The Biden administration has explicitly linked its foreign policy agenda with the goal of improving the economic situation in the USA, especially the middle class. It seems natural for a country to associate its prosperity with the way it behaves in the often treacherous waters of international relations. But can these goals – national wealth and security – be easily pursued together?

In assessing the goal of linking America’s economic well-being with its national security policy, there are at least five broad points to consider. First, despite similarities and connections, a state’s national security goals often pull in a different direction than its foreign trade ambitions, which can themselves conflict with its domestic economic priorities. Where are the tensions between business and national security, and can a well-thought-out overall strategy overcome them? Second, it’s important to understand how the American economy has worked – both historically and in the …

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