The White House has laid out our nations strategic defense plans going forward and they reflect the largest change in focus in decades. No longer will we expect, or have the ability, to fight two major wars on different fronts simultaneously. Nor will we plan to engage in nation building, long-term occupations that require unsustainable investments of troops and supporting infrastructure. Primarily, this is budget-driven. In fact, many will argue that our nations debt is the biggest threat we face as a nation. For the record, our Commander-in-Chief has identified radical extremists and rogue nations seeking WMD’s as our biggest threats.
While we have been focused on Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade, the Middle East will no longer be our sole focal point. Obama sees us as expanding the war theatre essentially across the globe. That includes the U.S. homeland. The recently passed NDAA highlights that America itself is now considered a battlefield and that the rules have changed. To combat the threat of homegrown terrorists, American citizens can now be indefinitely detained without charge if they are suspected of terrorist activities. No trial. No civil rights. The need for GITMO has now been eliminated completely as we don’t need an offshore holding area anymore. The entire globe has been identified as a war zone and no one is immune from these procedures.
The report outlines that our challenges will become much broader in nature. It specifically mentions the entire Asia-Pacific region. Cyber threats are expected to become more commonplace. The idea is to not leave any potential front unidentified so as to leave all options open. In fact, it can be said that Obama has assumed the role of CEO for global security. He’s actively pursuing a sales pitch.
Across the globe we will seek to be the
security partner of choice, pursuing new partnerships with a growing number of nations .–
including those in Africa and Latin America
The Constitution mandates that the Commander-in-Chief will direct the national defense of the United States. Don’t remember reading anywhere that we should be moonlighting as a ‘security partner of choice’. Choice meaning these foreign countries can pick anyone out of the Yellow Pages for security purposes, but Obama would like it to be us.
With Bush 43 at the helm, we were endlessly barraged with rhetoric about illegal wars and occupations. What has changed with Obama in charge? Not a thing. In fact, the Bush Doctrine remains fully deployed, it’s just been modified to identify more current and newer potential threats. For example, have we abandoned nation building? In the aspect of Iraq and Afghanistan, yes. However, the report also says this.
secure territory and populations and facilitate a
transition to stable governance on a small scale for a limited period using standing
forces and, if necessary, for an extended period with mobilized forces
Secure territory and populations? Is this necessary to detain radical extremists? Is it necessary to deter a rogue state attempting to acquire WMD’s? Of course not. Is it necessary to enable economic growth and commerce as the report suggests? If a realistic threat to the United States, its allies or other security related foreign interests is identified, you address and remove the threat. You could make the case that securing territory may be necessary. Say for example, terrorists took control of the Panama Canal or Iran blocked the Straits of Hormuz. Securing in the aspect of restoring access would apply. Securing a population? Short of a declaration of war by a foreign state or the entire population of a state declaring Jihad against us, you can’t justify it.
The reason I wrote this post is to highlight our expanding role as that of global policeman. With the election quickly approaching, and in particular the policies of Ron Paul concerning foreign policy, this is vitally important. Detractors of Ron Paul paint his foreign policy as reckless and dangerous. He calls it non-interventionist. Critics call it isolationist. Regardless, the charge is that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon and if they don’t use it themselves, they will employ a surrogate to do so. Yet, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has specifically stated that Iran is NOT trying to develop a nuclear weapon, only the capability. Read that again. This is from the Secretary of Defense, not a op-ed or some other unofficial source.
Why does this matter? Because in the report you’ll find this quote.
Furthermore, we will maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula by effectively working with
allies and other regional states to deter and defend against provocation from North Korea,
which is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program
North Korea is known to be ACTIVELY pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Iran is not. Yet what is the narrative in the debates? If Ron Paul wins, we will be inviting nuclear attack from Iran. If not us directly, then Israel. Obama and Panetta have identified North Korea as a sure threat. Iran is only a potential threat. Yet we don’t hear the neo-cons calling for the carpet bombing of North Korea, only Iran as a pre-emptive measure.
