Book: The Evolution of an Incidental Superpower

Derek Reveron, Nikolas Gvosdev, and Mackubin Thomas Owens have co-authored US Foreign Policy and Defense Strategy: The Evolution of an Incidental Superpower (Georgetown University Press). They have produced an extremely useful compendium of the origins and fundamentals of what they term American global hegemony (what one might call grand strategy). They term this status “incidental,” rather than accidental or fully intended, as it came about originally when American optimism clashed with Soviet with Soviet expansionism; and it remains in effect because American officials believe that it is the best path of avoid or manage the dynamics that would lead to another great-power war. The elements that they explore include the national security establishment, foreign policy, defense, strategy, commercial activities, and civil-military relations. The authors conclude that, for something like American hegemony to continue, the United States must find ways prudently to reduce commitments and burdens going forward.