After reading several blogs discussing topics from the Republican Party presidential debates, it is interesting to deliberate on the topic of National Security and evaluate the Administration’s ability to show strength in National Security. One of the blogs covering the live debate entitled “Political Intelligence” written by Glen Johnson of The Boston Globe commented on President Obama’s ability to show strength in National Security by “killing Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders”. When talking about showing strength in National Security – are we really only talking about killing the enemy –i.e. the killing of Osama bin Laden? Or is there more we should be looking at to adequately evaluate the strength of our Nation and its leaders in meeting National Security requirements?
Consider the opening section of the National Security Strategy (NSS) focusing on American leadership starting at home to enable renewed projection of strength abroad by rebuilding our economy and infrastructure and empowering its population through education. Undoubtedly, the government has attempted investments focused on this agenda, but either it is too early to really evaluate the results or quantitative analysis shows an unsatisfactory trend. Instead of relying on the mere act of killing someone to define in National Security, we should be asking questions like the following:
How is the United States strengthening its long-term partnership with the Iraqi Government and people? Our NSS highlights that we will counter “bankrupt agendas of extremism and murder with hope and opportunity”. How are we doing this and how do you measure advancements? Our NSS mentions shortcomings of international institutions that were developed to deal with the challenges of an earlier time…by engaging countries with shared interest and values, but then goes on to state that international institutions should more effectively represent the world in the 21st century. How are we pursuing this and how do we hold those countries accountable that break the rules of these institutions and their agreements? Yes, the U.S. should take the lead on these endeavors, but have we been fulfilling this role?
Hopefully future live blog coverage of presidential debates the answers to the above questions will be considered; instead of equating one objective out of many from the NSS as a sign of strength.