2 forum responses 250 words each national security and diplomacy
Two forum responses 250 words each with works cited. Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.
National Security and Diplomacy
Theory of Diplomacy: In this first week’s post we will discuss and kick around some theories, mainly the liberal and realist labels. I will start with a disclaimer; I believe the liberalist theory is for classrooms and is a naïve utopian theory. “Liberalists believe that the unruliness of the international arena is best tamed by agreement and cooperation between states. Liberals abjure the use of force as only a very last resort and believe that constant communication and sharing of views and common interests will result in peace” (Week 1 2018, 1).
Now to redefine my own above stance; I agree with the above completely, yet the problem is that this doesn’t apply to rogue and renegade nations. So, China, Cuba, Russia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, North Korea and Nicaragua cause the theory to be flawed. Sort of like making new laws; good citizens obey, bad guys do not.
Realism is not perfect either. “Neither theory is right or wrong, and seldom is a national security strategy based solely on one theory or the other, but most often contains elements of both concepts” (Week 1 2018, 1).
Peter Beinart talks candidly about the lapses in the Democratic party. “When John Kerry lost in 2004, I started in my despair reading about the late 1940’s, the first years of the Cold War” (Beinart 2005, 1). He then goes on to draw some conclusions but takes his thoughts after the Vietnam War. Too bad, because either John Kennedy or LBJ made that into a 11-19 year disaster, and if he would have included it, I would think more of his observations.
Now we must address the important differences in the 2015 NSS and 2017 NSS. What jumps out immediately is the inclusion of “Confront Climate Change” in President Obama’s NSS, and the complete lack of it in President Trump’s NSS. Without a doubt the 2015 NSS is more liberal in thought than the 2017 NSS.
Now as we read the introductions of both, one is kinder than the other. President Obama’s talks of the Great Recession and how he created so many jobs. This while we surged ahead in oil and gas production, and had low unemployment, and we attract immigrants in with their energy and entrepreneurial skills. His NSS introduction reads like a campaign speech. He talks about the closeness with China, and hits on being a leader in climate change. Sorry if I have offended anyone here, but it was too pleasant for a National Security Strategy, and climate change may be important, but not to national security. And again, because everyone will not follow the same rules. Exceptions to it are China, Russia, North Korea, India etc. So, no level playing field here.
Now on to President Trumps introduction. It starts with “The American people elected me to make America great again. I promise that my administration would put the safety, interests, and well-being of our citizens first” (NSS 2017, 1). He finishes with saying we will “defend America’s sovereignty without apology” (NSS 2017, 1).
I must admit it feels and sounds better as a NSS. It reads like a response to being given a mission, rather than the campaign collegiate feel of the 2015 NSS.
Respectfully Submitted, Mike Sr.
Beinart, Peter. “Tough Liberalism”. Real Clear Politics. October 31, 2005.
NSS. “National Security Strategy of the United States of America”. 2015.
NSS. “National Security Strategy of the United States of America”. 2017.
Weaver, John M. “The 2017 National Security Strategy of the United States”. Journal of Strategic Security. 2018.
Week 1. “Theory of Diplomacy”. NSEC612. Fall 2018.
Something that I have heard a lot in the military is the following phrase: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. After reading the lesson this week, I believe that lines up with the differences between liberalism and realism. Military leaders and politicians all hope that things go as planned. It is not everyone’s goal to engage in long drawn out wars that have not real endgame. If conflict can be avoided, then a solution matching that is often sought out. However, as many know, life does not always work out that way. Sometimes, conflict is the only best or only choice.
Realists, “view the international system as a free-for-all of unregulated states, each concerned first of all with their own survival and power” (Stanford University 2017). They bring a level of skepticism and suspicion to each country depending in the situation. They are not necessarily seeking war, but make plans to prepare in case something goes wrong.
Liberalism on other hand leans more towards the idea that international community can be regulated through negotiation and cooperation. Use of force is often a last resort and may not even be an option they consider at all. “Liberal theorists created the United Nations and have faith in multinational agreements and international organizations” (Stanford University 2018).
In the context of historical application, it makes sense in some cases. The 20th century saw two world wars, the Vietnam and the Korean War. Plus, the Cold War brought fear of communism and nuclear annihilation across the world. The last thing people wanted was another war. The people of the US in particular were tired, the military depleted and resources being thinned. If there is a problem with another country, the first option should not be to start a war. If some type of agreement can be made, then it should be pursued. However, liberalism cannot and does not work for everyone. Look at North Korea, prior to denuclearization talks. They took advantage of Iraq War and focused on nuclear development. Meanwhile Russia, plays by there own rules as well and often ignores what the US says (NSEC612 Week 1).
The bottom line is that each situation is different, but the president needs to understand if a treaty is not working. That is the different between President Trump’s and Obama’s NSS and overall policies. One understands that not every country follows agreements and cancels them as appropriate. Meanwhile the other follows the other countries promises, even if they are breaking them.
Overall, Barrack Obama’s NSS leans more on the liberalist theory as he talks of leading from the front and not over-reaching when it comes to decision making. Within the introduction, he states, “we have to make hard choices among many competing priorities, and we must always resist the over-reach that comes when we make decisions based upon fear. Moreover, we must recognize that a smart national security strategy does not rely solely on military power” (NSS 2015). He talks about moving on from Afghanistan and Iraq and being the leader of the world. Additionally, as seen with his policies, he allowed nations like Syria and Iran to continue their threatening activities despite promises they would follow the agreements.
President Trump’s NSS on the other hand talks about leading from the front, but also acknowledges that there are threats out there. That sometimes requires different thinking. This NSS definitely leans more on the realist side as countries like Russia, China, and Iran have been taking advantage of the US for many years. As seen during President Trump’s administration so far, if a country does not hold up their end of the agreement, he terminates its. Look at the Iran Nuclear deal, and even the Cold War era arms agreement with Russia. Realism does not always mean war. Sometimes it means recognizing that agreement is not working and needs to be updated or thrown out. President Trump ends his intro in the NSS with the following. “we will look at the world with clear eyes and fresh thinking. We will promote a balance of power that favors the United States, our allies, and our partners” (NSS 2017). At the end of the day, if something is not working, why stick with it? In the modern world, threats are not always clear, and the answer is not usually simple.
National Security Strategy. 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017…
National Security Strategy. 2015. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default…
NSEC612. 2018. Week 1: Theory of Diplomacy.
Stanford University. (2018). Liberalism. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberalism/ (accessed on 10 May 2018).
Stanford University. (2017). Political realism in international relations. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/realism-intl-re… (accessed on 10 May 2018).