Tuesday, November 9, 2010

'Splaining Progressive FoPo

"Imma Bee Imma Bee Imma Imma Bee Bee"

At 1st glance, 1st glancers can be forgiven for thinking that something something 'Progressive  Foreign Policy and Nat'l Sec Think' is often a noxious noisome mix of "lay back and enjoy it," "hoping for the best" while indulging in thug huggery, internat'l nonprofit jawflapping or splendid isolationism and fleeing the modern world that Great Satan herself created and maintains.

While often shooting fun, friendly sparks off each other in a six foot jet, Armchair Generalist (and  - across the havoc of ideological divides - let it be known AcG is simply one of the best fully crunk siteses out yonder) snatched up and returned the accidental on purpose airdropped kerchief ala gauntlet via moi. 

"...Given a multi-polar world that features a rapidly changing global economy and evolving technologies, ensure that the United States maintains the freedoms and security of its people and interests within its borders and exercise its security interests around the world, while exercising a resource-based national security strategy that emphasizes diplomatic and economic engagements over military engagements.

"...I know it could be better crafted than this, but I'm just freelancing here. 

  • Asia is going to be the main stage of the 21st century, but planning for a potential war against China is just foolishness. China's got a long way to go before it ever presents an expansionist threat, but the US government can re-invigorate and strengthen SEATO as a regional counterweight the way NATO was used against the former Soviet Union. Pull US forces out of Japan, South Korea, and Okinawa and look for joint basing agreements in the Philippines and Australia. Continue security and stability engagements with all countries in the region.
  • In the Middle East, pull US forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan as rapidly as possible, while negotiating with their governments as to roles for US advisors to continue training their security forces. Use the Gulf Cooperation Council to build on regional interdependence and to grow individual state capabilities. Maintain a military presence in UAE and Kuwait and the local waters to contain any state aggression. Reduce foreign military aid to Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt and make it dependent on their compliance with US security objectives in the region. 
  • In Africa, absolutely do not increase US forces for action in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, or other nations. Build up security capabilities of African states as far as US security interests are concerned. Emphasize diplomatic and economic aid packages, build on literacy and disease eradication efforts. Aggressively promote US security and economic interests through engagement by State, not DOD.
  • In Europe, pull out all but one Army brigade (rotate at Grafenwoehr) and a few Air Force wings (at Ramstein AB). Retain US membership in NATO for as long as the European nations think our contributions remain valuable, but focus on needed institutional reforms that reduce unwieldy command and control methods and that emphasize European defense as the main goal of the organization (i.e., lose the expeditionary role). Let NATO worry about missile defense against Iran and eliminate the US plans to emplace two major missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • In the Americas, strengthen the US Coast Guard to better execute interdiction missions as well as traditional missions. High tech sensors can only supplement for personnel and walls, but it should be clear that improving the economic conditions of Mexico and Canada and reducing the American demand for drugs will work much better in reducing illicit trafficking than physical barriers. Lift the travel restrictions to Cuba and its communist practices will collapse within a few years. Stop paying so much attention to Chavez, he's a two-bit player who enjoys having the United States as an adversary. Focus more on stabilizing legitimate governments and move them away from corrupt, internal security-focused regimes.
As far as topical goals, recommended as "progressive":
  • The military needs to be focused on defending the homeland from external threats, and prepared to engage adversaries using expeditionary forces. We do need modernization across the board, but the DOD requirements and acquisition process is out of control and needs to be reined in hard. We cannot afford to execute multiple combat operations and adequately modernize our forces, because by trying to do both we short-change both efforts and just grow the deficit instead. Politicians are part of the problem and are not helping. The services could easily improve their efficiencies such as having joint medical forces, joint transportation and logistics forces, joint legal and admin experts.
  • As far as homeland security, reform DHS to be more than a collection of agencies and make them do their jobs. DOD isn't the best to lead the federal response to a "WMD incident" just because it has a few technical specialists in this area. We need to be much smarter about "risk-based" management of homeland security, and could start by getting rid of all the biological and radiological detectors dotting the United States. It's not cost-effective or operationally effective. DOD isn't the best agency to lead "cyberwarfare" or countering cyber-attacks (neither is the intelligence community). I think we all know that, but no one wants to grow the government and make a national counter-cyber agency. 
  • Combating terrorism must be led by law enforcement (DOJ/FBI) and supported by the intel community, using the military special operations discretely and rarely, and ideally in participation with other nations. The presence of terrorist groups or other non-state actors in weak/failing states and "global commons" is not a rationale for military action. Rather, tracking and intercepting terrorists (using internationally-accepted laws) as they attempt to use the global economy and transportation hub is the key. Close Gitmo and give it back to Cuba already. It's an unnecssary exception that runs counter to national and international legal methods that work fine today. 
  • Combating WMD is a failed strategy in which the US government believes it can contain and eliminate a particular threat through a step-wise methodology of nonproliferation (involving other nations) and counterproliferation (involving US-only military). Nonproliferation activities do allow willing states to participate in a group activity that reduces a number of dangerous weapon systems that could negatively impact noncombatants, but the general nature of WAR negatively impacts noncombatants. US forces need counterproliferation capabilities, but it's an operational issue that cuts across the range of military operations. It's not an excuse to go to war if a "WMD-capable" nation is building and not using them. 
  • Maintain our nuclear weapons capability at the New START levels and engage the Russians on the "non-strategic" nuclear weapons. No one is going to use them anyway, let's start phasing them out, starting with the ones in Europe. Global Zero isn't going to happen as long as any other nation has a nuke. Deal with it. National missile defense will never be cost-effective or sustainable, nor is it required. Other nations view our effort as our government desiring a "first strike" capability. Just get rid of it. 
  • As a general rule, "preventive" intervention is really hard to justify, and while pre-emptive attacks might be justified if an adversarial nation is going to attack the United States, it's really hard to see a case for that. If a terrorist group in that "weak/failing" state or "rogue state" or "global commons" is about to launch an attack against the United States, and law enforcement/special ops can't interdict the bad guys, then sure, launch a few cruise missiles or a long-range strike aircraft. But don't believe that this solves anything. 
  • Improve the strategic communications effort across the US government and especially within DOD. It's really not that hard, but people keep trying to invent new angles and they confuse information warfare, psyops, and public relations with strategic communications. It's really simple - it's a matter of outlining one's goals and activities and demonstrating to a select audience that you're doing what you said you were going to do. It's the execution that's hard.
 Pic - "Up In The Air"


J. said...

Love yah, baby! *kiss kiss*

One of my insights (brought on by Prof Bacevich) was that liberals and conservatives really aren't that different when looking at nat sec objectives. But given that our national budget is about to implode and defense isn't going to be spared by either side, there needs to be a plan to pull back from Great Satan's Excellent Adventures and yet still stay "in the game." I think Prog FoPo offers that plan.

courtneyme109 said...

Thanks J! - and congrats on a significant coup - codifying ProFoPo. Very well done and a def template for progressives. High time to bring nat'l sec and foreign policies back into the limelight and this certainly does.

Winston said...

Progressive FoPo is a disaster