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The End of Grand StrategyThe End of Grand Strategy

US Maritime Operations in the Twenty-First Century

Simon Reich and Peter Dombrowski

Narrated by Kevin Moriarty

Available from Audible

Book published by Cornell University Press

In The End of Grand Strategy, Simon Reich and Peter Dombrowski challenge the common view of grand strategy as unitary. They eschew prescription of any one specific approach, chosen from a spectrum that stretches from global primacy to restraint and isolationism, in favor of describing what America’s military actually does, day to day. They argue that a series of fundamental recent changes in the global system, the inevitable jostling of bureaucratic politics, and the practical limitations of field operations combine to ensure that each presidential administration inevitably resorts to a variety of strategies.

Proponents of different American grand strategies have historically focused on the pivotal role of the Navy. In response, Reich and Dombrowski examine six major maritime operations, each of which reflects one major strategy. One size does not fit all, say the authors—the attempt to impose a single overarching blueprint is no longer feasible. Reich and Dombrowski declare that grand strategy, as we know it, is dead. The End of Grand Strategy is essential reading for policymakers, military strategists, and analysts and critics at advocacy groups and think tanks.

Simon Reich is Professor of Global Affairs and Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the author of Fruits of Fascism and co-author of German Predicament and End of Grand Strategy, all from Cornell, and Global Norms, American Sponsorship and the Emerging Patterns of World Politics and coauthor most recently of Good-bye Hegemony!.

Peter Dombrowski is Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the Naval War College. He is the coeditor of The Indian Ocean and US Grand Strategy and Regional Missile Defense from a Global Perspective.


The End of Grand Strategy should be widely read, first, to distinguish grand strategy from traditional strategy.... The second reason to read Reich and Dombrowski is to see the difficulties 21st-century decision makers confront in preparing to fight.... Today, a strategy’s aim almost always should be to establish what constitutes a satisfactory outcome rather than a clear-cut victory. A grand strategic goal should be expressed in terms of control that may take a long time to achieve and require great patience. I think Reich and Dombrowski have implied as much, and that is one more reason for reading their fine book.”


“Reich and Dombrowski’s approach offers a description of US grand strategic theory found in no other text and a set of developed case studies that flesh out each identified strategic approach.... The End of Grand Strategy presents highly comprehensible policy overviews and histories of each topic engaged with.”

— H-NET Reviews

“Insightfully examines both the contemporary US NSS approach and current US Navy operations across the globe. While American-centric by intent, the book contains many concepts and ideas that smaller nations may find useful, especially in contemplating future multilateral naval operations, an area of growing importance. The book offers much for policymakers, military planners, academics and all those concerned with understanding the business of strategising.”

The RUSI Journal

The End of Grand Strategy provides a balanced presentation based on broad research drawn from published government documents and secondary sources. Clear in argument and prose, the book accomplishes its goals by effectively relating the ways and means of sea power to specific regional grand strategies.... This work will appeal to both generalists and specialists of American national security and strategy. Upper level undergraduate, graduate, and war college students in national security, international relations, and strategic studies would especially benefit from this work.”

The Journal of Military History

“While the broad strokes of Reich and Dombrowski's theoretical argument are thought provoking, it is their descriptive empirical analysis that stands out for its concision and clarity. Any one of their empirical chapters could serve as a high-level primer on the topic it discusses.”

Stategic Studies Quarterly

“The book will be important for readers studying or involved in American politics and policy-making. It can also be recommended to students of American strategic thought and strategic planning, given the relatively low cost of the book.”

— international affairs

“In this academic treatise, the authors challenge the notion of the effectiveness of a unified grand strategy and posit that in the current era a spectrum of strategies is needed depending on the region and the threats therein.”

SeaPower Magazine

The End of Grand Strategy is a superb, incredibly rich book. It is a major, and innovative, original contribution to thinking about U.S. grand strategy.”

Andrew L. Ross, editor of The Political Economy of Defense

The End of Grand Strategy will be useful in the classroom because it offers a broad range of strategies and sub-strategies. The conception of the Sponsorship Strategy is especially valuable and makes this book stand out.”

Frank Hoffman, author of Decisive Force

“An instant classic with a 360 degree view of the maritime world and the importance of sea power to the United States. In an era of high speed change, utter transparency, and accelerating technology, this volume proves that thoughtful strategic analysis matters, providing a realistic view of the tactical and operational opportunities that emerge.”

—Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), Author, Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans

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