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Old 09-18-2017   #28
Bill Moore
Council Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,008

Crafting Trump’s first National Security Strategy: What it could be—and why it might not matter anyway by Tarun Chhabra

In the White House’s rosiest scenario, Trump truly embraces the core elements of his NSS—but probably not for long. The impulsiveness that defines his highly personalized style also defies the essence of policy, which generally consists of depersonalized, empirically-informed principles for guiding deliberate decisions and rational outcomes.
The article goes on to discuss trade, Russia, China, Asia, Middle East, Technology Trends, and the international order. I'll only touch on a couple of the topics. First off Asia, the global economy depends upon stability in the region and it is increasingly at risk due to China, North Korea, Russia, and increasingly ISIS. One can add climate change, food and water security, major natural disasters, etc. if they want a greater appreciation of all the significant factors impacting the region and our interests.

Where are we in regards to strategy in the region?
The White House has yet to offer a major statement of its Asia policy. In fact, the only significant administration statement to date has been Mattis’ apologetic “bear with us” speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, which promised continuity with Obama’s Asia policy, and promised to “reinforce the international order” and “maintain stability”—commitments that many leaders in Asia have yet to hear from the White House.
Actions and rhetoric to date have done little to dissuade or deter China's regional coercion or North Korea's provocations. To be fair, neither have the actions of previous administrations. The question though is do we intend to continue to underwrite regional security or do we pull away and let Asia drift into a new order without our influence?

Closer to home and sadly not often considered a national security threat is our own internal stability. Beyond universities becoming a breeding ground for a new breed of fascist, which Americans are increasingly aware of, there are significant threats to our economy posed by emergent technology. This is the first time in history that new technology has resulted in less jobs.

Reports by two of the world’s leading management consulting firms have warned their clients in unusual terms that current technology trends, coupled with stagnant social policy, could undermine the social contract in Western democracies.
One report argues:

“fears of unequal gains and potential job losses” cannot be “answered … with historical analogies purporting to demonstrate that everything will work itself out in the end,” and concludes with a dark warning that “it does not require a degree in modern history to imagine the ends that await us” if economic dislocation and deepening political polarization become “the new normal.
The vast areas of challenges, both internationally and domestically, calls for a national security strategy that accurately describes the collective challenge to our national security interests, and prioritizes those interests based on a longer view than the 24 hour news cycle or two year election cycle. While some argue we should prioritize threats and take them in order, I think this argument is deeply flawed. First off, we can't afford to neglect any significant threat, while we focus on defeating another (ISIS for example). Furthermore, this approach assumes we actually defeat a threat, when instead our the most likely and best reasonable outcome is to effectively manage that threat. This leads to the second issue, any strategy must be fiscally sustainable (dropping million dollar missiles on pick up trucks piloted by terrorists is not sustainable) and politically sustainable (U.S. leaders must promote a narrative that explains why we must continue to engage that resonates with the American people. Third, since prioritizes threats is probably a fools errand in the long run, we need to develop a strategy and associated capabilities that enable the U.S., the West, and its allies / partners elsewhere in the world to defend our interests against wide range of threats.

This wouldn't be an easy task if we had political unity, it may be an impossible task without it. Leadership that unites will be decisive.
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