. [14] Hay to Adams, May 9, 1898, in Letters of John Hay, vol. 3 (New York: Gordian Press, 1969) (reprinting a privately printed collection of 1908), 122. [15] On the size of the U.S. Army, see Edward Coffman, The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004), 3-4. Corbin quoted from his private autobiography, completed in 1906, 83 and 88, filed in the Corbin Papers, Box 11, Library of Congress. [16] John Davis Long, America of Yesterday: As Reflected in the Journal of John Davis Long, ed. Lawrence Shaw Mayo (Boston: The Atlantic Monthly, 1923), 168-69, 186, 188 (entries for April 25 and May 5, 1898). [17] The authoritative source is John A.S. Grenville, “American Naval Preparations for War with Spain, 1896-1898,” Journal of American Studies 2, no. 1 (April 1968): 33-47; see also John A.S. Grenville & George Berkeley Young, “The Influence of Strategy Upon History: The Acquisition of the Philippines,” in Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy: Studies in Foreign Policy, 1873-1917 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 267-76. Grenville’s 1966 account is useful but was partly superseded once he discovered the work of the 1897 Sicard Board, as recounted in his 1968 article. See also David Trask, The War With Spain in 1898 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981), 77-78; and Mark Hayes, “War Plans and Preparations and Their Impact on U.S. Naval Operations in the Spanish-American War,” March 1998, available in the online reading room of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). [18] The quote is from the Sicard Board plan of June 1897. The Philippines operations are treated in just one paragraph in the plan. Grenville, “American Naval Preparations,” 43. [19] Seward Livermore, “American Naval-Base Policy in the Far East, 1850-1914,” Pacific Historical Review 13, no. 2 (June 1944): 113, 116; see also John Maurer, “Coal, Oil, and American Naval Strategy, 1898-1925,” Naval War College Review 34, no. 6 (November 1981): 60, 62. [20] Ronald Spector, Admiral of the New Empire: The Life and Career of George Dewey (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1974), 42-54. [21] See Grenville and Young, Politics, Strategy, and American Diplomacy, 276-78; Trask, The War With Spain, 80-81. On Long’s review of what Roosevelt had done, see Long, America of Yesterday, 168-70. [22] Long, America of Yesterday, 184; John Long to Agnes Long, October 9, 1898, Long Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 79, 355-57; Whittlesey to Long, August 22, 1901, Spanish-American War — Battle of Manila Bay, NHHC (online document collection). [23] Dewey to Long, May 15, 1898, Spanish-American War — Blockade and Siege of Manila, NHHC (online document collection). [24] “If old Dewey …,” H.H. Kohlsaat, From McKinley to Harding: Personal Recollections of Our Presidents (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1923), 68. Kohlsaat was an old friend, owner of the Chicago Times-Herald. McKinley’s more serious explanation was recorded in a detailed handwritten memorandum written by Chandler Anderson immediately after a meeting with President McKinley on November 19, 1898. Anderson was an attorney, secretary to the Anglo-American Joint High Commission, which had recently been appointed to arbitrate various disputes embroiling the United States and Canada. In his meeting with McKinley, Anderson was accompanying one of the commissioners, an influential Boston Republican, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge. Anderson’s record of the meeting, in his papers at the Library of Congress, was discovered by Ephraim Smith, who reprinted the memo in full in his article “‘A Question From Which We Could Not Escape,’” 368-71 (quote on pages 369-70). [25] On the orders and the estimative process to arrive at troop numbers, see Merritt to McKinley, May 13, 1898; Merritt to Corbin, May 17; Miles to Alger, May 18, all in Department of the Army, Correspondence Relating to the War With Spain, vol. 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902), 643-44, 648-49, 654, 665. [26] The framing of the expedition is handled well in Leech, In the Days of McKinley, 210-11. For the details see War Department memo for Alger for the Cabinet meeting, May 17, 1898, forwarded by Alger to Corbin on May 25; Adee to Alger, May 21 (conveying Dewey information on Spanish strength); Dewey to Long, May 27 (forwarded to Alger); Corbin to Merritt, May 29, in Army, Correspondence, vol. 2, 654, 665, 675, 680. [27] On the situation in Manila Bay and the danger of the Spanish expedition led by Adm. Camara, see Trask, The War With Spain, 372-81. [28] For example in 1895, during the administration of Grover Cleveland, there had been a brief scare about war with Great Britain because the British Empire was supposed to have been bullying Venezuela over a boundary dispute. The furor, ostensibly an invocation of the Monroe Doctrine, by which the United States opposed European imperial ventures in the Western Hemisphere, was more a complaint about supposed British haughtiness. Business and political leaders on both sides had intervened to calm the situation. But, as much as any other episode, it was the neurotic quality of this Venezuela crisis that caused one perceptive historian of the period, Richard Hofstadter, to shake his head about an apparent sort of national “psychic crisis.” Richard Hofstadter, “Cuba, the Philippines, and Manifest Destiny,” in The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), 145-87. Kristin Hoganson recasts the psychic crisis as a gender crisis for males seeking martial tests to reaffirm their manhood. She is convincing that gendered insecurities were among the many insecurities of the age. But such insecurities were nonpartisan; they could be found on all sides of the war and expansion issues, and many who supported war in Cuba were against expansion. Her argument does not help much to explain the very specific choices made about the Philippines. Kristin Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). Hofstadter’s essay is still a convincing general scene-setter for the period. The best analysis of American public opinion about imperial expansion in this period remains Ernest May, American Imperialism: A Speculative Essay (Chicago, Imprint Publications, rev. ed., 1991). It is a study of the origins and transmission belts for elite opinion. May shows an elite consensus against such expansion before the mid-1890s. The anti-expansionist consensus returned by the early 1900s. In between, the elites were split. This invited the wider public to pick a side. See also the cultural survey of Gilded Age attitudes toward the world thoroughly canvassed in Frank Ninkovich, Global Dawn: The Cultural Foundation of American Internationalism, 1865-1890 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009); and the fine period portrait in David Traxel, 1898: The Birth of the American Century (New York: Random House, 1998). [29] May, American Imperialism, 166. [30] Ernest May, Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961), 122-23. [31] “While we are conducting war …,” Charles Olcott, The Life of William McKinley, vol. 2 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916), 165. [32] Long, America of Yesterday, 183 (entry for April 20). [33]Corbin added that, after getting this letter, “while treating the General [Miles] with the consideration due his rank and position, [McKinley] never sought his advice and never gave it any weight when offered.” Autobiography, Corbin Papers, 88-89. [34] George Cortelyou journal entry, May 15, 1898, George Cortelyou Papers, Library of Congress. Cortelyou was McKinley’s main secretary, preparing and handling correspondence and paperwork. Cortelyou made his journal notes at the time in shorthand; they were typed up much later. [35] Leech, In the Days of McKinley, 232-38. [36] “Strong man,” Cortelyou Journal, Cortelyou Papers, June 17, 1898, Library of Congress. The Root quote is from Morgan, William McKinley, 210-11. Cortelyou commented to his diary that “The President is alert and when all the facts are known it will be seen how well he has kept the reins in his own hands.” Cortelyou Papers (entry for August 8). [37] Cortelyou Papers, April 16, 1898; for a contemporary and flattering biographical sketch of Day, see Henry McFarland, “William R. Day: A New Statesman of the First Rank,” Review of Reviews (U.S.) (September 1898): 275-79. [38] Moore impressed Long too. “The most accomplished man that has yet been connected with that Department,” he noted in his diary. Long, America of Yesterday, 189 (entry for May 6). [39] The question was posed to Hay on May 8 by Joseph Chamberlain, the very pro-American colonial secretary. Hay’s original message relaying the question did not name Chamberlain as the source; Day asked for this clarification and Hay provided it. See May, Imperial Democracy, 224; Offner, An Unwanted War, 198. [40] John Bassett Moore Papers, Box 192, Library of Congress. In early June, Moore wrote out a private memorandum for the record, preserved in his papers, in which he carefully recounted the chronology of the work on this peace move. [41] See Trask, The War With Spain, 172-73. [42] Moore Papers, Library of Congress, quoting from his private memorandum and from his appended copies of the “terms of peace” message from Day to Hay, June 3, 1898; Hay’s reply of June 6; and Day’s explanation to Hay, June 7. Had these terms been shared with other Cabinet members, such as Long, or had there been a Cabinet meeting on it, there would likely have been reference to it in one of the various diaries kept by Long, or by the Cabinet’s de facto secretary, Cortelyou, or by Charles Dawes, among others. Offner notes how the peace terms were separately provided to, and reported home by, the British ambassador in Washington, Sir Julian Pauncefote. An Unwanted War, 200. Offner does not discuss the extraordinary political risk McKinley had undertaken by secretly advancing such terms. Consciousness of this risk is obvious in Day’s June 7 message to Hay. To counter the image of a weak McKinley and show how assertive he was, Lewis Gould argues that the preparation of the Philippine expedition in May shows that from May 2 onward, McKinley never gave “serious consideration to relinquishing the archipelago.” Gould’s wish to rehabilitate McKinley’s leadership is a good one. But this particular argument is contradicted by the peace terms McKinley secretly outlined to the great powers, via Day, on June 3, and other episodes later. Gould is aware of some of this secret diplomacy but does not reconcile it with his argument. Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley, 63. That McKinley would undertake such a move, at such risk, validates Gould’s argument about McKinley’s vigor, but in a different way. And McKinley was not nearly done musing about the future of the Philippines. [43] Lodge, replying to Roosevelt’s first letter on May 24, seemed confident that the administration was making due haste to send a large expedition to the Philippines, but Lodge said nothing about the future of the islands. He agreed about Puerto Rico — that is the context for his oft-quoted remark about the administration agreeing with his “large policy.” Henry Cabot Lodge and Charles Redmond, eds., Selections From the Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, 1884-1918, vol. 1 (New York: Da Capo, 1971, orig. 1925), 298-301. [44] Day to Hay, June 7, in Moore Papers. Hay passed along these cautions to the British prime minister, Lord Salisbury, who had already passed on the American peace terms to the Austrians having relied, Salisbury explained, on the parallel report he had received from Pauncefote about these terms. [45] Hay to McKinley, June 10, 1898, reprinted in Olcott, Life of McKinley, vol. 2, 131-32; Offner, An Unwanted War, 200-03; Trask, The War With Spain, 425-26, 607 note 6. [46] On the war developments in July 1898, the standard account remains Trask, The War With Spain. [47] Albert Shaw, “The Progress of the World,” Review of Reviews (U.S.) (June 1898): 643, 651-52. See also the articles on the Philippines that Shaw included in that issue. [48] John Foreman, “Spain and the Philippine Islands,” Contemporary Review (July 1, 1898): 20. There were hardly any books about the Spanish colony, only one comprehensive study having come out in the last 50 years. A few years later Foreman himself remedied this gap, publishing the most comprehensive study of the islands then available. The Philippine Islands (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 3rd ed., 1906). Cortelyou recorded getting the full article for McKinley. The president had already been reading excerpts from it and wanted to see the rest. Cortelyou journal, August 1, 1898, in Cortelyou Papers. Foreman’s views were more nuanced and informed than those of American “experts” whose views were in wide circulation that summer. Of these the most prolific was a zoologist named Dean Worcester, who had made a scientific expedition to the Philippines during the early 1890s. Worcester offered vivid and extreme views of Spanish misrule and Filipino incapacity. See “Spanish Rule in the Philippines,” The Cosmopolitan, October 1897, 587 (written with his traveling companion, Frank Bourns, who would return to the Philippines with the Army expedition in 1898); “Admiral Dewey and the Philippines,” The Independent, May 12, 1898, 5; “In Manila: First Half,” The Independent, June 16, 1898, 5; “A Pen Picture of Manila,” New York Daily Tribune, June 24, 1898. Worcester would later be enlisted into U.S. administration of the islands. The recently departed, now returned, American consul in Manila, Oscar Williams, had been there only about a month. He also wrote of cruel and “barbarous” Spanish misdeeds and repeatedly extolled America’s opportunity to take over the islands. E.g., Williams to Day, May 12, June 16, and July 2, 1898, in U.S. Senate, Message From the U.S. President Transmitting a Treaty of Peace … and Accompanying Papers, 55th Congress, Senate Doc. 62, Part 2 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1899), 327-31 (hereafter cited as Peace Treaty Papers). [49] On the views of the naval minister, Alfred von Tirpitz, as characterized in the memoir of Foreign Minister (and later Chancellor) Prince Bernhard von Bulow, and the quote from an instruction to the German ambassador in Washington, see May, Imperial Democracy, 228-29. [50] Lord Rosebery, 1895, quoted in T.G. Otte, The China Question: Great Power Rivalry and British Isolation, 1894-1905 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 1. [51] Hay to McKinley, March 26, 1898, in Day Papers. This and other handwritten letters appear to have been turned over to Day after McKinley read them. [52] The British had made their request for joint action on China in early March 1898, conveyed directly by their ambassador to McKinley. Otte, The China Question, 112. [53] Hay to McKinley, June 30, 1898, in Day Papers. In his June 30 letter Hay commented that he was writing to McKinley in this way to avoid making an official record. In that era, all regular reports to the secretary of state (and the secretaries of war and the Navy) were usually published after a short interval. Hay wanted to keep the British request for joint action in China out of the official record so that an American rejection would not become public and thereby embarrass the British. The issue of American action to keep an open door in China would return to the agenda in 1899 and 1900. At that time — perhaps remembering the Monroe Doctrine example of John Quincy Adams in 1823 — Hay (by then the secretary of state) and McKinley would act unilaterally. They would also stress an interest in preserving an independent China from partition. That latter object was not so important to London. [54] Foreman, “Spain and the Philippine Islands,” 29-30; Shaw, “The Progress of the World,” 652-53. [55] See, e.g., Day to Pratt, June 16, 1898; Dewey to Long, June 27, 1898, both in William Day Papers, Library of Congress. [56] Lodge to Roosevelt, June 24, July 12, and July 23, 1898 (in the last, Lodge writing that the president’s “imagination is touched by the situation [in the Philippines], and I think he grasps it fully”), in Lodge and Redmond, eds., Selections From the Correspondence, 313, 323, 330. Roosevelt replied at one point that “the average New York [political] boss is quite willing to allow you to do what you wish in such trivial matters as war and the acquisition of Porto Rico and Hawaii, provided you don’t interfere with the really vital questions, such as giving out contracts for cartage in the Custom House and interfering with the appointment of street sweepers.” Roosevelt to Lodge, July 31, 1898, ibid., 334. On Lodge’s proposal to keep Luzon and make a deal with Britain for the rest, William Widenor, Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 115. [57] The naval moves and some of the diplomacy were evident. What the Americans did not know was that, in mid-August, the Germans began secret negotiations with the Spanish that would end with German acquisition of all the islands in the Spanish East Indies that the U.S. did not get under the peace treaty. In this fashion the Germans acquired the Caroline Islands, the Palau Islands, and the Marianas, except for Guam. This added to their already substantial Pacific possessions in New Guinea, the Marshall Island,s and the Bismarck Archipelago. See Pearle Quinn, “The Diplomatic Struggle for the Carolines, 1898,” Pacific Historical Review 14, no. 3 (September 1945): 290-302. [58] Day memo for the record, July 15, 1898, in Day Papers. [59] Hay to Day, July 28, 1898, in McKinley Papers, Library of Congress; Hay to Carnegie, August 22, 1898, Letters of John Hay, vol. 3, 129-30 (emphasis in original). [60] I do not count, and do not think anyone in Washington counted, the dispatches of Consul Williams (cited above) as a serious analysis of the situation. So far, Dewey had not offered any substantial assessments beyond the military strength of the Spanish forces. [61] On the Cabinet discussions, see Olcott, Life of William McKinley, vol. 2, 61-63; Offner, An Unwanted Peace, 213-17; Long, America of Yesterday, 210 (entry for July 27). Olcott based his account on interviews with