Welcoming Remarks and Panel 1: The Myths of Primacy: Alliances and Security Dilemmas

June 15, 2016

For the past two decades Democratic and Republican leaders have viewed U.S. military power as indispensable to global stability. Known as “primacy” or “liberal hegemony,” U.S. military alliances, they believed, would secure the peace between foreign powers, and armed interventions would be necessary to prevent terrorism and civil conflicts abroad.

This grand strategy perspective is now undergoing major revisions, with many foreign policy and military experts now calling for restraint. The United States is now viewed as greatly benefiting from a robust state of national security thanks to its geographic, economic, and military advantages. Further, decades of rigorous military interventions and long-term military alliances have caused more problems than they solved—and a grand strategy of restraint aligns with the fundamental values at the core of our nation’s founding.

At this conference, experts on international security will deeply examine the major shifts now taking place in global perspectives, and will both confront and critically examine the arguments and assumptions of the “primacy” consensus. Panelists will also discuss what form a more restrained U.S. foreign policy should take, and the prospects for restraint given American politics today.

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