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Grand strategy


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Grand strategy

  1. 1. Azevedo 1 Question 1. A National Security Strategy for a New Administration International Security Environment There are not threats that can compromise the US supremacy in the short term but there are a number of issues that can, if not dealt with, cause damages to it in the long term. The most critical in the scope of this assessment are described below and are not mutually exclusive. Weapons proliferation Given the geopolitical position and the fact that it is not under the international regime of inspections, North Korea allegedly uses its nuclear weapons development program as a counterweight to its deplorable economic situation. It is important to bear in mind the chance that all the material of nuclear powers like Russia and Pakistan is neither counted for nor under control. Terrorism The attacks on the world Trade Center and the Pentagon confirmed, in a terrible way, that non-state actors can play a decisive role on the world stage. It is uncertain if the “war on terrorism”, the way it has been conducted, is achieving the desired effect. The networks, mainly Al-Qaeda, seem to operate without major restrictions. In connection with the weapons proliferation issue, the possibility of terrorists gaining access to nuclear, chemical or biological devices might not be discarded. Trasnational crime. Organized crime activities like drug trafficking are a fertile ground for destabilization around the world. Similar to terrorism, can be fueled by precarious social
  2. 2. Azevedo 2 conditions and corrupt societies. Sometimes they can operate together as it happens in Colombia. Economy The United States is the main engine of the world’s economy but maybe not in the best way. A great deal of anti-Americanism is derived from the way other countries see the US trade practices. The great dependency on fossil fuels determines a realist approach to foreign policy that can jeopardize partnerships. It is also a weakness that can be exploited by rivals. The huge US debt constrains the flexibility needed to respond to new threats or unexpected scenario changes. The Free Trade Americas Area negotiations are practically stalled. Meanwhile, European Union and China are working on bilateral agreements with Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay). The developed countries face increasing opposition from the developing ones, China and Russia included, in the trade arena. They negotiate en bloc whenever they understand that there is not any benefit from globalization. The intricate economic network that has been built by information technology and globalization makes the true ambiguity level of uncertainty more likely than it was in the past. This can be illustrated by the opinion shared by great part of the Latin America population that life was better under military dictatorship than neoliberal democracy. Greater Near East
  3. 3. Azevedo 3 Part of the US preeminence is at stake in Iraq. Escalating costs and violence can be regarded as signs of failure and lead to comparisons with Vietnam War which is not constructive in wartime. If this venture does not succeed, the other “rogue states” will have not too much to fear from US preemptive doctrine. Al-Qaeda operatives are still hidden in Afghanistan and in Pakistan regardless of the efforts to bring them to justice. India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and are still to settle their differences about Kashmere province Europe The end of Cold War, the European Union relative success in becoming integrated and the rift about the US-led invasion of Iraq made policymakers of both sides to realize that the differences are more evident than were supposed to be in a lot of issues like dealing with Russia, trade and common security. Asia-Pacific This is a very complex region because presents a curious diversity of states and respective interests. From a failed communist one with nuclear ambitions and its capitalist “southern twin” to the communist nuclear power with market economy, passing through the world’s second economy and the world’s greatest Muslim nation to give an idea. This complexity is aggravated by the fact that terrorist networks probably have bases in some countries of the region. Africa
  4. 4. Azevedo 4 This is another region used by terrorists to hide or settle bases. In addition to that, it is the poorest region of the planet with the highest rates of mortality and devastated by HIV/AIDS and other diseases. International institutions US legitimacy has been questioned because of unilateral decisions in opposition to international agreements. Proposed Grand Strategy Cooperative security The environment assessment shows that the world is a dangerous place mostly because there is a lot of room for blaming the powerful ones for the fate of those not that powerful, regardless if properly or not. It is pretty much about perception, very human indeed. Without the bipolarity, everybody looks at the so-called leader. If the leader does not seem to be consistent, his leadership is questioned. The bad news is that this questioning is not restricted to state-actors anymore and the level of uncertainty of the actions of non-state actors is too high. The cooperative security is the grand strategy flexible enough to deal with these different scenarios. The other ones lack flexibility and are less consistent with the American Values although were responsible for the position the United States occupy in the world today. The actors, state or non-states, are much more connected and interdependent than in the past. This can be exploited either as weakness or as strength. Cooperative security does the latter. It is true that a lot of compromise is necessary for implementing such strategy but it will pay in long term if planned carefully and executed accordingly. It is likely that
  5. 5. Azevedo 5 addressing the “gap” and bringing more states to the “core” is going to cost less than military intervention. Invest rather than invade. The burden will be shared with partners; understood as states, international institutions and non-governmental organizations; and the resources the United States is going to spend will be proportional to the risks and employed the optimum way. There is no such thing as instantaneous change in strategy. The critics tend to compare the strategy with a snapshot of the current situation. During the transition - that can take years because such thing is not supposed to change very often like every four years for example - the other strategies can be effective while the necessary arrangements for the implementation of the proposed one are made.