The Morality of a Strategy of Denial

September 9, 2022

America’s foreign policy needs to reorient. In my book The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, I lay out what this approach should be. It is a strategy designed to prevent any power from dominating one of the world’s critical regions, especially its most important—which is now Asia. The argument is that if Americans are to be genuinely secure, free, and prosperous, we cannot allow any state to become so predominant that it could control our economy and thus undermine our liberties. China’s dominance over Asia, and the global preeminence it would very likely produce, ­poses by far the most serious threat of this outcome. Consequently, our foreign policy—and, as a vital part of that, our defense strategy—must prioritize denying China’s achievement of hegemony over Asia.

First Things

Elbridge Colby is co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.