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In search of a US grand strategy: considering resurgent Russia


The American political, military and economic dominance established after the dissolution of the USSR is showing a tendency to decline. This demands an adaptation of an American grand strategy toward the changing of reality, and particularly an adaptation of the strategy toward Revisionist Russia while significant American resources are redirected toward East Asia in order to balance the PRC. We assume that neither primacy nor offshore balancing nor restraint provides a satisfactory solution for the balancing of Russia. We believe that primacy may cause an overstretching to US capabilities and at the same time this GS is excessive for the balancing of Russia, especially considering that, in the long-run perspective, Russia’s capability to project power outside its borders will decline due to Russian structural weakness. Similarly, the strategies of restraint and offshore balancing tend to underestimate the power which Russia still possesses and the threat which it may pose to American interests and allies around the world, as has been demonstrated by Russian policy toward Ukraine. We suppose that deep engagement in its modest form is the most cost-effective GS enabling to fulfill American security main interests, while balancing the major competitors, including Russia, and simultaneously avoiding an overstretch.

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  1. See the tables below.

  2. However, due to structural weakness and the Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia following the seizure of Crimea, from 2013 its economy has experienced stagnation.

  3. According to Buzan’s (1991) definition.

  4. (Connolly and Boulègue 2018: 7).

  5. Partly, the rising percentage of the modern weapons system can be explained by the decommission of the old systems.


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Correspondence to Alexander Tabachnik.

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Tabachnik, A., Miller, B. In search of a US grand strategy: considering resurgent Russia. Int Polit 58, 278–300 (2021).

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  • Grand Strategy
  • USA
  • Russia
  • Russia’s power potential
  • Balancing
  • Deep engagement