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Remarks at MIT: Renewal or Retrenchment - U.S. Grand Strategy in a Volatile World

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a distinguished fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, presented remarks at the MIT Senior Congressional and Executive Office Branch Seminar, "Renewal or Retrenchment: U.S. Grand Strategy in a Volatile World," on April 8, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

In his talk, Eikenberry walks through four major areas: policy and strategy; on 'Grand Strategy;' assumptions about interests, power and capability; and on the use of military force.

He describes the evolution of 'Grand Strategy' in theory and practice throughout the Cold War and in the post-Cold War era, and offers perspectives on many of the United States' most pressing foreign policy challenges. The United States, he says, often sees a chasm between foreign policy and strategy. Two reasons for this divide include incomplete readings of the "ends, ways and means" needed to craft a robust foreign policy plan and lack of understanding among policymakers on how to effectively translate strategy into action.

Eikenberry underscores the importance of critical analysis in the formation of policy and strategy, urging the audience to think strategically about resources, concepts and risks. He also projects that the 2016 U.S. presidential election will mark an "uncommon but cyclical return" of foreign policy as a top priority on campaign platforms.

The video is available on the MIT TechTV website and the transcript is posted below.