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Defeating the Con’s Diplomacy Tradeoff Argument

December 30, 2016
Published in Newsletter

All Public Forum Resources    Millennial Speech & Debate Institutes

As I discussed in my review of Blake arguments, the Diplomacy Good argument was very popular on the Con. This is most likely because it is strategic – Con teams can argue that diplomacy can be used to solve any impacts the Pro reads to why defense spending is good, while also arguing the Pro undermines the diplomatic approach. 

But despite its popularity and strategic value, there argument has a number of weaknesses

1 — There is no solvency for the status quo

(a) Con teams are never able to produce evidence that says diplomacy can resolve specific scenarios Pro teams read. For example, diplomacy is not working now to resolve Russian hacking, Russian aggression in the Ukraine, or Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Diplomacy won’t work with ISIS because they are ideologically committed to attacking the West and we are never going to making concessions to ISIS, allowing them, for example, to control a certain amount of territory they’ve conquered.

(b) There is no evidence that State Department can resolve current conflicts with the money they currently have, and since Con teams can’t read counterplans in Public Forum, there is no way to resolve this. The budget is already low and increasing spending for the military in the most recent budget didn’t reduce the State Department’s budget. In fact, increased funding for the military means more military diplomacy

Jonathan Broder, June 29, 2016, Newsweek, Why the US Spends More Money on War than it Does on Diplomacy, http://www.newsweek.com/2016/07/08/state-department-pentagon-diplomacy-475655.html

President Barack Obama has long insisted that force alone can’t resolve America’s toughest challenges abroad. But if budgets are a window into a nation’s priorities, the U.S. values its soldiers far more than its diplomats. For fiscal 2016, the Pentagon has had nearly $600 billion at its disposal. That’s twice the size of the defense budget before the 9/11 attacks and more than 10 times the amount the State Department received for diplomacy. The ratio is widening. For fiscal 2017, Obama has asked Congress to increase Pentagon spending by $22 billion, while his State Department request has remained flat, at $50 billion. In fact, the Pentagon has more members of the armed forces serving in marching bands than the State Department has career diplomats. Historically, Congress has always provided more money for defense than diplomacy; weapons, after all, cost far more than foreign aid. But the gap has widened dramatically, says Charles Stevenson, a former State Department policy planner who teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. After World War II, he notes, Congress passed the Marshall Plan, which provided billions in foreign assistance to help rebuild Western Europe. During the Cold War, Congress also funded influential programs like the U.S. Information Agency, which disseminated news and information about American culture behind the Iron Curtain. Back then, the State Department’s budget was half the Pentagon’s. In more recent years, budgets for diplomacy have shrunk as lawmakers pushed for more money to cover the military’s generous health care benefits and pay for new weapons and technology. Pork also plays a role. Lawmakers appropriate money for weapons the military no longer needs to keep constituents employed. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin is overseeing the manufacture of the next-generation F-35 fighter jet in nearly all 50 states. That guarantees the program, which has cost more than $500 billion so far, maintains strong support in Congress. Another factor in the growing gap between defense and diplomatic spending is partisan dysfunction on Capitol Hill. Since 1986, constant bickering over social issues such as abortion has rendered Congress incapable of passing a key foreign policy measure that would authorize some of the State Department’s top priorities. The default approach, Stevenson notes, has been to attach those priorities to a separate measure that funds the nation’s defenses—and passes every year. The result has been that the military—and theintelligence community, whose funding is secretly folded into the defense budget—increasingly performs diplomatic tasks that once were the State Department’s specialty. For instance, knowledgeable sources tell Newsweek that the CIA, not the State Department, is midwifing secret negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Houthi rebels to end the civil war in Yemen. Some lawmakers are now trying to address the gap between Pentagon and State. One idea: proposing cutbacks in the number of military marching bands. Yet even that suggestion is meeting stiff resistance. Opponents on Capitol Hill argue band reductions actually will increase the Pentagon’s costs because the remaining military bands will have to travel more often. “Pentagon program don’t die,” quips a House Armed Services Committee aide, who was not authorized to speak on the record. “They don’t even fade away.”

2 – Turn — State Department alone can’t build leverage needed for negotiations, the military needs to do that. Without adequate military spending, we don’t have the military leverage we need to pursue effective negotiations.

Michael Rubin, December 29, 2016, Why Was John Kerry Such a Bad Secretary of State? http://www.aei.org/publication/john-kerry-such-a-bad-secretary-of-state/ Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research areas are the Middle East, Turkey, Iran and diplomacy. Rubin instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East and Afghanistan on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on board deploying U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. His newest book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes examines a half century of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups.

