In the 21st century, instead of devoting tremendous national resources-blood and treasure-to defending the entire world against all manner of threats, the United States should behave as a normal great power. Like any great power, the United States must vigorously protect its vital national security interests using many means, including force. Absent a hegemonic threat, such as the Soviet Union, however, the United States should be able to rise above most day-to-day turmoil around the globe.

More on General Strategy and U.S. Foreign Policy


Who Is Making U.S. Foreign Policy?

By Doug Bandow. National Interest (Online). June 26, 2017.

Keeping Peace in Asia Requires Accommodating, Not Confronting, China

By Doug Bandow. Huffington Post. June 26, 2017.

The Danger of Mission Creep in Syria

By Emma Ashford. National Interest (Online). June 26, 2017.

Cato Studies

Step Back: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy from the Failed War on Terror

By A. Trevor Thrall and Erik Goepner. Policy Analysis No. 814. June 26, 2017.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Legacy and the Myth of Retrenchment

By John Glaser and A. Trevor Thrall. Working Paper No. 43. April 24, 2017.

Will China Solve the North Korea Problem? The United States Should Develop a Diplomatic Strategy to Persuade Beijing to Help

By Doug Bandow. Policy Analysis No. 806. December 6, 2016.


An Open Letter on BRAC

Christopher A. Preble and Benjamin H. Friedman. June 19, 2017.

Why Washington Doesn’t Debate Grand Strategy

Benjamin H. Friedman and Justin Logan. Strategic Studies Quarterly. Winter 2016.

The Danger of Overreacting to Terrorism—and How to Resist It

Benjamin H. Friedman. World Politics Review. August 15, 2016.

Public Filings

An Open Letter on BRAC

By Christopher A. Preble, Mackenzie Eaglen, and Todd Harrison. Public Comments. June 19, 2017.

U.S. National Security Strategy after Primacy: Resilience, Self-Reliance, and Restraint

By Christopher A. Preble. Testimony. October 29, 2015.

Escaping the Trap: Why the United States Must Leave Iraq

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Testimony. January 11, 2007.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Should America Shape the World?

Policy Report. May/June 2017.

How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks

Eric Gomez. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2017.

Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).


Evaluating the Iran Deal

Featuring Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Laura Rozen, Ariane Tabatabai, Emma Ashford, & Benjamin H. Friedman. May 16, 2017. Policy Forum.

Outside Voices: How Scholars Can Influence Trump’s Foreign Policy

Featuring Steven Weber, Matthew Kroenig, Ryan Evans, Mira Rapp Hooper, Sameer Lalwani, & Emma Ashford. April 19, 2017. Policy Forum.

America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century

Featuring Stephen Brooks, William C. Wohlforth, Eugene Gholz, Benjamin H. Friedman, & John Glaser. March 21, 2017. Book Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Rightsizing U.S. Ground Forces

By Christopher A. Preble. November 2010.