10th January 2012: Grand Strategy YouTube Clips

I missed University of Chicago professor Dan Drezner’s call for YouTube clips on American grand strategy, blogged here. My suggested clip is the confrontation with the android Ash from Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979):




I wrote Drezner:

The full, original scene reveals that ‘layered’ grand strategy has strategic priorities, compartmentalised intelligence and operational plans — and expendable people. This excerpt on the Wayland-Yutani company’s plans to ‘weaponise’ the alien xenomorph has dialogue worthy of Machiavelli or Kissinger-style realpolitik.


The scene illustrates the uncertainty of new weapons development and the tension between advisers and policymakers documented in Bruce Kuklick’s book Blind Oracles: From Kennan to Kissinger (Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 2007).


The trailer for Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus (2012) suggests a failure to heed Sun Tzu’s advice on understanding enemies and using strategic intelligence rather than force:



For more clip suggestions, see my Spiral Dynamics Field Manual for Film Scanning (2003) and Spiral Dynamics of Cinema Studies (1998).


The Lowy Institute also responded to Drezner’s list of grand strategy clips.