several participants in the Cabinet meeting. The quote from the senator is from Olcott, as is the conclusion that the wait-for-more-information view was the one “which finally prevailed.” The evolution of the draft armistice terms was interesting. On his stationery, McKinley noted the essence of each planned term. For the article on the Philippines he scribbled: “The military possession of Manila city & port until a commission determines the whole matter as to [indecipherable, perhaps “the claims”] insurgents etc.” Moore then drafted an elaboration of this, saying the commissioners would figure out what the United States was “justly entitled” to have and “taking into consideration the rights and claims of the Philippine insurgents and any duty which the United States may be under to them and the future security and good government of the islands.” The language about U.S. entitlement and insurgent claims was lined out during the next edit. Then, after further discussion, the whole article was simplified to the form finally adopted, except that the word “disposition” was originally proposed as “possession.” The drafting process indicates the thrust of the discussion. Notes are in the Cortelyou Papers. McKinley’s key aide, Charles Dawes, debriefed by one of the Cabinet members, noted at the time in his diary, “the Philippines situation to be subject of consideration by a commission of Americans and Spaniards. While the President is very conservative in his belief as to the policy of handling the Philippines situation, he wants the facts to be carefully considered, without the consideration involving the loss of any present advantage.” Charles Dawes, A Journal of the McKinley Years, ed. Bascom Timmons (Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1950), 166. [62] For the other commissioners, McKinley initially started out with a list of conservatives, without any known jingoes already advocating acquisition of the Philippines. McKinley’s initial preferences, on July 31, were to supplement Day with William Allison (leader of the Republican Senate caucus), Supreme Court Justice Henry Brown, George Hoar (Massachusetts senator known to oppose expansion), and either Elihu Root (prominent New York lawyer), Chauncey Depew (a railroad magnate then seeking entry into public life), or a California Republican, George Gorham, to replace Hoar if Hoar was disqualified by his public stance. He was also considering his former ambassador to Spain, Stewart Woodford. Dawes, Journal, 167 (entry for July 31). The president did not fully revise these selections until more than a month later, in early September. It was then that he supplemented Day with three expansionists, though their specific views on the Philippines were still evolving: Whitelaw Reid (prominent editor, former minister to France and the 1892 Republican vice presidential candidate), Cushman Davis (senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee), and William Frye (another Republican senator). Then he added a conservative Democratic senator he respected, a known anti-annexationist, George Gray. [63] On Greene’s background, there are various stories in The New York Times and other papers, including his obituary published on May 16, 1921. Greene’s father was George Sears Greene, whose distinguished Civil War record included a critical role in the defense of Culp’s Hill on the second day of the Gettysburg battle. His brothers had distinguished records too; one was the executive officer of the USS Monitor. Francis Greene’s first book was F.V. Greene, The Russian Army and Its Campaigns in Turkey in 1877-1878 (New York: D. Appleton, 1879). Greene’s correspondence with Roosevelt is in Box 2 of the F.V. Greene Papers, New York Public Library. In one of these letters, Roosevelt wrote to Greene: “I don’t want Cuba. But in strict confidence (for to say this publicly would make me look like an Evening Post jingo) I should welcome almost any war, for I think the country needs one ….” He thought a war might come with Japan and “least improbable” was war with Spain. TR to Greene, September 23, 1897. Corbin’s comment on Greene is in the private autobiography, page 90, in Corbin Papers. [64] See Allen to Dewey, August 13, 1898; Dewey to Long, August 20, 1898, in Annual Reports of the Navy Department for the Year 1898, vol. 2: Appendix to the Bureau of Navigation report, 55th Congress, House Doc. No. 3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1898), 122-23; Greene diary, Box 4, Greene Papers (entry of August 18 discusses the conference with Dewey and Merritt). [65] Greene diary, (entries for Augugst 25, 26, 28, 29, 30 and associated papers), Greene Papers. Greene’s well-connected associate is identified in his diary only as ALB, whom I have not been able to identify. Another source is a detailed private memoir of this part of Greene’s service, which he presented in 1915 as an address on “The Future of the Philippines” to the New York City Republican Club, also in his papers. Other sources: Army, Correspondence, vol. 2, 764-65; Dewey to Long, August 29, 1898, in Cortelyou Papers. Initially, Dewey told Greene that he was “greatly disturbed” that Greene would be leaving Manila, given the situation, but that he would ask Washington to place Greene in “supreme command” of the U.S. expedition in the Philippines. Just before Greene left, Dewey told Greene he had decided not to write a cable requesting that Greene be put in command of the Philippines (replacing Otis) “on account creating bad feeling in Army.” Greene diary. [66] Greene to Day, September 5, 1898, with Greene diary, Greene Papers. Greene preserved the original ciphered version, showing his work. It is reasonable to assume the message was received, at least by the recipient telegraph office, given the protocols of transmitting important cables in this era. I have not found this message in Day’s papers, but Day does not appear to have preserved unofficial messages of this kind. Greene had exchanged unofficial messages with Day the week before; those are not preserved in Day’s papers either. Assuming Day did receive the message, he would have shared it with McKinley. Based on Greene’s later discussions with McKinley at the end of September, Margaret Leech discussed how influential Greene was in her 1959 book, In the Days of McKinley, 331, 334-36. But later scholars touched lightly or not at all on his role, and neither she nor others had explored Greene’s papers. So, for example, Leech was not aware of this earlier message of September 5, which McKinley presumably knew about (along with Dewey’s August 29 cable) before he prepared instructions to the peace commissioners on September 16. [67] All quotations are from Whitelaw Reid’s diary. H. Wayne Morgan, ed., Making Peace With Spain: The Diary of Whitelaw Reid, September-December 1898 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965), 25, 28, 30-31 (entries for September 14 and 16). McKinley had recently made a similar comment to Cortelyou, that “the people could be trusted but were hasty and unreasonable some times … the clamor would soon be for the return of our troops from Porto Rico and Manila.” Cortelyou diary (entry for August 23), Cortelyou Papers. When McKinley put Reid on the peace commission, he may not have realized how expansionist Reid’s views had become.  His earlier public comments had emphasized “grave apprehensions” and been more ambivalent. Whitelaw Reid, “The Territory with Which We Are Threatened,” Century (September 1898): 788-794. In the instructions to commissioners Moore drafted them to say that the U.S. would “be content with” Luzon; Reid intervened to rewrite this as “cannot accept less” than Luzon. McKinley went along with this. But McKinley’s typed and annotated further suggestions, passed to Day, also mentioned that if territory were returned to Spain, “a guarantee of kindlier government to the people and of larger civil and religious liberty to the native population is important.” Day Papers. Many years later, Moore recalled McKinley’s “public spirit, courage, integrity, and delicate sense of honor.” Moore to Wilder Spaulding, August 17, 24, 28, 1940, Box 161, Moore Papers. [68] The interview is in “Failure for Agoncillo,” Chicago Daily Tribune, September 28, 1898, 7. As would be evident later, an American protectorate was an idea that Aguinaldo was ready to consider. Agoncillo had been learning from Greene too, during their trip, sharing a sense of mutual respect. But Agoncillo also was urging Aguinaldo to acquire all the arms he could, just in case. Agoncillo’s side of the story, including his reports to Aguinaldo, are discussed in the conscientious history later written by a descendant of his family, Teodoro Agoncillo, Malolos: The Crisis of the Republic (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1960), 321-28. [69] Greene diary (entries for September 27, 28, 29, 30; October 1, 3, 4); Greene, “The Future of the Philippines,” 11-12, 16, 18-19, Greene Papers. The five-page record of the Agoncillo-McKinley meeting is in the McKinley Papers, along with an accompanying memorandum Agoncillo presented. For Agoncillo’s papers forwarded by Greene, see Peace Treaty Papers, 429-31. For a sympathetic portrayal of Agoncillo (but with a number of inaccuracies), see Esteban De Ocampo with Alfredo Saulo, First Filipino Diplomat: Felipe Agoncillo (Manila: National Historical Institute, 1976), especially 82-87. [70] Greene, “The Future of the Philippines,” 17 (emphasis in original). This little memoir/address of 1915 was carefully prepared for a knowledgeable audience. One of McKinley’s more influential Cabinet members, former Attorney General John Griggs, was there. It is evident from the text that Greene, a professional engineer and sometime historian, drew from his contemporary notes and other documents in drafting this account. Ephraim Smith quotes the slip of paper where Greene listed these five options, but Smith believed they were part of his full report, which was then amended before being sent on to Paris. Smith, “‘A Question From Which We Could Not Escape,’” 372, note 25. Greene’s 1915 address explains that this was a separate document he had prepared just for McKinley. He had already cabled the essence of this argument to Day on September 5. [71] F.V. Greene, “Memoranda Concerning the Situation in the Philippines on August 30, 1898,” September 30, 1898, 35 (typescript with handwritten annotations), Cortelyou Papers. The report was sent to the commissioners and was included with the official documents in McKinley’s report to Congress accompanying the peace treaty. Peace Treaty Papers, 404-29. [72] Greene, “Memoranda,” 38, 41, 42, 44, 45, 46. Greene’s assessment of the views of the Filipino elite appears to have been accurate. See Teodoro Agoncillo, Malolos, 317-18, 327, 374-76. On the question of whether Luzon could be separated from the other islands, McKinley had also sought advice in a meeting with a well-placed shipping executive who knew the Pacific trade. He heard from this source that it was not feasible to take just Manila or Luzon because of Manila’s role as a hub in inter-island trade and tariff collection. Pierre Smith to McKinley, September 15, 1898, in Cortelyou Papers. [73] Greene, “The Future of the Philippines,” 20, Greene Papers. [74] Merritt’s testimony and the expert statements are in Peace Treaty Papers, 362-83 (including the separate written statements from Greene, Bourns and Bell), 441-71 (Foreman statement). For the way these views were summarized for McKinley, which is what is quoted in the text, see Day to Hay, October 7 (Commission report no. 3) and October 9, 1898 (Commission report no. 8), in Hay Papers, Library of Congress; see also Reid to McKinley, October 4; Reid to Hay, October 16, 1898 (letters that would have arrived at least a week later), in David Contosta and Jessica Hawthorne, eds., Rise to World Power: Selected Letters of Whitelaw Reid (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1986), 44-46. The reports coming in from Gen. Otis in Manila were also upbeat, more so than Dewey’s October 14 wire, discussed below. E.g., Otis to Corbin, October 19, 1898, in Cortelyou Papers. [75] The undated letter from Maj. Bourns is in the Cortelyou Papers, General Correspondence, quotes are from Pages 2 and 6 of the letter. The name and position of the author is penned on the last page, in what looks like McKinley’s handwriting. The letter opens to its unnamed addressee with the warning, “Will write a bit this morning about things political, but this must all be confidential and not under any circumstances for publication.” It will help to place Bourns a bit by understanding that in this era Army surgeons were major figures in the life of Army posts. They could have influence and relationships with commanders well beyond their formal rank. It is possible that Bourns knew Corbin or one of Corbin’s officers and that the letter was conveyed to McKinley through this back channel. Bourns had traveled to the Philippines in the early 1890s with Dean Worcester, whose tone in writing about Filipinos was more supercilious. The other Army officer Bourns referred to in his letter as really understanding Filipinos was Maj. J. Franklin Bell. Bell had become Merritt’s chief of intelligence, working beyond American lines and with the insurgents. Bell also provided a statement for the commissioners, cited above, and had worked with Greene. Bell would go on to become a major figure in the Philippine-American war and eventually rise to Army chief of staff. [76] Dewey to Long, October 14, 1898, in McKinley Papers (this appears to have been relayed to McKinley just after his departure on his trip). [77] Gould, The Spanish-American War and President McKinley, 104 and, for more details about this electoral trip and the themes McKinley emphasized, 103-06; see also “Philippines: President Determined to Demand Archipelago,” The New York Times, October 16, 1898, clipping in McKinley Papers. [78] See John Offner, “Imperialism by International Consensus: The United States and the Philippine Islands,” in Daniela Rossini, ed., From Theodore Roosevelt to FDR: Internationalism and Isolationism in American Foreign Policy (Staffordshire: Keele University Press, 1995), 45-54; for more on the Spanish view of the negotiation, also see Offner, “The Philippine Settlement: The United States, Spain, and Great Britain in 1898,” in Luis Gonzalez Vales, ed., 1898: Enfoques y Perspectivas (San Juan: Academia Puertorriquena de la Historia, 1997), 353-70. [79] Long quoted in Trask, The War With Spain, 466. For McKinley’s instructions: Hay to Day, October 28, 1898, in State Department reports, Papers Relating to the Treaty With Spain, 56th Congress, 2nd session, Senate Doc. No. 148 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1899), 37-38. The instructions had already been drafted by McKinley (a handwritten draft is in his papers) for Hay to send when the cabled recommendations of the commissioners began coming in. Hay held off on sending the instructions until McKinley had read the recommendations. Hay to McKinley, October 27, 1898, in McKinley Papers. But there is no sign that McKinley materially changed the substance of his original draft. A draft October 26 instruction, included mistakenly in the 1898 FRUS volume and often quoted by historians, was in fact not the one that McKinley sent. Richard Leopold, “The Foreign Relations Series: A Centennial Estimate,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 49, no. 4 (March 1963): 595, 598-99 no. 12. Three of the commissioners had recommended taking all the islands. Not knowing his president’s wishes, Day had held to the original view of no more than Luzon, but it seems evident that Day’s views were evolving to the necessity of taking most of the archipelago. Sen. Gray dissented, arguing that the United States had neither duty nor interests in holding any of the islands. See Peace Commissioners to Hay, October 25, 1898, in State Department reports, Papers Relating to the Treaty, 32-36; Morgan, Making Peace With Spain, 88-89 (entry for October 19). [80] Interview with President McKinley, November 19, 1898, Anderson Papers, in Smith, “‘A Question From Which We Could Not Escape,’” 369-70. [81] Japan took control of these German island possessions as a result of World War I. The United States would face the consequences of Japanese control of these island chains during World War II. [82] On the variety of elite opinion and arguments in the treaty debate, see May, American Imperialism, 192-206; David Healy, U.S. Expansionism: The Imperialist Urge in the 1890s (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970).  On the pro-expansion view of many reformers, see William Leuchtenburg, “Progressivism and Imperialism: The Progressive Movement and American Foreign Policy, 1898-1916,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 39, no. 3 (December 1952): 483-504. An interesting example is the position of Woodrow Wilson, who by 1898 was a prestigious academic commentator on American government. Breaking with some of his fellow Democrats, Wilson publicly argued that the United States had the duty to take the Philippines (and Hawaii) in order to prevent other colonial powers from taking them. In 1901 Wilson argued, in The Atlantic, that Americans should help “undeveloped peoples, still in the childhood of their natural growth … inducting them into the rudiments of justice and freedom.” John Milton Cooper Jr., Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (New York: Knopf, 2009), 75-76. [83] David Healy, The United States in Cuba 1898-1902 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1963), 167. Paul Holbo had long ago noted that McKinley had headed off would-be Cuban annexationists even before war broke out and that, “The pattern established in Cuba was important.  [McKinley] subsequently pursued a virtually identical course in dealing with the Philippine Islands.” Paul Holbo, “Presidential Leadership in Foreign Affairs: William McKinley and the Turpie-Foraker Amendment,” American Historical Review 72, no. 4 (July 1967): 1321, 1334. In his Cuba Between Empires 1878-1902 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983), 212-327, 368-70, Louis Perez, Jr. concentrates, convincingly, on the annexationist intentions of key Americans such as Gen. Leonard Wood. But his story also reveals the constant disappointment and frustration of Wood and his annexationist allies. The Cubans had something to do with Wood’s disappointment. So did McKinley. [84] Corbin to Otis, relaying McKinley’s instructions of December 21, sent December 27, 1898, in Army, Correspondence, 858-59. “Although the butt of many a sardonic comment, McKinley’s ‘benevolent assimilation’ policy was of vital importance,” Brian Linn has argued. It “established conciliation as the cornerstone of military policy in the Philippines.” Brian McAllister Linn, The Philippine War, 1899-1902 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), 30-31. [85] Jacob Gould Schurman, Philippine Affairs: A Retrospect and Outlook (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902), 2-4; Schurman to McKinley, January 11, 1899; Schurman to Alonzo Cornell, January 12, 1899, in Schurman Papers, Cornell University. The other commissioners coming from the United States were Charles Denby, who been the U.S. minister in China for 12 years and Dean Worcester, who had already been writing on the topic, a University of Michigan professor who had lived in the Philippines during the early 1890s. The remaining commissioners would be Dewey and Gen. Otis. For more on Worcester, who had been quite active calling for American acquisition of the Philippines, see Peter Stanley, “‘The Voice of Worcester Is the Voice of God’: How One American Found Fulfillment in the Philippines,” in Stanley, ed., Reappraising an Empire: New Perspectives on Philippine-American History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), 117-42. [86]For a similar account, from Agoncillo’s side, see Teodoro Agoncillo, Malolos, 357-59. Earlier, in December 1898, Aguinaldo had signaled his openness to an American protectorate of a Filipino republic, without clarifying the inherent tension between the responsibilities of a protectorate and the nature of independence. One Filipino scholar has therefore criticized Agoncillo for not sending along the American assurances he received from Greene, arguing that such assurances could have avoided the outbreak of conflict in February 1899. H.A. Villanueva, “A Chapter of Filipino Diplomacy,” Philippine Social Science and Humanities Review 17, no. 2 (June 1952): 121, 123. Teodoro Agoncillo disagreed, regarding such a conflict as inevitable and appropriate. Malolos, 710-11 note 97. By the end of 1898 Greene had been promoted to major-general and put in command of a division in Cuba, but his service there had then not been needed. Greene was very impressed by the difficulty the Americans would have faced if they had assaulted Havana. As Greene returned to civilian life, McKinley had another long meeting with him at the end of December. Greene, “The Future of the Philippines,” 12-15, 20 (reading in part from Greene to Hay, February 3, 1900), in Greene Papers. See also “History of Manila Trouble,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 5, 1899, 1. [87] See Leech, In the Days of McKinley; Corbin, private autobiography; and Long, America of Yesterday. [88] Frank Ninkovich has a thoughtful study of the spectrum of American attitudes at the time about race and foreign cultures in Global Dawn, 137-231. [89] On the suggestion to rely on Bourns, see Corbin to Otis, December 30, 1898, at Army, Correspondence, 864-65. The reports from Otis had been deceptively reassuring. He reported that the “great majority of men of property desire annexation.” Though many others sought plunder, the insurgents were divided and quarreling. There was much “suppressed excitement,” but Otis was confident his troops “can meet emergencies.” If the excitement could remain suppressed for a few days, “believe that affairs will greatly improve.” Conditions were “improving. Incendiarism and mob violence in city all that is feared.” Otis thought the insurgents wanted “qualified independence under United States protection.” The excitement was diminishing. There was “more moderation in demands.” E.g., Otis to Corbin, December 22, 30, 1898; Alger to Otis, December 30, 1898; Corbin to Otis, January 1, 1899; Otis to Corbin, January 2, 8; Corbin to Otis relaying personal message from McKinley, January 8; Otis to Corbin, January 10, 11, 14, 16 and 27, in Army, Correspondence, 860, 864-66, 872-73, 876-80, 888. [90] Cortelyou diary (entry for February 4, 1899), Cortelyou Papers. [91] On the “conservative men” in the Senate and their decisive role, May, Imperial Democracy, 261. [92] Souvenir of the Visit of President McKinley and Members of the Cabinet to Boston, February 1899. [93] On the failed peace efforts of March to June 1899 see Agoncillo, Malolos, 398-405, 515-18 (describing the strength of Filipino leaders who favored a conciliatory peace based on “autonomy”); Golay, Face of Empire, 48-51; see also Karnow, In Our Image, 150-53, 156; and, on the quarrels within the Schurman commission, engineered (in his telling) by Dean Worcester, see Stanley, “‘The Voice of Worcester,’” 128-30. Filipino historians tend to interpret the internal Filipino struggles as a class conflict between the land-owning, educated, and privileged class, which wished to get or maintain power, and the frustrations of the illiterate and impoverished peasant masses. The interests of the revolutionary peasant masses are associated by these historians with the more warlike revolutionary leader Apolinario Mabini. Those favoring peace and more willing to work with the Americans are associated with the educated or privileged ilustrado elite. Aguinaldo is portrayed trying, impossibly, to balance and lead both factions. From this view, the privileged elite “emerged as the true victors in the Philippine revolution, politically, socially and economically.” Milagros Camayon Guerrero, Luzon at War: Contradictions in Philippine Society, 1898-1902 (Quezon City: Anvil Publishing, 2015), 164; see also Teodoro Agoncillo (an admirer of Mabini who attacks the “plutocrats” who were willing to settle for autonomy), Malolos, 463-64, 483-89. [94]Although he sides with those who fought for complete independence, Teodoro Agoncillo acknowledges that such a fight had little chance of success, given the divided views among Filipinos themselves. Malolos, 662-68. McKinley soon overhauled the War Department. He dismissed Alger. Greene was put forward as a candidate for secretary of war by Theodore Roosevelt, who advocated for Greene “with all the force characteristic of him.” But McKinley had already settled on Elihu Root, a much-admired New York lawyer whom McKinley thought might have the breadth to take on these new tasks in Cuba and the Philippines. Roosevelt later suggested that Greene should replace Otis as commander in the Philippines. But McKinley thought it would undermine the war effort to replace Otis mid-campaign. On the selection of Root, “a man of strangely strong analytical and judicial mind” who “could more thoroughly analyze a problem of government than any man I have ever known,” and Roosevelt’s push for Greene, see private autobiography of Corbin, 99-101, in Corbin Papers. On the idea of Greene replacing Otis, see Roosevelt to Hay, cc’d to Greene, July 1, 1899; Roosevelt to Greene, July 10, 1899 (McKinley spoke “most warmly” of you, but …), in Greene Papers. Greene returned to business and history writing. His last major stint in public service was a year as the New York City police commissioner. [95] The most thorough account now is Linn, The Philippine War. For an earlier and more negative appraisal see Stuart Creighton Miller, “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982). [96] Olcott, Life of McKinley, vol. 2, 174-75 (based on Olcott’s interviews with Taft and Day); see Corbin autobiography, 101, Corbin Papers. In 1902 Schurman came out strongly advocating setting an early fixed date for Philippine independence. See generally Kenneth Hendrickson Jr., “Reluctant Expansionist: Jacob Gould Schurman and the Philippine Question,” Pacific Historical Review 36, no. 4 (November 1967): 405-21. Day would go on to serve as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. After becoming president of the United States, Taft would later rejoin Day on the bench when he became the Supreme Court’s chief justice. [97] For a critical modern appraisal of the U.S. nation-building efforts, see Peter Stanley, A Nation in the Making: The Philippines and the United States, 1899-1921 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974). For a somewhat more generous appraisal, though focused only on the period of military government, see John Gates, Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902 (New York: Praeger, 1973). Neither book attempts much comparative reflection on the range of possibilities presented by the course of national development in other nations that won liberation from Spanish rule during the 19th century. Historians of Latin American liberation would quickly recognize the familiar patterns of collaboration between American and Filipino elites and the stereotyping of good and “savage” segments of the population by the ruling elites of both countries, which is the pattern portrayed in Paul Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).Filipinos ended up constructing “a unique economic system, crony capitalism, that depended on privileged access to United States markets, aid, and multilateral lending.” Filipinos did a very good job of figuring out how to manipulate U.S. policies to their advantage. Nick Cullather, Illusions of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippine Relations, 1942-1960 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 3. Cullather is right, except that such systems of crony capitalism are hardly “unique” to the Philippines case. [98] Betty Talbert, “The Evolution of John Hay’s China Policy,” unpublished Ph.D. diss., 1974, 304-14; see also Kenton Clymer, John Hay: The Gentleman as Diplomat (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1975), 151. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) ) [post_count] => 5 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 436 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2018-02-06 04:00:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-06 09:00:44 [post_content] => In early 1992, the Pentagon’s primary policy office — the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy — prepared a draft classified document known as the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG).[1] In late February and early March, that document was leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of which published extensive excerpts. Those excerpts, which highlighted the most striking language and themes of the document, detailed a blueprint for American strategy in the post-Cold War era. The United States would not retrench dramatically now that its superpower rival had been vanquished. Instead, it would maintain and extend the unchallenged supremacy it had gained when the Soviet empire collapsed. Washington would cultivate an open, democratic order in which it remained firmly atop the international hierarchy. It would discourage any competitor from challenging for global leadership. It would prevent emerging or resurgent threats from disrupting a broadly favorable environment. And to protect this advantageous global order, America would retain unrivaled military power. In essence, the DPG outlined an unabashed program for perpetuating U.S. primacy.[2] For this reason, and also because it immediately became caught up in election-year politics, the DPG ignited controversy when it was leaked, drawing harsh appraisals from critics on both the left and right. Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden condemned the document as a radical assertion of American hegemony — “literally a Pax Americana.”[3] Patrick Buchanan, a prominent conservative pundit and Republican presidential candidate, alleged that the DPG represented “a formula for endless American intervention in quarrels and war when no vital interest of the United States is remotely engaged.”[4] More than a decade later, the episode still smoldered. Writing after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, journalist Craig Unger described the DPG as the product “of a radical political movement led by a right-wing intellectual vanguard.” Another assessment labeled the DPG a “disturbing” manifestation of a “Plan…for the United States to rule the world.”[5] More recently, the DPG has received less breathless treatment from insightful academic observers and former U.S. officials.[6] But even from some scholars, the DPG has continued to draw sharp invective. One leading diplomatic historian has critiqued the DPG as a radical rejection of multilateralism and a plan for Washington to serve as the world’s policeman.[7] Another has termed it a program to “remake the world,” “exterminate the evil-doers,” and forge “the Second American Empire.”[8] As former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman observes, “Probably no defense planning document since the end of World War II, with the possible exception of NSC-68…has received as much attention and discussion.”[9] Yet if the DPG has long been a fount of controversy, only now is declassification of relevant U.S. government records making it possible to fully understand the document’s role in the development of U.S. strategic thinking about the post-Cold War era during the administration of George H.W. Bush. That development actually began before the Cold War ended, as the administration pondered the requirements of U.S. security and global order in a remarkably fluid environment. It subsequently continued amid profound international crises in Europe and the Persian Gulf, which led the administration to refine key aspects of its geopolitical thinking. That thinking was brought into more comprehensive form with the DPG, which outlined a holistic approach to post-Cold War strategy and which was — despite the public furor sparked by its disclosure — broadly affirmed by the administration during its final months. The DPG, then, did not stand alone. It was one important piece of the larger process by which the Bush administration crafted a strategy of American primacy. This essay re-creates that process, examining the evolution of Bush-era strategic thinking. It explores the more formal planning and strategy processes the administration undertook, as well as the ways that key crises, long-standing beliefs, and other influences shaped official views of America’s place in the post-Cold War world. It does so primarily by examining newly declassified documents that illuminate the administration’s strategic outlook and offer a more detailed portrait of how America selected a unipolar strategy for a unipolar order. This is an important subject for historians. Although political scientists widely agree that the United States pursued a strategy meant to sustain its geopolitical preeminence after the Cold War, and historians have begun to analyze how key initiatives such as German reunification served this objective, there has yet to be a comprehensive examination, based on the archival record, of how that strategy emerged.[10] This essay not only puts the DPG in its proper context; it also traces the origins of America’s approach to the post-Cold War world. Three arguments emerge from this analysis. First, the DPG was not, as is commonly believed, a radical document or an outlier from Bush administration strategic thinking. It was, in many ways, the logical culmination of that thinking. From the outset, Bush and his advisers had believed that America should not pull back geopolitically as the Cold War ended. Rather, they insisted that America should lean forward to advance its interests and values and ward off new or resurgent dangers. In their view, the United States should double down on the globalist endeavors of the post-World War II era in the favorable but uncertain climate of the post-Cold War world. These core themes were reinforced by two major international crises — the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Germany, and the Persian Gulf crisis and war — which underscored the logic of American primacy. In this context, the DPG served primarily to weave together the various intellectual threads of U.S. strategic thinking. The document’s sharp language and undisguised ambition provoked concern and criticism (including from some within the administration), but its basic content represented merely the most unvarnished and coherent articulation of an assertive approach to post-Cold War geopolitics. [quote id="1"] Second, this primacist strategy flowed from a potent mix of influences. It had its deepest roots in ingrained beliefs about the imperative of promoting American values abroad and the long-standing U.S. role in upholding the liberal international order that had emerged after World War II. As Bush’s presidency unfolded, these firmly held ideas were reinforced by strong perceptions of both opportunity and danger. Events of the Bush years made clear that America had tantalizing opportunities to lock in its Cold War victory and shape a uniquely favorable international environment, but they also raised the specter of upheaval and instability. In these circumstances, the administration concluded that a grand strategy based on consensual and preeminent American leadership offered the best — indeed the only — approach for grabbing hold of great possibilities, while also ensuring that one period of great danger did not simply lead to another. Third, the choice of a primacist strategy was, on the whole, a reasonable one. That choice was based on a plausible and intellectually defensible reading of what the end of the Cold War meant for the world and for U.S. policy. Moreover, the problems of American primacy over the past 25 years should not obscure the fact that some key premises of the strategy devised by the Bush administration held up relatively well over time. Whether American primacy and the international system it supports will continue to endure amid the growing challenges the United States confronts today remains to be seen. But with a quarter-century of hindsight, the Bush administration’s strategic thinking — with the DPG as its most candid articulation — seems fairly incisive.

