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An Operational Code Analysis of President Nixon's Grand Strategy

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This thesis seeks to answer as to how leaders implement grand strategy. The framework for this endeavor comes from Peter Trubowitz's Politics and Strategy: Partisan Ambition and American Statecraft. In

This thesis seeks to answer as to how leaders implement grand strategy. The framework for this endeavor comes from Peter Trubowitz's Politics and Strategy: Partisan Ambition and American Statecraft. In this work Trubowitz makes many claims about the nature of grand strategy, but the relevant ones to this research are that grand strategy is driven solely by structural constraints (domestic and foreign) individual characteristics of leaders do not affect exercises of political power and that President Nixon pursued an internal balancing grand strategy, which means that he pursued a containment policy. This thesis tests those claims via operational code analysis and the Verbs in Context System to map President Nixon's general grand strategy and his strategy regarding conflict in Southeast Asia, as well as dealing with the Communist Bloc. The findings are that Nixon does pursue a general grand strategy of internal balancing, but that the targeted instances of Southeast Asia and the Communist Bloc, he acts against constraints and shifts strategy. This is evidence that individual leaders do shape the exercise of political power by the state.

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  • 2014-05