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363 11 Strategy First There appears to be a consensus among those who make and implement America’s national security policy. Policy makers from left and right recommend assertive strategies that promote democracy and free markets abroad. The recommended strategies require nation building in the failed and failing states that may harbor our enemies. Those who implement policy have served under highly interventionist post–Cold War administrations and have witnessed firsthand the problems associated with nation building, including instruments out of balance and the inability to orchestrate those instruments. The nation-building mission is the strongest determinant requiring reform of the national security apparatus. A third group apart from policy makers and policy implementers, strategists appear to be forming a different consensus, or at least a challenge to the makers of policy. Strategists do not assume unlimited means. Nor do they assume that nation building is an effective way to apply resources in furtherance of security ends. Strategy guides resource allocation and resource application. And strategy is a choice. Redefining National Security for the Twenty-First Century There appears to be agreement on the need to redefine national security for the twenty-first century. The meaning of national security has been redefined at least twice in the post–Cold War era. International economics was added to the list of national security issues in the 1970s. A profound redefinition was sought as the Soviet Union disintegrated. And another redefinition followed the attacks of September 2001. When national security is narrowly defined, strategies guide the use of military power. When national security is more broadly defined, 364 National Security Reform strategies guide the application of all instruments of power. For some, not all, environmental degradation, pandemics and hiv/aids, transnational crime and terrorism are all threats to national security, and they are without military solution. Without agreeing on what constitutes national security, it is impossible to agree on a national security strategy. Dissolution of the Soviet Union: From Military to Nonmilitary Threats The disintegration of the Soviet Union left a vacuum in U.S. national security thinking. Some from the realist camp quietly filled the vacuum with China and continued standard operating procedures with little disruption . Others from the realist side sought to bring military forces home to organize, train, and equip for major combat operations, most likely over major-power competition for resources in the Middle East and Africa. A large group from the liberal and internationalist schools proposed filling the vacuum by elevating a long list of issues traditionally considered important foreign or domestic policy issues.1 Revolutions in information and communications technology increased the porosity of international borders. The flows of financial capital further eroded state sovereignty. Population growth makes extreme demands on the environment and causes international migrations from economic, political, and environmental pressures. The inequalities between the haves and the have-nots are growing. In addition to these, transnational criminal organizations and infectious diseases were recognized as threats to national security. Internationalist approaches would be required. These might traditionally be considered important issues to pursue as matters of foreign or domestic policy. Not all foreign policy issues are matters of national security unless we choose to define them as such. Shifting an issue into the national security realm increases its urgency, moves it from a department secretary’s desk to the president’s, and attracts increased resources. The nontraditional issues fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from the world stage. These are not military problems with military solutions. The national security apparatus would need to be redefined and the military reorganized to support rather than lead. Many issues compete for resources, including dollars, congressional attention, and presidential energy. Pursuing activities without Strategy First 365 international support erodes U.S. influence, and being on the right side of an alliance structure is a product of actions taken over time. Achieving a greater degree of energy independence would allow greater freedom of action and strengthen the economy. Building and rebuilding domestic infrastructure would help improve economic competitiveness. Controlling borders would contribute to societal stability and address a variety of transnational threats, including terrorism and drug trafficking. The wisdom of reorganizing government to do nation building abroad must be evaluated in the context of these other demands for resources. Attacks of September 2001: From State to Nonstate Threats Post-9/11, national security was redefined again. This time, terrorism was identified as the primary threat to national security. During the twentieth century, the priority threat...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781612347547
MARC Record
OCLC
911054977
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-19
Language
English
Open Access
No
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