By More than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia-Pacific since 1783

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  • January 2020
    Book Review

    In the ascription of causality in international relations (IR), there is either deliberate action or historical contingency. Historical contingency is an element that cannot be accounted for; however, deliberate action is accounted for and ascribed to planning or strategy. Even with strategically planned deliberate action, there is an element of uncertainty of whether the intended effect will be achieved or not. This is due to intended effects of strategy being mediated by situational variables and contingencies. These characteristics form the underlying implicit nature of strategy. The lack of materialization of the intended outcomes of a strategy have generally disparaged the role of conscious strategy in foreign policy and IR. This questioning of the conscious role of strategy has also raised questions on whether grand strategy is a viable analytical criterion to look at foreign policy outcomes achieved over a significant temporal expanse. The author through this book is trying to revive the grand strategic way of looking at IR in general and American foreign engagements in particular. The book is targeted at policymakers and tries to bridge the gap in the lacunae of the historical study of American statecraft in Asia.