Graduation Date



Grand strategy is the purposeful and coherent set of ideas about what a nation seeks to accomplish in both war and peacetime, and how it should go about doing so. In this paper, I analyze the grand strategy of Fidel Castro during the formative years of the Cuban Revolution (1959-1968), as he sought to carve out a place for Cuba at the vanguard of the International Communist Movement (ICM). Castro had four grand strategic aims: breaking Cuba’s historical ties with the United States, ensuring the stability of the Cuban Revolution domestically, maintaining Cuba’s ability to act independently of a great power patron in foreign affairs, and spreading Communism to the rest of the Third World. He succeeded in accomplishing the first two, as evidenced by his family’s continued hold on power fifty-five years later. He was, however, unable to achieve independence in the foreign policy arena, and settled back into a subordinate relationship with the Soviet Union in 1968. While he provided support to revolutions across the third world, it was largely ineffective, and his contribution was insufficient to garner recognition within the ICM. Ultimately, Castro failed to meaningfully influence events beyond Cuba’s shores because he did not understand the limitations of the Cuban economy, and as such, he set unrealistic goals for the exportation of the Cuban Revolution.