You are hereHome › College of Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities (CASSH) › Reubin O'D. Askew Department of Government › Shively, Jacob › Lost ambition Style APAChicagoHarvardIEEEMLATurabian Choose the citation style. Shively, J. (2014). Lost ambition: Grand strategy stability and abandoned change in the Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush administrations. Download PDF Lost ambition Details Type Dissertation Title Lost ambition: Grand strategy stability and abandoned change in the Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush administrations Contributor(s) Shively, Jacob (author)(Thesis advisor)(Committee member)Indiana University Department of Political Science (Degree grantor) Date May 2014 Abstract This dissertation is about negative feedback, change and stability in United States (US) grand strategy. It specifically seeks to analyze and understand two seemingly dissimilar cases whose grand strategies have yet to be systematically compared: Jimmy Carter’s attempt to redefine US grand strategy in more humanitarian and cooperative terms, and George W. Bush’s attempt, under the “Freedom Agenda,” to consolidate an assertive new strategic approach to the world. Though of different parties, operating in different geostrategic contexts and espousing different views on the role of American power, both presidents faced serious negative feedback and by ends of their respective terms had abandoned, if not contradicted, serious implementation of their earlier visions. Stated differently, their attempted changes failed. Comparing these two cases, with their apparent differences but ultimately similar outcomes, raises important questions about grand strategy change as well as when an attempted change fails or is abandoned. To answer these questions, I will argue that despite their differences, the Carter and Bush administrations operated within the same dominant grand strategy—one established at the end of World War II—and that their efforts at change were likely constrained by the same overarching conceptual parameters. In turn, both administrations were susceptible to the same suite of negative feedback streams, and that these streams can be compared to determine which had the strongest effects in both cases. Identifying those streams will deepen our understanding of grand strategy feedback in all US administrations. Realist and liberal approaches to foreign policy, for instance, posit different explanations for strategic change, so this project aims to directly compare these competing accounts. The project’s distinction between “dominant” and “tactical” level grand strategy also can help observers, no matter their theoretical commitments, separate the more stable elements of a grand strategy from those elements that are more flexible. For the broader study of foreign policy and political science, this research underscores the power of political and ideational inertia, and it systematically compares two cases that have, to date, never been compared in terms of comparative grand strategy and strategic abandonment.