Politicians and everyday Americans use the term “endless wars” to describe the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Yet that generalization ignores the active effort to reduce the financial and human cost of U.S. operations while still pursuing counterinsurgency objectives.
As Arctic temperatures rise and the region undergoes extreme environmental change, new economic, scientific, maritime, and political opportunities have led to the gradual militarization of the region and its potential as a new theater for strategic competition between the United States and Russia. Amid such rapid change, the strategic outlook of the Arctic over the next two decades—whether cooperative or competitive—is an open question.
In this episode of The Truth of the Matter podcast, host Andrew Schwartz welcomes Kathleen Hicks, Andrew Hunter, and Todd Harrison from the CSIS International Security Program to discuss the Bad Ideas in National Security series. In addition to analyzing their own pieces, they nominate their frontrunners for what might be considered the “worst” bad idea.
Retrenchment from forward deployed forces supporting alliances is a bad idea. Alliances, including forward-stationing of U.S. forces abroad makes the United States safer, its allies more secure, and all participating more prosperous. Any weakening of the U.S. alliance architecture should demonstrate how it provides greater benefits than the existing system.
The revived interest in great power politics comes with an important, if oft unstated, corollary: the problem of small wars is now of secondary importance. But the U.S. must be vigilant against focusing solely on a conventional, symmetric future conflict and would be wise to acknowledge the coexistence of multiple categories of dangerous actors.
A strategic overcorrection has put China at the center of virtually every U.S. national security conversation and consideration. That positioning is at once distracting the United States from appropriately responding to growing trans-regional geopolitical volatility while also failing to achieve outcomes in U.S. China policy.