The question to ask, then, is why Kerry has been such an ineffective if not counterproductive secretary. Why has he been like Charlie Brown, endlessly trusting Lucy to hold the football steady no matter how many times she humiliates him? Here, the Los Angeles Times may provide a clue. From a December 27 retrospective of Kerry: Kerry says he is undaunted by the challenges he has faced. “I’m a believer in diplomacy; that’s the job I do,” Kerry told reporters during a recent trip to Colombia for the signing of a peace accord ending the hemisphere’s longest civil war. “And there are plenty of people around who could start conflicts. I try to prevent them or end them.” Asked about his frustrations, Kerry cited President Reagan’s sitting down with Mikhail Gorbachev, then the leader of the Soviet Union, and President Nixon’s going to Communist China after decades of hostility, as examples of attempting what might seem like quixotic forays into diplomacy. Kerry may see himself as a student of history, but he appears largely ignorant of it. It is true that both Nixon and Reagan talked to enemies but neither did so without first seeking to win maximum advantage by establishing leverage to win the best possible deal. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s secretary of state, played upon mutual fears of the Soviet Union to win agreement, but Kerry never convinced his negotiating partners that they would face worse foes unless they made compromise. As for Reagan, he spent years building up US military might in order to grind the Soviet Union into submission. Contrast that with Kerry on Iran: Prior to the start of negotiations, Iran’s economy had declined 5.4% according to Iranian statistics. Rather than exploit Iran’s desperation, Kerry worked to alleviate it: The Obama administration offered Iran billions of dollars just to come to the table. Nor did Kerry (or Obama) once enunciate what the best alternative to a negotiated agreement was, leading his Iranian counterparts to conclude correctly that they had the upper hand in talks. After all, if Obama and Kerry castigated their critics as warmongers, then how likely were they to join their critics if they believed war the only alternate? Can Kerry alone be blamed? No: US strategy has been incoherent across administrations. Secretaries of State might opine but if there is no unity of effort to ensure that their diplomacy is set up to succeed, then it won’t be successful. The State Department cannot alone build leverage — that is the job of the Pentagon and perhaps Central Intelligence Agency and should be coordinated by the National Security Council. Kerry’s problem was ego: Perhaps it was his decades immersed in the culture of the Senate, but he seems to have come to believe that his own good faith and rhetoric could substitute for the hard work of crafting coherent strategy. Essentially, his tenure was one giant short-cut. He worked hard, but not effectively. Staff and close advisors who might have offered him a reality check instead recognized that their path to recognition and promotion was to affirm whatever Kerry thought, no matter how destructive or, in some case, factually challenged it could be. Kerry, himself, has always been handicapped by his credulity: He believes what he is told. His adversaries understand that personal charm can lead Kerry to dismiss the accumulated wisdom of those more experienced or knowledgeable than he. Diplomacy that diverges from reality is seldom successful. Kerry did not live in the real world. Nor does diplomacy absent leverage ever work with adversaries or rogue regimes. It is a lesson Kerry never learned, and history will condemn him for it. He has left the United States and its allies in a far worse position than had he done nothing.

3 –This turn is unique — US threat of force is not credible now (you may have a similar card that you already use in your Pro case. If you do, you do not need to take time referencing this card or reading it in your rebuttal).

Dobriansky, December 26, 2016, , National Interest, Trump Will Face a Cornocopia of Global Threats, http://nationalinterest.org/print/feature/trump-will-face-cornucopia-global-threats-18877 Paula J. Dobriansky, a former under secretary of state for global affairs (2001–09), is a senior fellow in the “Future of Diplomacy Project” at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs,

IN 2017, the global environment is more dangerous than at any time since the end of World War II and is beset by numerous unfolding regional and global crises. Several countries seek to overturn the existing international order; no major power, except for the United States, appears to be seriously committed to its maintenance. Instead of facing a single foreign-policy problem, President-elect Donald Trump will be confronted with an unprecedented array of diverse international challenges. These include: North Korea’s erratic leader Kim Jong-un and his nuclear saber rattling; an irredentist and reckless Russia that has annexed Crimea, is committing war crimes whilst waging war in eastern Ukraine and Syria, and seems poised to engage in further acts of aggression against neighboring countries; a Europe that is afflicted by the refugee crisis and continued economic and political malaise; a China that is engaged in a campaign of intimidation against its neighbors, is assertively pressing maritime claims and seeking to reduce, and eventually exclude, American influence from Asia; Iran’s efforts to dominate the Middle East and the rising tide of Sunni-Shia strife and destabilization in the region; and the jihadi terrorist threat. The United States now is neither feared nor respected. Its enemies have been emboldened and are working together; the Moscow-Beijing-Tehran axis is the most significant example. They seek not just to inflict a series of humiliating defeats on the United States, but also to discredit the entire American approach to global and domestic governance. And, unfortunately, they have attained some success in these efforts. America’s friends feel neglected, marginalized and alienated; its alliances have been weakened. Having repeatedly drawn “lines in the sand” and having repeatedly retreated from them, America’s credibility has been greatly damaged and its global influence diminished. The Obama administration’s flirtation with a no-first-use nuclear-weapons policy has been particularly damaging in undermining extended-deterrence guarantees. The president-elect is also faced with a major decline in domestic support for an assertive foreign policy. While there has always been an isolationist streak in the American body politic, a major portion of the electorate now questions the value of U.S. global leadership. Many Americans have also turned sharply against free trade, which has been a major component of American postwar global strategy. Many disdain U.S. alliances and global institutions as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst. While these challenges are daunting, they can be managed. The United States remains the world’s strongest economic and military power, with a tremendous capacity for rejuvenation. The American people remain intensely curious about the world, idealistic and, with appropriate encouragement, willing to embrace an engaged foreign policy. America’s foes are plagued by numerous domestic problems, such as an acute legitimacy deficit, that can be exploited by an adroit foreign policy. Accordingly, there are a number of steps that need to be taken. First, the new president must put forth a strategy that clearly lays out the fundamentals of U.S. foreign policy and elaborates why vital national interests require American global leadership. Second, the United States must lead internationally and engage both allies and friends and deter foes. Toward this end, the president must pledge to honor treaty commitments. Given finite domestic resources, burden sharing and alliance management are essential. Third, America should commit itself to maintaining a stable and rule-based international order. Our core values and moral narrative must be neither forsaken nor imposed. Fourth, recognizing that a strong domestic economy and defense are key to America’s power globally, President-elect Trump should concentrate heavily on both.

