How Should America Prioritize Threats to its Security?

 

Mark N. Katz, writing in the National Interest, put this in a simple but important way:

In formulating its defense policy, the United States has to face four separate security challenges simultaneously: China, Russia, Iran, and Sunni jihadism. This is very different from the Cold War era when, although America faced security problems in many parts of the globe, there was one overarching challenge that it confronted throughout the world: the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, as Peter will confirm, I’m sure, our foreign policy was generally consistent from Administration to Administration: It was governed by the strategic logic of the Cold War. This is no longer true:

 The challenges posed by Russia, China, Iran, and the Sunni jihadists are largely separate from one another. The threat Russia poses to American interests is mainly in Europe. The one posed by China is mainly in East and Southeast Asia. Iran and the Sunni jihadists both threaten American allies and interests in the Middle East, but they are also a threat to each other.  While distinct, these four separate challenges do interact with one another. For example, America’s growing concern with Russian policy toward Ukraine and Europe means that U.S. foreign policy cannot “pivot toward Asia” (i.e., focus on containing China) as fully as the Obama administration may have wanted. Further, while Iran and the Sunni jihadists are virulently opposed to each other, Washington has to be concerned that any actions it might take to weaken one will only serve to strengthen the other.

How, then, should America prioritize these concerns?

Particularly in light of this?

52-3-fig4

 

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. SPare Member
    SPare
    @SPare

    Not easy, because it’s inherently non-linear, and any act taken on one axis will have impacts on all 3 of the others.

    I guess I would put forward a process for determining the priority ahead of simply stating a conclusion.  First step in that process would be to determine a priority of our interests:

    1.  Physical security of the nation

    2.  Physical security of close allies.

    3.  Economic Security of the nation

    4.  Stability of the global commons (sea lanes in particular)

    5.  Maintenance of long standing partnerships and alliances

    6.  Physical security of non-aligned countries

    7.  Promotion of national values globally

    From there, I would look at the specific threats (intentions) that each of these adversaries would pose to the priorities identified, and match that with the capability that each of these adversaries poses to make good on those threats.

    Third, take a rational look at the true capability to influence the threats posed, whether they need to be pre-empted or can be mitigated, to ensure efficacy of effort.

    Fourth,  identify those threats that require collaboration from outside nations to achieve, whether due to particular capabilities posed by those nations, or simply due to available bandwidth.

    Last, keep your mouth shut, and just act.  Not everything needs to be conducted in the public square.

    • #1
  2. user_231912 Inactive
    user_231912
    @BrianMcMenomy

    One of the main reasons we see challenges arising from multiple sources is that the US appears to be withdrawing from our role as primary guarantor of world order.  When tested, we have been found wanting.  We have isolated, dismissed and belittled our friends and coddled our (potential) adversaries.

    This attitude flows out of our domestic politics.  The 2016 election provides the opportunity for national debate on America’s role in the world.  The entire country doesn’t have to agree; but candidates have to be clear if they want to earn the right to act decisively once in office.

    One doesn’t have to be bellicose toward China or Russia; you strengthen & reassure your regional allies (eastern Europe in Russia’s case, Japan, S. Korea, Indonesia, India, etc. in China’s case) that the US is committed to a stable world order.  Amb. Charles Hill is right; the state system that has existed since Westphalia is under serious assault, because we have chosen not to defend it.

    Same thing with Iran & ISIS; our friends don’t trust us & our enemies don’t fear us; that has to change.

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Tedley

    First, it takes a president who will establish a coherent policy, lead from the front and enforce redlines.  It may take time to establish a truly coherent policy, but it would be a good start to treat our allies nicely and focus our efforts on the real threats identified by Mr. Katz.

    Next, American military capabilities are lagging, especially the newest and planned cutting edge weapons systems (ships, aircraft, submarines, tanks, etc).  All of them are costing much more than planned; are taking much longer to field; aren’t as capable as planned; aren’t supporting the expected manpower efficiencies; and are more costly to maintain.  If we were to devote 5 percent of GDP to defense, we could probably surmount many of these problems.  However, I don’t think we’ll be able to maintain this level of budgetary discipline over the entire development cycle of so many systems.  Defense procurement is always difficult, but it’s currently killing our next generation of military capabilities.

    Rather than continuing to try to procure completely and outrageously expensive new weapons systems, we should focus for a generation on upgrades to existing weapons systems.  My goal would be to get more high quality equipment in the field which our personnel already know how to operate and maintain.  This plan would ensure we would maintain a notable edge over three of the major security challenges, and provide a greater amount of equipment against the fourth, while we assess its long-term threat.

