Should a country have a “grand strategy?” Usually thought of in terms of big power relations, grand strategy refers to the effort to mobilize the state's military, diplomatic, political, and economic capabilities in the service of the national interest. It requires states to consider the full range of tools at their disposal and to correlate judiciously their own and their adversaries' power. In the case of the United States, many presidents have articulated a doctrine—one element of a grand strategy—to define some large purpose of policy; when they haven't done so, as in the case of the Obama administration, academics and analysts have devoted much effort to define the grand strategy for the administration.

Smaller states can also have a grand strategy, and sometimes can put that strategy to effective use. For Israel, the idea of grand strategy is no small thing. It requires a sophisticated understanding of regional and...

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