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Chapter I INTRODUCTION THIS BOOK develops a national security strategy and compares it with the security designs of strategic internationalism in both its adversarial and conciliatory variants. It does so by way of two encompassing questions. How do the alternative security strategies compare in protecting America ’s security, its highest political, material, and survival values, from any and all external threats? And since all security strategies are consequential beyond the security realm, how do they stack up in promoting America’s extrasecurity values—at home and abroad, material and ideal, political and economic? These questions are primarily addressed with respect to the Cold War period and after. But the preceding years, extending back to the early Republic, are hardly neglected. The answers to the security and extrasecurity questions take the form of a sharply revisionist interpretation of historical isolationism, an encompassing critique of adversarial and conciliatory internationalism from 1950 to the present, whose five strategic tenets form a radical policy prescription for the coming years. A national strategy entails a near reversal of strategic internationalism ’s great commonalities. Instead of strategic engagement—a geographically wide-ranging and effortful political-military activism for shaping the behavior of opponents with varying combinations of forcefulness and accommodation—there is strategic nonengagement. In part 1 of the book, a national strategy is seen to maximize America’s security. It promises the most security whether the opponent’s intentions tend toward the hostile-aggressive or fearful-defensive, whatever strategy of forceful, political , or economic expansionism it adopts, and however great or small its military, economic, and ideological capabilities. And all this despite— or largely because of—the exceptionally narrow security perimeter that a national strategy draws around North America. Other than protecting the international sea- and air-lanes to and from the water’s edge, the strategy demands a true minimum of security-centered involvements beyond North America. Part 2 of this book considers the nation’s extrasecurity values as they have been and might be affected by the alternative security strategies. Here too a national strategy promises more than any variant of strategic internationalism. It heightens the effectiveness of a foreign policy design CHAPTER I 4 for the promotion of our international ideals and economic interests. The concurrent design is three-tiered in its activism: The minimally effortful national strategy in the security realm; moderately activist policies to advance our liberal ideals among and within states; and a fully activist economic diplomacy on behalf of free trade, possibly modified by fairly managed trade relations with Europe and Japan. The promotion of America’s ideals and economic interests abroad is much advantaged by disentangling them from just about all security concerns and policies. The divorce allows for the autonomy with which to pursue them and the most efficacious application of power, leverage, and accommodation. Domestically, the national strategy can contribute more than any other security strategy to the nation’s economic and social welfare. Its radically lower defense budgets allow for the greater satisfaction of material needs and wants, public and private, while promoting economic growth by way of more flexible macroeconomic policies and the devotion of a larger proportion of defense budgets to productive expenditures. A minimal political -military activism also affords more room on the political and policy agendas for the pursuit of economic and social projects. In addition, the national strategy promises more than any variant of strategic internationalism in preserving America’s liberal and constitutional ideals—from respect for the civil liberties of citizens through the lawful and principled conduct of presidents and other executive officials. As it is embedded in the concurrent foreign policy, the national strategy offers yet one other “domestic” benefit: America can thereby best define and attain its much desired reputation as a world actor—both potent and principled. President Reagan’s depiction of an assertive America, “standing tall,” can be fulfilled at a lower level of confrontation, cost, or risk. This last claim is developed in the final chapter, which considers the political appeal of the concurrent design, the possible adoption of something very much like it. The discussion focuses upon the fit between policy and culture—the long-standing beliefs, values, expectations, and norms regarding the world beyond the United States and our relations with it. America’s foreign policy culture is made up of several dualistic orientations that range from the incompatible to the contradictory, only beginning with the well-known isolationist-internationalist dualism. Although the fit is by no means perfect, the concurrent...


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