US Grand Strategy in an Age of Crisis

kutsutilaisuus · Seminar Hall, Arkadiankatu 23 H, Helsinki · 10.11.2022 14:30 - 16:00


The Biden administration’s new National Security Strategy (NSS), published this year, highlights a commitment to ‘integrated deterrence,’ a willingness to use all the tools of statecraft – not just military ones – to achieve American goals. In doing so, the document merely highlights an already rapidly-growing element of U.S. foreign policy: in addition to American military forces around the world, the U.S. government increasingly relies on non-military means of coercion such as sanctions, export controls, or energy policy. Will these tools be sufficient to meet the goals of policymakers? At a time of significant international turmoil marked by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, intensifying competition between the US and China, domestic polarization, and pressing global challenges from climate change to pandemics, the debate over America’s role in the world – and whether it can continue to maintain its role as the world’s only superpower – is more important than ever. The NSS promises a return to traditional American leadership in the international space, doubling down on non-military tools in addition to American military preeminence. Yet it will become ever more challenging for America to maintain its edge, and to continue to meet its commitments to allies.

This FIIA event will address the recent evolution of the grand strategy debate in Washington in light of current challenges. Questions covered include: How does the current debate over US grand strategy address military and non-military questions? How will changes in the international space, and perhaps more importantly, in US domestic politics shape these debates going forward? How might changes in US grand strategy impact transatlantic relations?



Emma Ashford

Senior Fellow, Stimson Center

Emma Ashford is a Senior Fellow with the Reimagining US Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center. She works on a variety of issues related to the future of U.S foreign policy, international security, and the politics of global energy markets. She has expertise in the politics of Russia, Europe, and the Middle East. Ashford is also a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her first book "Oil, the State, and War: The Foreign Policies of Petrostates" was published by Georgetown University Press in 2022, and explored the international security ramifications of oil production and export in states such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela. Prior to joining the Stimson Center, Ashford was a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s New American Engagement Initiative, which focused on challenging the prevailing assumptions governing US foreign policy. She was also a research fellow in defense and foreign policy at the Cato Institute, where she worked on a variety of issues including the US-Saudi relationship, sanctions policy, and US policy towards Russia, and US foreign policy and grand strategy more broadly. She holds a PhD in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.


Mikael Wigell

Research Director, FIIA

Mikael Wigell is Research Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Adjunct Professor in International Political Economy at the University of Tampere. He earned his PhD at the London School of Economics, and he has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University. He has also been a Member of the Development Policy Committee of the Finnish Government and President of the Finnish International Studies Association. He currently leads the International Business Risk and Resilience Monitor for Strengthening National Economic Preparedness-project funded by the European Commission, as well as the Nordic Security of Supply in an Age of Disruption-project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. His latest book is as editor of the volume Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2018; 2020).

Rachel Tausendfreund

Visiting Senior Fellow, FIIA

Rachel Tausendfreund is a Visiting Senior Fellow at CUSPP for the autumn of 2022. She is the editorial director at GMF, overseeing the organization’s research output and publication planning. Before joining GMF, Rachel Tausendfreund was editorial director at the European Council on Foreign Relations and editor at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). At the DGAP, she was a member of the editorial team of the bimonthly foreign policy magazine Internationale Politik and ran IP-Journal, an online magazine covering German and European foreign policy. She has researched and published on issues relating to German, American, and transatlantic politics, as well as international trade policy and European foreign policy.


Ville Sinkkonen

Postdoctoral Researcher, FIIA

Ville Sinkkonen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), Center on US Politics and Power. His research focuses on US foreign policy, hegemony, normative power and the politics of trust in international relations. Sinkkonen is the author of "A Comparative Appraisal of Normative Power" (Brill, 2015) and his work has been published in the Journal of Transatlantic Studies and European Foreign Affairs Review, among others. He holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Turku.