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British Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony


05JunBritish Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony

Is the United Kingdom capable of grand strategy? Common wisdom suggests otherwise. Some think it implausible amid the maelstrom of domestic politics, while others believe the UK lacks the necessary autonomy, as a cog in the US-led order. In his latest book, William James challenges these claims. He contends that grand strategy is an unavoidable part of governing. Grand strategy is the highest level of national security decision-making, encompassing judgements over a state's overarching objectives and interests, as well as its security environment and resource base. Getting these decisions 'right' is vital in moments of geopolitical flux. Employing several historical case studies between 1940-2003 and marshalling a host of primary sources, James argues that British politicians and officials have thought in grand strategic terms under American hegemony - even if they do not realise or admit to this. He also demonstrates that the role of allies in shaping British grand strategy has been overstated. Finally, James highlights the conditions under which domestic political actors can influence grand strategic decision-making. Written for practitioners as well as scholars, the book concludes with several policy recommendations at this inflection point in British history.


Dr William James

Dr William James joined the Centre for Grand Strategy as an Ax:son Johnson Research Fellow in August 2022. He is also a Senior Associate of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre. William holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford.

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William James

Research Fellow

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