4- Force must be credible for diplomacy to work

Ian Bremmer, September 2016, Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, Kindle edition, page number at end off card. Ian Bremmer is an American political scientist specializing in U.S. foreign policy, states in transition, and global political risk.. He’s also the President of the Eurasia Group

The toughest choice any president makes is whether to go to war, and our past reluctance to fight has served us well. Those who support the Independent America argument are right that it wasn’t simply victory in the two world wars but our late entry into them that made the United States a superpower. By waiting as long as we could before joining these fights in faraway lands, we enhanced America’s political influence and economic power relative to every potential rival. Yet we mustn’t forget the years between the wars when isolationist U.S. policymakers thought Americans could simply retreat to a world that didn’t need American leadership. Washington should never wage war where it’s not vital to U.S. interests, but nor should we shrink from any fight when it’s clear that our safety and prosperity are at stake. Let’s also remember that the credible threat of force is an essential element of successful diplomacy. Bremmer, Ian. Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World (Kindle Locations 1293-1299). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

5- Turn — De-emphasizing military spending for diplomacy fails to arrest conflict – Obama empirical proves and their evidence is theoretical.

[Note: I included two very recent cards that make the same argument. I wouldn’t read both, but I encourage you to reference/paraphrase the second one]

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former director of policy planning in the Department of Defense, was the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, 2017, National Interest, January-February, America Needs a Bipartisan Foreign Policy. Donald Trump Can Make it Happen. http://nationalinterest.org/print/feature/america-needs-bipartisan-foreign-policy-donald-trump-can-18820

Some retrenchment was to be expected after the George W. Bush era, which had seen almost eight years of war, two regime-change operations and two large simultaneous nation-building projects. Arguably, though, some of President Obama’s policies overcompensated, creating power vacuums that were soon filled by hostile powers and negative forces. Obama believed that in the twenty-first century, unlike earlier times, it was less than optimal to use military power to achieve geopolitical goals. He therefore sought to disengage from key regions. He made a great effort to engage adversaries, such as Russia, China and Iran, hoping that reasonable compromises could be found and that diplomacy alone could be a sufficient tool. The results have been mixed. In Syria, for example, his decision to draw, but ultimately not enforce, a “red line” reverberated around the world and undermined U.S. credibility. Too often, his emphasis on diplomacy alone was read as a weakness by revisionist powers, and they felt encouraged to press forward with aggressive agendas.

Kori Schake, January February/2017, Foreign Affairs, The False Logic of Retreat, is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is the editor, with Jim Mattis, of Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/will-washington-abandon-order

Lieber, a political scientist and professor of government and international affairs at Georgetown University, takes aim at Obama’s belief that conciliation with U.S. adversaries would “produce a benign change in their policies” and Obama’s assumption that if the United States stepped back, its allies would step up and take more responsibility for the upkeep of the liberal order. In his illuminating book, Lieber relentlessly arrays evidence showing those premises to be faulty and concludes that as a result of Obama’s choices, the United States now faces “a far more dangerous and disorderly world,” in which the country’s adversaries are emboldened, its allies enfeebled, and its credibility in tatters. Cohen is a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University and served as a high-level State Department official during the final two years of the George W. Bush administration. His more discursive but no less insightful book pushes back against another feature of Obama’s view of U.S. foreign policy: the president’s deep skepticism about the ability of U.S. military force to achieve meaningful or lasting political objectives. Cohen provides a clear-eyed review of the wars launched after the 9/11 attacks against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Iraq and reaches a number of “dismal conclusions” regarding the flaws they revealed in U.S. strategy. But he also points out some less frequently acknowledged achievements of those wars, places the conflicts in the context of the long sweep of U.S. military history, and warns that Washington should not overlearn the lessons they offer. He goes on to detail the numerous and durable advantages the United States continues to enjoy over its adversaries and to explain why robust applications of “hard power” will remain vital to confronting the threats the United States will face in the decades to come: a growing rivalry with China, an aggrieved and assertive Russia, aggressive middle powers such as Iran, jihadist terrorism, and risks to the global commons, including cyberspace.

6 — US diplomacy will be soft and China will run us over

Ross Babbage, December 14, 2016, Baggage is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, December 14, 2016, Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea: Strategy Options for the Trump Administration, http://csbaonline.org/research/publications/countering-chinas-adventurism-in-the-south-china-sea-strategy-options-for-t

An eighth contributing factor to the timid Western response is largely cultural. The experience of the last decade suggests that Western electorates are more fearful of triggering confrontation and the escalation of an argument than their Chinese counterparts. This thinking is reflected in a concentrated form in some Western bureaucracies by their deep risk aversion. If the Western interest is the avoidance of confrontation and the preservation of peace at any price, that price is likely to be extremely high. When confronted by an expansionist, non-democratic peer competitor, the repeated avoidance of confrontation results in the loss of important strategic positions and the evaporation of much international credibility.

7 — If allies perceive us being soft on China, they pressure India to fill in—causes military modernization and spread of Brahmos cruise missiles

Mohan, 15—consulting editor on foreign affairs for ‘The Indian Express’ and a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (C. Raja, “Raja-Mandala: Why Delhi must not be at sea,” http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/raja-mandala-china-philippines-maritime-dispute-why-delhi-must-not-be-at-sea/,)

But can Delhi go beyond diplomatic statements and help China’s neighbours to stand up to Beijing? The Philippines and Vietnam fully understand that only Washington has the power to constrain Beijing. But they also fear that America and China might work out a mutual accommodation on the question of freedom of navigation and leave them in the lurch on the territorial disputes with Beijing. As they look to diversify their security partnerships and build national capabilities for deterrence against China, Manila and Hanoi would like to see Delhi be a little more forthcoming with its hard power. Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia had expressed their interest in acquiring the Brahmos missiles that India had developed in partnership with Russia. Manila has now joined that list.

8 — Military buildup in the Indian ocean goes nuclear

Zahid and Ehtisham, 15—School of Politics and International Relations AND Department of Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University (Ahsan Ali and Hasan, “An ocean of benefits or conflicts?,” http://tribune.com.pk/story/914385/an-ocean-of-benefits-or-conflicts/

The Indian Ocean can be saved from becoming a zone of conflicts if India stops thinking it owns it. If the West encourages New Delhi to build a blue-water navy, it would only be a matter of time before it ends up becoming a nightmare for the West itself. The Indian Ocean ranks as the fifth largest ocean, covering 20 per cent of the water on Earth. It consists of 60 islands owned by different states and has four major waterways — the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz, Bab-el Mandeb and the Suez Canal.

