The Bachelorette: Grand Strategy Edition (or How to Capture Today’s Foreign Policy Debate In a Film)
- By Peter FeaverPeter D. Feaver is a professor of political science and public policy and Bass Fellow at Duke University, and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. He is coeditor of Shadow Government.
I am already getting good advice on films I should have included in my "American Grand Strategy Through Film" class. Next time, I have to find room for The Manchurian Candidate, Fail-Safe, and perhaps The Three Kings, to name just a few.
But in the meantime, check out what my students did for their group project. In lieu of having them write a research paper, I had the students team up to make their own class film that captures the current mood about American grand strategy as the films we watched reflected earlier moods.
The students said it was quite daunting to work on a group project involving 15 individuals — but I told them, "welcome to the real world!" They had complete artistic freedom and, I think, made great use of it. They opted for a spoof, The Bachelorette: Grand Strategy Edition, in which "Lady Liberty" goes on dates with three suitors — "Max" (Maximum Restraint), "Asia" (Pivot to Asia), and "Pax" (Pax Americana) — in the hopes of finding the perfect mate.
There are all sorts of inside-grand-strategy quips — see if you can figure out who the potential suitor eliminated up front in a "previous episode" is — and the film has some great cameos from prominent commentators (and very good sports — thank you, Bill Kristol, Chris Preble, and Shawn Brimley) in the real life strategy debate.
Watch it on YouTube and let me know what you think the message of the film is — and, for that matter, what your favorite part is!