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


The Battle Inside the Political Parties for the Future of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Emma Ashford and A. Trevor Thrall. War on the Rocks. December 12, 2018.

The Fateful Arrest That Could Poison America’s Relationship with China

By Doug Bandow. American Conservative. December 11, 2018.

George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War: Victory, with Tragedy

By Patrick G. Eddington. Just Security. December 7, 2018.

Cato Studies

Double Game: Why Pakistan Supports Militants and Resists U.S. Pressure to Stop

By Sahar Khan. Policy Analysis No. 849. September 20, 2018.

War State, Trauma State: Why Afghanistan Remains Stuck in Conflict

By Erik Goepner. Policy Analysis No. 844. June 19, 2018.

A World Imagined: Nostalgia and Liberal Order

By Patrick Porter. Policy Analysis No. 843. June 5, 2018.


Libertarianism, Restraint, and the Bipartisan Future

Emma Ashford. Texas National Security Review. November 30, 2018.

The Stalemate: Implications of Afghanistan’s Stalled Peace Process on U.S.–Pakistan Relations

Sahar Khan. Pakistan Politico. September 10, 2018.

Frenemies for Life: The Downward Trajectory of US–Pakistan Relations

Sahar Khan. Global Village Space. August 16, 2018.

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


The Return of Great Power Competition

Featuring David M. Edelstein, Stacie E. Goddard, Paul K. MacDonald, Joshua Shifrinson, & Christopher A. Preble. January 15, 2019. Policy Forum.

Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

Featuring Rep. Ro Khanna, Caroline Dorminey, Scott Paul, Kate Kizer, & John Glaser. December 7, 2018. Policy Forum.

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

Featuring Stephen M. Walt, Stephen Wertheim, and Christopher A. Preble. October 17, 2018. Book Forum.


Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq

By David Isenberg. February 16, 2009.

Has the Privatization of National Security Gone Too Far?

By David Isenberg. November 14, 2008.

Defending Liberty in a Global Economy

By Richard B. Cheney. June 23, 1998.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Rightsizing U.S. Ground Forces

By Christopher A. Preble. November 2010.