    • #3
  4. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    SPare: 7.  Promotion of national values globally

    I get schizophrenia when confronted by topics like this.  “National values”, what are they?  The Democrats have their own sense of these, and they don’t align very well with Republicans.  (Three examples stick in my mind right now: 1) Dems war on Uber, “the New York Times reports that Clinton contacted Uber and told them her speech would threaten to “crack down” on companies that don’t treat independent contractors as full employees“, 2) Dems war on choice in schooling (to protect public school unions), and 3) Dems support for Planned Parenthood (“Planned Parenthood’s director of medical research, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, was captured on tape describing, in a most matter-of-fact way, these gruesome activities as she sipped wine and forked salad at a fancy Los Angeles restaurant. She discussed how doctors use ultrasound to guide their deadly hand such that valuable tissue is not destroyed as they kill the unborn child.“))

    If we are at war with Democrat values on a daily basis, of what consequence are these external threats.

    I sort of echo AIG’s perspective, that we should just arrange to have the Sunnis and Shias go at each other for years.

    If anything, the atrocities of ISIS and Al Qaeda offer us an incredible opportunity to proselytize for Western values, even Christianity – if we would only do it.

    Otherwise, keep the price of oil down (as national strategy) to weaken Russian/Iran – and be strong vs. China.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    In terms of their capacity to hurt us economically

    1.China 2.Iran 3.jihadis 4. Russia

    Liklihood for drawing us into unwanted armed conflict:

    1.jihadis 2.Iran 3. Russia 4. China

    What is striking about the list of four adversaries is how economically and politically vulnerable each of them is.
    A forceful response in the Ukraine and full-speed ahead domestic energy production would likely have doomed Putin.
    The jihadis are largely despised and as their recent setbacks in Syria show, they are far from invincible even on their own turf.
    China is a bubble waiting to burst and still not ready to challenge for Pacific naval dominance.
    And Iran needed to be isolated, contained and democratic elements vigorously supported.

    These problem areas seem daunting mostly because we have had no strong presidential leadership since 2006 (when the Democrats took Congress and Bush was clearly spent).  The utter fecklessness and weird anti-American prejudices of this Administration have strengthened and emboldened our adversaries and made each overreach.  It will take sustained leadership by grownups to get the world back in order.

    • #5
  6. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Finally, I would advocate for a tyranny tax on imports from authoritarian countries, (especially China, proceeds from which targeted at maintaining an unassailable military in the Pacific).  We opened our markets to the PRC to aid liberalization, and it worked to some degree up to now.  But it seems we are getting greatly diminished returns now.  We need to recognize the new conditions on the ground.  We can’t keep subsidizing the Communist government over there, and especially the growth of their military, without paying down the road, possibly in lives of our servicemen and maybe even worse.

    • #6
  7. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    No, the problem is

    1. the Progressive takeover of K-12 and higher education
    2. the long Progressive march into the civil service and media.
    3. the growth of the administrative state and the transformation of the various levels of civil service into an nomenklatura
    4. the resultant incentivizing of rent-seeking behavior at all levels of business
    5. the ascendance of the Progressive legislative strategy of abandoning control of our borders and importing an increasingly unassimilable (given the ascendance of multicultural thinking due to 1 and 2 above) population intended, as recipients of various forms of government assistance, to provide the voter base to ensure a permanent Progressive majority.
    • #7
  8. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Ontheleftcoast:No, the problem is

    1. the Progressive takeover of K-12 and higher education
    2. the long Progressive march into the civil service and media.
    3. the growth of the administrative state and the transformation of the various levels of civil service into an nomenklatura
    4. the resultant incentivizing of rent-seeking behavior at all levels of business
    5. the ascendance of the Progressive legislative strategy of abandoning control of our borders and importing an increasingly unassimilable (given the ascendance of multicultural thinking due to 1 and 2 above) population intended, as recipients of various forms of government assistance, to provide the voter base to ensure a permanent Progressive majority.

    What he said.

    • #8
  9. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    If our challenges “interact”, then we have to talk about prioritizing our objectives rather than our challenges.  We can’t look and decide in isolation that we are just going to deal with, say, Russia and give lower priority to the other problems.  The shared goal of our adversaries (short to midterm anyway) is to knock the United States down a peg.  If we focus on one and fall peg after peg everywhere else, it doesn’t help.

