Book Launch: British 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.

“British Grand Strategy in the Age of American Hegemony” challenges these claims. 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, the book demonstrates that British politicians and officials have thought in grand strategic terms under American hegemony – even if they do not realise or admit to this. The book also shows that the role of allies in shaping British grand strategy has been overstated. Finally, it 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.

The book can be preordered from OUPand will be on sale at the launch event. The book can be purchased at a 30% discount using the code ASFLYQ6.

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Dr William D. James is a Research Fellow in the Centre for Grand Strategy at King’s College London and a Senior Associate of the Oxford Changing Character of War Centre. He has previously held fellowships at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Notre Dame. William earned a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Beyond his academic publishing, he writes for outlets such as War on the Rocks and Engelsberg Ideas. William has also contributed evidence to three parliamentary inquiries on British foreign policy. In 2020, he won RUSI’s Trench Gascoigne Prize for original writing on defence and security.