WarshipsA large number of options are now available to the United States in developing a 21st century security strategy.  No single strategy will suffice so long as global conditions continue to evolve rapidly and conditions are subject to virtual overnight change.  There follow three, of a number of, strategic options.  Even so, a fourth option is a mix of all three.

            1.  Maritime Strategy: The United States is an island nation not a continental power.  Since the end of the Cold War and the sharply reduced threat of strategic attack, America returns to a condition in which its northern and southern borders are occupied by friendly nations and its defenses once again rely heavily on naval superiority.

These conditions require the United States to rely heavily on sea power and maintain naval superiority both to protect its long east and west sea coasts and ports and to establish mobile and flexible presence in a variety of oceans and venues worldwide.

As it is often pointed out, the advantages of a maritime strategy include: the ability to shift fleets from ocean to ocean; the flexibility to establish presence in littoral waters and to withdraw over the horizon as circumstances require; the strength to use carrier-based aircraft in long-range attack mode and shorter-range close air support of on-shore operations; the competitive domination the U.S. has in submarine capability; and the increasing capability of mounting swift insertion operations for rapid response.

             2.  Regional Alliances: As NATO represents the triumph of collective security in a Cold War 20th century, so new realities require new alliances beyond the capabilities that NATO represents.

Forming new alliances with new regional power centers offers several advantages.  Emerging regional powers can be made partners rather than antagonists or rivals.  Identifying mutual and collective security interests with the United States and formalizing a collective approach to securing those interests empowers regional powers further and signals that the U.S. respects their legitimate concerns.  Formal regional security alliances create diplomatic and administrative structures that anticipate, rather than react to, new realities and new threats in the region.

Several regional powers are candidates for new alliances.  Russia and the U.S. have mutual interests in stability of the Moslem republics on Russia’s southern border, in the Caucuses, and in the Middle East.  Russia’s interests are not necessarily antagonistic to those of the U.S., as some insist.  The same is true for China.  We have mutual interests in limiting the North Korean threat and helping a transition from dictatorship to a more congenial form of government.  A nuclear North Korea or a disintegrating North Korea are more threats to Chinese security than to the U.S.  The same is true of Japan which should also be part of a new 21st century East Asian security regime.

India has an immediate interest in a stable Pakistan and could be part of a new South Asian security alliance.  A 21st century national security strategy should at least in part be based on the exploration of new regional security alliances.

            3.  Global Security Arrangements: Rather than the United States bearing the burden for the security of global oil supplies, the management of failed and failing states, the response (or non-response) to genocide in Rwanda, Darfur, and elsewhere, and isolation of terrorism, these can and should become more formal international concerns.

There is every reason to create a Zone of International Interest in the Persian Gulf whereby a collection of all oil importing nations guarantee continue distribution of petroleum resources from the region regardless of almost guaranteed instability within and among oil producing states.

There are many reasons for having an international rapid deployment force to intervene in failing states both to prevent civil wars and, if necessary, create a security environment in which diplomats can manage the peaceful restructuring of nations.

Likewise, if climate damage creates massive dislocations due to decreased water supplies, crop dislocations, and rising sea levels, as predicted  by the Center for Naval Affairs study, the United States should now take leadership to create international institutions and capabilities to limit the disruptions and instability these conditions will create.

A strategy of new internationalism is anticipatory rather than reactive, appreciating that major disruptions will occur globally so rapidly that reliance on time to react is unrealistic.

7 Responses to “Alternative 25 Year National Strategies”

  1. Tom Gee Says:

    I like your Option #4, with a strong emphasis on Option #3. Thinking back to President Kennedy’s American University speeach on global interdependence, maybe it’s time to coin a new phrase, interindependence.

  2. Gary Hart: Alternative 25 Year National Strategies | FuN LivINg Lifestyle Says:

    […] Posted from Senator Hart’s new blog at Matters of Principle. […]

  3. Gary Hart: Alternative 25 Year National Strategies | News from: The Huffington Post - Breaking News and Opinion Says:

    […] Posted from Senator Hart’s new blog at Matters of Principle. […]

  4. Ben Aflin Says:

    Kudos to Senator Hart for the deep thought we need in our national security debate. However, I believe the list lacks the one national security strategy most in need of discussion — less promiscuous interventionism.

    Since the end of the cold war and President GHW Bush’s announcement of a “New World Order,” the US has reserved to itself the right to intervene in any conflict, anywhere in the world, for any reason we deem appropriate. We intervene for humanitarian reasons (Somalia, Haiti), to keep NATO intact (Bosnia, Kosovo), to fight drugs (Panama), to fight terrorism (Iraq II, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan), for reasons that aren’t sincerely declared (Iraq I), and for reasons of domestic politics (Israel).

    Then we wonder why we have so many enemies. “Why do they hate us?”

    In the past, the parties we aggrieved through our meddling had little recourse. But with the rise of WMD the calculus of cost/benefit is radically altered. Potentially any small group could strike a catastrophic blow against the United States.

    There is consensus among our political elite that a WMD attack against our country is very likely within a decade. Yet the elite does not factor this huge potential cost into our policy of hyper interventionism.

    Pray we never face the consequences of this bizarre disconnect.

  5. Michael Says:

    While I’m particularly intrigued by the idea of forming new alliances with new regional power centers, especially as it pertains “burden sharing;” the fact is that some of these new alliances are going be in areas of the world that are very unstable. Wouldn’t those alliances multiply the danger of the US being dragged into a war it does not genuinely need or want to fight? In this sense wouldn’t we simply be returning to the era of multiple alliances that the major powers tried to exit after WWI?

  6. Gary Hart Says:

    On the merits Ben Aflin is right. Our Founders were pretty specific that we would court only trouble by unnecessarily sticking our noses into other nation’s affairs. But simply not-intervening does not constitute a strategy in the sense I’m suggesting here. In response to Michael, properly constituted new regional alliances, and we already have a number of them that are somewhat dated, would not necessarily draw us into conflict. The whole purpose would be to surround and outnumber those, especially stateless nations, who want to make trouble in their area and send a message that not just the US but a bunch of their neighbors are going to come down on them.

  7. Julianne Sigg Says:

    Just browsing around and came upon your site. Very fine post. Will be adding you to my RSS reader.

Leave a Reply

All comments are reviewed by a moderator prior to approval and are subject to the UCD blog use policy.