August 06, 2019

The New Concept Everyone in Washington Is Talking About

Source: The Atlantic

Journalist: Uri Friedman

Grand narratives about global affairs have a way of seizing Washington, D.C., with sudden force. Not long after World War II, the U.S. government settled on the mission of containing the Soviet Union. The War on Terror commenced within days of the 9/11 attacks. And now we’re in the early, heady days of a newly entrenched narrative, one with no less potential to transform the United States and the world than the policies that flowed from containment and counterterrorism.

We find ourselves—as you will have heard in the corridors of power and conference rooms of think tanks, and read in the government’s strategy documents and the media’s coverage of international relations—in an era of “great-power competition.”

It has even achieved hallowed acronym status—GPC—following in the footsteps of CBRN, COIN, and CVID, to name a few. So how exactly did it come to pass that an “arcane term” as of a few years ago is now “approaching a cliché,” as Elbridge Colby, one of the people who popularized it, told me?

Read the full article and more in The Atlantic.


  • Robert O. Work

    Senior Counselor for Defense and Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security

    Secretary Robert O. Work is the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security at the Center for a New American Security and the owner of TeamWork, LLC, which s...