Paralyzing American Power

The vision outlined in the 2010 National Security Strategy invites the grip of paralysis to render American power unresponsive to the threats of the 21st century. Sacrificing national sovereignty, committing to international wealth redistribution, and institutionalizing blindness on the nature of jihad and Sharia Law, the 2010 NSS represents a gross misreading of "the world as it is."

The aspirations set forth in the 52-page NSS released this May intentionally shape U.S. domestic and foreign policy around a global integration agenda. Defining the 9/11 attacks as a "transformative event" that revealed the "dark side" of globalization to the American people, the strategy aims to position the United States as the intellectual leader of a new international order that "promotes a just peace" and facilitates collective action to meet the challenges of our times. To strengthen the admittedly flawed architecture of international institutions and their capacity to enforce international norms and the rule of law, a global engagement initiative serves as the central pillar of the Obama administration's plan to secure America. 

Claiming the mantle of "enlightened self-interest," the document identifies the economic engine of the United States as the "wellspring of American power" while simultaneously declaring economic opportunity a human right. In this respect, the "whole of government" approach to national security adds American economic power and the power of America's example to the three "D"s of statecraft -- defense, diplomacy, and development -- in the design(s) of its "comprehensive" response to a wide array of global challenges.

The drive to rid the world of nuclear weapons has led the Obama administration to assign weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their proliferation in this interdependent age as the top security challenge of the new strategy. For the last decade, according to the NSS, a narrow counterterrorism mentality has produced a shortsighted assessment of the persistent problems facing America, and as an unfortunate consequence, "some methods employed in pursuit of our security have compromised our fidelity to the values we promote, and our leadership on their behalf." 

Al-Qaeda and its network of affiliates are expressly identified as the concrete targets of America's intervention in Afghanistan. However, shattering America's political context for war against Islamic supremacy, the definition of the terror organization's jihadist ideology as an existential threat to the United States has given way to the immoral notion that al-Qaeda is nothing more than a group of "violent extremists" and "killers." As a result, the global jihadist movement, which has perpetrated over 15,000 attacks worldwide since 9/11, has been reduced to a second-tier threat to America along with cyber-attacks, failing states, regional and international crime networks, food insecurity, pandemic disease, and...climate change. 

The decision to elevate climate change to the threat level of jihadist terrorism amounts to a mockery of reason. 

First off, climate change is not an immediate threat -- it is a cyclical process that can be measured only in terms of centuries. Developing national security solutions to a clear and present global insurgency that threatens to subvert every nation's stability and sovereignty, such as al-Qaeda-styled jihadism, on the other hand, is an immediate necessity. One cannot hold a leader or a government accountable for the weather, yet a free press and the written record hold the capacity to allow reasoning individuals to temper the resolve and measure the effectiveness of those leaders who confront jihadism on a day-to-day basis. 

And second, while concerns over climate change may excite a number of progressive politicians who have dedicated their public service careers to punishing capitalists for having the audacity to establish a profitable job-creating enterprise, the Obama administration's decision to push the Copenhagen agenda in the National Security Strategy amounts to nothing less than fear-mongering. The propaganda of a future world inundated by violent storms and rising floods due to atmospheric temperature fluctuation of two or three degrees may draw tears from the eyes of a number of concerned eco-alarmists, sure -- but the fact remains that the strategy of Sharia Law's elite proponents and their tactical jihadi assaults stand as the only immediate threat to American security properly measured in degrees. The subjugation and enslavement of three-quarters of a billion women; the justified slaughtering of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, Jews and non-conformist Muslims; the erosion of national borders and constitutional authority; the forced payment of the jizya tax and the onset of dhimmitude via Sharia-compliant finance and takaful; the eradication of books and learning; the destruction of free thought, individualism, and liberty -- these were the documented, visible, systemic, and critical degrees of Islamic supremacy that gave rise to al-Qaeda's 9/11 declaration of war, that legitimized Hezb'allah's eight thousand counts of attempted mass murder in its July 2006 war with Israel, and that remain today an ever-present reality in the tickers of press rooms the world over. 

