The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century

The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century

The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century

The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the 21st Century

Synopsis

Today, even as America asserts itself globally, it lacks a grand strategy to replace "containment of communism." In this short, sharp book, Gary Hart outlines a new grand strategy, one directing America's powers to the achievement of its large purposes. Central to this strategy is the power of American ideals, what Hart calls "the fourth power." Constitutional liberties, representative government, press freedom - these and other democratic principles, attractive to peoples worldwide, constitute a resource that may prove as important to nationalsecurity and the national interest in this dangerous new century as traditional military, economic and political might. Writes Hart: "The idea that government exists to protect, not oppress, the individual has an enormous power not fully understood by most Americans who take this principle for granted from birth. Far more nations will follow us because of the power of this ideal than the might of all our weapons." Against those who view America's noblest values as an inconvenience or even hindrance to the exertion of influence abroad, Hart warns that we ignore principle only at our peril. Such an approach may serve short-term goals, but there are costs; among them is the compromising of a crucial strategicasset, America's fourth power. Certain objectives require a military response--few serious people would disagree. The question is "whether America's purposes are best achieved through empire and force or through principle and persuasion." To suggest the former, Hart argues, is to misread both history and our currentrevolutionary age, one where terrorism, the internationalization of markets, information technology, eroding nation-state authority and other realities demand not doctrines of superstate unilateralism and preemption but rather appreciation for new collective security structures, internationalregulatory bodies, even forms of collaborative sovereignty. Applying the best insights of strategy to statecraft, Hart finds fuzziness, overreaching, and "theological" simplicity in America's current foreign policy. Nor does he believe the war on terror, necessary in the near term, will itself serve to chart America's larger strategic course. A bracingvision of an America responsive to a full spectrum of global challenges, The Fourth Power calls for a deeper understanding both of the threats we face and the profound strengths at our disposal to fight them.

Excerpt

The arguments put forward in this work are straightforward, if not simple. the early twenty-first century is characterized by revolutionary new realities. Following the end of the Cold War until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States lacked a national strategy for addressing these new realities and for applying its powers to its larger purposes. Beginning with the invasion of Iraq, that strategic vacuum has begun to be filled by a strategy of empire. An imperial strategy, however, violates the democratic republican principles upon which our nation is founded. Alternatively, a principled application of our economic, political, and military powers to the large purposes of providing security, enlarging opportunity, and expanding liberal democracy represents both a more comprehensive response to new revolutionary realities and a more plausible and effective grand strategy. Such a grand strategy can contribute to the restoration of the ideal of the American Republic.

A historic argument has been opened that the United States is, like it or not, an empire. the only issue, it is argued, is what kind of empire we will be. This is a false and dangerous proposition, one that misunderstands both the realities of our age and the authentic and unique character of America. Though the strategy of empire, especially as it has been demonstrated . . .

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