Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Soft power answer to Global War on Terrorism

Dear Editor,
U.S. Central Command’s new focus on “soft power” (US Shows that Soft power can work…, 11-12-08) will do far more to gain our nation effective allies for winning the war on terrorism -- and bringing Americans real security against other threats like pandemics and climate change -- than any speaking power our new commander in chief brings to bare.
Given the irreversible global spread of exponentially powerful dual use technologies and their increasing ease and affordability of converting into weapons of mass destruction there will be no real security in our future -- not without the recruitment of many, many friends, in far-far away places who willingly assist us in finding and stopping any plots for mass murder or mayhem. The influence of “soft power” in earning us such helpful friends dwarfs the usefulness of any ‘respect’ we may earn using hard power. The vital intelligence we need to find terrorists and stop WMD proliferation will be found in the wisdom of soft power not the kinetic power of smart bombs. Soft power will also drain the swamps of new terrorist recruits.
If President Elect Obama and the new Congress want to use their legislative power to forward this new “top priority” they would quickly enact a new version of H. C. Res. 1078 calling for a new “Global Marshall Plan”. The new version should be an appropriations bill that provides a new source of funding for the ‘soft power’. One possible source of funding would be a new tax on global currency trading. Such speculative currency trading is a major source of global economic instability and could be discussed when world leaders meet this week to hammer out a more stable global economy.
Another simple yet profoundly important action for the new President and Congress would be renaming the Department of Defense to the Department of Peace. There is precedent for such a simple act. Before World War II the Department of Defense was called the Department of War. In today’s world of interconnectedness, interdependence and ubiquitous WMD -- ‘defense’ is no longer a possibility. Working for real peace is.
President Bush’s most positive legacy may be his “3D” approach to fighting terrorism “Defense, Diplomacy and Development”. Without a new approach to funding his legacy all we really have is just words. If President Elect Obama and the new Congress want to translate words into real power these will be the first actions they take upon stepping into office.


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