Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


David Milen


There is a correlation between American grand strategy and post-Cold War national identity. Congressional leaders, policy makers, scholars, and observers have noted that the United States lacked a coherent grand strategy for the immediate post-Cold War era. However, President Bill Clinton built a grand strategy of selected engagement predicated it on the historical values of modern American national identity. Through published national security data, speeches, and observations of strategic choices, this research compared President Clinton’s actions in the international arena to a grand strategy typology. Further, through the theoretical lens of constructivism, an assessment of President Clinton’s national identity construct, and its correlation with his strategic use of national power, was conducted. This research may be beneficial to ongoing defense threat reduction research on predictive factors of national activity. This research may also facilitate positive social change by enabling policy makers, scholars, the U.S. electorate, and political observers to better understand the importance of presidentially constructed national identity and its impact on grand strategy. For instance, presidential debates may evolve to include inquiries about a candidate’s perspective on national identity and how that ideational construct would influence strategic planning and operations during their tenure. Americans may then be able to better estimate the potential national security implications of their electoral choices.