    • #9
  10. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I question the accuracy of the chart that Claire used showing the US share of global GDP.  I suspect that it’s using GDP-PPP (purchasing power parity) as a method, as it shows the most recent US share in the 17-18% range.  Info from 2014 (summarized here at Wikipedia) shows the US with a 22.5% share of global GDP-nominal.

    The PPP method doesn’t use exchange rates to compare economies, and really isn’t the right measure except when comparing consumer purchasing power.

    I suspect that the US share will continue to decline slowly, but I don’t expect this to create a significant change in global power, because I don’t think that the economies of the 4 challengers — China, Russia, Iran, and Sunni jihadism — are likely to grow faster than the US.  I expect that as India develops, it will pick up a significant share of global GDP, and tend to drive down the relative share of the US and the others.

    I think that the only doubt about this relates to China.  I do not see any reasonable chance that Russia, Iran, or Sunni jihadism will have extraordinary economic growth.

    I worry about China, but I do not think it will be able to sustain its recent extraordinary growth.  As Chinese wages rise, it will face major competition from lower-cost producers (like India).

    • #10
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    America’s decrease in share of global GDP, and of consequent dominance, is a function of the rest of the world (1) recovering from WWII and (2) the “third world” finally starting to get it together in terms of economics and providing a decent living for its people.  That’s an absolute moral good, even if it’s politically and culturally challenging, which is something that should moderate the apparently instinctive feeling that America’s post-war dominance was the normal state of affairs – or even sustainable without an on-going catastrophe or criminal incompetence everywhere else – and the question of whether that dominance can, or even should, be maintained at a 1950s or 1960s like level.

    I’d say being unrealistic about America’s proper and sustainable relationship with the rest of the world was a major issue that informs the understanding of all the other threats, how they’re prioritised and, most importantly, how they’re dealt with.

    At present we’re in a period of transition – fluid, and full of positive and negative potential.  It’s inevitable – without endless war or poverty creating mismanagement – that the rest of the world will rise, and that this will relatively empower their agendas and ideologies. It’s getting from now to the point where (and if) these agendas and ideologies see a greater benefit in peaceful coexistence than in warfare and dominance, that is the challenge.  How to manage and direct the change?

    • #11
  12. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Claire,

    I am not sure of the point you are trying to make with the graph?

    You point to the peak. Are you saying we should start WWIII in order to destroy the rest of the world’s industrial capacity to help our own domestic industries? ;)

    • #12
  13. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    The list of concerns by SPare seem fair enough in general but I don’t think that is answering the question by Katz. Katz suggests that in the world split by the two super powers, the USA and Soviet Union, establishing priority in foreign policy was easy because of the predefined ideological split. In our modern situation things aren’t so easy.

    Let’s start from what appears to be the Obama approach. Obama-Hillary-Kerry are looking for regional powers to share responsibility for Global security. China in the far east, Russia in Eastern Europe, EU in Western Europe, and Iran in the Middle East. This premise rests on the assumption that ideology or political philosophy has no importance whatsoever. By simply appealing to the realpolitik interests of the regional powers everything can be managed.

    I find the basic premise underlying the Obama foreign policy completely absurd. To assume that you can ignore, the absolute religious ideology of Iran, the Marxist ideology of China, the revanchist ideology of Russia, the multi-cultural nihilist ideology of the EU, while abandoning traditional allies and philosophic natural alliances is hopeless. If Humans really were managable social scientifically predictable widgets then all of this would work just fine. Humans function in a social, cultural, intellectual environment and make choices based on their own identities. Without addressing their Human understanding of purpose they will not be controlled. Without addressing our own understanding of purpose we will not be motivated.

    The Obama assumption is that the Western values of republican democracy and capitalist economy will lead to a blind cultural chauvinism. The Administration assumes that such exceptionalism must be challenged by cultural nihilism. This is the false premise. What we must do is maintain fierce adherence to our values but allow ourselves more flexibility in tactical response. Surge v Nation Building. Local alliance v American only intervention. Asserting our values doesn’t force us to apply a specific tactic in any given situation. The Administration appears to be applying no tactic and merely smoke screening an across the board American withdrawal.

    The present priority system set in motion by the Obama Administration can only end badly. I think most people can clearly see this now. Although political philosophy is a difficult thing, I don’t think there is any choice. We must have a foreign policy based on political philosophy and the natural alliances we can build there from. We must establish priorities based on that political philosophy.

    Flexibility is good. Purposelessness is bad.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
  14. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Zafar: I’d say being unrealistic about America’s proper and sustainable relationship with the rest of the world was a major issue that informs the understanding of all the other threats, how they’re prioritised and, most importantly, how they’re dealt with.

