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The Unquiet Frontier:
Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies, and the Crisis of American Power
Jakub J. Grygiel & A. Wess Mitchell
With a new preface by the authors

Paperback | 2017 | $22.95 | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780691178264
240 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 8 b/w illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400888139 |
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From the Baltic to the South China Sea, newly assertive authoritarian states sense an opportunity to resurrect old empires or build new ones at America's expense. Hoping that U.S. decline is real, nations such as Russia, Iran, and China are testing Washington's resolve by targeting vulnerable allies at the frontiers of American power. The Unquiet Frontier explains why the United States needs a new grand strategy that uses strong frontier alliance networks to raise the costs of military aggression in the new century.

Jakub Grygiel and Wess Mitchell describe the aggressive methods rival nations are using to test U.S. power in strategically critical regions throughout the world. They show how rising and revisionist powers are putting pressure on our frontier allies—countries like Poland, Israel, and Taiwan—to gauge our leaders' commitment to upholding the U.S.-led global order. To cope with these dangerous dynamics, nervous U.S. allies are diversifying their national-security "menu cards" by beefing up their militaries or even aligning with their aggressors. Grygiel and Mitchell reveal how numerous would-be great powers use an arsenal of asymmetric techniques to probe and sift American strength across several regions simultaneously, and how rivals and allies alike are learning from America's management of increasingly interlinked global crises to hone effective strategies of their own.

The Unquiet Frontier demonstrates why the United States must strengthen the international order that has provided greater benefits to the world than any in history.

Jakub J. Grygiel is a senior fellow-in-residence at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). He is the author of Great Powers and Geopolitical Change. A. Wess Mitchell is president of the Center for European Policy Analysis, a foreign policy institute with offices in Washington D.C. and Warsaw, Poland.


"[Grygiel and Mitchell] paint a stark and compelling picture of the emerging geopolitical landscape. They remind us that, in the post–Cold War era, geopolitics matters."--H.R. McMaster, Wall Street Journal

"Well-argued and incisive. . . . At a time when American foreign policy often seems adrift, the authors' vigorous advocacy of a renewed clear-headed engagement with allies is a bracing contribution to discussions of this ongoing conundrum."--Kirkus

"A persuasive case."--Publishers Weekly

"[I]mportant."--Francis P Sempa, Asian Review of Books

"A useful and thoughtful contribution to the most important debate in U.S. foreign policy and will be read with great care by President Barack Obama's supporters and critics alike."--Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs

"[Grygiel and Mitchell] have a number of useful suggestions that deserve serious consideration."--Aram Bakshian Jr., Washington Times

"Insightful new study."--Jack Caravelli, Washington Free Beacon

"An important, optimally informed, non-partisan, and cogent book."--Colonel John C. McKay (USMC, Ret), American Conservative

"The book offers a realist critique of American grand strategy in the contemporary geopolitical landscape. Grygiel and Mitchell lay out a highly readable if grim assessment of US alliance relationships , especially with NATO, Central Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, and why they are so important for managing the dangers posed by rising rivals, namely Russia, Iran, and China. . . . Timely and provocative."--Choice

"In The Unquiet Frontier, Jakub Grygiel and A. Wess Mitchell have articulated a provocative justification for a revitalized strategy of containment focused on China, Iran, and Russia."--Brad Stapleton, Cato Journal


More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

List Of Illustrations viii
Acknowledgments ix
Preface To The Paperback Edition xiii
1 Introduction: American Power At The Global Frontier 1
2 America’s Deprioritization Of Allies 15
3 Revisionist Powers’ Probing Behavior 42
4 Responses Of U.S. Allies 77
5 The Benefits Of Alliances 117
6 Recommendations 155
Notes 191
Selected Bibliography 207
Index 217

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by A. Wess Mitchell:

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Jakub J. Grygiel:

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