Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2013 Sara M. Birkenthal
This paper seeks to determine under what conditions a U.S. president can implement a grand strategy given the nature of domestic and international opportunities and constraints. It will examine three comparative case studies: Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, with the goal of determining what conditions are necessary at the individual, domestic, and systemic levels of analysis for grand strategy implementation. At the individual level, it will apply operational code analysis, as well as an examination of personal characteristics for each case study. At the domestic level, it will apply a five-prong test for examining factors that are key to grand strategy implementation: (1) unity of foreign policy team; (2) strength of presidency; (3) party alignment between Congress and the president; (4) public opinion; and (5) strength of domestic economy. At the systemic level, it will examine significant events faced by each president that tested whether his grand strategy could respond effectively to international imperatives. Ultimately, it will assess the success of each president's attempt at grand strategy implementation based on: (1) how closely U.S. policies aligned with his grand strategy; and (2) whether policies put in place that aligned with his grand strategy improved the global standing of the U.S. Through this analysis, it will assess the larger implications of having a grand strategy on U.S. foreign policy.
Birkenthal, Sara M., "Grand Strategy in U.S. Foreign Policy: The Carter, Bush, and Obama Doctrines" (2013). CMC Senior Theses. 598.
International Relations Commons, Law and Politics Commons, Other Political Science Commons, Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration Commons, Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation Commons, President/Executive Department Commons