American Power and Liberal Order

A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy

Paul D. Miller

"A tour de force on American grand strategy. . . . Miller is highly attentive to the costs and benefits of various policies. "
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Paul D. Miller offers a tough minded critique of recent trends in American grand strategy. He rejects retrenchment but also the excesses of liberal internationalism. He prescribes a conservative internationalist grand strategy to preserve the American security and leadership in the world while avoiding overstretch.

Originally written before the 2016 US presidential election, this first paperback edition contains a new preface that repositions the book’s argument for the Trump era. Miller explains why President Trump’s nationalist vision for American grand strategy damages US interests and world order. Miller blends academic rigor with his experiences as former member of the National Security Council and intelligence community to offer prescriptions for US grand strategy. He advocates for narrowing regional priorities and focusing on five strategic objectives: balancing against the nuclear autocracies, championing liberalism to maintain a favorable balance of power, thwarting the transnational jihadist movement, investing in governance in weak and failed states, and strengthening homeland security. 

This book is a must read for scholars and students of international affairs and for anyone who is concerned about America’s role in the world.

Table of Contents


Part I: A Framework for Thinking about US Grand Strategy
1. In Search of a Twenty-First-Century Grand Strategy
2. Power and Liberty in US Diplomatic History
3. The New World Disorder

Part II: Strategic Courses of Action
4. The Balance of Power and the Democratic Peace
5. Barbarians, Failed States, and Stability Operations

Part III: Regional Application
6. The Frontline: Europe and East Asia
7. The Opportunity: South Asia
8. The Quagmire: The Middle East
9. The Periphery: Latin America and Africa

Part IV: The National Security Toolkit
10. Homeland Defense
11. Diplomacy and Development
12. Military, Intelligence, and National Security Decision Making

13. Conclusion

About the Author


"A tour de force on American grand strategy. . . . Miller is highly attentive to the costs and benefits of various policies."—CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR'S REVIEW

"Exceptionally and impressively well written, organized and presented, [the book] is an insightful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read throughout."—Midwest Book Review

"Excellent book providing a spirited defense of what has largely been a successful American grand strategy for the past 70 years."—Providence

"The author’s extensive experience in foreign policy, diplomacy, and national security is reflected throughout the book. His writing is clear and concise; American Power and Liberal Order is accessible by the midcareer military or diplomatic professional but is also relevant professional reading for those who serve in higher positions within the Departments of State and Defense."—Law and Liberty

"Time could be saved in these courses by simply having students read Paul D. Miller’s American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy. Miller has extensive experience in the fields of intelligence and diplomacy; his experience is evident in his writing."—Military Review

"A timely and extremely important book . . . His is the best kind of political science: grounded in practice, clearly written, theoretically nuanced, and historically informed. . . . A must read both for specialists and general audiences interested in foreign policy, grand strategy, terrorism, and the United States' role in the world."—MCU Journal

"A considered analysis of American strategic theory, this is a book that military leaders, defense experts, and pragmatic academics should all enjoy...Miller’s contribution needs to be read by those who are responsible for employing the force necessary to gird American grand strategy. Most importantly, Miller’s style and approach make this book accessible and useful across the academic spectrum."—Strategic Studies Quarterly

"In his new book, Paul Miller argues that the United States can and should use its power to uphold a classically liberal world order. Miller's strategy would combine a range of economic, diplomatic, and military tools to promote democratic values along with regional balances. Nor does he shy away from recommending stability operations in failed states, for example to combat terrorism. Precisely because this argument is today unfashionable, Miller is to be commended for making it, and he does so in an unusually clear and detailed way. The region-by-region breakdown of current international security challenges is especially welcome and relevant. Altogether, a fine contribution to the ongoing debate over best directions for American grand strategy."—Colin Dueck, author of The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today, George Mason University

"Paul Miller’s American Power and Liberal Order represents an important contribution to the growing literature on American grand strategy. This book offers a robust defense of strong American leadership and engagement in support of a liberal global order, and it provides a range of specific and often provocative recommendations for how to implement that strategy. Miller’s book deserves a wide reading among those who take an interest in grand strategy and in America’s relationship with the world."—Hal Brands, Duke University


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Paul D. Miller is a professor in the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is also a senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He previously held the position of Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council from 2007 to 2009, worked as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, and served as a military intelligence analyst with the US Army in Afghanistan. He is the author of Armed State Building: Confronting State Failure, 1898–2012.

322 pp., 6 x 9
2 figures, 6 tables
Sep 2016

322 pp., 6 x 9
2 figures, 6 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-642-4
Sep 2016

322 pp.
2 figures, 6 tables
ISBN: 978-1-62616-643-1
Sep 2016

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