To the Editors (Peter D. Feaver and Hal Brands write):

In his article “Why America's Grand Strategy Has Not Changed: Power, Habit, and the U.S. Foreign Policy Establishment,” Patrick Porter argues that the continuity of U.S. grand strategy since World War II has resulted from a group-think mentality fostered by a powerful foreign policy elite—“the Blob”—that stifles debate and prevents needed course corrections.1 Porter's provocative argument is ultimately unpersuasive, because it overstates the degree of conformity and consensus in U.S. strategy while slighting the most obvious explanations for the strategy's endurance. Below we highlight several problems with his argument.

First, Porter exaggerates the degree of consensus in U.S. foreign policy since World War II. In fact, despite a bipartisan consensus on the necessity of U.S. global leadership in support of a congenial international order (what Porter calls “primacy”), intense debates about how that strategy should be operationalized have...

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