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American Power and Liberal OrderAmerican Power and Liberal Order

A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy

Paul D. Miller

Narrated by Maxwell Zener

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan convinced many policymakers and scholars that the United States should pull back in international affairs and that restraint should guide grand strategy. Paul D. Miller offers a tough-minded critique of this trending body of thought, arguing that US security in fact depends on active, sustained support of the international liberal order.

Miller blends academic rigor with his experiences as former Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council to offer conservative internationalist prescriptions for US grand strategy. Dismissing claims of overextended US resources and perceived safety, Miller argues that nuclear autocracies, armed non-state actors, failed states, and the transnational jihadist movement still pose immense threats to American security and the international system. His analysis offers policy options for balancing against the nuclear autocracies, championing liberalism to maintain the balance of power in its favor, targeting militant non-state actors, investing in governance in weak and failed states, and strengthening homeland security. As Miller shows, these necessary steps will fortify the international liberal order that forms the outer perimeter of American security—and aid US efforts to craft a more just peace among nations.

Paul D. Miller is the associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin and an adjunct political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He previously held the position of Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the National Security Council from 2007 to 2009, worked as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, and served as a military intelligence analyst with the US Army in Afghanistan. He is the author of Armed State Building: Confronting State Failure, 1898-2012.


“Paul Miller's American Power and Liberal Order represents an important contribution to the growing literature on American grand strategy. This book offers a robust defense of strong American leadership and engagement in support of a liberal global order, and it provides a range of specific and often provocative recommendations for how to implement that strategy. Miller's book deserves a wide reading among those who take an interest in grand strategy and in America's relationship with the world.”

—Hal Brands, Duke University

“In his new book, Paul Miller argues that the United States can and should use its power to uphold a classically liberal world order. Miller's strategy would combine a range of economic, diplomatic, and military tools to promote democratic values along with regional balances. Nor does he shy away from recommending stability operations in failed states, for example to combat terrorism. Precisely because this argument is today unfashionable, Miller is to be commended for making it, and he does so in an unusually clear and detailed way. The region-by-region breakdown of current international security challenges is especially welcome and relevant. Altogether, a fine contribution to the ongoing debate over best directions for American grand strategy.”

—Colin Dueck, author of The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today

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University Press Audiobooks