    Would like to know what you meant by this exactly.  I don’t think most Americans care that much about a diminished role for the US in guiding World Affairs, except insofar as they want to see freedom expand (or, if you are a Democrat, see the expansion of their social welfarist agendas), and the US is, generally speaking, the best hope for that right now.  Frankly we are pretty tired of bearing this burden, and would love for someone else to take it from us, but no one else is very well qualified.  The EU couldn’t even do it, had they the military and the will, because they don’t have the same vision of what a “free” society means as we do.  But that is academic because they will lack the military and will forever, it looks like.

    Getting China to liberalize, getting India to grow while continuing to liberalize at the same time, these developments would help.  But continuing on the same course as we are isn’t going to bring about the first of these, is it?  I expect if we can – seriously – keep the price of oil low, for a long time, we can keep Russia from being too ambitious.

    • #14
  15. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    None of these four are real threats, except via terrorism. We have some problems but ours pale compared to theirs.

    • #15
  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Z in MT:Claire,

    I am not sure of the point you are trying to make with the graph?

    You point to the peak. Are you saying we should start WWIII in order to destroy the rest of the world’s industrial capacity to help our own domestic industries? ;)

    No. Clever idea, though.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.


    Z in MT:
    Claire,

    I am not sure of the point you are trying to make with the graph?

    You point to the peak. Are you saying we should start WWIII in order to destroy the rest of the world’s industrial capacity to help our own domestic industries? ;)

    No. Clever idea, though.

    Unlike socialism, it has the advantage of having worked.

    • #17
  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Zafar:  How to manage and direct the change?

    What are your suggestions?

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    a) Which of these opponents threaten the US directly, as opposed to merely threatening US allies?

    (One could argue that only the Jihadis have struck at the US directly.)

    b) Which is of greater priority, protecting the US homeland, honouring historic treaty promises, or protecting and facilitating global trade and economic interests?

    (One unrepentantly emotionless economist could potentially argue that maintaining access to the straits of Hormuz and Malacca, the Suez Canal, and the Gulf of Aden is of primary economic importance, even at the expense of allowing the occasional Boston Bombing, or even the occasional 9/11. On the other hand, another unrepentantly emotionless economist could suggest that European powers and corporations depend on those particular sea lanes more than American ones do.)

    c) Is it more important to protect those who cannot protect themselves (as opposed to those who choose not to do so), or to protect those who are of greater economic/strategic importance?

    (Is it more important to protect Ukraine and Estonia, or Germany/France/Great Britain?)

    A corollary could be to ask whether it’s more important to protect those we like, or those we need?

    d) To what degree is preventing war more important than winning wars?

    (i.e. Is it more important to prevent Russia or China from initiating military action in their spheres of influence, or to win the current actions in Iraq/Syria/Turkey?)

    • #19
  20. user_1008534 Member
    user_1008534
    @Ekosj

    I would suggest that the very nature of the question shows far America has fallen from our leadership position. The question is a reactive one. How should America react to external events? A strong and active America should be asking how can America shape external events. If our primary concern is how should we react, then we have already started on the wrong foot. We are dancing to another’s tune.

    We need to have a conversation about what America wants. If we don’t know what we want to achieve internationally, it will be no surprise if we have no achievements. Our foreign policy is a jumble because we have no goals. (Unless you count disengagement as a goal )

    • #20
  21. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    The question is what can’t we afford to lose and which of our enemies is the weakest. First an foremost we must decide what we are not willing to lose in confrontations with these powers/threats. Once we know what our “red lines” are. We can then begin to make sure they are properly defended. This is the first priority, of course the debate is where should our lines actually be? What will we fight all out for? Essentially we need to know what the minimum borders of our influence and will should be. Beyond those things are negotiable, though that does not mean we should automatically secede ground. We need to buffer our zones of interest and commitment as much as possible. That way if conflict between us and out adversaries arises we can have room to negotiate.

    After this we then need to determine which of our enemies is the most vulnerable, either to destruction or conversion. We should keep our focus limited deal with one enemy before trying to deal with all others. The one we think is most vulnerable we should seek to isolate and destroy or seek to co-opt them into our world regime and then constrain them by that means. With everyone else we should always seek to maintain the status quo. Neither letting them advance nor seeking to push them back lest we be distracted.

