National security policy
National Security Policy
US National Security Policy and China
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China’s emergence as an Asian behemoth and a global power in the post cold- war years has brought it direct scrutiny of USA’s strategic concerns - National security policy introduction. In the years post disintegration of USSR and especially form mid 1990s security issues with China have assumed prime importance in the US national security outlook.
USA and China have been traditionally apart in their cultural, political, economic and strategic interests. The difference in their worldview and especially China’s attempt to develop a comparable military strength have formed the crux of US security analysis and policy considerations related to China. There are also deep apprehensions that China has long term designs to completely dominate the eastern Asia and drive US out of this region. Finally the Taiwan issue is still unresolved that has potential to escalate in a full fledged war between the two countries.
However US has huge leverage over China and for that matter over any contemporary nation state in military and economic terms. By a crude estimate, US is ninety nine percent secure against possible military misdemeanor of any country and more than capable to reply and destroy the offender. Therefore China doesn’t present any substantial threat to US security causes. In fact, as an emerging power China can be a crucial strategic ally to US in the eastern Asia. An economically prosperous, stable and friendly China would help in creating a balanced regional growth. The regional influence that US is able to exert through its huge military deployment in eastern Asia can be sustained in alliance with China, that would come beneficial for both the nations.
The present crisis facing the world is rise of terrorism and fanatic forces that aim to perpetrate act of mass murder on largest possible scale. US has already been a victim of one of the greatest terrorist acts in history of humanity and has responded by a global campaign to root out terrorism. In this security policy, China can play a major role in coming decades. It can help in establishing a security community in eastern Asia with shared national interest that is ultimately beneficial for US national security goals.
While it is imperative for the US to continue to maintain its military superiority to ensure a world of order, freedom and justice, it is also essential that it forges a new set of alliance to ensure its ascendancy and protect the national security interests. A Sino-US strategic partnership can be next determining step in this direction.
Historical Context and Evolution of US National Security
The national security concerns of any country is factored by the political state of its contemporary world. In this respect 20th century is marked by some of the most volatile situation and emergence of US as the sole global superpower that defined the evolution of American national security policy.
The evolution of the security policy is marked in three distinguished phases. The first is the phase from beginning of 20th century leading to Second World War. The second commences immediately after the Second World War and stretches through the Cold War to end at disintegration of USSR that earmarked the third and latest phase in national security policy of USA.
In the initial years of 20th century and especially before the First World War US had kept itself largely screened away from the turbulent waters of International geopolitics following a policy of neutrality and peace. In the intervening years between the two World Wars the US national policy was largely concerned with making America a great power, comparable to any contemporary European power especially . However this perception of US’ role changed within itself and in the world with the end of the Second World War and atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The ushering of atomic age made the conventional combination of land, air and marine combative powers a secondary factor and shot the nuclear angle to prominence in framing of national security policy. This era also saw emergence of Soviet bloc as US the US main adversary instead of former European powers. This started the cold war era
The cold war era saw US gaining its foot as economically and militarily the most powerful country of world. The consequences of this fact soon impinged upon US’s national policy which that started to take a wider and bigger stride in world affairs. From Harry S. Truman to Ronald Reagan, successive presidents and regimes continued to work towards putting more and more destructive arsenal, both conventional and nuclear, to ensure US supremacy and security. The apparent motivating factor was to keep a comprehensive advantage. As a part to protect democratic ideals and ward off communism the US adopted the policy to directly indulge directly in armed conflicts, most notably in Vietnam in 1960s. In a world of increasing conflicts and unpredictability due to active communist designs the policy makers also decided to keep intervening power in areas strategically important from US security point of view approving establishment of US military bases in appropriate locations to keep regional vigil and secure international peace.
The disintegration USSR in early 1990s left the US as the sole superpower without any visible challenge from any nation state. But as the time showed, this period turned into most volatile periods despite apparent US hegemony in global politics and economy. Rise of fundamental religious groups, terrorism and a philosophy of hate towards ideals of democracy and individual freedom that America has always championed, breached US security cover seriously on September 11, 2001. This has reoriented the priorities of national security policy of America and focused it exclusively towards creation of a world order free from the menace of terrorism and tyrannical regimes.
Factors Affecting US political development and International Image
The rise of United States of America as a behemoth and the sole superpower of 21st Century is result of more than 300 years of sustained political, cultural, religious, and social movements.
The first modern settlement was established in USA at Saint Augustine (Florida) in 1585 by Spanish explorers. Soon the hitherto unknown world was rife with colonies of the major European nations. The French flourished in great lake areas and along Mississippi. The Spanish settlements covered the southern parts and English settlements arrived to establish colonies in most of the northern parts. Among all these settlements the English attracted largest number of people due to their liberal religious and economic models. Subsequently these ideals spread to form the essential character of entire United States.
