As challenges to the values and norms of the international order keep emerging, this paper analyses the tools that the United States has at its disposal to avoid further marginalizing challenging voices of the liberal international order. Despite recognizing the transitional stage in which the global order is, and the creation and strengthening of ideational margins within it, few studies have looked at the impact of adapting American grand strategy on international social processes, particularly to reduce these margins. The paper thus aims at answering the following question: how can the United States influence international social processes by adjusting its grand strategy at a time when its role is increasingly contested?
The study hypothesizes that the United States needs to adapt its policies in order to impact current processes of socialization in order to continue to lead regionally and systemically. Only a US grand strategy characterized by maintaining a world order structured around the United States which gives more autonomy and responsibilities to others can be successful. Building upon the English school (in particular pluralism and solidarism) and leadership theory the paper argues in favor of a mutual accommodation process with allies and (potential) challengers and deviant members of the international system. In fine, the analysis assesses the need for Washington to focus on an integrative multilevel type of leadership in its grand strategy. This form of American leadership, characterized by co-ordinating leadership of varying types and varying degrees, although less dominant would be more pragmatic and acceptable to others and far more subtle.