Early Thinking About Post-Cold War Strategy

In retrospect, the choice of a primacist grand strategy can seem overdetermined or even inevitable, given the many influences that ultimately pushed the Bush administration in that direction. But as the Cold War ended, there was a wide-ranging public debate over what international role America should play. Paul Kennedy’s 1987 best-seller, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, had popularized the notion that America risked succumbing to “imperial overstretch” brought on by excessive global commitments.[11] These arguments were often reinforced by the rise of economic competitors such as Japan, which had — many critics alleged — exploited America’s postwar largesse and was poised to displace Washington as global economic leader. “The Cold War is over,” one common saying went. “Japan and Germany won.”[12] Moreover, given that many features of America’s globalism had emerged in the context of the superpower contest with Moscow, the winding down of that competition produced calls for a reassessment of Washington’s global role. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, commentators as varied as Jeane Kirkpatrick and Patrick Buchanan on the right, and Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the left, argued for greater strategic restraint, based on the idea that America lacked the ability or the need to carry on such an ambitious global project after the Cold War. There was “a widespread awareness that we have come to the end of the postwar era,” Clinton said in 1988. “We don’t dominate as we once did.”[13] Likewise, Kirkpatrick argued in a prominent article in 1990 that “it is time to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status” and again become “a normal country in a normal time.”[14] As the 1980s ended, calls for retrenchment were often accompanied by demands for dramatic reductions in America’s alliance commitments, overseas presence, and military spending. Analysts with respected think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, and even former secretaries of defense such as Harold Brown, suggested that the United States could reduce defense spending by as much as half if the Soviet threat continued to fade.[15] Democrat Charles Schumer, then a U.S. representative from New York, talked about “deep reductions in the defense budget.”[16] Other respected congressional observers, such as Sen. Sam Nunn and Rep. Les Aspin, called for lesser but still significant cuts.[17] These arguments were contested by defense hawks and analysts, such as the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer, who argued for a more muscular approach to the post-Cold War world.[18] But throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, demands would persist for a substantial “peace dividend” and a more circumscribed U.S. foreign policy. This was not, however, the approach that the Bush administration chose. Amid the erosion and eventual collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe, Bush and his top aides were consumed with superpower relations and crisis management almost from the outset of his presidency, and key officials — Bush included — sometimes seemed wary of declaring the bipolar competition over during much of 1989.[19] Even so, during the first 18 months of Bush’s presidency U.S. officials frequently discussed — in forums both public and private, in ways both systematic and not — what sort of international environment might follow the Cold War and what strategic approach Washington should take in that environment. And even when the outlines of the post-Cold War world were but dimly apparent, these discussions converged around an unmistakable theme: that the United States should not retrench geopolitically, but should lean forward to exploit advantageous change, repress incipient dangers, and mold the new international order. From the start, the sources of this idea were ideological as well as geopolitical. Like countless U.S. officials before him, Bush believed that America had a distinctive moral calling to advance human freedom and well-being and that this responsibility required a self-confident, assertive foreign policy. “We just must not lose sight…of our own raison d’etre as a nation,” he had written in his diary in 1975. “We must be Americans. We must be what we are.”[20] Indeed, while Bush was generally not considered a highly ideological figure, he was certainly part of a long-standing ideological consensus on the moral necessity of U.S. power. America had been the “dominant force for good in the world,” Bush declared during his 1988 campaign, and would remain so in the future.[21] The administration’s early thinking was equally framed by another enduring idea: that American power was indispensable to the preservation of a stable, prosperous, democratic world order. Bush and key aides such as Brent Scowcroft and James Baker were products of World War II and the Cold War. They believed that U.S. engagement had been essential to defeating Nazism and communism, to reconciling former enemies and taming historical antagonisms in Europe and Asia after 1945, and to providing the climate of security and prosperity in which the West had thrived.[22] And just as the drafters of NSC-68 had written that U.S. leadership would be needed “even if there were no Soviet threat,” the Bush administration believed that the imperative of maintaining and advancing a stable, liberal world environment would outlast the Cold War. “America has set in motion the major changes under way in the world today,” Bush asserted in 1988. “No other nation, or group of nations, will step forward to assume leadership.”[23] Or, as a senior National Security Council staffer put it in early 1990, “it’s not as though somehow our postwar responsibilities have ended and our mission is at a conclusion” even though the Soviet threat was waning.[24] From the time Bush took office, these ingrained ideas were reinforced by perceptions of prevailing international trends. In some ways, these changes seemed all to the good. The ebbing of superpower tensions was removing long-standing threats to American interests and raising the possibility that the Cold War would soon end decisively, on U.S. terms. “Containment is being vindicated,” an early classified directive signed by Bush stated, “as the peoples of the world reject the outmoded dogma of Marxism-Leninism in a search for prosperity and freedom.”[25] Looking beyond superpower relations, the rapid spread of democracy and free markets over the previous decade had rendered the international environment more reflective of U.S. values and created openings to advance American security and influence. In the coming years, Robert Zoellick, then State Department counselor, wrote in 1989, “we must concentrate on building a new age of peace, democracy, and economic liberty.”[26] Bush himself asked in a major speech in May of that year:
What is it we want to see? It is a growing community of democracies anchoring international peace and stability, and a dynamic free-market system generating prosperity and progress on a global scale.[27]
At the same time, administration officials also argued that Washington must remain vigilant. In early 1989, Bush and his national security adviser, Scowcroft, were particularly concerned that positive changes in Soviet policy under Mikhail Gorbachev might ultimately be reversed, confronting Washington with a revived challenge. Bush wrote in an early study directive on U.S. defense policy:
It would be reckless to dismantle our military strength and the policies that have helped to make the world less dangerous and foolish to assume that all dangers have disappeared or that any apparent diminution is irreversible.”[28]
Looking beyond the Soviet Union, there were other potential threats. “Security threats were not invented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said, “and threats will remain long after that party’s gone out of business.”[29] Studies commissioned by the Defense Department in the late 1980s emphasized the potential proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the eruption of crises and wars in the Middle East or South Asia, the growth of international terrorism and drug trafficking, and even resurgent economic or political frictions in Europe and East Asia.[30] If anything, the breakdown of bipolarity might encourage such disorder by removing the geopolitical constraints that had long structured world politics. As Peter Rodman, counselor to the National Security Council, put it in a background briefing for reporters in early 1990, “We see a new era of uncertainties, new possible sources of instability, new concerns.”[31] If allowed to fester, these concerns might eventually grow into first-order security challenges in their own right. From the earliest months of the Bush administration, there was thus a consensus that reduced Cold War tensions did not imply a dramatic U.S. retrenchment. In January 1989, Secretary of State James Baker reminded a Cabinet meeting that the “U.S. is both an Atlantic and Pacific power with allies in both regions.”[32] In July, Bush privately reassured the South Korean defense minister that “the U.S. will continue to be a Pacific power with many friends in the region.”[33] Similarly, he made clear that whatever changes occurred in Europe, the United States would remain strategically and militarily engaged so as to discourage a resurgence of historical tensions. “West European countries see the U.S. presence as stabilizing,” Bush explained in a conversation with Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia. “Our view…is that we shouldn’t withdraw and declare peace.”[34] The end of the Cold War might mark a radical break with the past, U.S. officials believed, but it should not usher in radical change in U.S. grand strategy. Rather, Washington should essentially double down on its successful postwar initiatives — the maintenance of alliances and favorable geopolitical balances in key regions, the commitment to playing a leadership role in key international institutions, the efforts to shape a global environment ideologically and economically congenial to the United States — in the more favorable climate that was emerging. These themes were ubiquitous as the administration initiated more systematic planning for post-Cold War strategy. Bush’s first National Security Strategy was drafted by Scowcroft’s staff in late 1989 and early 1990. It represented the administration’s first opportunity to offer a comprehensive assessment of America’s role in a rapidly evolving world, and it was written as the administration grappled with momentous changes in the Soviet bloc. Unsurprisingly, then, the report dealt at length with those changes, arguing that they vindicated the containment strategy pursued since the late 1940s. Yet the National Security Strategy also looked past the Cold War, arguing that America must “help shape a new era, one that moves beyond containment and that will take us into the next century.” Change — “breath-taking in its character, dimension, and pace” — was certain and the United States was likely to confront a range of emerging or resurgent threats. But U.S. global interests were enduring and so Washington would sustain its core alliances and forward military deployments in Europe and East Asia, and it would encourage the further spread of democracy and markets, while also taking the lead in addressing new sources of international tension. “The pivotal responsibility for ensuring the stability of the international balance remains ours,” the National Security Strategy affirmed, “even as its requirements change in a new era.”[35] The counterpart to the National Security Strategy was a major defense review carried out from 1989 to 1990, largely under the leadership of Gen. Colin Powell, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The need for such an exercise was obvious as the easing of superpower tensions exerted downward pressure on the defense budget. “We know it will get smaller,” said Powell. “That is inevitable.”[36] Bush himself argued to resist efforts to “naively cut the muscle out of our defense posture,” but as early as by late 1989 Cheney was conceding that the administration might have to cut as much as $180 billion (out of a total defense budget of roughly $300 billion) over a period of six years.[37] The task, then, was to fashion a new defense concept that could reconcile the realities of coming budget cuts with the enduring requirements of global stability and American influence. “Our challenges,” the 1990 National Security Strategy explained, were to adapt America’s military strength “to a grand strategy that looks beyond containment, and to ensure that our military power, and that of our allies and friends, is appropriate to the new and more complex opportunities and challenges before us.”[38] [quote id="2"] The result of this process — which emerged after significant bureaucratic and inter-service wrangling — was the “Base Force” concept for sizing the U.S. military. The Base Force accepted non-trivial reductions in U.S. military power, envisioning eventual cuts of approximately 25 percent in personnel levels, reductions in carrier battle groups and other power-projection tools, and withdrawal of portions of the American contingent in Europe. Yet as Pentagon officials stressed, unchallenged U.S. military power underwrote global security commitments, dampened long-standing rivalries in key regions, and gave Washington immense diplomatic leverage. Moreover, while there was now less chance of war with Moscow, the potential for conflict remained in the Korean Peninsula; the Persian Gulf; and even Central America, where U.S. forces had recently toppled Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. The Base Force thus preserved large-scale overseas deployments in Europe and East Asia; maintained the critical air, naval, and logistical capabilities necessary to dominate the global commons and project power overseas; and preserved intensive research and development efforts to sustain America’s military-technological edge, particularly at the higher ends of the conventional spectrum.[39] “America must possess forces able to respond to threats in whatever corner of the globe they may occur,” Bush said in unveiling the Base Force concept in 1990; it must “protect the gains that 40 years of peace through strength have earned us.”[40] The logic of the Base Force prefigured a great deal of post-Cold War strategic thinking. Its key architects — Powell, Lt. Gen. Lee Butler, and others — rooted their recommendations in the idea that the declining Soviet danger might simply be replaced by the “rise of new hegemonic powers” in regions of strategic importance. They believed that “the United States was the only power with the capacity to manage the major forces at work in the world.” And so they concluded that a high degree of military dominance was critical to preserving the international stability and geopolitical gains offered by the end of the Cold War. In fact, the “Base Force” label was meant to make clear that there was a minimum level of military primacy below which America “dare not go” (as Powell put it) if it were to maintain and expand the stable, liberalizing international order that Washington had built in the West after World War II. “What we plan for,” Powell subsequently explained of the strategy, “is that we’re a superpower. We are the major player on the world stage with responsibilities around the world, with interests around the world.” All of these ideas would figure prominently in subsequent Pentagon planning efforts under Bush and later.[41] Early in Bush’s presidency, then, there was broad internal agreement that America would continue to act as guarantor and stabilizer of the international system. It would encourage favorable trends, hold back threatening ones, and keep the unequaled hard power necessary to do so effectively. This mind-set would influence how the administration approached key crises in 1989-1990. Those crises, in turn, would sharpen official views on America’s global role.

The Collapse of the Bloc and German Reunification

The first such crisis involved the collapse of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe and the redrawing of the region’s political map. This crisis began in mid-1989, with the accelerating breakdown of the Communist regimes, and intensified with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November. That event raised the prospect of German reunification, which then proceeded via an internal track made up of rapidly increasing ties between the two German states, and an external track of multilateral diplomacy primarily involving the United States, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. By the fall of 1990, Germany was reunified within NATO, and the Warsaw Pact was disintegrating as countries throughout Eastern Europe initiated democratic and free-market reforms and requested withdrawal of Soviet troops. In roughly a year, the bipolar order in Europe had been transformed.[42] U.S. policy played little role in initiating those transformations. Bush admitted to Gorbachev in December 1989, “We were shocked by the swiftness of the changes that unfolded.”[43] As events raced ahead, however, the administration became deeply engaged, endorsing and actively pushing for German reunification under Western auspices. “No approach on our part toward Germany is without risk,” Scowcroft wrote in a memo to Bush, “but at this point the most dangerous course of all for the United States may be to allow others to set the shape and character of a united Germany and or the future structure of European security.”[44] By mid-1990 and after, the administration was even considering eventual expansion of NATO further into the former Warsaw Pact area to discourage post-Cold War instability and foster political and economic reform.[45] Existing scholarship has explored the contours of U.S. policy on these issues.[46] More salient here is that events in Europe in 1989 and 1990 powerfully interacted with the main currents in American thinking about the post-Cold War world. In one sense, the breakdown of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe provided a breathtaking demonstration of just how immense the possibilities might be in this emerging era. “We were witnessing the sorts of changes usually only imposed by victors at the end of a major war,” Scowcroft later wrote in his memoir. Reunification on Western terms, he had observed contemporaneously, in November 1989, would “rip the heart out of the Soviet security system” in Eastern Europe and mark a “fundamental shift in the strategic balance.”[47] Moreover, the transitions underway in Eastern Europe were underscoring the possibility for further advances by free markets and free political systems. “We are witnessing the transformation of almost every state in Eastern Europe into more democratic societies, dominated by pluralistic political systems matched to decentralized economies,” Scowcroft wrote in a memo to the president.[48] This prospect was a principal driver of U.S. policy in 1989 and 1990. U.S. officials studiously engaged Moscow in the multilateral diplomacy surrounding reunification, and they carefully avoided humiliating Gorbachev over the catastrophic retreat of Soviet influence. Privately, however, Bush and Scowcroft intended to exploit U.S. strength and Soviet weakness to remake the European order on American terms. “The Soviets are not in a position to dictate Germany’s relationship with NATO,” Bush said at a meeting with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in early 1990. “To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn’t.”[49] Accordingly, the administration encouraged Kohl to move briskly toward reunification, while also pressing Moscow to accept reunification within NATO and decisively rejecting Soviet proposed alternatives such as a neutralized Germany. As they did so, American officials treated Gorbachev with great respect in their bilateral dealings, and Bush and Kohl arranged for concessions — especially German financial assistance to Moscow — to ensure Soviet acquiescence. Yet the guiding assumption remained that Washington and its allies must move decisively to lock in epochal changes. “There is so much change in Eastern Europe,” Bush said in January 1990. “We should seize the opportunity to make things better for the world.”[50] [quote id="3"] The process of German reunification thus offered tantalizing opportunities to ensure American dominance in post-Cold War Europe. At the same time, that process also reinforced the idea that such strategic assertiveness was necessary to manage emerging dangers. Reunification was deeply worrying to Poland, France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, which feared that a united Germany might once again dominate Europe. As NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner privately warned Bush as the diplomacy surrounding reunification heated up, “The Old Pandora’s box of competition and rivalry in Europe” might be reopened.[51] More broadly, there were widespread fears that the collapse of Soviet authority in Eastern Europe could unleash ethnic violence or resurgent nationalist rivalries within that region. “The outlines of ancient European antagonisms are already beginning to emerge,” Scowcroft wrote in late 1989. A “power vacuum is developing” as Soviet influence receded.[52] For the Bush administration, these concerns powerfully underscored the need not to retract U.S. influence but to maintain and expand it. By this logic, keeping a reunified Germany within NATO would preclude resurgent instability by tying the new German state to the West and thereby eliminating the competitive security dynamics that might otherwise emerge. As Baker warned, “Unless we find a way to truly anchor Germany in European institutions we will sow the seeds for history to repeat itself.”[53] Moreover, integrating a reunified Germany into NATO would ensure that the alliance remained relevant after the Cold War, thereby also ensuring a continued role for U.S. power in Europe. The alternatives, Scowcroft warned Bush in a key memorandum, were dangerous: “Twentieth century history gives no encouragement to those who believe the Europeans can achieve and sustain this balance of power and keep the peace without the United States.”[54] From late 1989 onward, this perspective propelled efforts not simply to bring a reunified Germany into NATO but also to adapt that alliance to preserve its utility after the Cold War. Amid German reunification, the Bush administration secured alliance reforms meant to make a strong and vibrant NATO more acceptable to a retreating Soviet Union. The alliance adjusted its force posture to take account of the decreasing Soviet threat, deemphasized the role of nuclear weapons, and stressed NATO’s political (as opposed to strictly military) functions. Likewise, the administration took steps to accommodate European desires for greater influence over their own security affairs in the post-Cold War era, while reaffirming NATO’s primacy on European defense. “Our essential goal,” noted one administration strategy memo from 1990, was “a viable NATO that is the foundation for Atlantic cooperation on political and security concerns and maintains the position of the United States as a European power.[55] What made this goal achievable was that there was widespread European support for a strong and perhaps expanded U.S. role. Although the French did seek a more independent European security identity as the Cold War ended, neither they nor any other ally sought the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe. As British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd would say in 1990, “European security without the United States simply does not make sense.”[56] Even the Soviets and their erstwhile allies agreed. Although he initially resisted German reunification within NATO (and Moscow would later object to NATO expansion during the 1990s and after), Gorbachev ultimately concluded that a united Germany tied to Washington was preferable to an independent, neutral Germany. “The presence of American troops can play a containing role,” Gorbachev acknowledged in a conversation with Baker.[57] And as early as the spring of 1990, Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland and Hungary were inquiring about eventual NATO membership as a guarantee of their own security.[58] The United States did not immediately undertake NATO expansion in the early 1990s, largely for fear of antagonizing Moscow at a time when Soviet troops had yet to be fully withdrawn from Eastern Europe, and because U.S. officials had yet to study or debate the issue in sufficient detail to reach internal consensus.[59] But even in 1990 and 1991, the Bush administration was tentatively taking exploratory steps, such as extending NATO military liaison relationships to the bloc countries, and the basic geopolitical logic of expansion was starting to take hold. The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the State Department Policy Planning Staff believed, as the National Security Council’s director for European security affairs, Philip Zelikow, put it in October 1990, that it was important “to keep the door ajar and not give the East Europeans the impression that NATO is forever a closed club.”[60] Internal documents argued that expansion would help avoid nationalist frictions and security dilemmas in Eastern Europe. Moreover, as one State Department official subsequently wrote in 1992,
Democratization and economic development have a better chance of succeeding if national security concerns in the Eastern democracies were reduced by credible, multilateral security guarantees.[61]
In several respects, then, the European crisis of 1989 to 1990 underscored and helped to clarify key elements of Bush administration thinking. This episode reinforced the idea that U.S. ascendancy and the weakening of traditional rivals had created a moment of transition in which Washington could act decisively to achieve lasting structural changes. It affirmed the notion that American influence and U.S.-led institutions could serve a critical stabilizing purpose amid geopolitical uncertainty. Finally, this episode offered evidence for the idea that insofar as U.S. power promoted stability in the international system, its maintenance and even expansion after the Cold War might be more welcomed than resisted. Many of these ideas would soon reappear in the American reaction to a second major international crisis.

