New Military Strategy, Same Old War Mentality

Source: email from Friends Committee on National Legislation “Until our policymakers start recognizing that clinging to visions of global military domination only undermines security, we’ll be stuck with the same old war mentality wrapped in a shiny new strategy document.” — FCNL’s Bridget Moix   …

If the US really wants to shift to a new, more effective strategy for promoting national and global security – as Obama and Panetta claim – then policymakers should get serious about planning to prevent wars, not fight them. After all, decades of planning to fight various numbers and forms of warfare at any given time has led to, well, various numbers and forms of warfare at any given time. Go figure.

This unquestioning reliance on military hammers as the tools of choice for dealing with security threats, and the enormous expense in lives and money of doing so, has sapped the imagination, human resources, and funding for alternative approaches. Approaches that are based on the realities that our security in this country is inextricably linked to the security of others. In other words, the fewer wars that are fought, the safer everyone is. (Not rocket science really.) And we need a strategy that faces the fact that the threats the Pentagon itself identifies – violent extremism, weapons proliferation, climate change and regional instability – require non-military tools to manage.

What will it take to get our politicians off our old line war mentality? That is perhaps the question of the century. We spend much much more of our government income on our war machines than anyone else on the earth.  So here we are getting ready to pull out a significant portion of our military from the Middle East. The “Arab Sunrise” which the citizens pretty much accomplished themselves has made our presence for the most part unwanted in that area of the world.

This would seem to be an excellent opportunity to draw down our military and its bloated budgets. But the “hammer makers” (when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail)  has it appears even convinced Mr. Obama, despite his rhetoric in 2008, not to do that. Instead we are planning on just moving it to the Pacific rim area. Let’s hope that we don’t antagonize China by this move. They have  ten times as many young people available to be soldiers and of course they are awash with U.S. dollars as we now depend on them for almost all our consumer goods. What would happen if they became our next enemy?

I know the century is pretty young yet but if we can’t get beyond spending so much of our assets on “military hammers” then we will eventually be in big trouble with or without riling China. Eventually is a relative word but it can come on us much faster than many believe. Let us all pray that someday our representative in congress take to heart the God-given idea of beating our swords into plowshares. That idea comes from a source worth listening to.

But what do I know….