    • #21
  22. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Of the four I think China is the power we are most likely to Co-opt through financial inter dependency. I don’t think they should be our primary focus strategically, rather we should try to offer them the means of joining our world institutions and becoming entangled within them. We certainly must keep them from seeking to erect any competing structures. If we block them we must also offer them a path of least resistance to guide them to where we want them to be. Overall they have the most potential of all our enemies to challenge us in the future, assuming their economic growth continues.

    Russia I think offers us the biggest threat, because they are actively and forcefully seeking to peel off nations that have joined our block or that wish to do so. They are also the most proximal threat to what I would consider one of our “red lines”, which would be NATO and Europe. I don’t think they are the most vulnerable of our enemies, so I think for the time being we should seek to halt their expansion, rather than seek to reverse it. We can’t let them build momentum.

    • #22
  23. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Sunni Islamism I think represents the biggest direct problem that we can in fact engage head on. Its avatar is the Islamic State. An entity that has no friends, and is a thorn in the side of all our regional allies, not to mention a direct threat to US citizens. If there is one enemy we have that we should be able to rally against for direct action it should be these butchers. Actively defeating these monsters would be a show of strength and renewed vigor that would bolster our standing in the world. Really we should try to actively recruit a regional Army, maybe even a global one, and crush these guys with utter discrimination. This won’t eliminate Sunni radicalism but it will serve as an example of its limitations as a functioning ideology.

    Iran is probably for us the least of our concerns between these four until we deal with ISIS. Basically We can’t fight both ISIS and Iran at the same time I think. ISIS is a more direct challenge to us which is why I think we should focus on it first. I think we had Iran in a good place before this deal, now we have given them more room. If we use the destruction of ISIS as an excuse to wipe out Assad and re bolster our Sunni Allies in the region we can then turn around and deal with Iran.

    • #23
  24. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I think the big thing to do is to not try to directly challenge all our enemies at once. I doubt we have the power and coordination to doing that. Successfully dealing with one will be a big step. So we should work on containing and hampering the others and utterly destroying one. Of course our problem is a lack of consensus on which of our enemies we should actively fight right now. So instead we are not doing much of anything.

    I guess the alternative to all of this in my view is to go full on isolationist or non-interventionist. We pull out from everywhere, and let everything go to the dogs. We get North America. Russia can have as much of Europe as they can handle. China can try to take as much of Asia as India and Japan will let them, Iran and ISIS can fight over the Middle East.

    There is a kind of appeal to telling everyone to go screw themselves. Then the world can suffer another WWII like catastrophe and our GDP will be back up to 30% of the world gross. Maybe that should be our real strategy. All this talk of helping people modernize and joining the world economy is bunk. We don’t have to win, we just have to make sure everyone else fails!

    • #24
  25. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Valiuth:Of the four I think China is the power we are most likely to Co-opt through financial inter dependency. I don’t think they should be our primary focus strategically, rather we should try to offer them the means of joining our world institutions and becoming entangled within them. We certainly must keep them from seeking to erect any competing structures. If we block them we must also offer them a path of least resistance to guide them to where we want them to be. Overall they have the most potential of all our enemies to challenge us in the future, assuming their economic growth continues.

    Russia I think offers us the biggest threat, because they are actively and forcefully seeking to peel off nations that have joined our block or that wish to do so. They are also the most proximal threat to what I would consider one of our “red lines”, which would be NATO and Europe. I don’t think they are the most vulnerable of our enemies,….

    Oh, goody, a chance for an argument.  I think oppositely, that we should tax imports on China (a ‘tyranny’ tax) to put pressure on Chinese military buildup (preferably we spend receipts to build up our Pacific forces more – to make war barely thinkable), and believe the EU should shoulder much more of NATO defense.  I don’t quite understand why most strongly align with the EUoverRussia.  The old dichotomy of (Free vs Communistic) systems no longer applies.

    • #25
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @FrontSeatCat

    I am not going with the comment that Russian threat is geared to Europe – did anyone see this headline today?

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russian-bombers-flew-within-40-miles-of-n-california-coast/

    This is a regular occurrence by the way on both coasts, as well as a Russian sub coming very close to FL recently. They fuel the Middle East, provide weapons, stir the pot. Our commanders here recently posted:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/12/politics/us-russia-military-threat-alarm-norad/

    China’s huge hack attack recently (also ongoing) and both leaders of Russia and China having several strategic meetings together this year, shows collaboration – both communist, both manipulate, wanting more turf and power.

    Our military commanders determine the threat priority, but not sure they are being listened to. We beefed up our defense under Bush, only to downsize under Obama when we need the opposite. The best foreign policy hawks are needed to meet the threats we now face; reacting after something happens (like the hacking) is too late.

