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Austin Bay: The Multi-Administration War. From cold war containment to a forward strategy of freedom
TCS Daily ^ | June 8, 2006 | Austin Bay

Posted on 06/08/2006 4:48:40 AM PDT by Tolik

President George W. Bush's May 27 commencement address to the 2006 West Point graduating class made it clear he knows the War on Terror will grind on for years.

Last year, I criticized the Bush administration for neglecting -- at least in public -- the "multi-administration" character of the War on Terror. In the July 25, 2005, issue of The Weekly Standard, I wrote:

"Al-Qaida's jihadists plotted a multigenerational war. In the early 1990s, our enemies began proselytizing London and New York mosques and, in doing so, began planting cadres throughout the world. Even if Washington leads a successful global counter-terror war, many of these cadres will unfortunately turn gray before it's over. That means a multi-administration war. ... The Bush administration has not done that -- at least, not in any focused and sustained fashion."

Bush's speech indicates he intends to build a multi-administration policy framework to fight a long war of ideological and political attrition -- a strategic vision that will survive the whipsaw of the U.S. presidential political cycle.

Harry Truman prepared America for the Cold War -- and at West Point, Bush compared our moment in time to that of Truman, circa 1950. Bush pointed out that "Truman laid the foundation for freedom's victory in the Cold War." Then he said his own administration is "laying the foundation for victory" in our new long war.

The Cold War analogy only goes so far. Bush noted that while "mutually assured destruction" (with nuclear weapons) worked on the Soviet Union, it won't work on Islamist terrorist, though there are "important similarities. ... Like the Cold War, we are fighting the followers of a murderous ideology."

Strategic "containment" stopped the Soviets' murderous ideology because the Soviets -- as Russians -- had a nation-state to lose. Al-Qaida's Salafist (Islamo-fascist) ideology presents a different problem. The Arab Muslim world's long-term political and economic failure seeds the discontent on which al-Qaida-type terrorists thrive. Salafism frees its faithful from responsibility by blaming everyone else for eight centuries of decline.

Bush believes Muslim nations -- and everyone else -- can make modernity work. At West Point, Bush dubbed America's new strategy as "a forward strategy of freedom." Bush argued American security depends "on the advance of freedom" in other nations and pointed out that "accommodation" in the Middle East "did nothing to make us safe."

A "forward strategy of freedom" means fostering the development of states where the consent of the governed creates legitimacy and where terrorists are prosecuted, not promoted. Implementing that strategy means nation-building. Since the 2000 presidential campaign, the Bush administration has done a necessary 180 on nation-building. Bush entered office disdaining it. Sept. 11 changed that calculus.

Sept. 11 made it clear that economic and political development -- the expansion of the sphere of economically and politically liberal states -- is key to America's 21st century security. What Al Toffler called the "slow" and "fast" worlds became the Pentagon's world of "gaps" and "cores." "Gaps" with Muslim populations were the most critical, but every "gap" dictatorship can also provide haven to terrorists in exchange for cash.

Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of "heavy-lifting" nation-building. These "first efforts" may prove to be the most difficult. Every major war has a bitter learning curve.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's "transformational diplomacy" is another tool for implementing a "liberation" strategy. Rice intends to pursue "proactive" diplomacy, where on-the-ground diplomats identify emerging social and political currents, economic prospects and new leaders so that they can better shape future circumstances. Rice's diplomacy is more "people-to-people" than "elite-to-elite." With instant communications a strategic fact, this diplomatic focus is critical.

In April 1950, the "unpopular" Truman administration produced NSC-68, a strategic study that shaped U.S. foreign policy for five decades. In 1953, the Eisenhower administration "tested" NSC-68 with a secret analysis commissioned by President Eisenhower (the Solarium project). Ike's group ratified NSC-68's basic strategy of containment.

Ike understood defeating the Soviets required sustained and steady U.S. leadership. The United States was the only free nation capable of organizing, facilitating and coordinating a global campaign against aggressive, imperial communist tyranny.

In the 21st century, defeating Islamo-fascism -- another imperial tyranny and utopian ideology -- will require the same sustained effort.

Austin Bay is a syndicated columnist and TCS Daily contributing writer.

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: austinbay; waronterror; wot; wwiv

1 posted on 06/08/2006 4:48:46 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...


This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 06/08/2006 4:49:53 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
We are going to screw this up royally and in fact have already done so. There is no way, once US troops are out of Iraq, that they will ever again be committed to another Moslem country. And we are promoting popular government, not natural Rights, so if we're successful what we'll end up with is Moslem countries where, for instance, the supression of non-Moslem religions is 'legitimized' by popular support.

In the meantime, Western media are now afraid to publish material objected to by terrorists; this is called "losing the war."

3 posted on 06/08/2006 5:12:45 AM PDT by Grut
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To: Tolik

Shameless Plug
Winning the Long War: Lessons from the Cold War for Defeating Terrorism and Preserving Freedom
The Heritage Foundation ^ | James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. & Paul Rosenzweig
/Shameless Plug

Something I've been saying now for a while is, to many people when thinking about this war think WWII when they should be thinking Cold War.

4 posted on 06/08/2006 5:29:00 AM PDT by Valin (
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To: Grut
Oh we're doomed DOOMED I say. Never commit troops to a Muslim country? You mean like the troops we have in Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Kazakhstan.....?
5 posted on 06/08/2006 5:35:39 AM PDT by Valin (
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Individual Rights in NJ
I think we are making a lot of progress on that front in Iraq, and that is where I disagree with you.

Oh, I think we're winning in Iraq; my problem is that I also think we've turned the War on Terror into the war against the Iraqi insurgents and once that's won, there's no way in hell we're going to take on another hostile Moslem country. US troops will come home, not be used against Iran or Syria; if we tried, the public outcry would be enormous.

There's an old military saying, "when you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember you came to drain the swamp." Our ability to force reform on rotten Moslem states -- which was our original strategy, and I think the only workable one -- has been pissed away because we've lost sight of draining the swamp.

7 posted on 06/08/2006 12:08:52 PM PDT by Grut
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

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