Grand Strategy of the Authoritarian Axis: Op-Ed by Prof. William Martel

The Diplomat

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Once subtle in the making, we are watching the unfolding of a dramatic shift in international politics. Why, we may ask, is this happening?

When the Soviet Union collapsed, no major power emerged to challenge the United States and the West. Simply put, for two decades policymakers failed to define a grand strategy to govern its foreign policy. Washington, in effect, enjoyed a “free ride” in conducting its foreign policy.

In moving from crisis to crisis without an overarching set of goals or principles to guide its policies, the U.S. and the West have lost strategic momentum. Simultaneously, a new bloc of states – an “authoritarian axis” – is gaining strategic momentum. Dangerously, this rival bloc is mounting serious geopolitical resistance to the West and altering the balance of power.

To be clear: the rise of the axis is the most momentous development – if not the fundamental shift — in geopolitics in recent history. How well the West deals with the axis grand strategy will determine the tenor of world politics — whether peaceful or confrontational – for the next generation.

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