The Persian Gulf Crisis and War

The Persian Gulf crisis and war of 1990 to 1991 followed hard upon German reunification. It had an equally pronounced impact on U.S. views of the post-Cold War order. On Aug. 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait in a bid to bring that oil-rich kingdom under Iraqi control and thereby redress the Baathist regime’s desperate financial and domestic plight. The United States, however, promptly spearheaded a decisive response. The Bush administration mobilized a diverse diplomatic coalition against Iraq while also coordinating a multinational military deployment used first to protect Saudi Arabia and then to evict Saddam from Kuwait. Washington would ultimately deploy nearly 550,000 personnel, 2,000 tanks, 1,990 aircraft, and 100 warships to the Persian Gulf. Its coalition partners would contribute 270,000 troops, 66 warships, 750 combat aircraft, and 1,100 tanks. When, after several months of military preparations and crisis diplomacy, Saddam refused to withdraw, the U.S.-led coalition prosecuted a brief but punishing war to force him out. That conflict did not ultimately oust Saddam from power, as some U.S. officials had hoped, but it did liberate Kuwait and leave Iraq far weaker and more isolated than before.[62] If German reunification primarily demonstrated the opportunities of the new era, the Gulf crisis primarily highlighted the dangers. Most immediately, Saddam’s invasion threatened the security of critical Gulf oil supplies. It also highlighted larger post-Cold War perils. The crisis showed, as Bush noted in a speech on Aug. 2, that “threats…can arise suddenly, unpredictably, and from unexpected quarters.”[63] More specifically, the invasion raised the prospect that aggressive dictatorships, armed with unconventional weapons, might exploit the fluidity of the post-Cold War world to make bold plays for hegemony in crucial regions. Saddam “has clearly done what he has to do to dominate OPEC, the Gulf and the Arab world,” Cheney said at a National Security Council meeting on Aug. 3.[64] This fear of incipient chaos and destabilizing aggression pushed U.S. officials toward a strong response. “This is the first test of the post [-Cold] war system,” Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger commented. “If [Saddam] succeeds, others may try the same thing. It would be a bad lesson.”[65] As early as Aug. 2, Bush framed the crisis as an illustration of why the United States needed to maintain globe-spanning military power, capable of “rapid response” to crises.[66] Similarly, officials continually reiterated that U.S. engagement was essential to ensuring that the end of bipolarity ushered in something better and not something worse. “We did not stand united for forty years to bring the Cold War to a peaceful end in order to make the world safe for the likes of Saddam Hussein,” Baker said in late 1990. America should defend the position of strategic advantage that its Cold War victory had enabled.[67] The Gulf crisis further affirmed that belief by revealing, far more starkly than before, that only Washington could play the crucial stabilizing role. For all the talk during the 1980s about the economic rise of Japan and Germany, when the Gulf crisis broke only America was uniquely capable of spearheading a decisive multilateral response. U.S. diplomacy was central to mobilizing the Gulf War coalition by providing subsidies for key members such as Egypt, offering diplomatic cover to vulnerable participants, and persuading reluctant actors such as the Soviet Union and China not to stand in the way.[68] U.S. power was even more central in the military arena: No other country had the forces necessary to confront Saddam in his own backyard. “It’s only the United States that can lead,” Bush noted in his diary in September. “All countries in the West clearly have to turn to us.”[69] What the Gulf crisis equally demonstrated was robust global demand for such U.S. leadership. Twenty-seven nations ultimately provided military forces for the coalition effort. Coalition partners also provided $53.8 billion in monetary support and in-kind contributions, nearly covering the total U.S. bill of $61.1 billion.[70] This historic multilateral support for U.S. policy was partially a function of easing Cold War gridlock in the U.N. Security Council and partially reflected the heinous nature of Saddam’s aggression. Yet it also showed that the energetic use of U.S. power was widely seen as vital to upholding stability and safeguarding public goods such as global oil flows in the post-Cold War era. “We are protecting their interest as well as ours,” one administration memo explained, “and it is only fair that they share the burden.”[71] Foreign officials acknowledged this dynamic. “The Japanese people, in the last 45 years, have been used to peace provided by you,” Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki told Bush at a meeting in September 1990. The Gulf crisis showed that this reliance had hardly ended.[72] [quote id="4"] The realization that Washington had a chance to establish a model of assertive but consensual primacy was at the forefront of U.S. policy in the Gulf crisis. The administration’s multilateralism and talk of a “New World Order” sometimes gave the impression that Bush believed that the United Nations would be the primary provider of international security in the 1990s.[73] Yet in reality, that multilateralism rested on a growing belief that the end of the Cold War was making it possible to gain broader international support — including through institutions such as the United Nations — for energetic American leadership in pursuit of both U.S. interests and global security. As Bush and Scowcroft later acknowledged, their diplomacy was meant to give “a cloak of acceptability to our efforts and mobilize world opinion behind the principles we wished to project.” Scowcroft expanded on this idea. “The United States henceforth would be obligated to lead the world community to an unprecedented degree,” he wrote. It should therefore “pursue our national interest, wherever possible, within a framework of concert with our friends and the international community.”[74] This concept of enlightened American primacy would soon reappear in the DPG and other administration planning documents. In the meantime, the war underscored just how pronounced that primacy was. Saddam’s roughly million-man army was eviscerated by U.S. forces, which had built advanced, high-tech weapons and capabilities for use against the Soviets in Central Europe and were now deploying them against a weaker regional adversary. In particular, the Gulf War showcased American dominance in high-intensity conventional conflict, made possible by unparalleled strengths in capabilities ranging from precision-guided munitions to infra-red technology. It further demonstrated how the training and doctrinal reforms made since Vietnam had allowed U.S. forces to utilize these capabilities with astonishing lethality. As one postwar assessment noted, Operation Desert Storm revealed that America had achieved “a revolutionary advance in military capability.”[75] Combined with the fact that the Soviet Union, consumed by internal turmoil, had largely been left on the sidelines, the result was to display just how significant the emerging post-Cold War power disparity was between Washington and any potential rival. “The U.S. clearly emerges from all of this as the one real superpower in the world,” Cheney observed in April 1991.[76] Ironically, this military dominance did not secure quite the result U.S. officials had sought, as Saddam Hussein survived the war in power, with a much-reduced but still-threatening military. The Bush administration declined the opportunity to double down on operational success by pursuing Saddam’s forces to Baghdad or otherwise explicitly seeking regime change. In part, this was because the administration hoped — and had, from intelligence sources, some reason to believe — that the historic drubbing Saddam had suffered would cause the Iraqi military to overthrow him. “We genuinely believed…that the magnitude of the defeat was so overwhelming that the army would take out Saddam when the war was over,” Robert Gates, Bush’s deputy national security adviser, later recalled.[77] Bush also mistakenly believed, as he told French officials at the time, that Saddam’s “armor was so decimated that they no longer constitute a military threat to their neighbors.”[78] Yet from a broader perspective, this restraint owed to the fact that an administration fully committed to perpetuating American leadership in the post-Cold War era was also wary of going too far. Bush did not want to fragment the Gulf War coalition by exceeding its U.N. mandate. He and his advisers also worried that ridding Iraq of Saddam might require a full-scale military occupation for which there were no existing plans. “We do not want to screw this up with a sloppy, muddled ending,” Bush said.[79] This restraint was later criticized, for contrary to what Bush and his commanders had expected, a significant portion of Saddam’s forces — including elite Republican Guard divisions and Iraqi armor — had escaped destruction. Moreover, the war was followed not by a Sunni military coup but by Shia and Kurdish uprisings that caused Saddam’s generals to rally around him as the only figure who could preserve a unified Iraq.[80] The Bush administration declined to intervene in this bloody civil war, fearful that doing so might fracture the Iraqi state and bring Iranian-backed Shia groups to dominance. The concern, one State Department adviser recalled, was that “this was going to create a new Lebanon.”[81] As a result, Saddam clung to power and remained capable of threatening the Gulf. “Even in its presently weakened state,” Assistant Secretary of Defense Henry Rowen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee several months after the conflict, “Iraq is still much stronger than any of its neighbors to the south.”[82] In fairness to Bush — and in light of later U.S. experience invading and occupying Iraq — prudence may still have been the better part of wisdom in 1991. In any event, the somewhat muddled outcome of the Persian Gulf War simply increased the tendency to expand U.S. activism after the Cold War. In particular, it ensured that Washington would retain a sizable military presence in the Gulf — where it had previously relied on a light-footprint, “over the horizon” approach — as a way of keeping Saddam’s regime contained. “Saddam Hussein is sanctioned forever,” Bush told European officials in April 1991.[83] And in general, the Gulf War further set the stage for an ambitious post-Cold War strategy. The imperative of unmatched U.S. military power; the need for decisive action to head off emergent upheaval; the sense that there was no good alternative to American leadership; the evidence that leadership employed for the collective good could enjoy broad international acceptance: All of these components of the administration’s strategic paradigm gained strong support from the crisis. As administration officials subsequently attempted a more systematic expression of post-Cold War policy, they would draw heavily on this mind-set.

To the Defense Planning Guidance

Official thinking about such a policy statement occurred in the context of two key developments in 1991 and 1992. The first was the terminal decline of the Soviet Union. As scholars have noted, the administration’s policy toward Moscow in 1991 was often hedged and tentative, in part because of internal disagreements between the State and Defense Departments. Partially as a result, U.S. policy played only a marginal role in the Soviet disintegration.[84] Yet that disintegration further clarified America’s global position. America’s long-standing competitor had collapsed and Washington was now without military or ideological peers. “We were suddenly in a unique position,” Scowcroft later wrote, “without experience, without precedent, and standing alone at the height of power.”[85] The need to articulate a strategy for this new situation took on greater salience. That imperative was strengthened by issues at home. The Gulf War had, in many ways, shown the value of U.S. military dominance. Yet as the Soviet Union unraveled, calls for a post-Cold War peace dividend intensified; many observers, including most candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, advocated cuts significantly beyond what the Base Force envisioned. Clinton advocated cutting military spending by one-third over five years. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown advocated a 50 percent cut over the same period; Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa called for 50 percent cuts over ten years.[86] In these circumstances, it seemed essential to identify a persuasive paradigm for global engagement after the passing of the Soviet threat. That task fell to the Pentagon — particularly Wolfowitz’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy — which attempted to offer a coherent statement of American purpose in its classified Defense Planning Guidance. Wolfowitz’s staff took the drafting of the report as an opportunity to assess the “fundamentally new situation” in global affairs and to “set the nation’s direction for the next century.”[87] Preparatory work began as early as mid-1991 and, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Wolfowitz’s staff (led by adviser Zalmay Khalilzad) drew up a nearly final version by mid-February 1992.[88] The strategic vision conveyed by the DPG was based on an unvarnished reading of global power dynamics. With the “collapse of the Soviet Union,” “the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence,” and the success of American arms in the Gulf, the United States had established an enviable power position. Moreover, the United States led a “system of collective security and…democratic ‘zone of peace’” that bound the developed West tightly to it. All this amounted to what Cheney publicly described as unprecedented “strategic depth” — a dearth of existential threats, combined with tremendous leeway and influence in shaping global events.[89] The core aim of U.S. strategy, then, should be to extend this situation well into the future. As the DPG stated:
Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival…that poses a threat on the order of that formerly posed by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration…and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.
Washington must therefore prevent any adversary from commanding Europe, East Asia, or the Persian Gulf; it should prevent a new hostile superpower from reasserting control over the territory of the former Soviet Union. The goal, in other words, was to avoid a return to bipolarity or multipolarity, and to lock in a U.S.-led unipolar order.[90] The United States should also seek to sustain and even improve this unipolar order by thwarting other emerging threats and further transforming global politics to American advantage. According to the DPG, America would “limit international violence” by confronting dangers such as regional conflict, international terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear arms as well as other advanced weapons. It would also make the international environment still more congenial by advancing “the spread of democratic forms of government and open economic systems,” particularly in key regions such as the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The Kremlin had “achieved global reach and power” because a totalitarian regime had consolidated control of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Preventing another such threat from arising entailed extending the “democratic zone of peace” into the former Soviet empire and beyond.[91] The DPG was a Pentagon document, but it was not blind to the fact that achieving these ambitious goals would require more than military power. Proactive diplomacy and economic statecraft would be essential to promoting democracy and markets, countering terrorism, and impeding proliferation. Most important, maintaining American primacy would require convincing other leading nations to support rather than oppose it. As Khalilzad wrote,
We must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order.
The United States should thus promote a positive-sum global economy that would help other countries prosper. It should provide international security, leadership in addressing critical challenges, and other common goods that would persuade key second-tier nations to welcome American preeminence. In essence, the DPG made a version of the argument that would later gain currency among international-relations scholars: that unipolarity need not invite concerted counterbalancing so long as Washington used its power to support a benign and broadly beneficial global system.[92] The DPG, then, was a more nuanced document than some critics later claimed. Yet there was no mistaking another core message: that unrivaled American military might was the hard-power backbone of the post-Cold War order. U.S. force deployments and alliance commitments provided stability and influence in key regions from East Asia to Europe to the Persian Gulf; the DPG even raised the prospect of extending security guarantees to former members of the Soviet bloc. American military dominance fostered a peaceful international environment in which open markets and open political systems could prosper; it would also dissuade potential rivals from seeking to challenge American leadership. “We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role,” the DPG stated. Finally, given the enduring uncertainty of global affairs, unrivaled military primacy would provide the ability to address emerging threats and dangers before they fundamentally disrupted the post-Cold War system. America would not be “righting every wrong,” the document stated, but:
We will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends, or which could seriously unsettle international relations.[93]
To be clear, the DPG did not advocate unrestrained interventionism, for such a view would have been badly out of step with the instincts of key administration leaders. Bush had declined to intervene militarily amid the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in mid-1991, on grounds that there was no vital U.S. interest at stake. “We don’t want to put a dog in this fight,” he wrote in his diary.[94] Similarly, Cheney and Wolfowitz had long understood that any perception that Washington was going about in search of monsters to destroy would drain public support for an assertive post-Cold War policy. “One of the reasons the [Gulf] operation was so successful was that its purposes were very clear and it had public support,” Wolfowitz had commented in 1991. “That doesn’t translate into a blank check to go around the world using force.” Powell, for his part, had argued that same year that America should use force only in cases where U.S. forces could win decisively and then exit the scene, avoiding the sort of open-ended, indecisive missions that had led to such a fierce domestic backlash in Vietnam. “If…military force regrettably turns out to be” necessary, he said, “I think it should be used in a decisive way.”[95] Both halves of the DPG’s formulation regarding the role of American military power were thus important. “The world order,” the document stated forthrightly, “is ultimately backed by the U.S.”[96] But preserving domestic support for such a strategy required avoiding unnecessary interventions and using American power selectively. So how much military power was required to pursue the DPG strategy? The document was somewhat fuzzy regarding specifics, but it left no uncertainty that Washington needed a superiority that was not just unmatched but unrivaled. An initial draft of the document, from September 1991, had stated that “U.S. forces must continue to be at least a generation ahead.”[97] The February 1992 version emphasized the imperative of winning decisively in confrontations with Saddam-like challengers — who might be armed with nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction — as well as the role of vast technological superiority in upholding deterrence. Furthermore, the document affirmed that the United States would act on a multilateral basis when possible but that it must be able “to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated or when an immediate response is…necessary.”[98] In its totality, the DPG expressed a strikingly ambitious vision for American strategy. Yet it was nonetheless basically aligned with the Bush administration’s broader perspective as expressed to date. So many core themes of the document — the promotion of democracy and market economics, the need for globe-spanning and preponderant military power, the idea that Washington could pursue an enlightened sort of leadership that would invite support rather than opposition — were reiterations or refinements of earlier ideas. Nor was the idea of precluding the rise of a new hostile superpower particularly novel. It drew on the same logic that had impelled Bush to prevent Saddam from dominating the Persian Gulf, and thereby amassing dangerous levels of geopolitical power, and the basic concept of using the Cold War’s end to lock in a more favorable international order. (It also drew on an older U.S. strategic concept, dating to World War II, of preventing rivals from controlling key regions of the world.[99]) In effect, the DPG drew together the administration’s core post-Cold War concepts and linked them to a more explicit overall ambition of preserving U.S. international supremacy. It was not a sharp break with the administration’s strategic thinking; it can more properly be seen as the culmination thereof. [quote id="5"] Yet the February 1992 DPG was also still a draft document, and for a time it appeared to be dead on arrival. Late that month the document leaked to the New York Times and Washington Post. Reacting to the DPG’s more striking language and ideas — which were emphasized in the media reporting — critics lambasted the Pentagon’s blueprint. Biden declared that “what these Pentagon planners are laying out is nothing but a Pax Americana.”[100] Sen. Alan Cranston memorably accused the administration of seeking to make America “the one, the only main honcho on the world block, the global Big Enchilada.”