Democracy Arsenal

« Some Iraqi Odds and Ends | Main | More On Strategy . . . »

March 11, 2010

Where Have All the Strategic Thinkers Gone?
Posted by Michael Cohen

There was a pretty interesting article in the Washington Post today about Hillary Clinton's tenure at State Department and it pretty much confirmed my suspicions about our Secretary of State - she's a great public diplomat and administrator, but not much of a strategic thinker.

As Stewart Patrick noted, she struggles with priorities and questioned whether she has a "grand strategic vision." This was basically part of the deal when Obama picked her; Hillary would serve as a great "face" for America to the world; she would invest time and energy in public diplomacy, something that was critically important after the tumult of the Bush years.  But at the same time it was hard to expect much from her from a strategic standpoint. After all, she doesn't have an IR or even foreign policy background and doesn't appear to have spent a lot of time thinking about the future of American foreign policy.

It was very striking, for example, that the article recounted the experience of a young State Department FSO who was pushing the idea of engaging with "non-governmental power centers in Pakistan" while Clinton expressed skepticism. The story has a happy ending as the FSO was promoted, but the fact that the Sec State didn't agree about the importance of this issue is surprising. At a time when non-state actors are rising in importance - and Pakistan's non-governmental sector has been at the forefront of pushing for democratic change and adherence to the rule of law - it's hard to understand Clinton's skepticism. If this anecdote is any indication, she seems to be quite the foreign policy realist (although granted it's hard to draw too much of a conclusion from just one anecdote)

It wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to ask the Secretary of State to focus on public diplomacy if President Obama had placed strategic thinkers in other areas of the national security bureaucracy, but he hasn't. Jim Jones and Bob Gates are obviously smart men, but one doesn't get the sense (particularly from the former) that they are focused on recalibrating US strategy. Indeed, one could fairly ask where are all the Obama campaign aides that were pushing the idea of a new mindset for American foreign policy - because they don't appear to be in the higher reaches of Obama's foreign policy team.

If you look at Obama's foreign policy to date, this has clearly been a problem. You have John Brennan saying back in August that we need to get away from the jihadist terror fixation that defined the Bush years . . . and yet then you have Obama sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and spending the lion's share of his foreign aid request in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.  We're now 14 months in to the Obama presidency and we still haven't seen a national security strategy, or the results of the QDDR process - just a QDR that continues the US reliance on military power and the overly broad definition of US global interests.

I realize that it's a lot to expect for things to change overnight and clearly the process of changing the mindset of American foreign policy is the work of generations. But I do worry that Obama has failed to put the pieces in place to realize this goal and that he seems intent, at least for now, to nibble around the edges of American foreign policy. But at a time when a new orientation for the way America's interacts with the world is desperately needed indefinitely delaying more systemic change is a recipe for continued strategic drift. Obama has surrounded himself with smart, competent individuals in his key foreign policy positions - but smart and competent is not what America needs today.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c04d69e20120a9272b99970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Where Have All the Strategic Thinkers Gone?:

Comments

This article is pretty very informative.I was not aware of it.The step which is taken by Hillary Rodham Clinton is also really great.I will look forward to it.Very thankful for such a great review here.Keep sharing it.

But as I tried to point out earlier, there is no long-term strategic planning processa line western wedding dresses in this Administration. I can't help but think that part of the reason for this is that Obama's foreign policy apparatus is manned by people who don't necessarily see what the QDR is suggesting as a bad thing. (And for what it's worth,Gucci leather Duchessa Medium Boston Bag my understanding is that there are at least some folks at the highest levels of the NSC who recognize that this is a serious problem in need of immediate rectification).

And I have to say while Spencer is correct that Adminal Mullen has laid out "the early phase of the first vision for the responsible use of military force from a Joint Chiefs Chairman since Colin Powell" - that vision is, inLouis Vuitton PM Patch Agenda Cover my humble opinion, completely wrong. Look at what Mullen had to say:

We must not look upon the use of military forces only as a last resort, but as potentially the best, first option when combined with other instruments of national and international power.

We must not try to use force only in an overwhelming capacity, but in the proper capacity, and in a precise and principled manner. And we must not rolex air kingshrink from the tug of war -- no pun intended -- that inevitably plays out between policymaking and strategy execution. Such interplay is healthy for the republic and essential for ultimate success.

I'm sorry, but to me this is pretty close to the mindset that got America involved in Iraq in the first place; the last thing America needs after the disaster of Iraq is a further loosening of the constraints on thebuys montblanc pens use of military force. If Mullen's view are reflective of the president's than I'm lot more depressed about the direction Obama is going to be taking American foreign policy.

And look Spencer may well be correct that "broad strategic constructs are taking form" but I just don't see it. I see a lot of discordant pieces and words that are being contradicted by actions. What I do see is an escalation in Afghanistan that only perpetuates the stranglehold that terrorism has over our foreign policy debates and a direct contradiction of the great speech that John Brennan gave last year in which he called for "the fight against terrorists and violent extremists" to be "returned to its right and proper place: no longer defining—indeed,tiffany gold accessoriesdistorting—our entire national security and foreign policy, but rather serving as a vital part of those larger policies." What I see is nibbling around the edges on defense spending; increased resources for civilian agencies and a rhetorical focus on development but none of the sort of big picture, systemic thinking that the country needs.

His leaping capabilities,
mbt sale showed by performing complex slam dunks from the free throw line in slam dunk contests,
mbt resulted in the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness".

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to ,doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

Are you concern about what luxury lifestyle. Along with the improvement of life quality, someone not satisfy the current life conditions lived , and live a luxury life, buy all kinds of luxury products. I attach more importance healthy diet, also liked the artistic things, often go to see differs art gallery, gether more art news to enrich my life .

These exams require some techniques and better understanding to pass them. Our material give you the proper and BR0-001 to the point knowledge for your best understanding.
All the material contains test questions, study guide, practice exam, online testing tools and much more which won...t only increase your possibilities to manage the problems but you will also be able to manage online real time problems. The only way to achieve exam guide is to get Exam. Our Training products are under a constant revision and are kept up to date and relevant at all JN0-522 times.
BeITCertified not only helps in the exam but also in the future as they are made by highly technical and certified professionals, who have had many years of professional SK0-002 experience. The Online Training Video pass4sure.

I just got a new pair of Nike Air Force One shoes, and I could not be happier. My custom Nike Air Force Ones are the coolest thing that I have seen in years. These ones are a special St. Patrick's day addition, done in bright green and white. Very retro. I am tempted to save my Nike Air Force One shoes for playing basketball, but the thing is, I just can not keep them off of my feet. Everyone who sees me gives me a look of envy when they check out my Nike Air Force One shoes, because they know that I've got the cash flow to buy the nice threads.

I just got a new pair of Nike Air Force One shoes, and I could not be happier. My custom Nike Air Force Ones are the coolest thing that I have seen in years. These ones are a special St. Patrick's day addition, done in bright green and white. Very retro. I am tempted to save my Nike Air Force One shoes for playing basketball, but the thing is, I just can not keep them off of my feet. Everyone who sees me gives me a look of envy when they check out my Nike Air Force One shoes, because they know that I've got the cash flow to buy the nice threads.

come !come my dear Your article very good, I read popular enlightening, hope can see a similar article. Thank you!friends

Let's make it fixed before they announce it further. I am afraid it is gonna be shaming. Thanks for the information. natural beauty product

The comments to this entry are closed.

Emeritus Contributors
Subscribe
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Email: 
Powered by TypePad

Disclaimer

The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use