For decades U.S. security policy has followed two distinct tracks. In Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East, the extent of American national interests and the possibility of aggression by hostile states led to a direct approach with formal security treaties and the stationing of U.S. forces. In places like Latin America, Africa and, more recently, Central Asia, U.S. strategy was indirect, focusing on security assistance and the provision of advice and training. Partnerships were the coin of the realm. The idea was that other country’s militaries, helped by the United States, would take responsibility for security in their nations and regions.
This "economy of force" approach gave the United States some influence while keeping the costs low. But it also had limitations. When partner militaries proved ineffective or repressive, Washington often had to choose between writing a country off or shifting to direct involvement -- think Vietnam in the early 1960s. At times, conflicts that might have been prevented or kept small instead grew when America's strategic partners proved not up to the tasks Washington envisioned for them. Still, it was better than nothing. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Strategic Horizons: Emerging Threat of Lone Wolf Terrorism Requires Cold Rationality
- The Realist Prism: Falling Energy Prices Offer New Strategic Opportunities for the U.S.
- Zimbabwe Infighting Opens Mugabe Succession Battle
- Diplomatic Fallout: Global Trends Point to Fragmentation of International Crisis Management
- Torture Report: Another Episode in CIA’s History of Violating Oversight