[101] The Washington Post editorial board lamented the DPG’s “muscle-flexing unilateralism” as a rejection of Gulf War-era multilateralism.[102] Sen. Edward Kennedy charged that the DPG “aimed primarily at finding new ways to justify Cold War levels of military spending.”[103] Other observers noted that the DPG seemed focused on stymieing the rise not only of American adversaries but also of traditional allies such as Germany and Japan and non-hostile powers such as India.[104] Blindsided by the leak and subsequent chorus of boos, the Bush administration wavered. National Security Council talking points encouraged Bush to play down the DPG in an upcoming meeting with German officials. “Kohl may express displeasure about the leaked Pentagon paper suggesting that the U.S. wants to block the rise of any new superpower, including German-led Europe,” NSC officials wrote in March 1992. “You should explain that we want to see a stronger, more united Europe.”[105] In public, Bush explained that he had not formally approved — or even read — Khalilzad’s draft. Cheney and Wolfowitz subsequently called upon a top Pentagon aide, Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, to rewrite the February 1992 draft. The redraft toned down the language of the earlier version while also playing up the importance of alliance relationships and multilateralism. By May, leading newspapers were reporting that the administration had pulled back from its radical vision. “Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers,” the New York Times proclaimed.[106] The reality, however, was different. The DPG was not, after all, some great substantive departure from administration views on post-Cold War strategy. As noted earlier, many of the key military concepts expressed in the document — the imperative of maintaining military primacy based on high-end technological superiority and the need to head off the emergence of new regional hegemons — had played key roles in the development of the Base Force. Similarly, a document finalized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 1992 significantly foreshadowed the DPG, arguing that America must “preserve a credible capability to forestall any potential adversary from competing militarily with the United States.”[107] During early 1992, moreover, Powell and Cheney had publicly advocated some of the core themes of the DPG in speeches and congressional testimony. “We are…the world’s sole remaining superpower,” Powell had said. “Seldom in our history have we been in a stronger position relative to any challengers we might face. This is a position we should not abandon.”[108] These views were not held solely by Pentagon officials. The president himself largely kept quiet about the DPG in public. But Bush did nonetheless convey that he “was broadly supportive of the thrust of the Pentagon document” once he learned of it following the leaks, one reporter noted in March, and his private statements confirm this assessment. “We must remain the active leader of the entire world,” he wrote in a note to White House aides that month. “We must not only have the convictions about democracy and freedom, but we must have a strong National Defense posture.”[109] As discussed subsequently, Bush would also strongly endorse many key tenets of the report in his final National Security Strategy. Likewise, at the State Department, James Baker implicitly affirmed other aspects of the DPG. He noted in early April that although multilateralism would always be the first preference, America would never relinquish the right to act unilaterally when necessary. “We can hardly entrust the future of democracy or American interests exclusively to multilateral institutions,” he said.[110] This is not to say that there was no internal debate or controversy over the DPG. State Department officials — still smarting from intense internal debates over how to handle the breakup of the Soviet Union — offered some anonymous critiques of the DPG, terming the language overblown and counterproductive to the goal of maintaining positive relationships with rising powers such as India.[111] The DPG also leaned further forward than some U.S. officials would have liked with respect to the potential future expansion of NATO. At the NSC, Scowcroft, a stickler for good process, was displeased that the document had leaked and that the debate had played out publicly as opposed to privately. Similarly, Bush and those around him understood that the muscular language of the document was likely to cause political problems for leaders of allied countries, such as Germany and Japan, that the DPG seemed to identify as potential future competitors. “I know the leak of this draft Pentagon report didn’t help,” read Bush’s suggested talking points for the aforementioned meeting with Kohl.[112] Finally, administration higher-ups were clearly nonplussed that the rhetoric of the DPG occasionally seemed to undercut the emphasis on multilateralism that had characterized U.S. policy during the Gulf War. The administration had always recognized that such multilateralism was both dependent on, and a means of advancing, American leadership. But the DPG’s blunt advocacy of preserving American primacy seemed likely to dispel the warm feelings Washington had earned through its reliance on the U.N. Security Council during the Gulf crisis, and to present the image of a superpower determined to maintain hegemony for its own narrow purposes. This was presumably why Scowcroft termed the DPG “arrogant” (as he later put it) and likely to cause diplomatic headaches.[113] Yet these concerns pertained mainly to language, process, and atmospherics, and not to core strategic content. Put differently, it would have been hard to identify any leading officials who did not think that the United States should maintain unrivaled military capabilities, favorable power balances in key regions, and a global network of security alliances, while also working to promote a stable international environment in which democracy and markets were prevalent and U.S. influence was unsurpassed. Scowcroft, for instance, may have criticized the DPG after the fact (and after the Iraq War of 2003 had soured his relationship with Cheney), but at the time his NSC staff does not seem to have objected to the basic ideas — as distinct from the language — conveyed in the report. Indeed, when a revised version of the document — which was substantively quite similar — was subsequently submitted for clearance, the White House approved it with only minor edits.[114] And though State Department officials would later offer, in an end-of-administration review, a vision of post-Cold War policy that placed greater emphasis on international economics and other non-military challenges (as was appropriate in a State Department document), the core premises of the analysis were not dramatically different from those of the DPG. One collection of State Department papers noted, for instance, that “for the first time in fifty years we do not face a global military adversary” and stressed the remarkably advantageous nature of that situation. It spoke of the need to prevent proliferation of WMD to authoritarian regimes, for “such a development would dramatically destabilize important parts of the world, and could even threaten the physical security of the United States.” It stressed the importance of promoting free markets and free political institutions. Above all, it argued that no one else could lead in these tasks:
The bottom line is that in this time of uncertainty, the United States has a unique role to play — as a provider of reassurance and architect of new security arrangements; as an aggressive proponent of economic openness; as an exemplar and advocate of democratic values; as a builder and leader of coalitions to deal with the problems of a chaotic post-Cold War world.[115]
In sum, there was far more consensus than debate about the basic merits of the strategy described in the DPG.[116] As all this indicates, efforts — whether at the time or later — to sharply distinguish between the primacist strategy embodied by the DPG and the liberal internationalist approach favored by other observers rest on a false dichotomy. For the DPG did advance a strategy of liberal internationalism. It emphasized maintaining U.S. leadership of alliances and other institutions, promoting liberal norms, and fostering an open and inclusive international order, in part by ensuring that America retained the preponderant military power and strategic influence needed to accomplish these goals. In the same way, the State Department papers just referenced recognized that American leadership and power were essential components of promoting a cooperative, stable international environment, just as Bush and Scowcroft had recognized during the Gulf War that any “New World Order” would ultimately have to rest on the unrivaled might and unequaled exertions of the United States. The Bush administration recognized, in other words, what some scholars would subsequently become prone to ignoring — that liberal internationalism and U.S. hegemonic leadership were two sides of the same coin.[117] Yet if all this is true, then what caused the public blowup when the DPG was leaked? Much of that furor stemmed from the same factors that had caused insiders some discomfort. Because the administration had used such high-flown multilateral rhetoric during the Persian Gulf War — albeit as a way of asserting American leadership — the DPG’s unembarrassed support for U.S. geopolitical superiority was unavoidably jarring to many outside observers. “I was a little surprised somebody would put this kind of thing down on paper,” the diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis told a reporter.[118] The political context simply fanned the flames. On the right, the DPG landed in the middle of a surprisingly competitive Republican presidential primary, in which Buchanan was calling for geopolitical retrenchment and a more narrowly nationalistic approach to foreign affairs.[119] The leak of the DPG also occurred amid heated debates about military spending levels and as Democratic presidential candidates sought to outdo each other in their critique of Bush’s foreign policy. It was hardly a coincidence that key players in these debates were among the harshest critics of the DPG. Paul Tsongas publicly blasted the administration for ignoring the United Nations; Clinton’s deputy campaign manager, George Stephanopoulos, labeled the DPG exercise “an excuse for big budgets.”[120] The controversy’s intensely political nature would become clear after Clinton won the presidency — and proceeded to follow a national security policy that tracked fairly closely with what the document recommended. Contrary to what the New York Times reported, in fact, the DPG was quietly affirmed by the Bush administration in its final months in office. Wolfowitz and Cheney accepted Libby’s revised draft, which was then approved (notwithstanding minor edits) by the White House. A public version was published in January 1993 as the Pentagon’s Regional Defense Strategy.[121] Although the revised paper had tamer language, Wolfowitz assured Cheney, “It is still a rather hard-hitting document which retains the substance you liked in the February 18th draft.”[122] Indeed, the Regional Defense Strategy fully committed to preserving American primacy in support of an open and congenial order. “America’s strategic position is stronger than it has been for decades,” it averred; Washington must “maintain the strategic depth that we won through forty years of the Cold War.” Likewise, the Regional Defense Strategy reaffirmed the value of U.S. alliances and forward deployments, and it made clear that America must be able to “preclude hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating regions critical to our interests.” The document emphasized protecting the post-Cold War order by confronting terrorism and weapons proliferation, and by extending “the remarkable democratic ‘zone of peace.’” While paying due regard to American alliances and international institutions, the Regional Defense Strategy also left no doubt that Washington would use force — alone, if need be — to defeat serious threats to its interests. Finally, the strategy made explicit the idea that America should “dominate the military-technological revolution” as a means of sustaining its preeminence and deterring current or potential rivals. The Regional Defense Strategy, in other words, was simply the DPG in another guise.[123] Admittedly, the document did not explicitly restate the idea that Washington should prevent the rise of any new hostile superpower.[124] Yet this was a distinction without a difference because the goal of preventing hostile nondemocratic powers from dominating key regions — which ran throughout the document — amounted to the same thing. [quote id="6"] At the close of Bush’s presidency, the administration found other ways of conveying this basic commitment to a primacist strategy. In late 1992, Bush dispatched U.S. troops to provide humanitarian assistance to starving civilians in Somalia. He had done so reluctantly, out of fears that this deployment would result in the sort of open-ended mission he had earlier resisted in the Gulf and the Balkans. As a result, while humanitarian concerns ultimately drove Bush to approve the mission, he sought to define it as narrowly as possible — to limit it to the delivery of aid and the creation of infrastructure for future deliveries. He made clear in two major policy addresses that Washington should always be wary of “running off on reckless, expensive crusades.” But Bush also used these addresses, in December 1992 and January 1993, to further spell out his now-familiar vision for global strategy, a vision that was premised on using unrivaled U.S. influence to promote geopolitical stability, avoid a return to the more threatening climate of earlier decades, and “win the democratic peace…for people the world over.”[125] Bush’s final National Security Strategy put forward much the same idea. The 1993 iteration was Bush’s foreign policy valedictory, issued in the name of the president himself. It represented his concluding effort to enshrine a prudent yet ambitious post-Cold War strategy. Lest there be any thought that the Regional Defense Strategy did not reflect administration policy, or that it was issued simply as a sop to Cheney’s Defense Department as Bush’s tenure expired, the National Security Strategy explicitly endorsed the approach laid out in that document, and even echoed — verbatim — concepts including the importance of “strategic depth” and the democratic “zone of peace.” The lessons of the new era, the National Security Strategy argued, were already clear:
that we cannot be sure when or where the next conflict will arise; that regions critical to our interests must be defended; that the world must respond to straightforward aggression; that international coalitions can be forged, though they often will require American leadership; that the proliferation of advanced weaponry represents a clear, present, and widespread danger; and that the United States remains the nation whose strength and leadership are essential to a stable and democratic world order.
To this end, the document endorsed the retention of critical power-projection capabilities and overweening military power; it called for the United States to promote the forces of global “integration” against threatening “fragmentation.” The National Security Strategy made clear that post-Cold War stability would ultimately rest on “an enduring global faith” in America, and it left little doubt that the United States intended to leave behind an era of balanced power and geopolitical divisions, and to shape a unipolar order in its own image. “Our policy has one overriding goal: real peace — not the illusory and fragile peace maintained by a balance of terror, but an enduring democratic peace based on shared values.”[126] That vision, it turned out, long outlasted Bush’s presidency. There was initially some indication that the Clinton administration might undertake a more effacing approach to world affairs, and on the stump Clinton had pledged to pursue defense cuts far greater than those made by Bush. Yet, as the Clinton administration found itself facing largely the same global panorama as its predecessor, it ultimately embraced a strategy very similar to that charted during the Bush years. As early as September 1993, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake gave a major address noting that the defining “feature of this era is that we are its dominant power” and arguing that Washington must use that dominance to promote continued global stability, to prevent aggressive dictators from menacing the post-Cold War order, and to aggressively promote free markets and democracy. “We should act multilaterally where doing so advances our interests,” Lake added, “and we should act unilaterally when that will serve our purpose.”[127] Likewise, the Pentagon committed to retaining the capacity to defeat two major regional aggressors nearly simultaneously, and in 1996 the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a document advocating “full spectrum dominance” to mold the international environment and constrain potential rivals.[128] All of these concepts could have been ripped straight from the 1992 DPG. Indeed, the outcome of the Pentagon’s Bottom Up Review, undertaken in 1993, demonstrates the strength of the lineage between Bush-era planning efforts and those that followed. Clinton’s first secretary of defense, Les Aspin, had initiated a thoroughgoing review of U.S. military strategy as part of an effort to further reduce defense spending. But as his Pentagon considered the opportunities and imperatives of the post-Cold War world, it ended up embracing its predecessor’s strategy. The final report of the Bottom Up Review emphasized the importance of preventing aggressive authoritarians from dominating key regions. It concluded that America “must field forces capable, in concert with its allies, of fighting and winning two major regional conflicts that occur nearly simultaneously.” This “two MRC” construct was deemed crucial because, as Aspin wrote, “We do not want a potential aggressor in one region to be tempted to take advantage if we are already engaged in halting aggression in another.” Moreover, maintaining a two-MRC capability would serve as insurance against the prospect that any major power might seek to compete militarily with Washington. It would
provide a hedge against the possibility that a future adversary might one day confront us with a larger-than-expected threat, and then turn out, through doctrinal or technological innovation, to be more capable than we expect, or enlist the assistance of other nations to form a coalition against our interests.
Maintaining this dominant force, in turn, was necessary so that
we can replace the East-West confrontation of the Cold War with an era in which the community of nations, guided by a common commitment to democratic principles, free-market economics, and the rule of law, can be significantly enlarged.[129]
The continuity of basic strategy, moreover, was more than rhetorical. U.S. military spending would decline somewhat under Clinton, to around 3 percent of gross domestic product by the late 1990s (although this decline was partially due to the robust economic growth of that decade). But because most other countries reduced their defense spending faster than Washington did, the United States still accounted for roughly 35 to 40 percent of global defense spending, and it preserved military capabilities far in excess of those of all U.S. rivals combined.[130] Like the Bush administration, the Clinton administration also repeatedly proved willing to use those capabilities to face down threats to stability in critical regions, such as when it dispatched additional troops to the Persian Gulf in 1994 after Saddam Hussein once again threatened Kuwait, or when it dispatched two carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific after China sought to use military exercises and missile tests to intimidate Taiwan in 1995 and 1996. That latter episode represented a deliberate display of American primacy. As Secretary of Defense William Perry announced, “Beijing should know, and this [U.S. fleet] will remind them, that while they are a great military power, the premier military power in the Western Pacific is the United States.”[131] More broadly, the Clinton administration would undertake a range of policies that fit squarely within the framework laid down by the Bush administration: retention and updating of U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific, expansion of NATO in Europe, promotion of democratic concepts and market reforms in countries from Haiti to Russia, active containment of Saddam’s Iraq and other aggressive authoritarian regimes, and efforts to stymie nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere. And rhetorically, the Clinton administration embraced the idea of America as the “indispensable nation,” the country with a unique responsibility for upholding global peace and security — and the unique privileges that came with that role.[132] Administrations changed, but the basic logic of post-Cold War strategy endured. In fact, as scholars have now extensively documented, a commitment to maintaining American primacy, and to using that primacy to shape an eminently favorable global environment, became a theme of fundamental, bipartisan continuity throughout the post-Cold War era. This is not to say that there was no change in U.S. strategy from the early 1990s onward, for particular policies and rhetorical and diplomatic styles did shift considerably over time — witness the approaches of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama to Iraq, for instance. Similarly, which of the three key regions of Eurasia would receive the greatest attention from U.S. policymakers also shifted during this period. But the first-order judgments about American strategy remained remarkably consistent, and many core objectives and initiatives persisted as well.[133] Long after the initial firestorm touched off by the leak of the DPG had been mostly forgotten, the basic ideas and policies the document propounded remained quite relevant.

