The New Rules: Overleveraging American Foreign and Domestic Policy

The New Rules: Overleveraging American Foreign and Domestic Policy

Conservative voices are being raised against what defense hawks consider to be the Democrats' ulterior motive in addressing health care in America: a none-too-subtle long-term plot to curtail U.S. defense spending and thus render our military forces as strategically impotent as those of our NATO allies. This charge is at once hypocritical and correct, but not for the dark reasons ascribed to the Obama administration.

Instead, the Democrats' implied plot to rebalance domestic versus foreign spending merely responds to America's demographic trends, while revealing -- quite uncomfortably, for defense hawks -- the shifting correlation of forces across the global security landscape. We can pretend this larger reality represents the Democrats "choosing" America's "decline" -- an argument recently advanced by über-neocon Charles Krauthammer. But that would only continue the self-delusional calculations long perpetrated by the previous administration regarding the chimera of "primacy" -- or even more fantastically, de facto "empire."

While such bold assertions thrill the hearts of aging Cold Warriors, they find little purchase among succeeding American generations less frightened by the prospects of an interdependent world. Indeed, they strike this national security professional as a willful disregard of this globalization of our making, and a retreat from the challenges posed by our historic success in expanding the global economy these past six-plus decades.

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