Home > National Policy > What IS America’s Strategic Narrative?

What IS America’s Strategic Narrative?

As I sat this evening and read news stories from across the globe via conventional news sources and social media conduits, I started to question what is America’s Grand Strategy, really? Reality is, whether intentional or not, America does have a perceived National Strategic Narrative whether it has a Grand Strategy or not (to use a Clausewitzian context) based on our actual actions in comparisons with our national rhetoric. The question is, given the current domestic and global environment, what is it? Additionally, if we do not have a purposeful narrative, what should it be? The National Security Strategy is only one element in how the world perceives us. With the explosion of the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and the exponentially evolving information environment, America lives in a glass house that the rest of the world can see into in real time. Regardless of what we say, the world can see us for what we really are. The time has come for us to re-think what national strategy (or grand strategy) actually is, and what it should look like.  Wayne Porter and Mark Mykleby opened the discussion wide open in 2011 with their work entitled, “A National Strategic Narrative,” which can be found here. The introduction states:

A narrative is a story. A national strategic narrative must be a story that all Americans can understand and identify with in their own lives. America’s national story has always see-sawed between exceptionalism and universalism. We think that we are an exceptional nation, but a core part of that exceptionalism is a commitment to universal values – to the equality of all human beings not just within the borders of the United States, but around the world. We should thus embrace the rise of other nations when that rise is powered by expanded prosperity, opportunity, and dignity for their peoples. In such a world we do not need to see ourselves as the automatic leader of any bloc of nations. We should be prepared instead to earn our influence through our ability to compete with other nations, the evident prosperity and wellbeing of our people, and our ability to engage not just with states but with societies in all their richness and complexity. We do not want to be the sole superpower that billions of people around the world have learned to hate from fear of our military might. We seek instead to be the nation other nations listen to, rely on and emulate out of respect and admiration.

With this document being two years old and given the current state of the the US and global economies, the current state of Afghanistan, as well as  the issues across the entire African continent, the Levant, Iran, North Korea, etc. what is the current perceived American Strategic Narrative and what should our Strategic Narrative actually be? What would America have to do to actually create and sell a believable  narrative to the  world? Curious to hear your thoughts…

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  1. 9 April 2013 at 0649

    For more information on A National Strategic Narrative go http://www.nationalstrategicnarrative.org

  1. 23 August 2014 at 1036

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