Jim Sleeper is a journalist and alumnus of Yale, as well as a lecturer there. He published an enlightening article about the role of Yale University in forging the Grand Strategy, a strategy of American imperial power to safeguard the world (and American interests). For those of us who came of age in the 1950s, it seemed like the American Colossus was invincible and profoundly moral. But since the debacles in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the Grand Strategy no longer looks so grand, and America’s role as the “world’s policeman” appears to be a fruitless enterprise. To understand the Grand Strategy and Yale’s role in shaping it, read Sleeper’s article.

When a new leader of the Grand Strategy program tied to change its focus, she was forced out.

Sleeper begins:

Yale history professor Beverly Gage has been praised widely for defending academic freedom from donors’ meddling by announcing her resignation (effective in December) from the directorship of Yale University’s Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, which she took over in 2017 from Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis. But there are more politically urgent, and arguably profound, questions at issue here beyond professors’ right to design their courses free of outside interference.


Since the program’s inception more than two decades ago, Grand Strategy’s intensive seminars have engaged undergraduate as well as graduate students with close readings of classical works on strategy, stressful crisis decision-making simulations, and meetings with accomplished policymakers. In 2010, David Petraeus, at the time the four-star Army general commanding U.S. military operations in the Middle East (and later to become director of the CIA), visited the seminar, as did former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, observers from the CIA, and U.S. Military Academy cadets.