Conclusion

Twenty-five years after it was drafted, the DPG remains a source of controversy in some circles. While some historians and other analysts have begun to better understand the content and nature of that document, critics have continued to see it as “unsettling” and even “Strangelovian.” Likewise, some scholars persist in deeming the DPG an unprecedented assertion of American hegemony.[134] As a review of the declassified record demonstrates, however, the reality was more prosaic — but also, perhaps, more interesting. The DPG offered a program for the retention and improvement of America’s post-bipolar primacy, but it was hardly unique in its arguments. Rather, the DPG fit comfortably within the dominant strategic paradigm of the Bush administration, even if the rhetoric was sharper than many officials would have liked. Even before the superpower conflict ended, Bush and his advisers had argued that the United States must lean forward in shaping a promising but potentially perilous post-Cold War world. The logic of American primacy was then reinforced by crises in Europe and the Persian Gulf. After the Soviet collapse, the DPG drew together the key elements of a coalescing strategic mind-set and made the case for American primacy in its starkest and most explicit terms. The DPG thus encapsulated the Bush administration’s choice of an ambitious post-Cold War strategy, one that was reaffirmed by subsequent administrations. Interestingly, then, a review of Bush administration strategic planning makes the DPG appear both more and less important than it was often seen to be at the time. The document was arguably more important in the sense that it represented the earliest, most comprehensive, and most candid statement of American strategy after the Soviet collapse, and in the sense that its core concepts would endure. Yet it was arguably less important than sometimes thought in the sense that its basic content was not particularly controversial within the administration and that it was only one element of a much larger process by which Bush and his advisers came to identify and articulate a post-bipolar approach to global statecraft. The Bush administration’s choice of that strategy, in turn, drew on a mix of important factors. There were, certainly, the long-standing beliefs — both ideological and geopolitical — about America’s role in the world, which influenced the administration’s outlook from the outset. More immediately, there was the potent cocktail of optimism and wariness that shaped U.S. strategic thinking at the dawn of a new era. Bush and his aides clearly perceived that Washington had a historic opportunity to solidify a post-bipolar order in which U.S. interests and values would be far more privileged than before; they also worried that any lack of assertive American leadership would open the door to multipolar instability and tumult. The result was to push the United States toward an expansive approach meant to reap the benefits while avoiding the dangers of the post-Cold War world. If nothing else, the emerging record of the Bush administration’s approach to global strategy indicates that some interpretations of the forty-first president’s statecraft need to be revised. For years, the standard depiction of Bush’s foreign policy, offered by eminent scholars such as Jeremi Suri as well as former policymakers such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, was that Bush was an adept crisis manager but lacked the vision to identify a new global role for America. Yet in light of the evidence presented here — as well as recent assessments by scholars such as Jeffrey Engel — this interpretation is no longer persuasive.[135] Over the course of his presidency, Bush and his advisers did establish a clear and relatively coherent vision for post-Cold War strategy. That vision was quite ambitious; it was readily apparent in administration strategy documents and key policies. And it would persist, in its broad outlines, long after Bush left office. [quote id="7"] But was this a wise strategy? Since the early 1990s, there has developed a substantial literature critiquing the U.S. decision to pursue a primacist strategy, and thus critiquing — implicitly or explicitly — the Bush administration’s role in making that choice.[136] A full assessment of post-Cold War strategy would require more extensive analysis than is possible here.[137] With the perspective of a quarter-century, however, a more positive view of the Bush administration’s strategic decision-making seems warranted. For one thing, that decision-making was rooted in a generally reasonable assessment of the international environment and America’s role therein as the Cold War ended. As Bush-era officials were acutely aware, this was indeed a moment when the geopolitical tectonic plates were shifting more rapidly and disruptively than at any time since World War II. Many leading international relations scholars were predicting that the post-Cold War world would be a nasty place characterized by multipolar instability, rampant nuclear proliferation, and great-power revisionism by Germany and Japan.[138] Moreover, the major international crises of this period demonstrated that the United States did have a unique capacity to provide stability and leadership amid profound uncertainty and that there was fairly widespread international support for Washington to play this role. In these circumstances, it was hardly surprising or unreasonable that the Bush administration chose a form of consensual but assertive American primacy as the best approach to protecting international security and U.S. interests. Nor was it surprising that subsequent presidents affirmed this basic concept. And in retrospect, many key judgments and premises of that approach have fared passably well with time. Bush administration decision-making was, for instance, based on a fairly accurate assessment of the durability of American primacy. At the dawn of the post-Cold War era, leading academic observers often predicted that unipolarity would rapidly give way to a multipolar system in which Japan, Germany, or a united Europe balanced against the United States.[139] Yet for more than a quarter-century after the Cold War, the United States remained by far the most powerful and capable actor in international affairs. Today, the ongoing rise of China has narrowed America’s lead but not nearly erased it. As the most systematic assessment of global power dynamics today concludes, “Everyone should start getting used to a world in which the United States remains the sole superpower for decades to come.”[140] The Bush administration believed that American preeminence could last for some time; the trajectory of international politics over the course of a generation affirms that judgment more than it undercuts it. The trajectory of international politics also affirmed a second belief, which was that assertive American leadership would attract more countries than it repelled. Today, of course, rivals such as Russia and China are contesting American primacy, as part of an effort to assert their own prerogatives. Yet what is remarkable is that the post-Cold War era has not, at least so far, produced a concerted, multilateral counter-balancing campaign against the dominant country in the international system, and that many key second- and third-tier states have continued to align with Washington. Japan, Germany, and other major industrial countries have remained largely content to be part of the strategic and economic community led by the United States. Front-line states in Eastern Europe and other regions have often seemed to fear American abandonment more than American domination. As Zachary Selden has argued, the dominant tendency has been to balance with the United States against threats to the international system — like those now posed by Russia and China — rather than to balance against the preeminent power that America has wielded.[141] Finally, there is now significant scholarship to support the idea that a primacist strategy indeed accomplished some of the most important goals the Bush administration initially set out. In a recent book, Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth provide a robust body of evidence and analysis demonstrating that the persistence of assertive American engagement did have the effect of suppressing security competitions and instability in key strategic theaters while also providing the overall climate of reassurance in which the international economy could continue to thrive.[142] Other scholars have noted the role of America’s post-Cold War policies in assisting the continued spread of democracy and market institutions, and in limiting nuclear proliferation in East Asia and Eastern Europe.[143] Not least, even consistent critics of America’s post-Cold War strategy, such as John Mearsheimer, have acknowledged that a persistent U.S. presence in key regions such as Europe and East Asia helped to avoid the major interstate wars that characterized many earlier historical eras, and to avert a rapid return to the more unstable and violent climate that many observers feared when the Cold War ended.[144] All of these points could, surely, be debated at length. Yet if a key premise of a primacist strategy was that assertive American engagement would help produce a more stable and liberal international order than one might otherwise have expected, then there is a defensible argument to be made that this premise, too, looks fairly good twenty-five years later. A primacist strategy has never been without its problems, from the economic costs associated with a global military presence to the fact that the United States has periodically succumbed to the temptation to overuse its tremendous power. Today, moreover, the United States faces more serious challenges to its primacy and global interests than at any other time in the post-Cold War era, from a rising China, a resurgent Russia, and an international rogues’ gallery that is more empowered and better armed than at any moment since Saddam Hussein’s defeat in 1991. Not least, there is some uncertainty as to whether American leaders and the body politic still support such an engaged and assertive strategy, and the policies and mannerisms of the Trump administration may well pose their own challenge to U.S. effectiveness and leadership on the global stage.[145] Yet when one considers the more constructive effects that a primacist strategy has arguably had, and the fact that some of its foundational premises have proven fairly solid over time, one does, perhaps, gain a greater degree of appreciation for the logic of America’s post-Cold War strategy, and for the Bush administration’s role in shaping that strategy at a moment of great promise and uncertainty in international affairs. Hal Brands is a Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He is the author or editor of several books, including Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (2016), What Good is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush (2014), Latin America’s Cold War (2010), From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (2008), and The Power of the Past: History and Statecraft (co-edited with Jeremi Suri, 2015). He was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow from 2015 to 2016. He has also consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities. ISSN (Print): 2576-1021 ISSN(Online): 2576-1153 Image: Wikimedia Commons [post_title] => Choosing Primacy: U.S. Strategy and Global Order at the Dawn of the Post-Cold War Era [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => choosing-primacy-u-s-strategy-global-order-dawn-post-cold-war-era-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-10-02 12:10:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-02 16:10:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://tnsr.org/?p=436 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [lead] => Newly declassified U.S. government records shed some light onto U.S. strategic thinking about the post-Cold War era and the infamous Defense Planning Guidance. [pubinfo] => [issue] => Vol 1, Iss 2 [quotes] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG was not, as is commonly believed, a radical document or an outlier from Bush administration strategic thinking. ) [1] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => From the earliest months of the Bush administration, there was thus a consensus that reduced Cold War tensions did not imply a dramatic U.S. retrenchment. ) [2] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => There were widespread fears that the collapse of Soviet authority in Eastern Europe could unleash ethnic violence or resurgent nationalist rivalries within that region. ) [3] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => The Gulf crisis demonstrated robust global demand for U.S. leadership. ) [4] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG was nonetheless basically aligned with the Bush administration’s broader perspective as expressed to date. ) [5] => Array ( [author] => [style] => left [text] => The DPG was quietly affirmed by the Bush administration in its final months in office. ) [6] => Array ( [author] => [style] => right [text] => The DPG encapsulated the Bush administration’s choice of an ambitious post-Cold War strategy, one that was reaffirmed by subsequent administrations. ) ) [style] => scholarly [type] => Scholarly [style_label] => The Scholar [download] => Array ( [title] => PDF Download [file] => 554 ) [authors] => Array ( [0] => 9 ) [endnotes] => Array ( [title] => Endnotes [endnotes] => [1] This article significantly expands on arguments first made in the author’s recent book. See Hal Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016). [2] See Draft of FY 94-99 Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), in Vesser to Secretaries of Military Departments, CJCS, et al., Feb. 18, 1992, Electronic Briefing Book (EBB) 245, National Security Archive (NSA). [3] Barton Gellman, “Keeping the U.S. First,” Washington Post, March 11, 1992. [4] Quoted in Joshua Muravchik, The Imperative of American Leadership: A Challenge to Neo-Isolationism (Washington: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1996), 136. [5] Craig Unger, The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), 148; David Armstrong, “Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance,” Harper’s, October 2002, 76, https://harpers.org/archive/2002/10/dick-cheneys-song-of-america/ [6] See Melvyn P. Leffler, “Dreams of Freedom, Temptations of Power,” in The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989, ed. Jeffrey A. Engel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 132-69; Eric S. Edelman, “The Strange Career of the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance,” in In Uncertain Times: American Policy After the Berlin Wall and 9/11, edited by Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011); Paul Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future: Planning at the Pentagon, 1989-1993,” in In Uncertain Times, edited by Leffler and Legro, 44-62; Zalmay Khalilzad, The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2016), Chapter 7; James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Penguin, 2004), 198-215. [7] Lloyd Gardner, The Long Road to Baghdad: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy From the 1970s to the Present (New York: The New Press, 2008), 98-100. [8] Richard Immerman, Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism From Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), 218-20. [9] Edelman, “Strange Career,” 63. There is also a smaller body of literature arguing that the DPG was not as important as all this attention might make it seem. See, for instance, Ionut Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy: How American Presidents Succeed in Foreign Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), 123-25. [10] Political scientists differ considerably on whether that strategy has been wise. See, variously, Barry Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014); John Mearsheimer, “Imperial by Design,” National Interest 111 (January/February 2011): 16-34; Peter Feaver, “American Grand Strategy at the Crossroads: Leading From the Front, Leading From Behind, or Not Leading at All,” in America’s Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration, eds. Richard Fontaine and Kristin Lord (Washington: Center for a New American Security, 2012), 59-70. On German reunification and NATO expansion, see Mary Elise Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to ‘Bribe the Soviets Out’ and Move NATO In,” International Security 35, no. 1 (2010): 110-37; Joshua Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7-44. [11] Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (New York: Vintage, 1987); Peter Schmeisser, “Taking Stock: Is America in Decline?” New York Times, April 17, 1988, http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/17/magazine/taking-stock-is-america-in-decline.html?pagewanted=all. [12] Quoted in Homer A. Neal, Tobin Smith, and Jennifer McCormick, Beyond Sputnik: U.S. Science Policy in the Twenty-First Century (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008), 81. [13] Schmeisser, “Taking Stock: Is America in Decline?”; Patrick Buchanan, “America First — and Second, and Third,” National Interest 19 (Spring 1990): 77-82. [14] Jeane Kirkpatrick, “A Normal Country in a Normal Time,” National Interest 21 (Fall 1990): 40-44. [15] See Patrick Tyler, “Halving Defense Budget in Decade Suggested,” Washington Post, Nov. 21, 1989. [16] Alan Murray and Jeffrey Birnbaum, “Post-Cold War Budget Is Here, So Where Is the Peace Dividend?” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 29, 1990. [17] Patrick Tyler and Molly Moore, “Soviet Defense Spending Cut As Promised, CIA Reports,” Washington Post, Nov. 15, 1989; Helen Dewar, “Nunn Warns Pentagon to Fill Blanks in Budget,” Washington Post, March 23, 1990. [18] Charles Krauthammer, “Universal Dominion: Toward a Unipolar World,” National Interest 18 (Winter 1989-1990): 46-49. [19] Michael R. Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993). [20] Bush Diary, Feb. 15, 1975, in George H.W. Bush, All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (New York, 1999), 215. [21] “Bush: ‘Our Work Is Not Done; Our Force Is Not Spent,’” Washington Post, Aug. 19, 1988. [22] Jeffrey A. Engel, “A Better World…but Don’t Get Carried Away: The Foreign Policy of George H.W. Bush Twenty Years On,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 25-46. [23] Andrew Rosenthal, “Differing Views of America’s Global Role,” New York Times, Nov. 2, 1988; “A Report to the National Security Council by the Executive Secretariat on United States Objectives and Programs for National Security,” April 14, 1950, https://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/coldwar/documents/pdf/10-1.pdf. [24] “Foreign Press Center Background Briefing,” March 20, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, George H.W. Bush Library (GHWBL). [25] National Security Review-3, “Comprehensive Review of U.S.