The Prudent Use of Power in American National Security Strategy

« Previous Book   Next Book »

The Prudent Use of Powerin American National Security Strategy


Edited by Stephen Van Evera (MIT) and Sidharth Shah (The Tobin Project)

185 pages. Paperback available November 2010. Download the full text or sections at right.


In The Prudent Use of Power in American National Security Strategy, a compendium of ten essays originally presented at the Tobin Project’s December 2009 conference, leading scholars examine the utility of “nonkinetic” (or nonmilitary) power in U.S. national security policy. The authors consider the potential risks and benefits of shifting to a more prudent, or restrained, use of “kinetic” (or military) power in U.S. foreign policy. This scholarship aims to test the limits of kinetic and nonkinetic power in dealing with national security challenges and to explore how and where each can be used most effectively. This compendium brings together a set of scholars from a variety of disciplines, including Jeremi Suri (History, University of Wisconsin, Madison), Carolyne Davidson (History, Yale University), Stephen Van Evera (Political Science, MIT), Daniel Byman (Political Science, Georgetown University), and Deepak Malhotra (Management, Harvard Business School).


» Table of Contents PDF
» Introduction PDF

Part I: The American Experience with Diplomacy and Military Restraint PDF
The essays in this section explore the U.S.’s historical experience with diplomacy from the perspective of foreign relations as well as domestic politics.

Part II: Nonkinetic Power and Contemporary National Security Challenges PDF
Moving from historical analysis to contemporary challenges, the essays in Part II examine how the United States can make greater use of nonkinetic power to address present-day national security issues.

Part III: Liquidating Military Commitments PDF
The essays in this section consider the risks and benefits that are associated with a decreased reliance on military power in US foreign policy.

» Acknowledgments PDF

Note: Historians Fredrik Logevall (Cornell University) and Kenneth Osgood (Florida Atlantic University) also contributed an essay to the Tobin Project’s 2009 national security conference. Their piece, "The Ghost of Munich: America’s Appeasement Complex," was published in the July/August 2010 issue of World Affairs. Read the article here.