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.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peace is not through strength!

Dear Editor,
The seven authors of “Restoring ‘peace through strength’ (Washington Times May 11,-2010 - Edwin Meese, Elaine Donnelly, Frank Gaffney, Brian Kennedy, Herbert London, Cliff May and Herman Pirchner) need to return to the drawing board if they are serious about preserving our nation’s freedoms and security.
Their pre 9-11 thinking is virtually useless against the greatest threats we face today : nature’s pandemics, nuclear or bio engineered WMD, other dual use technologies that can fashion any SUV into a IED-WMD, economic collapse, environmental catastrophe, or the inevitable catastrophic natural disasters that will come from both inside our planet and from outside our solar system .
A strong military may be helpful in cleaning up messes or controlling chaotic conditions here or elsewhere after disasters…but reducing the number, severity and types of threats will require something different – nations working effectively together. Not just two or three. Extremely cooperative and comprehensive international partnerships between all nations, and more importantly all peoples, working for the common good.
The authors highly value the “Preservation of US sovereignty” but keeping this priority will usually be counterproductive to marshalling the essential international cooperation and coordination needed to ensure both freedoms and security. Put simply, national sovereignty is synonymous with the mental concept of independence. And independence simply doesn’t’ exist in the real world of hyper interdependence. Two examples: The US economy is now dependent upon China’s economic policy and our economic an national security remains hopelessly dependent on OPEC policy.
Do the seven authors really believe that “strength” leads to “peace”. We had the most powerful military in human history prior to 9-11. Then we used it to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. Is Iran next? We may feel safer but time is working against us. Committed adversaries will continue to use asymmetrical means. WMDs, IEDs, and other destructive capabilities are infinitely more difficult to defend against. And, they may eventually require extremely intrusive, repressive and offensive responses -- responses that ultimately aid the enemy and systematically weaken our own moral standing.
Having such a powerful military significantly increases the chances of our using it. And, our use so far against terrorists appears to have made more terrorists than it has killed. Our military reaction to 9-11 was what Osama Bin Ladin wanted. He knew he couldn’t defeat in battle, but he hoped our reaction would weaken us economically and divide us politically. Note to Authors: OBL’s still alive and appears to be doing well on both strategic fronts even as he loses every battle.
Then there is our increasing insecurity as a result of the exponential growth of powerful dual use technologies and their increasing affordability and availability globally, to anyone with a cell phone and bank account. Time is running out. We need more friends in faraway places…and military power doesn’t make real friends.
History suggests former military superpowers didn’t fail because they lacked military strength…they failed because they over used it.
And, do these seven authors really believe that ‘deterrence’ will work against fundamental religious extremists?
Regarding border controls…Just the construction costs along of effectively securing our borders against most serious threats would break us economically. The maintenance costs and the economic losses from decreased trade, commerce and tourism would bring on another great depression.
The authors call for “a foreign policy that supports our allies and opposes our adversaries”. Nowadays our allies and adversaries change faster than the weather. And they are seldom the same from issue to issue.
Here’s an idea for the authors. How about fulfilling the promise of our Declaration of Independence! It still adheres to the basic principle that all people are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights independent of what form of government or religious majority they live under. Our Constitution was originally designed to fulfill on that promise. It hasn’t yet succeeded. As it stands it’s essentially a suicide pact. It still holds some people to be more worthy than others…simply because of the passport they carry. Until a constitution fulfills the promise of our nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence -- freedom and security will remain political slogans…and never fully realized. And time is running out.

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