-Soviet Relations,” Feb. 15, 1989, NSR File, GHWBL. [26] RBZ (Robert B. Zoellick) Draft, “Points for Consultations with European Leaders,” Nov. 27, 1989, Box 108, James A. Baker III Papers, Mudd Library, Princeton University. [27] Remarks at U.S. Coast Guard Academy, May 24, 1989. [28] NSR-12, “Review of National Defense Strategy,” March 3, 1989, NSR File, GHWBL. [29] Cheney Remarks to American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 4, 1990, Federal News Service transcript. [30] See The Future Security Environment: Report of the Future Security Environment Working Group, submitted to the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Washington: Government Printing Office, October 1988). [31] “Background Briefing by Senior Administration Official,” March 20, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL; also Michael Hayden to Scowcroft, March 15, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL. [32] “Talking Points: Cabinet Meeting — January 23, 1989,” Box 108, Baker Papers, Princeton. [33] Memorandum of Conversation (MemCon) between Bush and Lee Sang Hoon, July 20, 1989, OA/AD 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHBWL. [34] MemCon between Bush and Vaclav Havel, Feb. 20, 1990, OA/AD 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHBWL. [35] National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1990), 1-2; also Hayden to Scowcroft, March 15, 1990, CF00209, Peter Rodman Files, GHWBL. [36] Powell Remarks to National Press Club, June 22, 1990, Federal News Service transcript. [37] Alan Murray and David Wessel, “Bush Is Likely to Seek Defense Increase For ’91, Despite Reduction in Tensions,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 28, 1989; David Hoffman, “Bush Cautions Against Big Defense Cuts,” Washington Post, Jan. 13, 1990. [38] National Security Strategy (1990), 23. [39] Lorna S. Jaffe, The Development of the Base Force, 1989-1992 (Washington: Joint History Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1993); Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future,” 48-54; Michael Gordon, “Pentagon Drafts Strategy for Post-Cold War World,” New York Times, Aug. 2, 1990. [40] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado, Aug. 2, 1990. Coincidentally, this speech was delivered less than 24 hours after Saddam Hussein’s forces had invaded Kuwait. [41] Don Oberdorfer, “Strategy for Solo Superpower: Pentagon Looks to ‘Regional Contingencies,’” Washington Post, May 19, 1991; Jaffe, Development of the Base Force, 7-8, 29. For a similar assessment, see Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of the United States (January 1992), http://history.defense.gov/Portals/70/Documents/nms/nms1992.pdf?ver=2014-06-25-123420-723. [42] See State Department Bureau of Public Affairs, “Movement Toward German Unification, March 1989-July 1990,” Box 2, Zelikow-Rice Files, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. [43] Excerpts from Soviet Transcript of Malta Summit, Dec. 2-3, 1989, EBB 296, NSA. [44] Scowcroft to Bush, undated, CF00182, Robert Blackwill Files, GHWBL. [45] The debate over what, precisely, the Bush administration promised Moscow regarding future NATO enlargement during 1989 to 1990 has generated a substantial literature of its own. What can briefly be said here is that Washington never provided the Soviets with a formal pledge that NATO would not expand further into Eastern Europe, and U.S. policymakers certainly did not believe that they were constrained from doing so. During negotiations with Gorbachev in February 1990, Baker did float — as a trial balloon — the idea that Moscow might accept reunification of Germany within NATO in exchange for NATO not expanding its military structures into the former East Germany. But even that more limited assurance was overtaken within days as it quickly became clear that a reunified Germany could not sit half inside and half outside of NATO. The argument that the United States subsequently violated an agreement not to expand NATO is, therefore, inaccurate. Some Russian observers, however, may have believed that there was some type of informal understanding on NATO expansion (in part because, in early 1990, West German officials sometimes floated this idea publicly), and the perception that such an assurance had existed played some role in the subsequent souring of U.S.-Russian relations. Moreover, in the early 1990s, the Clinton administration appears to have told Russian officials that expansion was not being contemplated, which led to increased Russian annoyance once expansion unfolded. See Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2009): 39-61; Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment Toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (2010): 119-40; James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016, https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/promises-made-promises-broken-what-yeltsin-was-told-about-nato-in-1993-and-why-it-matters/. [46] See Mary Elise Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009); Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995). [47] Scowcroft to Bush, Nov. 29, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Vintage, 1999), 230. [48] Scowcroft to Bush, undated (late 1989), OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; also Bush to Kohl, undated, CF00717, Condoleezza Rice Files, GHWBL. [49] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 253. [50] MemCon between Bush and Douglas Hurd, Jan. 29, 1990, OA/ID 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. See also Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence”; Joshua Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal?” [51] MemCon between Bush and Wörner, Feb. 24, 1990, OA/ID 91107, Presidential MemCon Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL; also Gorbachev-Mitterrand TelCon, Nov. 14, 1989, EBB 293, NSA; Thatcher-Gorbachev Conversation, Sept. 23, 1989, EBB 293, NSA; Meeting between Kohl and Walesa, Nov. 10, 1989, Cold War International History Project. [52] Scowcroft to Bush, Dec. 22, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. [53] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 273. [54] Scowcroft to Bush, Dec. 22, 1989, OA/ID 91116, Chron Files, Brent Scowcroft Collection, GHWBL. [55] Zelikow to Gates, Nov. 28, 1990, OA/ID CF00293, Heather Wilson Files, GHWBL; also “President’s Intervention on the Transformation of the North Atlantic Alliance,” July 1990, CF00290, Heather Wilson Files, GHWBL. [56] London to State, Dec. 11, 1990, CF01468, Philip Zelikow Files, GHWBL. [57] Gorbachev-Baker Meeting, Feb. 9. 1990, in Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, eds. Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010), 683; also USDEL Secretary Namibia to State, March 20, 1990, Department of State FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [58] “Summit Intervention Statement,” undated (1991), CF01693, Summit Briefing Books, NSC Files, GHWBL; also Sicherman to Ross and Zoellick, March 12, 1990, Box 176, Baker Papers, Princeton; MemCon between Baker and Mr. Balladur, June 3, 1991, Box 110, Baker Papers, Princeton. [59] “Points to Be Made for Working Dinner With Prime Minister Mulroney in Canada,” undated, CF01010-CF01010-009, Briefing Books/Briefing Materials, European and Soviet Directorate Files, GHWBL. [60] Zelikow to Gates, Oct. 26, 1990, OA/ID CF00293, Heather Wilson Files, NSC Files, GHWBL. [61] Stephen Flanagan to Ross and Zoellick, May 1, 1992, OA/ID CF01526, Barry Lowenkron Files, GHWBL; also “Rome Declaration on Peace and Cooperation,” Nov. 8, 1991, CF01526, Barry Lowenkron Files, GHWBL. [62] Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (New York: Penguin, 2006), 337-38; “Sharing of Responsibility for the Coalition Effort in the Persian Gulf (Feb 8 Update),” OA/ID CF01110 to CF01362, Virginia Lampley Files, Box 53, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. Other helpful sources include Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Kevin Woods, The Mother of All Battles: Saddam Hussein’s Strategic Plan for the Persian Gulf War (Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2008); Christian Alfonsi, Circle in the Sand: Why We Went Back to Iraq (New York: Doubleday, 2006); Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, The Generals’ War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1995); and many others. [63] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado, Aug. 2, 1990, APP. [64] NSC Meeting, Aug. 3, 1990, Richard Haass Files, Box 42, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. [65] NSC Meeting, Aug. 3, 1990, Richard Haass Files, Box 42, FOIA 1998-0099-F, GHWBL. [66] Remarks in Aspen, Colorado. As noted previously, this was the same speech in which Bush publicly introduced the Base Force. [67] James Baker, “America’s Strategy in the Persian Gulf Crisis,” Department of State Dispatch, Dec. 10, 1990, http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/briefing/dispatch/1990/html/Dispatchv1no15.html. [68] James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War, and Peace, 1989-1992 (New York: Putnam, 1995), 1-16, 275-99. [69] Bush Diary, Sept. 7, 1990, in Bush, All the Best, 479. [70] Office of Management and Budget, “United States Costs in the Persian Gulf Conflict and Foreign Contributions to Offset Such Costs,” Report No. 20, October 1992, in Darman to Bush, Oct. 15, 1992, Department of Defense FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [71] “Talking Points” for Bush’s meeting, undated, Box 1, CF00946, Robert Gates Files, GHWBL; also “Executive Summary,” Aug. 27, 1990, Box 1, CF00946, Robert Gates Files, GHWBL. [72] Bush-Kaifu MemCon, Sept. 29, 1990, Digital National Security Archive (DNSA). [73] Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and the Federal Budget Deficit, Sept. 11, 1990. [74] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 491, 400. [75] William J. Perry, “Desert Storm and Deterrence,” Foreign Affairs 70, no. 4 (1991): 66-67, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/iraq/1991-09-01/desert-storm-and-deterrence; also Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Congress, April 1992, Department of Defense FOIA Electronic Reading Room. [76] Cheney Remarks to American Business Council Conference, April 9, 1991, Federal News Service; also “America’s Postwar Agenda in Europe,” March 1991, CF01468, Zelikow Files, GHWBL. [77] Robert Gates Oral History, 59, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia. [78] Bush-Dumas MemCon, Feb. 28, 1991, GHWBL. [79] Herbert S. Parmet, George Bush: The Life of a Lone Star Yankee (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2001), 483. See also Gates Oral History, 59; Richard Cheney Oral History, June 21, 2006, 27, Box 7, Baker Oral History Collection, Mudd Library, Princeton; Alfonsi, Circle in the Sand, 172-76. [80] See Gordon and Trainor, Generals’ War, 416-29, 444-46. These issues were compounded by the decision of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf — who handled the cease-fire negotiations in the absence of detailed instructions — to permit Iraqi forces to fly helicopters in the struggle against rebellious forces. [81] Dennis Ross Oral History, Aug. 2, 2001, 42-43, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia. [82] Rowen Statement to Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 6, 1991, CF01391, Virginia Lampley Files, GHWBL. [83] Bush-Santer-Delors MemCon, April 11, 1991, GHWBL. [84] James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2003), 18-40. [85] Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed, 564. [86] Alan Murray, “Growth Formulas: Democratic Candidates Offer Host of Proposals to Spark the Economy,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 1992; “Differences Among the Democratic Candidates,” New York Times, Feb. 16, 1992; Norman Kempster, “U.S. Candidates’ Stand on Foreign Issues,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 1992. [87] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Barton Gellman, “Keeping the U.S. First; Pentagon Would Preclude a Rival Superpower,” Washington Post, March 11, 1992. The version of the DPG quoted here consists of the text that was released to the National Security Archive through the FOIA process as well as the text that earlier became available through media leaks. [88] On the process and context, see Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future”; Edelman, “Strange Career”; see also Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy, 123-25. [89] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Cheney Remarks to Senate Budget Committee, Feb. 3, 1992, Federal News Service. [90] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [91] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [92] Ibid.; also William Wohlforth, “The Stability of a Unipolar World,” International Security 24, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 5-41; G. John Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011). [93] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG; Patrick Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop,” New York Times, March 8, 1992. [94] Diary entry, July 2, 1991, in Bush, All the Best, George Bush, 527; Bush-Wörner MemCon, June 25, 1991, GHWBL. [95] Quotes from Don Oberdorfer, “Strategy for Solo Superpower: Pentagon Looks to ‘Regional Contingencies,’” Washington Post, May 19, 1991. [96] Draft of FY 1994-1999 DPG; Patrick Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop,” New York Times, March 8, 1992. [97] Dale Vesser to Libby, Sept. 3, 1991, EBB 245, NSA. [98] Draft of FY 94-99 DPG. [99] See Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992). [100] Melissa Healy, “Pentagon Cool to U.S. Sharing Its Power,” Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1992. [101] Barton Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan Supported by Bush: But President Says He Has Not Read Memo,” Washington Post, March 12, 1992. [102] “The New Pentagon Paper,” Washington Post, May 27, 1992. [103] Barton Gellman, “Pentagon War Scenario Spotlights Russia,” Washington Post, Feb. 20, 1992. [104] Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan Supported by Bush”; also Tyler, “U.S. Strategy Plan.” [105] See Scowcroft, “Meeting with Chancellor Kohl of Germany,” March 19, 1992, OA/ID CF01414, Hutchings Country Files, GHWBL. [106] Patrick Tyler, “Pentagon Drops Goal of Blocking New Superpowers,” New York Times, May 24, 1992; “Pentagon Abandons Goal of Thwarting U.S. Rivals,” Washington Post, May 24, 1992; Memo to Cheney, March 26, 1992, EBB 245, NSA; “Issues in the Policy and Strategy Section,” April 14, 1992, EBB 245, NSA. [107] Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Military Strategy of the United States, January 1992, http://history.defense.gov/Portals/70/Documents/nms/nms1992.pdf?ver=2014-06-25-123420-723. [108] “The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1992), 367; also Cheney and Powell Remarks to Senate Budget Committee, Feb. 3, 1992, Federal News Service. [109] Bush note to speechwriters, March 14, 1992, in Bush, All the Best, George Bush, 551; Gellman, “Aim of Defense Plan.” [110] Baker Remarks to Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, April 2, 1992, Box 169, Baker Papers. [111] Patrick Tyler, “Senior U.S. Officials Assail Lone-Superpower Policy,” New York Times, March 11, 1992; also Edelman, “Strange Career.” [112] “Chancellor Kohl of Germany,” undated (March 1992), OA/ID CF01414, Country Files, Hutchings Files, GHWBL. [113] On Scowcroft’s views, see Bartholomew Sparrow, The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security (New York: Hachette, 2015), 485-86. [114] See Memo from Don Pulling, April 23, 1992, in EBB 245, NSA; also Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 5, 1992; Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 13, 1992, EBB 245, NSA. [115] See Lawrence Eagleburger to Warren Christopher, Jan. 5, 1993, Freedom of Information Act, in author’s possession. I thank Jim Goldgeier for sharing this document with me. [116] Partially in response to the DPG saga, there was a wider-ranging academic debate over the value of U.S. primacy.  Robert Jervis, “International Primacy: Is the Game Worth the Candle?” International Security 17, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 52-67; Samuel P. Huntington, “Why International Primacy Matters,” International Security 17, no. 4 (Spring 1993): 68-83. [117] On this debate, see G. John Ikenberry, “The Future of the Liberal World Order: Internationalism After America,” Foreign Affairs 90, no. 3 (May/June 2011): 56-68; vs. Robert Kagan, The World America Made (New York: Vintage, 2012). [118] Peter Grieg, “Hot Debate Over U.S. Strategic Role: Draft Pentagon Paper Stirs Up Controversy on How, and Why, Military Funds Are Spent,” Christian Science Monitor, March 16, 1992. [119] On Buchanan’s views, see, for instance, Robin Toner, “Buchanan, Urging New Nationalism, Joins ’92 Race,” New York Times, Dec. 11, 1991. [120] Patrick Tyler, “Lone Superpower Plan: Ammunition for Critics,” New York Times, March 10, 1992. [121] Dick Cheney, Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy, January 1993, EBB 245, NSA. [122] Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 5, 1992; also, Wolfowitz to Cheney, May 13, 1992; Memo from Don Pulling, April 23, 1992, all in EBB 245, NSA. In his own account, Wolfowitz recalls that the Department of Defense could not get the revised version approved by the White House or other interagency actors. In fact, the revised DPG (which was subsequently published as the Regional Defense Strategy) was approved by the White House in the spring of 1992. And as Wolfowitz himself notes, “Far from being an extreme strategy developed by a small group of Defense Department officials, the DPG not only reflected the consensus thinking of the first Bush administration but became generally accepted defense policy under President Clinton.” See Wolfowitz, “Shaping the Future,” 59, 206. [123] Dick Cheney, Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy, January 1993, EBB 245, NSA. [124] On this point, see Popescu, Emergent Strategy and Grand Strategy, 123-24. [125] Remarks at Texas A&M University, Dec. 15, 1992; remarks at West Point, Jan. 5, 1993. [126] National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993), ii, 1, 6, 13. [127] Anthony Lake, “From Containment to Enlargement,” Sept. 21, 1993, https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/lakedoc.html. [128] Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, May 1997, Section 3, “Defense Strategy”; Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Vision 2010, 2; also Alexandra Homolar, “How to Last Alone at the Top: U.S. Strategic Planning for the Unipolar Era,” Journal of Strategic Studies 34, no. 2 (2011): 202-12. [129] Les Aspin, Report on the Bottom Up Review, issued by Defense Department, October 1993, iii-iv, 7-8. [130] For military spending figures, consult the data available through the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s annual reports and military spending database, available at https://www.sipri.org/databases/milex; also Homolar, “How to Last Alone at the Top.” [131] Art Pine, “U.S. Faces Choices on Sending Ships to Taiwan,” Los Angeles Times, March 20, 1996. [132] On Clinton-era statecraft, see Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of American Diplomacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002); Patrick Porter, “The American Way: Power, Habit, and Grand Strategy,” International Security, forthcoming. [133] See, on this continuity, Leffler, “Dreams of Freedom, Temptations of Power”; Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment; P. Edward Haley, Strategies of Dominance: The Misdirection of U.S. Foreign Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006); Posen, Restraint. [134] Eugene Jarecki, The American War of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril (New York: Free Press, 2008), 12; also Joan Hoff, A Faustian Foreign Policy From Woodrow Wilson to George W. Bush: Dreams of Perfectibility (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 138. [135] Jeremi Suri, “American Grand Strategy From the Cold War’s End to 9/11,” Orbis (Fall 2009): 611-27; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Second Chance: The Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower (New York: Basic Books, 2007). For another early interpretation that has been overtaken, see Hal Brands, From Berlin to Baghdad: America’s Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008). For a more positive recent take, see Jeffrey Engel, When the World Seemed New: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2017). [136] For instance, Posen, Restraint; Mearsheimer, “Imperial by Design”; Stephen Walt, “The End of the American Era,” National Interest 116 (2011): 6-16. [137] But see Hal Brands, American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 2018), Chapter 1. [138] John Mearsheimer, “Why We Will Soon Miss the Cold War,” Atlantic Monthly, August 1990, 35-50. [139] Kenneth Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” International Security 18, no. 2 (1993): 44-79; Christopher Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise,” International Security 17, no. 4 (1993): 5-51. [140]  Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, “The Once and Future Superpower: Why China Won’t Overtake the United States,” Foreign Affairs 95, no. 3 (2016): 91-104. [141] Zachary Selden, “Balancing Against or Balancing With? The Spectrum of Alignment and the Endurance of American Hegemony,” Security Studies 22, no. 2 (2013): 330-64. [142] Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016). [143] See Paul Miller, “American Grand Strategy and the Democratic Peace,” Survival 52, no. 2 (2012): 49-76; John Dumbrell, Clinton’s Foreign Policy: Between the Bushes, 1992-2000 (New York: Routledge, 2009), 41-61; Mark Kramer, “Neorealism, Nuclear Proliferation, and East-Central European Strategies,” in Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies After the Cold War, edited by Ethan Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 385-463. [144] John Mearsheimer, “Why Is Europe Peaceful Today?” European Political Science 9, no. 2 (2010): 387-97. [145] See Hal Brands, “Is American Internationalism Dead? Reading the National Mood in the Age of Trump,” War on the Rocks, May 16, 2017, https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/is-american-internationalism-dead-reading-the-national-mood-in-the-age-of-trump/. ) [contents] => Array ( [title] => [contents] => ) ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 5 [max_num_pages] => 1 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 235c8701bfc489a9b919daab0501a18d [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )