[eDebate] Dr Arthur Kyriazis MScE

Calum Matheson u.hrair
Tue Dec 23 13:18:58 CST 2008

I assume that you're a real person and not a fake edebate account from the
writers of Wondermark.

You are very fortunate to have been acquainted with Catherine the Great.  I
can almost see you there in St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, sipping tea from
the steaming samovar and discussing the latest works of Voltaire in what
will later be the Hermitage.  I hope that you've got a souvenir from that
last time you heard the phrase "grand strategy." Perhaps an engraved
monocle.  Russia still had the gold standard then.  I hope you didn't pawn
it to defray the thousands of dollars in lost judging fees that you're owed.

The last time I read the phrase "grand strategy" was this morning, when JT
posted a dozen links to articles (written significantly later than the era
of pith helmets or imperialist designs on the Low Countries).  Before that,
when I checked to ensure that sufficient solvency advocates existed who
describe their policies in these terms.  They did, I'm happy to report.  It
is used still, especially by military historians, to describe a *level* of
policy--the highest level of military policy--which is the plan a state or
coalition has to direct the sum of its resources to accomplish its goals.
The phrase was indeed common in the "Old Diplomacy" of pre-World War One
Europe, it is still current.

"Grand strategy" itself is not imperialistic.  There were imperialistic
grand strategies, of course, but screw in that monocle and read the topic I
suggest with more care--it requires the United States (it is a country
formed from the former British colonial possessions in the New World some
fifteen years after the beginning of Catherine's reign) to reduce it's
military commitments overseas.  So, think of it as exactly what you
described...but the opposite.

Here are some examples of grand strategy that come a bit later.  In World
War Two, the Atlantic Charter and the ARCADIA Conference defined coalition
grand strategy.  Following the war, the US policy of containment was its
grand strategy.  Detente could be described in the same terms.  Now,
American follows a grand strategy of preponderance--an attempt to maintain
vast military, cultural, and economic power to prevent the ascendancy of a
peer competitor and to spread democratic government (ostensibly, anyway).
The topic I'm suggesting aims to change that.

This line here intrigues me:
"I've rarely seen the phrase apart from the designs of rapacious conquerors.
As such, it's susceptible to negative attacks along these lines."
We've established, I think, that you have done very little research on the
use of this term after the end of absolute monarchy.  If, however, you are
correct, and the term is susceptible to negative attacks, then you've
identified "negative ground," which is an important part of contemporary
debate.  I must confess at this juncture that I am half European and half
American, so it is possible that my desire for "clash" reflects nothing more
than my intellectual rapacity.

Now I must bid you adieu.  I have important work to do protesting my local
pet store, which sells "guinea pigs," a reference to an age when the animals
could be bought as food for merely one guinea--an currency of incorrigable
imperialists, no less.  Terrible what some base ruffians will do to a
helpless animal.  Tsk tsk.

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