Grand Strategies in Foreign Policy
With Christopher Nichols, Assistant Professor, Member of the Council on Foreign Relations at Oregon State University
From rhetoric about putting “America First” to arguments about the founding of NATO, global concerns are playing a prominent role in this year’s presidential elections. Polls show that Americans rank foreign relations just behind the economy and terrorism as an important factor in their voting preferences.
While public opinion shifts from year to year, the U.S. position in the world has provided fodder for debates since the beginning of the republic. To historians, the concept of a grand strategy — an ambitious organizing principle for the exercise of global power — provides one way to understand how such issues affect our political discourse.
A grand strategy is about big ideas, says Christopher McKnight Nichols, OSU historian and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. It’s about connecting means and ends. “A grand strategy,” he explains, “is a long-term intellectual framework that structures a big, capacious foreign policy world view.”
At the October 10 Corvallis Science Pub, Nichols will discuss the roots of America’s current position in the world and provide examples of grand strategies developed by presidents from Washington to Obama.
“I will move beyond simplistic binaries, such as isolationism vs. internationalism or art vs. science in diplomacy,” says Nichols. “There are key turning point moments, major elections and concepts from 1776 to 2016 that have helped to determine the U.S.’s place in the world today.”
The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public.
Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
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