Sunday, June 13, 2010

Obama's NSS: American Leadership by Emulation, Accommodation, and Capitulation

The Obama administration's National Security Strategy memo (afterward NSS) is an incomprehensible blend of propaganda written to foster a certain image of the president as a multicultural everyman mixed up with a smattering of the interests and "strategies" the American executive actually seeks to advance. And I use the term "strategies" generously, since it is unclear where the Obama administration's "shoulds" meet up with the "hows."

While the NSS states bluntly, in Alinskyite language, that "we must face the world as it is," this admonishment was apparently lost on the coterie of bureaucrats and academics who drafted the memo. In the NSS, the Obama administration claims to support democracy (like in Honduras and in Iran?), value for the individual (like funneling everyone into Obamacare?), and human rights (like in China?), while at the same time the document is strewn with enough of the usual Marxist memes about addressing economic inequality as a source of conflict (a significant proportion of terrorists and other radicals are wealthy and Western-educated) and remedying such supposedly capitalist bugaboos as manmade climate change that the document comes off as muddled, weak, dishonest, and an attempt to be all things to all people.

Reflecting the administration who drafted it, the NSS is simply schizophrenic in its claims to moral leadership and its amoral view of international relations. The memo is laden with obfuscation intended to half-veil the designs of the administration to transition America from a sovereign, capitalist nation founded on individual liberty into an engine for international wealth redistribution to address economic inequality, the theoretical source of all evil in the Marxist worldview.

The NSS is simply rife with unblinking platitudes, such as in President Obama's juvenile intro that "security will come not from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes." Is our commander-in-chief so naive that he really thinks that we can deter enemies in the long-term simply by being congenial? Are we to inspire 'hope' in foreign peoples by perpetually hitting up American taxpayers to fund hapless, clueless, and corrupt international organizations to fight over-hyped chimeras like manmade climate change, and on behalf of abstract ideals with no measurement of victory and no hope of resolution?

What renders the NSS memo incomprehensible as a guide for analysts to predict America's actions in the future is its lip service to American ideals like individualism and "democracy" (I take severe umbrage with this terminology - individual rights are what makes Western life desirable, not the institutions that preserve them), while claiming that we "share values" with states throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and including the socialist, dictatorial, communist, and Islamic regimes. This is utter nonsense and a mental disconnect with reality indicative of the cultural relativism and moral nihilism that have infested the intellectual class. While the NSS claims we need to "renew" our moral leadership in the world, we are apparently to do that by "engaging" every country ad infinitum, fettering ourselves further under international institutions, and by acting like every other failed state-led paternalistic economy in the world.

Beyond the NSS' risible strategy of "leading" through submission to the will of the disparate states of the world, there is the matter that a state lacks credibility when its moralizing is not backed up by its actions. Who would we be to lecture the PIIIGs of Europe about fiscal austerity? Who are we to advocate respect for the rule of law, when our administration tramples the Constitution with such actions as nationalizing GM, and mocks 'democracy' by passing the despicable healthcare legislation against the clear will of the American people? Such mixed messages strike me, and presumably the "world community," as dishonest, amateurish, designed to obfuscate, and unserious.

But as much as the message the NSS sends to the world cannot be taken seriously, in light of the actual consensus of people and disinterested scientists that manmade climate change is a scam, that the avian and swine flu "pandemics" were WHO-led frauds, and that what threatens international security most pressingly is the rise of a nuclear Iran and wmd-laden terrorist organizations, the message to the American people is perhaps even more ambiguous, incredible, and at points, foreboding.

While the NSS speaks of reclaiming the mantle of global leadership through education and innovation, there is no acknowledgment of the conditions that actually promote excellence in those endeavors. One apparently must make the tacit assumption that these things will happen if only the government wills it; this is the assumption of failed statist programs around the world. America rose to the top in university-level education and in terms of scientific innovation through market competition, choice, and entrepreneurial incentives. This administration has done nothing to address the lack of ideological diversity in the already conformist university system, has consolidated (by stealth) government student loans and grants, has supported further control over public education through teacher's unions and the DOE, has denied even charter school funding in D.C., has all but obliterated entrepreneurial incentives through imposing potentially crushing healthcare insurance burdens and by threatening taxes, such as VAT and the eclipse of the Bush tax cuts for "the rich" (which includes the working class and small business owners). Any notion that the Obama administration will actually accomplish the supposed goal of leading in education and innovation with more statist programs would be more laughable if it weren't also hopelessly delusional.

In addition to the tragicomic effect of the NSS punctuating lofty goals with futile strategies, there are also clear warnings to the American people about the intentions of this administration that should not be missed. The most foreboding passage in the NSS that I came across (prefaced by a statement about "commitment to deficit reduction"!) that Americans should be concerned about:

"These steps complement our efforts to integrate homeland security with national security; including seamless coordination among Federal, state, and local governments to prevent, protect against, and respond to threats and natural disasters." (2)

It is absolutely vital that Americans oppose such "integration" of security services, for without a shadow of a doubt, such designs are the harbinger of a police state. States' internal security, such as the state police and national guard, and the federal government's internal and foreign security organs must be decoupled and placed under competing authorities. The argument that centralization and consolidation means efficiency is not borne out by evidence; communication and redundancy, while imaginatively utilizing new technology, can shore up many of the problems that stem from the decentralization of police, security, defense, and intelligence authorities.

In contradistinction to the NSS, America needs to advance its moral leadership in opposition to the statist, socialist, and Islamist states of the world. We need to stand by allies with whom we truly share the values of "democracy" and individual rights. We need to defeat terrorists abroad using aggressive techniques meant to inspire fear in our enemies, while avoiding over-expansion, tremendous financial and human costs, and open-ended "development" and democratization projects. Ironically, democracy in pure form can be destabilizing and gives form to the ideological dispositions of the culture it purports to represent. Eliding our ideological differences with our adversaries is not facing the world as it is. Acknowledging that enemies like Iran and North Korea and adversaries like Russia and China are not as easily misled by platitudes, signaling, propaganda, and token overtures as the American people were during President Obama's election campaign requires a determination to show real leadership and a commitment to action. As we have seen with this administration time and again, its claims to leadership have been all rhetoric and no reality.

See also:

Overview of 2010 National Security Strategy

Paralyzing American Power by Gary Johnson, Jr. in American Thinker

National Security Strategy 2010: No Clear Path by Austin Knuppe at Long War Journal

The National Security Strategy of 2010. Or 2006. Or Whatever. by Max Boot at Commentary magazine


Nora said...

love the new look, my friend!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nora! Glad you're still checking in from time to time. Hope all is well with you.

Richard said...

I have to admit; Nora is right..this time..