Defense and Foreign Policy

A Defense and Foreign Policy Reading List

Prepared by Christopher Preble

Read This First

  • The Case for Restraint” by Barry R. Posen, The American Interest, November-December 2007.
    A concise and highly readable argument for a grand strategy of restraint that includes a reticence to use force and is based on narrow conceptions of security interests.

More on a Grand Strategy of Restraint

  • Come Home America: The Strategy of Restraint in the Face of Temptation” by Eugene Gholz, Daryl G. Press, and Harvey M. Sapolsky, International Security, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Spring 1997)
    Argues that the highest priorities of American foreign policy—protecting U.S. national security and promoting America’s prosperity—are best achieved by a policy of restraint.
  • Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America by Ted Galen Carpenter (Cato Institute, 2008)
    Outlines strategies for protecting America’s security while avoiding unnecessary and unrewarding military adventures.
  • The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous and Less Free by Christopher A. Preble (Cornell University Press, 2009)
    Advocates a military posture consistent with a foreign policy of noninterventionism and strategic independence.

On War and the State

  • Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs (Oxford University Press, 1987)
    Analyzes the cumulative growth of government control that occurs during war or economic depression.
  • War and the Rise of the State by Bruce D. Porter (Free Press, 1994)
    A sweeping historical survey that documents how war has contributed to the rise of the state.
  • Government, War, and Libertarianism” by Justin Logan, Cato Policy Report, May/June 2008.
    Reflects on the disagreements among libertarians in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq war, and argues that the principles of restraint and rationalism should continue to guide U.S. foreign policy.

On American Foreign Policy

On Specific Policy Issues