Saturday, February 4, 2012

Obama's National Security Strategy

We have often joked, especially Dean, about the extent to which O=W, especially in terms of national security policy. But Walter Russell Mead argues in this video that there is an underlying, uniquely American reason, for this. American policy is driven by the democratic forces of our republic. This means that it is incoherent and lurches in various directions in the short term as we elect new Presidents and Congress' level of interference rises and falls. Unlike an historical figure like Bismarck whose intellect almost single-handedly unified Germany, our strategy is an amalgam of the forces of the republic. Our strategy is less like a ship of state navigated by a single Captain, but more like a gang fight on the poop deck for control of the helm.

But somehow this works over the long term. This is because the direction of the U.S. strategy is actually effective and reflective of the actual interests of the citizens. Over time, the strategy is reflective of our values, is effective in establishing a stable world order, and is consonant with our economic interests, which are promoted by free trade and peace.

As a result, the latest military strategy released by the administration looks much like that of the Bush administration. There is consensus that we must defeat Al Qaeda, promote peace in the Middle East, stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, prevent Iran from getting nukes, promoting a stable world order. The specific means to conduct this strategy of necessity include working with allies to allow us a smaller, more affordable military. Ron Paul struggles when he talks foreign policy because his ideas, even if correct, do not accord with the current consensus. In my view, that consensus has solidified after the 9-11 attacks and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

My personal belief is that some of the tactical ideas of Ron Paul, like closing overseas bases to get a more affordable military, could be grafted onto the consensus on military and foreign policy, because affordability is an important consideration of our strategy.

No comments:

Post a Comment