American Intellectuals and US Strategy
Forging the National Security Strategy during and after the Cold War
Routledge – 2014 – 224 pages
Have academics played any role in American grand strategy?
Although academics are usually seen as out-of-touch idealists working in their ivory towers they have played an important role in national security policy processes, as this book will show. By examining the relationship between academics and government we are studying other voices that are usually forgotten when national security issues are discussed, making it an interesting and little researched subject.
There are three main reasons that academics are relevant to American national security strategy(NSS) in the postwar period: the new role for the United States in world politics; the advent of nuclear weapons, and American political culture, which sees the university as something like a national church. Academics have been active in producing new strategies, training personnel, giving political advice and even in occupying executive office, thereby directly implementing security policies. Their influence was felt over a very long period and remains important today.
The idea is to reveal a hidden aspect of American national security policymaking and show how organized knowledge is a social-political force and how universities (and other para-academic institutions) are part of the organizational, institutional, cultural and intellectual network that ‘controls’ American national security policy. Hence we may ask some key questions that we will try to answer during our study:
Which institutions were involved? Did the East Coast institutions have a dominant position? Were academics detached from party politics or were they arguing for specific ideological orientations? What ideas and knowledge did they bring from academia? Did they participate in the debates that dominated American society? Did the financial sponsors of research have any influence?
Overall, what type of role did academics play? Representing the pluralist character of American society? Helping the elite (the establishment) to exercise power? Or acting as "peddlers of crises"? And what were the outcomes? Did the American grand strategies become more accountable, responsible and democratic?
Introduction. Politics, Strategy and Knowledge, 1935-1945. Constructing American Strategic Doctrine, 1945-1960. Scientific Strategists and the Seat of Power, 1960s. Strategy, Personalities and Circumstances, 1970s. American Strategic Hegemony, 1980s.(Re) Constructing American Grand Strategy, 1990s. After 9/11: a new American Grand Strategy? Conclusion