Interestingly, the Indian Ocean had never been nuclearised even during the Cold War. The shifting of Indian nuclear weapons capabilities from land to sea, in their deployment against Pakistan and China, could end up initiating a three-party nuclear competition. India is modernising its navy at a rapid pace, and allocated it a budget of $4.8 billion in 2011. China, on the other hand, is not in a position right now to generate a stir in the contemporary strategic balance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). India dragged the IOR into an intense arms race by introducing a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant, in 2014; it is also in the process of building two more Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear submarines. India now has two platforms, INS Subhadra and INS Suvarna, to launch Dhanush missiles. The Indian Navy also has the ability to launch BrahMos missile, a joint venture between Russia and India, which can carry both conventional and nuclear payloads. In short, India is playing a dangerous game in pursuit of prestige and international recognition in the IOR where confidence-building measures or institutionalised conflict-resolution seem to be totally absentIn the backdrop of the traditional rivalries in this region, the addition of nuclear-capable submarines in the Indian naval fleet is a serious threat to Pakistan and China. This provocation could force Pakistan and other regional states to launch drives to acquire similar capability, thus initiating an arms race in South Asia. It is not surprising that China is willing to sell eight diesel-electric, and not nuclear, submarines to Pakistan. As stated earlier, South Asia has no institutional mechanism that can be used to deal with confrontational behaviour that regional states may indulge in the IOR. If India is resolute about taking the route of sea-based nuclear strike capability, then it is highly unlikely that any possible escalation could be controlled. Pakistan needs to work on sea-based deterrence as this can provide it with strategic advantages, which could serve many implicit opportunities. The most vulnerable part of the Indian defence is its coastal belt, which the Pakistan Navy can exploit through the element of surprise.

Pro teams may also wish to read offensive add-ons that focus on areas where boosting military strength will result in more needed leverage for diplomacy —

9- Strengthening US military capabilities critical effective diplomacy that will stop Russian aggression and accidental conflict escalation

Allison & Simes, 2017, January-February, National Interest, A Blueprint for Trump to fix relations with Russia, Januaryhttp://nationalinterest.org/print/feature/blueprint-donald-trump-fix-relations-russia-18776?page=show Graham T. Allison is director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a former assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans. He is the author of the forthcoming book Destined for War: America, China and Thucydides’s Trap. Dimitri K. Simes, publisher and CEO of the National Interest, is president of the Center for the National Interest.

A genuinely different approach toward the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts should incorporate credible strength and creative diplomacy to produce outcomes favorable to the United States. To demonstrate its strength, America should use military deployments and private warnings (so as to avoid publicly cornering Putin) to communicate to Moscow that unilateral solutions will not work in either Syria or Ukraine. The key is to show that the United States and its allies will be able to provide enough support to the rebels in Syria and to the government in Kiev to make sure that both conflicts are unsolvable on Moscow’s terms without prohibitive costs to Russia. This also means showing that whoever the United States chooses to support will gain strength over time, which encourages serious negotiations sooner rather than later. Sixth, you should strengthen U.S. military capabilities in ways that simultaneously dissuade Russia from aggression (both overt and covert) against NATO allies in Europe and respect Russia’s legitimate interest in ethnic Russians living in the former Soviet Union. It is almost impossible for the United States to have too big a stick. But by far the most likely paths to military conflict with Russia begin not with a premeditated Russian attack, but with an unintended event, for example, an incident between nationals and ethnic Russians in one of the Baltics that creates a crisis in which Putin concludes he must intervene. NATO is the greatest alliance in history and played an essential role in America’s Cold War victory. But today, it stands in need of substantial reform. Europe is presently itself in crisis. The failure of the EU economies to grow since the Great Recession, Brexit, uncertainties about who may be Nexit, an unending stream of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, and an inability to control its own borders—all these raise fundamental questions about the viability of the European project. Given these challenges, the United States should not allow itself to become a lightning rod—or scapegoat. Thus we urge you to reiterate America’s commitment to NATO, including Article Five security guarantees, at the outset. But Washington should also propose that NATO members undertake a zero-based reassessment of the alliance. In his inaugural address, JFK urged Americans not to ask what their government could do for them but to “ask what you can do for your country.” European leaders should ask less what America can do for them and more what they can do for European security. Your effort will be aided by an overall increase in U.S. military capabilities, much as President Ronald Reagan’s diplomatic outreach to the Soviet Union benefited from a perception in Moscow that the United States was changing the balance of power in its favor after a period of decline. This is especially important at a time when Russia’s defense production is poised to grow by 10 percent this year, despite economic pressure. Combining investment in U.S. capabilities with calculated use of your reputation for unpredictability could be particularly useful, much as Nixon cultivated the image of a “madman” to enhance his leverage in Southeast Asia. An early demonstration of your resolve might also be necessary—when suitable circumstances arise—to change Russian perceptions of the costs of ignoring U.S. preferences. At the same time, we urge you to follow through on your campaign pledge to persuade Europe to contribute more to the alliance. Since European NATO members are the principal beneficiaries of the security guarantee, and they collectively exceed the United States in population and rival it in gross domestic product, they should pay a significantly larger share of the costs. We should put an end to the illusion that, as the Financial Times put it, “the U.S. commitment to defend even the newest and smallest NATO members must remain unconditional.” Like all alliances, NATO is valuable to the extent that it advances and defends other American national interests—it is an instrument, not the icon that some in Europe (and particularly Central Europe) would understandably like it to be. Accordingly, the United States should reiterate its commitment to defend the Baltic states from naked aggression, in concert with other allies, but insist that the Baltic governments themselves attempt to normalize relations with Moscow and meet the highest international standards in ensuring the rights of ethnic Russians. The goal must be to prevent incidents that could provide a temptation—or excuse—for Russian intervention. There should be no illusions that America accepts responsibility for allies who provoke conflict and then request assistance and reassurance to deal with the consequences.

