Saturday, May 29, 2010

America's New National Security Strategy

This article does a great job of summarizing the current administration's comprehensive approach to national security, from closing Gitmo to ending the war in Afghanistan responsibly.

Now if only Congress and the American public could take the long view instead of a reactionary, knee-jerk approach to international affairs, perhaps we could begin to look forward to the possibility of real peace and prosperity.


Six said...

Err... did you actually read the article? The one you linked up is a horrible puff piece that is partially a campaign retohic slamming the previous administeration and glowing about how wonderful things are going to be now while not actually saying anything. There were no timelines, actual definative measuremetns, or even substantive strategies... just fluffy things like saying such meaningless drithle as, "the strategy recognizes the complex nature of the challenges and the need to use all elements of our power, not just our military, but diplomatic, economic, and cultural tools as well to combat them". What

So I went deeper and actually viewed the press release which was equally as wishy-washy filled with campaign-esq hype. It actually tells you even less than the 'Thinkprogress puff piece'. From there you can go and actually read the 60-page PDF report outlining the whole so-called 'strategy'. I did not commit to reading the full 60 pages... but I did skim it and was equally disappointed. It talks a lot about, 'building our stregth at home through faith-based initiatives' and working, 'with our partners' but doesn't ACTUALLY say ANYTHING. What the hell is 'bringing home our troops responsibly??' BRING THEM HOME! He was elected NEARLY 2 YEARS AGO largely seen as the anti-war candidate and we have MORE US commissioned troops over there today than we did when he took office!! And his tone about the war has transitioned from 'bring them all home now' to more of a John McCain pledge of 'we could have troops there for 10 years or even 100 years' talk.

I usually find fairly interesting the articles you link up, even if I disagree (which I do more often than not)... this one was just awful and clearly a spin-piece.

Citizen Jane said...

Clearly, the tone of this article was partisan. However, I think it did a great job of contrasting the goals of each approach to international relations.

I think few would argue that the Bush administration "adopted a unilateralist bent, advocated preventive war, poorly defined or understood the America's terrorist enemies, and furthered a foreign policy approach that was overly reliant on the American military." Bush was not a diplomat, nor did he intend to be.

Six said...

What constitutes a diplomat? Someone who says what he is going to do, or someone who does what he says? If the definition of a diplomat is the first, then that is Obama... long on words, short on action. The president's role is not to be a diplomat... he is our PRESIDENT. It is not his job to campaign, give stirring speeches and talk endlessly how bad the previous administration was... his job is to LEAD. Leading requires ACTION. If he is serious about his foriegn policy, he would talk less and follow through more.

Another good example... 'Don't Ask, don't tell'. It is within Obama's power as the Commander in Chief and the President of the US to issue a directive to immediately end DADT - just as quickly and easily as President Clinton issued a directive to put it in place. The House and Senate vote didn't actually repeal anything, it just commissioned a study. All that he did is SHIFT the responsibility to some wasteful farce of a study that no doubt will waste millions upon millions. Once the study is done, per the house vote, the decsion will lay with the Pentagon, not the president IF they want to make the change or not - in other words, it buys time to check the political winds. As this article points out, "The posturing last week from Congress was great theater. All the thespians performed their parts well, especially Obama. Why? If DADT is not repealed, it gives the President an easy out. It allows Obama to distance himself politically by shifting the responsibility and blame for DADT’s outcome from himself to someone else". The posturing last week from Congress was great theater.

Citizen Jane said...

I would argue that diplomacy is one of the most important qualities of leadership. Just as good interpersonal skills are important in business, they're important in relationships between nations.

Sometimes leaders do things for political reasons (a necessary part of the job, because without buy-in from others, nothing would ever get done). Often, though, others assume their motives are purely political.

As a political cynic, Six, your tendency is naturally to attribute anything a politician does to personal political ambition. But there are those in public office who have higher motives. It's up to us to sort them out. The difference between the two can mean the difference between having a great statesman in high office or--shutter--somebody like McCain.