    I’m not confident after this so-called Iran deal, but maybe the president’s strategy is keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Maybe things are better behind the scenes – we’re just not showing all the cards? Beefing up our presence in Europe got Putin’s attention since he finally called Obama after ignoring him.

    It’s not the “old” Cold War, but Reagan – Thatcher – Churchill thinking worked.

    • #26
  27. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Manfred Arcane:

    Oh, goody, a chance for an argument. I think oppositely, that we should tax imports on China (a ‘tyranny’ tax) to put pressure on Chinese military buildup (preferably we spend receipts to build up our Pacific forces more – to make war barely thinkable), and believe the EU should shoulder much more of NATO defense. I don’t quite understand why most strongly align with the EUoverRussia. The old dichotomy of (Free vs Communistic) systems no longer applies.

    I don’t think we are quite at the point to fight China openly. Their expansion into Asia is slow and prodding. I think if we can hold firm and offer an alternate route that is to our liking we might be able to guide them. It certainly seems worth a try at the moment given priorities as this requires nothing new of us. We already want greater trade and access in the Pacific and everywhere. Giving China a seat doesn’t hurt us, as long as we can keep our allies together. They don’t want to be dominated by China. Now I don’t know if China is willing to be led in this manner. If they are willing to join an international system with high standards of human rights. I like to think that they will. Either way I don’t think we should try to force the issue for the time being. Always give them a way out that we can accept for now.

    • #27
  28. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    With respect to EU vs. Russia. I can’t even believe that is something to be considered. Now maybe I am inordinately prejudiced against the Russians (I admit this). But, there is no comparison between the two. For all its crazy faults the EU is light years beyond Russia on every plane of decency. The Russians have specifically declared their intentions to create a competing system, they are revitalizing and embracing a crazy Pan-Slavism which will only encourage all the worst nationalistic tendencies of Europe. Just look at the European “leaders” that embrace Putin. Europe and its comprising nations are our biggest trade and cultural partners. In one form or another Europe is one of our great success stories. Russia threatens all of this. If Europe fractures along the lines Russia will want we will see a far more dangerous world than we can currently imagine. These are not back water nations just starting to lift from poverty.

    I like Europe fat and lazy and peaceful. They could be a bit more fit and help us out more. But I think this is a vast improvement on the Europe of the World Wars.

    • #28
  29. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Valiuth:

    Manfred Arcane:

    ….

    I don’t think we are quite at the point to fight China openly. … I think if we can hold firm and offer an alternate route that is to our liking we might be able to guide them. It certainly seems worth a try at the moment given priorities as this requires nothing new of us. We already want greater trade and access in the Pacific and everywhere. Giving China a seat doesn’t hurt us, as long as we can keep our allies together. They don’t want to be dominated by China. Now I don’t know if China is willing to be led in this manner. If they are willing to join an international system with high standards of human rights. I like to think that they will. Either way I don’t think we should try to force the issue for the time being. Always give them a way out that we can accept for now.

    Don’t get this at all.  “If they are willing to join an international system with high standards of human rights.”  What?  

    I don’t think we are quite at the point to fight China openly.”  Well if the current trends continue in growth/decline in relative military capabilities, China will be willing to venture to fight us in the future.

    Now I don’t know if China is willing to be led in this manner”?  You have got to be kidding – “China willing to be led”?

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  30. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Valiuth:With respect to EU vs. Russia. I can’t even believe that is something to be considered. …. But, there is no comparison between the two. For all its crazy faults the EU is light years beyond Russia on every plane of decency. The Russians have specifically declared their intentions to create a competing system, they are revitalizing and embracing a crazy Pan-Slavism which will only encourage all the worst nationalistic tendencies of Europe. Just look at the European “leaders” that embrace Putin. Europe and its comprising nations are our biggest trade and cultural partners. In one form or another Europe is one of our great success stories. Russia threatens all of this. If Europe fractures along the lines Russia will want we will see a far more dangerous world than we can currently imagine. These are not back water nations just starting to lift from poverty.

    I like Europe fat and lazy and peaceful. They could be a bit more fit and help us out more. But I think this is a vast improvement on the Europe of the World Wars.

    Putinism is dangerous, no doubt.  But so is EU socialism.  The EU can buck up and hold off Russia – they only have 7x Russia’s GDP and 4.5x their manpower to work with don’t you know.  And we can pitch in as well to some degree.  The choice here is not between the status quo and “Europe of the World Wars.”

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