Meanwhile political upheavals in Europe and religious movements encouraged a large number of people to seek their destiny in the virgin and unexplored territories of the USA. Many of them were attracted by the immense geographical diversity and natural richness of the new land. As the number of colonies grew, so did the demands of autonomy and independence from colonial rule of Great Britain. Finally on 4th July 1776 13 colonies wrested Independence and formed the country of United States of America.
USA had a unique character that it was an assortment of a mix of cultural, ideological, political and religious ideas, without a common history, but with a common present and common destiny. The civil war almost a century later, on the issue of emancipation of slaves gave a new liberal outlook to United States policy. However by the time of First World War, United states was still following an isolationist policy, keeping its interaction with rest of the world to a minimum level.
With the beginning of 20th century the US role and perception changed in the realm of international politics. Over 200 years of isolated development had made the nation a self dependent entity with a thriving economy and strong infrastructure. When USA was compelled to join WWI, it used its immense resources in effectively defeating the rampaging German forces. However it was not until the end of WWII that US truly recognized its own potentials as a global superpower.
The country possessed technological expertise, huge resources and a remarkably free and liberal outlook that encouraged flow of free ideas and invited competence from all over the world. Intellectually, culturally, economically and militarily, US staked its claim to be the defining force of global politic and international strategy.
Future Concept of Warfare
The concept of warfare has always been evolving and it has been a subject of strategic and philosophical discussion in every age. Every age has seen its new system of warfare and military conquest. However the trends in 20th century have suggested that increase in military might of nations reduce the chances and frequency of large scale armed conflict among them. As evident by trends in cold war, despite possessing huge stockpiles of conventional and nuclear arsenals, neither the US nor the USSR demonstrated a serious desire to engage each other in an open war.
Post Cold War the nature and concept of future warfare has undergone significant conceptual changes. With the disintegration of nuclear USSR, threats of a nuclear catastrophic exchange have relaxed with USA being the sole remaining super power of the world. However the end of cold war has also unleashed ethnic conflicts, religious fundamentalism and terrorism, that despite their small scale size have resulted in heavy and disturbing casualties. Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East Asia are rife with armed conflict that have claimed millions of life in recent years. It can be said therefore that even with the end of Cold Wars, warfare has not stopped, but only changed its form.
In this new age of warfare where as the most powerful nation of world the USA has to encounter small but highly motivated and skilled adversaries, such as Al Queda operatives in Afghanistan or Iraq, strategic necessities mandate use of highly sophisticated technology available with the US to design a system of warfare that is effective, lethal and ensures minimum casualty of its troops. An important step was taken in this direction in mid -2000 when US Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to fund the speedy development of unmanned combat systems. The proposed system shall result in one third unmanned deepstrike aircrafts and one third unmanned ground combat vehicles. The new concept of warfare also proposes a network centric distributed force with robotic operations on ground and manned command control system.
As these plans would be implemented the future warfare by advanced countries would hardly involve any human casualties of their combating troops. This trend would be further emboldened by heavy investment in development of computer aided information system and mobile autonomous system that would create a directed energy weapons with the capacity to engage enemy forces at the speed of light. Eventually the military of the US would be capable to anticipate, engage and destroy enemy units with a too fast, too small and a highly efficient mechanized army that would be as lethal against adversaries without using any nuclear arsenal.
US Policy with Russia and former Soviet nations
The US and USSR entered into a prolonged phase of Cold War immediately after the end of Second World War. The entire world lived under the shadow of an impending catastrophe due to continued tension between two nuclear superpowers who were also political and ideological adversaries. But the end of Cold War after break up of USSR has brought about a surprising change in the relation between former USSR bloc of countries and the USA that present an important indicator to the world order of coming years.
The end of Cold War did not bring the period of security and cessation of hostilities as expected in certain quarters. In fact it was followed by severe regional imbalances and growth of fundamental terrorist networks that started to threat US security outlooks. After the September 11 terrorist attacks policy makers in the US also understood that notwithstanding its military supremacy, USA cannot fight the war against terrorism alone. There are other global challenges also such as drug trafficking and arms smuggling that require coordination and support at international level.
In the quest for solution of these disturbing questions, US can find Russia as a reliable and useful ally. With its hug geographical extent and political leverage Russia can be a potentially critical partner to US interest and therefore needs to be incorporated in the post Cold War world. Russia and US can strike critical partnership in building security and stability over a vast and presently a highly volatile and disturbed area-Eastern Europe, Central Asia, North Korea and the Far East. A democratized and economically open Russia has every potential to be a dependable ally to the US and one that can share and work towards creating a world order of peace and development.
United States should enter into multilateral agreements with other former USSR countries such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and many others to integrate these countries in the democratic world order. There are grave dangers that if left unto themselves many of former USSR countries could be actively exploited by terrorist networks, drug lords and prostitution rings presenting a long term challenge to the US national security concerns and world stability and security. US can help these countries through its strategic interventions, and economic and political support to create a balanced eastern Europe and central Asia, instrumental to the American ideals of a democratic, just and terror free world.
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