10 — US-Russian war goes nuclear

Allison & Simes, 2017, January-February, National Interest, A Blueprint for Trump to fix relations with Russia, Januaryhttp://nationalinterest.org/print/feature/blueprint-donald-trump-fix-relations-russia-18776?page=show Graham T. Allison is director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a former assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans. He is the author of the forthcoming book Destined for War: America, China and Thucydides’s Trap. Dimitri K. Simes, publisher and CEO of the National Interest, is president of the Center for the National Interest.

THE TWO Chinese characters that make up the word “crisis” can be interpreted as meaning both “danger” and “opportunity.” Russia today offers your administration not only a serious challenge but a significant opportunity. Russia is no longer the Evil Empire the United States confronted over decades of Cold War. Nonetheless, Russia remains a player whose choices affect vital U.S. interests profoundly across the agenda of global issues. First and foremost, Russia remains the only nation that can erase the United States from the map in thirty minutes. Second, Russia is key to preventing nuclear terrorism as well as proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction and missile-delivery systems. Third, Russia’s decisions on whether to share intelligence, or withhold it, significantly affect odds of preventing attacks by terrorists on U.S. citizens and assets across the world. Fourth, Russia is the largest country on Earth by land area, bordering China to the East, Poland in the West, and the United States across the Arctic. (Thus, claims that it is only a “regional” power miss the fact that it abuts every important region.) Fifth, Russia’s Soviet-era scientific establishment and post-Soviet achievements make it a global leader in science and technology, particularly in high-tech military hardware. These talents allow it to mount formidable cyber capabilities, second only to the United States, and to produce impressive weapons. The only way U.S. astronauts can currently travel to and from the International Space Station is to hitch a ride on Russian rockets. The cofounder of the most advanced digital company in the world, Google, is Russian-born Sergey Brin. Sixth, Russia is prepared to fight: it has demonstrated both the capability and the will to use military force to achieve its objectives, from annexing Crimea to bolstering Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Seventh, Russia’s potential as a spoiler is difficult to exaggerate—from selling advanced systems like S-300 air defenses to Iran to aligning militarily with China. On their current trajectory, the United States and Russia face a serious risk of stumbling into a war neither side wants and which would be catastrophic for both. You have been elected to change the way Washington does business, and nowhere is that needed more than in dealing with Moscow. While the mainstream press and punditry have panned your campaign pledge to put “America First,” we suggest you remind everyone of the mantra under which both Democratic and Republican presidents fought the Cold War. It affirmed that Americans’ primary purpose in the world was to “preserve the United States as a free nation with our fundamental institutions and values intact.” To that end, they set about building a new world order aimed at advancing the cause of peace, prosperity and freedom for all: for Americans, their allies and other nations, in that order. While some now see that hierarchy as shortsightedly selfish or unworthy of a great power, the brute fact is that the survival and success of the United States is the essential prerequisite for American power to be applied to achieve any other objective in the world. As part of your America First doctrine, we urge you to prioritize America’s most vital interests and, from that foundation, engage Russia on what matters most to American citizens’ survival and well-being. IN ORDER to understand the way ahead, it may be useful to briefly review how America arrived at the current impasse. Ironically, as we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disappearance of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, U.S. relations with Russia are in their worst state since the high Cold War. All three post–Cold War administrations—Bill Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s—entered office seeking to improve relations with Moscow. Each left office with the relationship in worse condition than when he arrived. President Obama began by announcing a “reset” in relations with Russia to secure Moscow’s cooperation on a number of priorities, including his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. As his term ends, U.S. and Russian aircraft are operating in close proximity, attacking targets in Syria with minimum communication and no coordination. This risks an unintended collision that could lead to direct conflict. The United States has deployed a “tripwire” force of more than one thousand combat troops between the three frontline Baltic states, and Russia has responded by deploying advanced air defenses and nuclear-capable short-range missiles to its enclave in Kaliningrad. For the first time since the 1980s, military planners on both sides have been reexamining options that include the actual use of nuclear weapons. This outcome serves as a stark reminder that aspirations, however worthy, are not enough. Detached from coherent strategy and sustained operational execution, such aspirations not only predictably fail, but also dash hopes and incite suspicions.

11- Nuclear weapons modernization has been cut, increased funding needed

Brad Roberts, professor, Georgetown, and former nuclear policy advisor to Obama, 2016, The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century, Kindle edition, page number at end of card.

Modernization is the next big question in U.S. nuclear policy. During the Cold War, U.S. nuclear forces were modernized on a continuing basis in competition with the Soviet Union, so that new nuclear warheads, new delivery systems, and new command-and-control capabilities regularly replaced their aging predecessors. With the end of the Cold War, this process stopped. For the last twenty-five years or so, the United States has spent essentially just the money needed to operate and maintain standing forces. Moreover, as part of its strategy to end the nuclear confrontation following the end of the Cold War, the George H. W. Bush administration retired the newest generation of ballistic missiles; today, the newest ICBM in the existing force was placed in the ground in 1971. Additionally, the replacement of B-52s by B-2 bombers was curtailed, with only twenty B-2 bombers coming into nuclear service. The newest B-52 in the existing force came into service in 1962. The newest U.S. nuclear warhead went into service in 1989. Accordingly, although the forces are maintained adequately to ensure operational effectiveness today, they are also aging well past their original intended service lives. Over the next two decades, the entire remaining inventory will have to be modernized in some way. The triad of delivery systems will have to be modernized or replaced. Every nuclear bomb and missile warhead is either being rebuilt now or will have to be rebuilt to extend its service life or replaced with something new. The associated command-and-control system that ensures presidential control of all decisions to employ nuclear weapons must also be modernized. During the Cold War, the United States spent significant resources to develop, maintain, and modernize nuclear forces— on average approximately 20 percent of defense spending. 107 The cycle of sustainment and modernization ahead, assuming it is completed, will not require investments at Cold War levels. The force is much smaller today than in decades past, and there is no significant competitive aspect driving an arms race and a need for significant qualitative improvements. But it won’t be inexpensive, with estimates ranging from $ 500 billion to $ 1 trillion over the next two to three decades. 108 These are large sums. But they are only approximately 5 percent of projected defense spending over the same period. 109 By way of comparison, the portion of the defense budget currently spent to maintain and operate nuclear forces is approximately 2 percent. 110 Roberts, Brad. The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century (pp. 43-44). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.

