Saturday, April 15, 2017

Force alone cannot sustain a nation

One of the most surprising revelations in the past week was that our military leaders are now fully authorized to use whatever means they deem necessary and simply need to let the Commander in Chief know about it. Meanwhile, foreign policy is really confusing right now. Our foreign policy objectives are very unclear and statements are conflicted.
When there is a leadership vacuum, something or someone will fill it. It appears that serious foreign policy decisions are now in the hands of the military. No congressional oversight and little guidance from the executive branch.
We have a very well trained military with seasoned leaders. As a veteran, I have deep respect for our military forces. However, their mission and focus is specific. They should be one component of our overall foreign policy strategy not the entire foreign policy strategy or even the central component of foreign policy.
There are long term and broad consequences for military actions. Foreign policy experts and diplomats understand a broader context and international impact of those actions. We have allies. If we want support from those allies, they deserve and expect to understand what we are doing. We cannot expect them to give us total support without knowing what we are trying to achieve.
We should expect our congressional leaders to be in the loop. They should be helping to drive foreign policy and most certainly weighing in on military action anywhere in the world. In theory, we elect leaders to lead. It now appears many decisions are in the hands of our military leaders who were not elected by us.
Perhaps you love a show of force and believe that, alone, is leadership. I would argue that if force is not reasoned and balanced, there will be an equally unreasonable and ill balanced reaction as a result of it. It may very well isolate us in the world - from our allies as well as from our enemies. Force alone cannot sustain a nation.
We spend more on military than any other country in the world - By BILLIONS - and there are plans to throw more money at it while cutting programs in the US. To what end? What is the reason? What will be left in the United States to defend? It's not sustainable.

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