Holding the Line



The year 2014 saw challenges to the state system itself. Russia effectively annexed Crimea, while Russian nationalists in eastern Ukraine took up arms to achieve independence. The Islamic State suddenly vaulted to prominence as it seized huge swaths of territory, a move threatening to collapse Middle Eastern stability. Elsewhere, officials struggled to maintain their ambitious trade negotiations with European and Asian governments. Rather than turn to military force or confrontational rhetoric, Obama imposed sanctions and sought coalitions. This chapter builds a narrative case study evaluating the administration’s stated views and implementation of grand strategy during a tumultuous year. It reviews contemporary debates over the administration’s response, many of which suggest that Obama’s caution deepened the crises. Nevertheless, Obama’s now familiar pragmatism and deliberative style dominated policy decisions.


Crimea Islamic State Syria civil war Obama grand strategy 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of West FloridaPensacolaUSA

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