The attack on 9/11 was not the fault of American innovation; it was not a dark side of globalization. It was the moral imperative of an enemy that will not stop until the fires of socioeconomic totality either consume the world or are philosophically smothered by the rise of a courageous, steadfast, and reasoned resentment. To deny this reality at the strategic level is to deny the world as it is. And at the tactical level, the refusal to identify the nature of this enemy of all mankind robs the free world of the moral agency necessary to mount a complete and victorious counter-influence campaign.

This paralysis of American power at the moral level is complemented in the NSS by economic and political paralysis. 

At the economic level, a focus on re-balancing global trade and shrinking inequality gaps takes center stage in the NSS' announcement of a shift away from the G-8 to the G-20 "as the premiere forum for international economic cooperation." This move alone subjects the American economy to the policies of the G-20's Fiscal Stability Board, without the check and balance of America's voters. And worse, the NSS case for reinvesting in and re-committing to international institutions in its bid to lead an integrated global community includes strengthening the United Nations' capacity to enforce international law -- a move topped off by the stated aim of pursuing ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which officially represents, through its hard-mineral deep seabed initiatives alone, an unprecedented global wealth redistribution scheme.

At the political level, American adherence to the rule of law and its dogged determination to engage with allies, emerging players, failing states, and hostile nations alike spells disaster for global stability. Our enemies now know that our engagement strategy is based on a dual track of legitimizing negotiations and empty threats. The choice for states that refuse to accept international law is cut and dry -- they either "abide by international norms" to achieve the "benefits that come with greater integration" or risk isolation. Worse, the NSS announces America's intent to seek negotiations to resolve differences with problem states, to lobby for international economic sanction support, and to "learn about the intentions and nature of closed regimes," while promising to wage a propaganda campaign directly to the people of the rogue nations that vilifies the behavior of their government. In other words, through diplomatic leverage and shady backroom development deals, the "handful" of regimes that stand against the international order will be threatened by isolation and bribed into submission. This not only promotes provocative actions by bold leaders who are willing to weave in and out of normalization negotiations and integration initiatives to suit their corrupt aims, but it also benches America's national security imperative of preemption and replaces it with a last-ditch "unilateral response" that may not hold the capacity to defeat the challenges of deception that may arise against our allies and homeland.

Did the Obama administration's decision to join the U.N. Human Rights Council provide a moderating influence in the recent Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored flotilla run on the Gaza blockade and resultant riot on the high seas? Or was the international "condemnation" led by Pakistan, Turkey, and Lebanon of Israeli national security efforts legitimized by America's involvement? Has engagement on the Iranian nuclear question adequately isolated the Islamic establishment in Tehran? Or has America's support and strengthening of Brazilian and Turkish international institutions provided Iran a legitimate end-run around the international norms of the IAEA and the NPT? Is it likely that the American pledge to "underwrite global security" can overcome its natural minority-block status in the face of the reparation-minded narratives of the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC nations in a "democratic" international setting? And, in this view, does the decision to invest in global integration while complacently "maintaining" an aging military capacity make sense? Does diving headlong into moral, economic, political, and military paralysis serve America's national interest?

America's national sovereignty faces annihilation. The 2010 National Security Strategy's commitment to shaping an international order as "an end in its own right" represents the Obama administration's case for the best way to "leverage our unique national attributes" in defense of the values America cherishes. However, it remains for the American people to decide if the "hope and change" message of President Obama amounts to a mandate for integrating into the international order. 

The only strength exhibited by the 2010 NSS vision is the acknowledgment that "our national security must be informed by our people."

Ronald Reagan, in 1983, released a statement on the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, enumerating his policies that would guide America's future involvement with the international regime. In his closing remarks, he proclaimed, "[T]he United States will continue to work with other countries to develop a regime, free of unnecessary political and economic restraints[.]" 

One question, then, remains for those among us who would guide our national security aright. Is the Obama administration's 2010 NSS case for assuming a lead role in the international order free of unnecessary political and economic restraints? 

Liberty stands before the guillotine. It is up to the American people to refuse to kneel.

Gary H. Johnson, Jr. is a freelance writer based in Georgia, USA and is the Senior Advisor for International Security Affairs at the Victory Institute.