Sun Tzu said “all war is deception”. I would include not just the act of war, but the sales pitch surrounding it as well. In my previous post, I pointed out that our foreign policy is centered on natural resources access. Fossil fuels. Rare earth minerals. Water. Food. Anything that can be grown or mined that an increasingly dependent globe will need in the future with our ever-expanding populations. Those states that control energy, food and water will be prosperous and in a position of power. The Middle East fits the bill for securing energy access. North Korea does not. It’s just that simple. War is deception because we are told Iran is a bigger threat than North Korea despite our official positions to the contrary. What should be said is that Iran is of higher strategic value than North Korea.
The evidence is clear that our overall strategic goals trump the politically motivated rhetoric surrounding WMD’s. We are now evolving our military into more of a role as a ‘security partner’ with a wide range of capabilities intent on persuasion. The covert war we are currently conducting in Iran is a perfect example. Rather than take the politically unpalatable route of directly invading and eliminating a nuclear threat, we wage war through other means such as eliminating nuclear scientists and disabling key components of the Iranian nuclear program. Much cleaner and yet still effective. Sanctions are another ‘clean’ weapon that we are employing. The goal is to make Iran make the first move thus justifying the strategic response.
If it were really about prioritizing threats, wouldn’t we address North Korea first? Or any number of other rogue dictators and tyrants threatening our interests worldwide? The reality is that securing energy and natural resources access is a graver threat than a nuclear option from a rogue state. However, that requires intervention in vast areas of the globe and in nations that don’t qualify as overt threats to our national defense. In other words, it won’t sell to the masses. We simply can’t have such a blatant policy out in the open. So we must qualify the threats in other ways. Thus Iran trumps North Korea. It also fits the mold as a narrative against Ron Paul. He is a threat to the entire status quo and both left and right will continue to use the Iran threat and his foreign policy against him.
As Paul points out, military spending and defense spending are not one and the same. When we take into account all factors that affect our national defense as well as our security from an economic perspective, we can’t simplify this as an Iran nuke yes or no question. When we take the stance that the entire globe is the battlefield and even American citizens are in play as potential terrorist suspects, where does the unlikely event of a Iranian nuclear attack on the U.S. rank? Is it higher than your liberty? Do you support a future role as rent-a-cop as Obama promotes? Are you aware that no candidate is promoting a stronger defense of the homeland than Ron Paul? Yes, it’s true. The troops he wants to bring home from around the globe aren’t to be sent to the unemployment lines, he wants them on the borders with even more bases built.
The foreign policy debate has no simple answer. Saying yes or no to Ron Paul is not simple either. It may seem black and white. It’s either Constitutional or not when it comes to Ron Paul. Yet, when it comes to the issue of energy and natural resources, it’s not so clear. Paul would likely define it as a free trade issue and thus not a matter of national defense. However, the other global players do not and wish to secure future access as a tool for global power. If we play ‘fair’ under the auspices of free trade, will we be shut out? After all, Ron Paul himself has declared economic sanctions as an act of war. Does this justify a role as global cop to prevent this? Would Ron Paul see it that way and respond accordingly?
Ideology is also unclear as to its role. No one questions that the war on terror will never end as ideology will influence radical extremists forever. So the threat for future 9/11’s or similar will always be a concern. Ron Paul acknowledges this and that’s why he supports bolstering the defense of our homeland and borders. But what about the rogue nation nuke threat? Paul doesn’t support intervention to prevent it. For practical purposes, the threat from a state sponsored nuke attack is highly unlikely. Mutually assured destruction sees to that. But what of an ideologically driven tyrant? They see honor in death and if they can inflict mass casualties upon an infidel, it is all the better. Can a homeland centered national defense reasonably prevent an attack, even if it’s only one nuke?
In my opinion, Ron Paul needs to clarify his stance on these specific issues. Unfortunately, we won’t get those questions in the debates. The media has its agenda and they like to paint with broad strokes. These questions I raise all pertain to liberty. After all, isn’t that the ultimate debate? Which candidates entire policy package, both foreign and domestic, will protect it best? I see natural resources and energy every bit as important as a WMD threat when it comes to national security. What role our military and the federal government will play in securing it is equally as important as our domestic issues. I don’t believe we can simply ask intervention, yes or no.