Power and Complacency: American Survival in an Age of International Competition highlights the disconnect between America's approach to international competition and the realities of how its adversaries conceive of war. Through an examination of foreign "active measures," Phillip T. Lohaus demonstrates how America's adversaries challenge and confuse Washington's responses and reduce the effectiveness of America's military interventions before they even begin. Lohaus weaves together historical analyses and interviews to illuminate how China, Russia, Iran and the Islamic State conceive of war and shows how these countries' conception conflicts with American strategic culture and current circumstances.
The United States remains one of the world's top superpowers, yet since the 1990's the nation has been unable to achieve a decisive victory in warfare. The innovative and adaptive approaches employed by America in the past have given way to strategic sclerosis and complacency. Too confident in its power to dictate the course of events at a moment's notice, America has retreated from the subtler domains of international competition, which have the potential to shape conditions over the long-term. Washington has chosen to defend a weakly-defined status quo with conventional military strength, but it has neglected to promote its strategic vision using other tools of national power, whether they reside in the Department of Defense or elsewhere. Our adversaries have noticed, and they are now taking advantage of the United States' regional and functional blind spots. Power and Complacency defines the conflicting perspectives on America's international conflicts and possible solutions to recreating America's superpower strength.