After Iraq: The Search for a Sustainable National Security Strategy
Author(s)Gray, Colin S.
Contributor(s)ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
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AbstractWhat should be the U.S. national security strategy after Iraq? An answer cannot be given unless a logically and politically prior question is posed: "What should be the purpose and character of a sustainable U.S. national security policy after Iraq?" Thus to answer the first question, one has to identify both the policy that strategy must serve as well as the components of that Unfortunately for the convenience and self-confidence of defense planners, although the 21st century presents no great difficulty to America over its choice of national security policy, the selection of a suitable strategy is a far more difficult task. The challenge is cultural and material. U.S. national culture favors both a somewhat disengaged stance towards the world beyond North America, as well as the active promotion of such leading American values as freedom, democracy, and open markets. On the material side, the country faces an exceptionally wide range of actual and potential threats to its vital interests by historical standards. On the one hand, there are nonstate terrorists and other insurgents of an Islamist Jihadist persuasion who could threaten the stability of the global economy by menacing commercial access to oil, and who may well acquire a few weapons of mass destruction (WMD). On the other hand, the new century appears certain to see the rise of some current regional powers to a yet greater category, China and India specifically. When we add in current uncertainty about the future course of Russian policy, the European Union as a possible super state, as well as the future roles of Japan and Iran, it becomes readily apparent that the years ahead offer few certainties regarding U.S. threat priorities.