In This Review

Politics, Markets, and Grand Strategy: Foreign Economic Policies as Strategic Instruments
Politics, Markets, and Grand Strategy: Foreign Economic Policies as Strategic Instruments
By Lars S. Skalnes
University of Michigan Press, 2000, 320 pp

Foreign economic policies have long been used as a tool of grand strategy. This book usefully surveys the historical record but offers few surprises. Skalnes maintains that great powers have often used trade and other economic policies since the late nineteenth century to advance their security goals. Prevailing alliance imperatives have shaped state actions; when a great power has needed strong alliances, it has tended to pursue discriminatory economic policies that favor its partners. The author explores this simple hindsight in chapters on German, French, British, and American grand strategy, presenting American postwar reconstruction policies toward Japan and Western Europe as the most celebrated moments of economic policy as "high politics." The book helpfully assesses how preferential trade relations can strengthen ties by altering domestic support for alliances, signaling strategic intentions, and encouraging economic growth to support defense spending. But the historical analysis unfortunately ends in 1967, so the reader is left to speculate on the book's relevance to the post-Cold War strategic landscape.