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"Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony"

"Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony"

Journal Article, International Security, volume 28, issue 1, pages 5-46

Summer 2003

Author: Barry Posen, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1979-1981; Former Associate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 1995-2000; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Quarterly Journal: International Security



"Unipolarity and U.S. hegemony will be around for some time," declares Barry Posen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Exactly how long will likely depend on the grand strategy the United States adopts. Posen maintains that U.S. military command of the commons— land, sea, air, and space— has enabled the Bush administration to pursue a strategy of "primacy." Posen argues, however, that despite its overwhelming military superiority, the United States will continue to encounter military resistance in so-called contested zones such as Somalia in 1993 and Kosovo in 1999. He contends that the inability of the United States to establish command in these areas suggests that, in the near to medium term, Washington may have greater success in meeting its foreign policy goals by adopting instead a strategy of selective engagement.


For more information about this publication please contact the IS Editorial Assistant at 617-495-1914.

For Academic Citation:

Posen, Barry. "Command of the Commons: The Military Foundation of U.S. Hegemony." International Security 28, no. 1 (Summer 2003): 5-46.

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