12- Draw-down causes prolif, undermining nuclear negotiations

Brad Roberts, professor, Georgetown, and former nuclear policy advisor to Obama, 2016, The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century, Kindle edition, page number at end of card

A third lesson is that the U.S. nuclear posture isn’t simply a barrier to more effective international cooperation in the NPT framework, where many states complain about the slow pace of the nuclear weapon states in reducing and eliminating their nuclear arsenals. The U.S. nuclear posture is also a tool of nonproliferation, in that the guarantees the United States has provided to others have played a critical role in leading them to conclude that they do not need nuclear deterrents of their own. Reducing the effectiveness of extended U.S. nuclear deterrence by eliminating key capabilities in the name of disarmament could actually unleash a new wave of proliferation— but among U.S. friends and allies rather than among its foes. Roberts, Brad. The Case for U.S. Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century (Kindle Locations 4799-4804).

Teams should also read cards specific to scenarios they are reading

13 — Diplomacy hasn’t worked in the South China Sea

Ross Babbage, December 14, 2016, Baggage is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, December 14, 2016, Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea: Strategy Options for the Trump Administration, http://csbaonline.org/research/publications/countering-chinas-adventurism-in-the-south-china-sea-strategy-options-for-t

Then on the day after the release of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision, the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, held a joint press conference in which Malcolm Turnbull said the following: Now as Julie has said, and we have both said on many occasions, we have no position on the competing claims for sovereignty. We have no claims of our own. But we insist that it is absolutely vital that all countries abide by international law, settle disputes peacefully and in the context of this particular dispute, that has been the subject of the decision last night that both countries abide by the decision of the tribunal. It is an important test case for how the region can manage disputes peacefully. It is an opportunity for all parties in the region to come together and for claimants to re-engage in dialogue with each other based on greater clarity around maritime rights. So both of us have been urging claimants to refrain from coercive behavior and any unilateral actions designed to change the status quo in the disputed areas. As I have said many times, every nation in our region has benefitted enormously from the many, many decades of relative peace and tranquility in this region. It is vital that that is maintained. There is so much at risk in the event of conflict, in the event of heightened tensions, so this is an important decision, it is one that has been made in accordance with international law and it should be respected by both parties and indeed by all parties and all claimants.73 In sum, the leaders of the close allies have responded to China’s seizure of effective sovereignty over most of the South China Sea with a series of one-dimensional and highly predictable diplomatic statements, supported by occasional temporary transits of military ships and aircraft through the region. It is certainly the case that these statements were not the only actions taken by the U.S., Japanese, and Australian governments in the region since 2012. The United States negotiated a new military access agreement with the Philippines, expanded the scale and frequency of its military exercises in the region, worked to rally diplomatic resistance to China’s assertiveness, and supported the Philippines’ referral of its legal case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Japan supplied new maritime security vessels to the Philippines and offered a range of other security assistance to both the Philippines and Vietnam. Australia maintained its pattern of maritime air patrols through the South China Sea, transferred some heavy landing craft to the Philippines’ Navy, negotiated a substantial expansion of its training and logistic support arrangements with Singapore, and continued many cooperative security programs with all the ASEAN maritime states. The United States, Japan, and Australia further enhanced their combined exercises and broader security activities in the region.

However, it is timely to ask how successful the approach of the United States, Japan, and Australia has been. What is the state of the scorecard? How effective have the key Western allies been in securing a cessation and then a roll-back of Chinese land creation, militarization, and effective control of the South China Sea? There have been many expressions of displeasure, appeals to international law, some demonstrations of continued freedom of navigation, and some modest efforts to boost the maritime security of Southeast Asian allies and partners. But the reality is that these actions have had little practical impact on the Chinese position on the ground, the assertive operations of Chinese maritime and air forces, or on international perceptions of China’s power and authority. To the contrary, Beijing’s accelerated activities in the South China Sea and the associated information operations have been popular with the Chinese public and reinforced regional perceptions of China’s re-emergence as a major, if not the pre-eminent, regional power. The damage to regional confidence in the United States and the other Western allies has already been substantial, and it could get worse. Western decision-makers should not assume that regional states will automatically move to counter the assertiveness of China by moving closer to the allies. In fact, some countries that were already close to Beijing, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, have moved closer. The Philippines appears to be shifting its stance to one much closer to China, Malaysia is deepening its ties with Beijing, and several other regional countries are equivocal and reviewing their positions. What level of success, then, can current Western policy in the South China Sea be said to have achieved? This paper argues that the approach of the United States and the close allies in this theater has been a failure, reflecting timidity and naivety. Their consistently weak and ineffectual approach is delivering incremental capitulation.

