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Chapter V MAXIMIZING DETERRENCE, DEFENSE, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY EASILY THE MOST important objective of any security strategy is the protection of America’s highest values from direct external threats. Whether the strategy’s scope does or does not extend beyond a narrow security perimeter, our intrinsically highest values are physically, politically, and economically embodied within it. Whether the strategy be of a national or international kind, safeguarding them means warding off unacceptable actions around, against, and within the core perimeter, as well as minimizing their hurtful consequences if they were to materialize. This chapter compares the performance of strategic engagement and nonengagement in safeguarding America’s highest values under hawkishly defined premises. The opponent or opponents are taken to have the capabilities to mount a serious military, terrorist, and/or economic challenge . They are also assumed to harbor various hostile intentions. This is not to play down the extent to which America’s security may be put at risk by a challenger driven by defensive aims and concerns. What follows can also be read on the premise that the contender’s behavior is governed by pronounced security fears that (contrary to the claim of the next chapter ) have not been allayed by the national strategy’s reassuring attributes. According to the third doctrinal tenet, national policies are maximally successful in guarding against an opponent’s direct threats to America’s highest values. The effectiveness of its deterrent and protective capabilities cannot be improved upon militarily, politically, or economically. The most effortful adversarial strivings on behalf of global interventionism, nuclear predominance, and the retention of our political, military, and economic primacy do not make for greater security than the national strategy. Even when facing eminently powerful contenders with hostileaggressive intentions and those with the ambitions to challenge the United States economically, adversarial efforts cannot improve upon the national strategy. Adversarial internationalism also makes for potential or predictable security deflations and counterproductive risks. The national strategy obviates them. This chapter considers each set of adversarial policies as they bear upon any and all direct challenges to the nation’s highest values. The next section sharply questions the credibility-enhancing doctrine and policies DETERRENCE AND ECONOMIC SECURITY 113 of global containment. The second section following does so with regard to the credibility and military claims made on behalf of nuclear parity, parity “plus,” and outright superiority. It concomitantly supports a claim about America’s strategic immunity that was not developed in chapter 3—our imperviousness to the nuclear superiority that the Soviet Union would have enjoyed had we adopted a national strategy. The final part critiques adversarial post–Cold War policies for meeting the specter of nuclear spread and potential challenges to America’s across-the-board global primacy from Japan, Germany, and Western Europe. I Cold War containment policies were encompassingly determined by a material and geopolitical rationale. The material concerns focused most importantly upon Europe and Japan’s industrial might, their current and potential military power, Central America’s geographic proximity, the Persian Gulf’s oil supplies, and southern Africa’s strategic minerals. All of their doctrinal underpinnings (e.g., the translation of the Soviet presence into influence-control) were sharply critiqued in the course of establishing America’s strategic immunity, in particular its territorially centered insulation and invulnerability. The geopolitical rationale for global containment addressed these military and economic concerns by way of image and reputation. Our commitments , resolve, and credibility were taken to be indivisible on a global scale; containment was consistently used as a vast signaling exercise to demonstrate America’s high resolve through the media of politics, psychology , and symbols. Despite their material unimportance, the peripheries were protected to bolster America’s credibility in protecting itself and its central interests in Western Europe, Japan, the Caribbean basin, the Persian Gulf, and southern Africa. For a country to come within the containment perimeter it need not have any special military, geostrategic, or economic significance, none whatsoever if aggressively threatened by the Soviet Union or its offshoots. To make the point as made by others, it was often not our interests that determined our commitments, but the other way around. A country’s importance was not so much determined by us as by Moscow’s designs upon it.1 The belief that the demonstration of high resolve is globally interconnected and that it must be continually reinforced was the product of 1930s history and straightforward political logic. During the first half of the Cold War, containment policies were shaped...


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