A research grant is sending one Regent University professor on a book-writing journey through one of his favorite policy-oriented topics. A prestigious foundation awarded Dr. Popescu, assistant professor in the Robertson School of Government, $60,000 to author his first book. Launching from his doctoral dissertation, he’ll be exploring how presidents form foreign policy according to their “grand strategy.”
Popescu applied for the grant in May of 2014. He learned in late October, 2014, that the Smith-Richardson Foundation had selected him to be one of three recipients for its International Security and Foreign Policy Program’s Strategy and Policy Fellows Program annual grant competition. Now, he’s mapping out his research plans to travel to Washington D.C., the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and William J. Clinton Presidential Center.
“I prefer to research issues of practical importance, not just theoretical,” said Popescu. “I envisioned this project while doing my dissertation. I will write a book about how grand strategy forms and how it should be formed.”
Popescu describes the theory of “grand strategy” as the overarching principles and framework of why presidents do what they do in the international scene. It drives a state’s plan and pattern of behavior in the realm of foreign policy and geopolitics. His book will take a look at Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr. and how their grand strategies informed their plans and decisions. The book could serve as advice to future presidential administrations.
“The purpose is to show that the common understanding of how grand strategy should be made is, at best complete, and at worst, it is flawed,” said Popescu. “The key will be to show policy makers that there are two approaches to grand strategy and that there is a time for each of them. Sometimes they should focus on long-term planning, other times on learning and adaptation.”
The grant will be paid-out in May, providing funds for travel, research, and the hiring of a Regent student as a research assistant. The book will be completed within a year, and once it is completed, Popescu hopes that it will stir up some debate and advance the understanding of grand strategy in both academic and Washington think-tank circles.
The book project has been a multi-year dream for Popescu who encourages his students to follow their dreams.
“Work hard, pray, stay faithful, and follow your dreams,” said Popescu.