14– Diplomacy with North Korea fails

Geoff Dyer writes about U.S. foreign policy for the Financial Times and is the former bureau chief in China and Brazil. He is the author of The Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition with China—and How America Can Win, National Interest, January-February 2017, http://nationalinterest.org/print/feature/the-time-strategic-patience-over-donald-trump-must-confront-18864

Alternatively, Trump could order his administration to swallow its pride and return to the negotiating table—before North Korea has made any concessions. He could frame this as recognition of reality and argue that no one has actually tested Kim Jong-un to see if he has any room for flexibility. And what about the potential theater of a Trump-Kim summit? He would own cable news for a week. But the objective of a new round of talks is unclear. If the argument were that the United States needs a new approach because North Korea is on the verge of becoming an undeniable nuclear power, why would it make concessions in new negotiations? Pyongyang would likely push for a series of commitments from Washington that would upend security arrangements for the entire region. And although the United States would issue a denial, it would look to the world as if Washington were recognizing North Korea as a legitimate nuclear power—Pyongyang’s ultimate objective.

15 — Diplomacy alone won’t cut it in Asia and Europe, we need hard power

Robert D. Kaplan, Chief Geopolitical Analyst at Stratfor, May 22, 2013, The Virtues of Hard Power, http://www.forbes.com/sites/stratfor/2013/05/22/the-virtues-of-hard-power/#61bec03b35b8

The fact is that hard power is supremely necessary in today’s world, for reasons having nothing to do with humanitarian intervention. Indeed, the Harvard professor and former government official, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., who, in 2004, actually coined the term “soft power” in an eponymous book, has always been subtle enough in his own thinking to realize how relevant hard power remains. As I write, the two areas of the world that are most important in terms of America’s long-term economic and political interests — Asia and Europe — are undergoing power shifts. The growth of Chinese air and naval power is beginning to rearrange the correlation of forces in Asia, while the weakening of the European Union in geopolitical terms — because of its ongoing fiscal crisis — is providing an opportunity for a new Russian sphere of influence to emerge in Central and Eastern Europe. Of course, both challenges require robust diplomacy on America’s part. But fundamentally what they really require is a steadfast commitment of American hard power. And the countries in these two most vital regions are not bashful about saying so. Security officials in countries as diverse as Japan and Poland, Vietnam and Romania desperately hope that all this talk about American soft power overtaking American hard power is merely that — talk. For it is American warships and ground forces deployments that matter most to these countries and their officials. Indeed, despite the disappointing conclusions to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rarely before has American hard power been so revered in places that actually matter. Asia is the world’s demographic and economic hub, as well as the region where the great sea lines of communication coalesce. And unless China undergoes a profound political and economic upheaval — of a degree not yet on the horizon — the Middle Kingdom will present the United States with its greatest 21st century competitor. In the face of China’s military rise, Japan is shedding its quasi-pacifistic orientation and adopting a positive attitude toward military expansion. In a psychological sense, Japan no longer takes the American air and naval presence in Northeast Asia for granted. It actively courts American hard power in the face of a territorial dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea. Japan knows that, ultimately, it is only American hard power that can balance against China in the region. For South Korea, too, American hard power is critical. Though the South Korean military can ably defend itself against North Korea’s, again, it is America’s air and naval presence in the region that provides for a favorable balance of power that defends Seoul against Pyongyang and its ally in Beijing. As for Taiwan, its very existence as a state depends on the American military’s Pacific presence. Don’t tell officials in the Philippines that American hard power is any less relevant than in previous decades. Like Japan, after years of taking the U.S. Navy and Air Force for granted, Manila is literally desperate for American military support and presence against China, with which it disputes potentially resource-rich islands and geographical features in the South China Sea. Like Japan and South Korea, the Philippines is a formal treaty ally of the United States: that is to say, these countries matter. As for Taiwan, it is arguably one of the finest examples of a functioning democracy in the world beyond the West, as well as geopolitically vital because of its position on the main sea lines of communication. Thus, Taiwan too, matters greatly. Vietnam, for its part, has emerged as a critical de facto ally of the United States. It is the single most important Southeast Asian country preventing China’s domination of the strategically crucial South China Sea. And what is Vietnam doing? It is refitting Cam Ranh Bay as a deep-water harbor, officially to attract navies from India, Russia and elsewhere; but especially to attract the U.S. Navy. Malaysia plays down its close relationship with the United States, as part of a delicate diplomatic minuet to get along with both China and the Muslim world. Nevertheless, the number of visits of American warships to Malaysian ports has jumped from three annually in 2003 to well over 50. As for Singapore, one of its diplomats told me: “We see American hard power as benign. The U.S. Navy defends globalization by protecting the sea lanes, which we, more than any other people, benefit from. To us, there is nothing dark or conspiratorial about the United States and its vast security apparatus.” In 1998, the Singaporeans built Changi Naval Base solely to host American nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. In 2011, there were 150 American warship visits to Singapore. Then there are the four American littoral combat ships that, it was announced in 2011, would be stationed in Singapore. At the other end of Eurasia, whatever their public comments, diplomats from countries in Central and Eastern Europe are worried about any American shift away from hard power. In the 1990s, the security situation looked benevolent to them. They were in the process of joining NATO and the European Union, even as Russia was weakened by chaos under Boris Yeltsin’s undisciplined rule. Following centuries of interminable warfare, they were finally escaping history, in other words. Now NATO and the European Union — so vigorous and formidable in the 1990s — look fundamentally infirm. Meanwhile, Russia has been, for the moment, revitalized through a combination of natural gas revenues and Vladimir Putin‘s dynamic authoritarianism-lite. Russia once again beckons on the doorstep of Europe, and the Poles, Romanians and others are scared. Forget NATO. With declining defense budgets of almost all European member states, NATO is to be taken less and less seriously. The Poles, Romanians and so on now require unilateral U.S. hard power. For years already, the Poles and Romanians have been participating in U.S. military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and sub-Saharan Africa. They have been doing so much less because they actually believe in those missions, but in order to prove their mettle as reliable allies of the United States — so that the United States military will be there for them in any future hour of need. As for the Middle East, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries all desperately require U.S. hard power: If not specifically for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, then certainly in order to promote a balance of power unfavorable to Iran’s regional hegemony. Soft power became a trendy concept in the immediate wake of America’s military overextension in Iraq and Afghanistan. But soft power was properly meant as a critical accompaniment to hard power and as a shift in emphasis away from hard power, not as a replacement for it. Hard power is best employed not when America invades a country with its ground troops but when it daily projects military might over vast swaths of the earth, primarily with air and naval assets, in order to protect U.S. allies, world trade and a liberal maritime order. American hard power, thus, must never go out of fashion.

