U.S.-China relations have entered a new phase characterized by sharpening...
2021-06-14 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
In short, the construction of the three scenarios presented here rests on the assumption that the international system is a major driver of US foreign policy and, even more so, strategy. It affects not only the distribution of power between states, but also their ability to successfully pursue their national interests. The attempt to safeguard these interests informs a state’s grand strategy, that is, the relationship between foreign policy objectives and the means required to pursue them. The extent to which interests can be pursued is, hence, also affected by the availability of resources and domestic political support. Domestic political support, in turn, is strongly shaped by domestic political institutions, especially the institutional balance of political power between the executive and Congress. Domestic politics and resource availability do not determine fundamental strategic interests. Rather, they affect the extent to which these can be successfully pursued by the executive.
As will be elaborated, our three scenarios differ in large part with respect to the extent to which resource availability and domestic politics limit or undermine the executive’s ability to pursue the strategic interests that are strongly influenced by the international system.US strategic interests have been relatively constant for at least the past 70 years and arguably for much longer. The United States seeks to maintain primacy in the Western Hemisphere and prevent the emergence of a hegemonic power on both the eastern and western end of the Eurasian landmass. Whenever a state threatened to undo the balance of power in Europe or Asia, the United States ended up going to war – as exemplified by the First World War, Second World War, and Cold War.16 The establishment of a balance of power in both Europe (based on collective security) and East Asia (based on a hub-and-spokes model) as well as the creation of a multilateral economic order after the Second World War helped the United States realize its core strategic security and economic interests.
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