Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trump’s National Security Strategy: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Robert E. Hunter, lobelog.com

Image from article, with caption: Donald Trump and James Mattis (courtesy U.S. Department of Defense).

The Trump administration’s recently issued National Security Strategy for 2017 has already sunk from public sight. Judged by its content, that is as it should be. As The New York Times reflected when the NSS was issued, both its tone and substance were in marked contrast to the remarks that President Donald made at its unveiling, which contained more of the sharp edges his foreign and domestic policies usually possess. ... 
Military vs. Diplomacy
Worst of all, in terms of creating the basis for effective US action in the world is the gross imbalance between military challenges and responses on the one hand and non-military instruments and activities on the other. The report rightly notes that
Diplomacy is indispensable to identify and implement solutions to conflicts in unstable regionals of the world short of military involvement. It helps to galvanize allies for action and marshal the collective resources of like-minded national and organizations to address shared problems.
The NSS also rightly notes that “We will compete with all tools of national power to ensure that regions of the world are not dominated by one power,” a goal central to US grand strategy since 1917. Laudably, it emphasizes a major role for public diplomacy (which the Clinton administration trammeled when it regrettably abolished the United States Information Agency). Otherwise, the NSS gives short shrift to the instruments for conducting diplomacy, other than tools of economic diplomacy to benefit the US private sector abroad. ... 
The central message of NSS 2017 can be summarized simply: “Be afraid, be very afraid.” Yet anyone who believes that the world today is more dangerous for America and American security than it was from the 1940s to the end of the Cold War lacks both memory and historical perspective. This view also sees little or nothing positive to be achieved in the years ahead, certainly nothing that has the mark of past American successes, current moral and material strengths, or valid expectations for the future.

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