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|Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:07 am Post subject: Facing Enemy Proxies: America Needs To Revise Its Current St
|Facing Enemy Proxies: America Needs To Revise Its Current Strategic Doctrine
~Professor Louis René Beres, Generals (Ret.) McInerney and Vallely - Oct 17, 2007
The Jewish Press
This week’s column by Professor Louis René Beres is co-authored with two very distinguished figures in our United States Armed Forces, Generals (Ret.) McInerney and Vallely. Each speaks with genuine authority on these very complex doctrinal matters, and both join together expertly with Dr. Beres to offer us a timely and urgent assessment of America’s strategic options.
From the start of our nuclear age, the US has drawn precise operational plans from an overarching and codified strategic doctrine. Until early in the 1990s, this doctrine was fashioned almost entirely from the standpoint of countering the Soviet Union. Now, facing a very different and distinctly multipolar set of threats, especially from such Jihadist or Islamist proxies as Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, President Bush needs to implement certain far-reaching doctrinal changes.
The president must understand that anti-US threats should no longer be assessed according to antiquated “spectrum of conflict” thinking. We know that dedicated proxies may now have access to various mass-destruction weapons technologies. Like states, these sub-national enemies can imperil us with near-existential harms, including weaponized pathogens as well as nuclear explosives and radioactivity.
This represents a vulnerability we have not experienced before, and it is very different from our Cold War-era exposures. Can we continue to rely for security upon the logic of deterrence when the essential assumptions of rationality may no longer be valid? Such continued reliance may be problematic even if American planners focus on the assorted state sponsors of terrorist proxies and on the related transfer of WMDs. These states, like their dependent proxies, could possibly value certain religious or ideological preferences even more highly than their own lives and freedoms. Obvious examples here would be Iran and Hezbollah, or perhaps a new state of “Palestine” and al-Qaeda.
In the beginning, there was “massive retaliation” and “mutual assured destruction” (MAD). Later, at the Pentagon and war colleges, this gave way to “flexible response” and “nuclear utilization theory” (NUT). Interpenetrating these strategic doctrines, first conceived entirely with reference to the USSR, were fierce debates over nuclear targeting options. Today, once again, we will need to examine both “counter value” (counter-city) and “counter force” targeting doctrines, but this time with regard to both state and non-state proxies and to both rational and non-rational ones. To be sure, these sensitive examinations will be divisive and acrimonious, but the issues cannot be swept under the rug. They concern nothing less than the survival of the United States and democracy in general.
A core concern of any new US strategic doctrine will have to be preemption. Although this concept has suffered criticism in response to our current war in Iraq, there are other major threats on the horizon that may respond to nothing less than what international law calls “anticipatory self-defense.” In those circumstances where rationality cannot be assumed, and where the effectiveness of ballistic missile defense would be expectedly low, the only alternative to apt forms of American preemption could be national suicide.
Strategic doctrine is always a complex matter, and a coherent framework for dealing with myriad threats to our national security will have to be meticulous, comprehensive and creative. If, for any reason, we should disavow preemption and allow Iran to become a nuclear weapons state, our doctrine will have to identify promising new options for geostrategic coexistence with that country. How should we best deter a nuclear Iran, then, both from launching direct missile attacks, and from dispersing nuclear assets among such terrorist proxies as Hezbollah?
It is plausible to assume in such circumstances that a primary nuclear threat to American cities could come from cars, trucks and ships. Ballistic missile defense would be of no use against ground-based attacks. Could we really make Tehran and its surrogates believe that any proxy act of nuclear terrorism would elicit a massive nuclear retaliation against Iran itself? We must, but functionally operational answers – including the endgame – can emerge only from a new U.S. strategic doctrine.
Until the nuclear age, all enemy state proxies were substantially limited in the damage they could inflict, and the logic of warfare was ultimately based on an expectation of victory. Today, certain terror groups could bring greater disasters to the American homeland than most countries. They could even bring us greater pain than was deliverable by our national enemies in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. As to victory, for which there is still no substitute, there are sometimes no longer any clearly identifiable measures. In the essential war against rational and irrational enemies, both state and sub-state, we will just have to adapt to very difficult circumstances of protracted uncertainty and ambiguity.
Our new American security doctrine must include both a Forward Strategy (offense) and a Homeland Strategy (defense). The Soviet Union is gone, but Putin’s Russia cannot be ignored. Looked at in our presently multi-polar world, Moscow now offers some of the very same perils that were manifest in the earlier era of bipolarity. Most notable here are the Russian president’s recent declarations on the resumption of long-range bomber flights and on associated plans to expand his country’s production of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Should we now undertake expanded programs for U.S. ballistic missile defense, or would such a recommendation merely prod Mr. Putin to produce even more destabilizing offensive missiles? This is just one of the main questions that should be examined from a new and enhanced doctrinal platform.
Strategic theory is a net. Only those who cast will catch. There is a viable endgame, but it must first be defined and understood within a new and codified US strategic doctrine that includes enemy proxies.
JUDEA & SAMARIA are clear and unquestionably JEWISH!
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