Should the United States see itself as a unilateral arbiter of the world order or does the U.S. only act as part of a multilateral military initiative? Could the U.S. step away from leadership and primarily engage with regional powers in achieving their goals? Finally, might the U.S. adapt an aggressively nationalistic strategy that primarily addresses narrow American aims?
The Foreign Policy Association’s sixth “Great Decisions 2018” discussion focuses on Global Engagement and the Military. It will examine what strategy is best for the country and what the military needs to implement that strategy. It will begin at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 14) in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room.
After understanding the strategy, things to consider include foreign military sales and training, foreign basing, nation building, expeditionary capability, nuclear deterrence, participation in alliances, and bi-lateral military relationships with close allies. Just looking at two, consider:
- Foreign basing. Basing shows long-term commitments to the host countries by putting U.S. troops in a position that serves as a deterrent to attack on the host country. Additionally it allows for close cooperation with the host nation’s military forces, a close working relationship with the host country, and serves as a forward outpost of American culture. The U.S. currently bases troops in Europe, Korea, Japan, and the Middle East.
- Nation building. Nation building, an expensive proposition, provides the opportunity to change the strategic foundation of a region. Examples of U.S. attempts at nation building include Japan, Germany, South Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Finally, the planning timeline needed to shape the military is much longer than the timeline to change a national strategy. Even with eight-year presidents, the military designed by the last two presidents will be the military used by the current one.
Written by Tom Travis, Academy Village Volunteer