Research Area I

Grand strategy

We define grand strategy as an organising principle that is consciously held and used by decision makers to guide foreign policy. It represents the highest level of long-term political, diplomatic, military and economic statecraft and sets the parameters for day-to-day policies and responses to crises and contingencies. It clarifies which threats and challenges should receive the most resources, which allies and international institutions are most reliable, which battles one might and perhaps should fight, and which ones to avoid at all costs.

Our research at the Centre for International Security focuses, in particular, on the various grand strategic postures Europe (and Germany) can adopt in an era shaped by increased great power competition and the weakening of long-standing alliances. What are Europe’s grand strategic options in response to a potential US retrenchment if not withdrawal from the European continent? To an ever-intensifying confrontation with Russia? To looming tensions in the Asia-Pacific between the United States and China? To the ever-deepening chaos in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the constant threat of terrorism? In short, what should be Europe's key interests and objectives regarding international politics in the near future? What force structures and defence budgets are required to meet these aims and what institutional umbrellas would be ideal to englobe these efforts?