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Safeguarding Democratic CapitalismU.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015$
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Melvyn P Leffler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196510

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196510.001.0001

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Austerity and U.S. Strategy

Austerity and U.S. Strategy

Lessons of the Past

(p.303) 10 Austerity and U.S. Strategy
Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism

Melvyn P. Leffler

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that austere times presented opportunities to reassess strategic concepts, think rigorously about goals, recalibrate priorities, and link means and ends. Constraints on defense spending forced policymakers to think more creatively about diplomatic solutions. This sometimes catalyzed bold initiatives to reassure friends and engage adversaries. In the past, budgetary austerity also forced officials to wrestle more forthrightly with the trade-offs between priorities at home and commitments abroad. It was an exercise that invariably reminded all Americans that the real sources of U.S. strength in the world were the health of its domestic economy, the vitality of its people, and the resilience of its political institutions.

Keywords:   austerity, budgetary austerity, diplomatic solutions, U.S. strength, domestic economy, political institutions, U.S. strategy

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