16 – Increasing diplomatic ties with China perceptually signals US abandonment of security guarantees to our allies

Santoro and Warden, 15—senior fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS AND WSD-Handa fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS (David and John, “Assuring Japan and South Korea in the Second Nuclear Age,” The Washington Quarterly • 38:1 pp. 147–165)

The decoupling challenge vis-a`-vis China is far more complex. To start, the military cost of a U.S.– China war continues to rise. China has long had the capability to reliably strike the U.S. homeland with nuclear weapons, and unlike with North Korea, the United States cannot obviate this fact. China’s technological sophistication and vast resources ensure that “the combined strategic capabilities of the United States are not, and realistically cannot be, sufficiently numerous and reliable to deny China the ability to deliver nuclear warheads to the continental United States, no matter how much surprise the United States may achieve.” Moreover, while the United States retains a large absolute conventional military advantage over China, the relative advantage is narrowing.57 Of particular worry to U.S. allies is China’s investment in anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) capabilities that will limit the U.S. ability to project power in Asia. According to a former Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, “the conventional superiority advantage is critical, because it obviates the whole debate about whether or not Washington would ‘sacrifice Los Angeles to save Tokyo’ in a nuclear exchange.”58 At the same time, the economic and political costs of a war between the United States and China continue to grow. Unlike the Soviet Union, China is a competitor and potential adversary of the United States, but also a critical partner. The U.S. and Chinese economies are more integrated than ever before, and China works with the United States to solve global challenges such as climate change, infectious disease, and piracy. Together, China’s growing military power and political influence unnerve U.S. allies. They worry that because of the narrowing conventional military balance between the United States and China, the United States may prove unwilling to endure the costs of even a limited war with China, instead opting to concede on their core interests to prevent escalation. Tokyo in particular is concerned that the United States might begin to think that the U.S.–China relationship is more important than the U.S.–Japan alliance. As Ambassador Linton Brooks puts it, “a closer U.S. relationship with China will lead to a gap between U.S. and Japan’s security perspectives, weakening the U.S. commitment.”59 For the United States, there is no easy solution to these assurance challenges, but there are important steps that can help mitigate allied anxiety. A large part of the allied perception that the United States is in decline relative to China comes from weakness at home. The U.S. economy continues to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, but has still not reclaimed its international reputation as the robust, resilient engine of global growth. Even worse, U.S. defense austerity combined with renewed calls for U.S. military engagement in Europe and the Middle East have caused Japanese officials and experts to doubt whether the United States has the will and capacity to maintain a long-term commitment in East Asia.60 The 2013 defense sequester continues to shortchange military investment and cripple effective long-term planning, and allies question whether the dysfunctional U.S. political system can right the ship. Ideally, the U.S. economy will continue to grow stronger, easing constrains on defense spending. But even if austerity persists in some form, the United States can do more to signal its continued commitment to maintaining a favorable military balance in Asia. First and foremost, it should make the investments necessary to preserve its military-technological edge. Then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took an important step in this regard when he announced the Defense Innovation Initiative, which will emphasize the development of next-generation technologies like robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, and three-dimensional printing.61 But for this initiative to be successful, the Pentagon, with the support of the entire U.S. government, must ensure that focused research and development, prototyping, and eventually procurement of potentially game-changing technologies and weapons systems remain a top priority over the next decade. Second, Washington should sustain high-level political commitment to the rebalance and ensure that recent increases in U.S. political, economic, and military engagement in the Asia–Pacific become a long-term trend.62 It should counter the perception that it is more concerned with relations with China than preserving the interests of Japan and South Korea by continuing to tout the positive role that the U.S.–Japan and U.S.–ROK alliances play in promoting U. S. interests and regional security. Washington should also ensure that, through agreements like the TPP, economic integration between the United States and both Japan and South Korea increases and that, by maintaining a robust troop presence in each country, military coupling is sustained. In the strategic realm, the United States should make clear that it is not prioritizing strategic stability with China over its relationship with Japan and South Korea. Mutual nuclear vulnerability between the United States and China is a fact, and Beijing likely knows this— yet it continues to call for public U.S. acknowledgement in part to antagonize U.S. allies. Therefore, for the time being, Washington should avoid taking a step that would “have a deleterious influence on U.S. assurance efforts with respect to Japan and other important allies and partners.”63 Over the long run, however, the United States should convince allies that extended deterrence remains credible in a condition of mutual vulnerability. Publicly acknowledging a fact should not strain U.S. alliances. Finally, the United States should ensure that actions it takes to strengthen regional security architectures are not perceived as a sign of decline. If the United States is, by contrast, viewed as calling on its allies to fill a role that it can no longer handle, it would weaken both extended deterrence and assurance. Multi-layer Assurance and Deterrence While the end of the Cold War has reduced the risk of global nuclear war, it has also created a more complex, multipolar nuclear order that is more unnerving to many U.S. allies. To fully assure allies in the second nuclear age, the United States must convince them that extended deterrence works simultaneously for multiple nuclear-armed adversaries, with some of whom the U.S. relationship is far more complex than its relationship with the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. It must also show allies that extended deterrence remains credible, even in a world where U.S. nuclear weapons are far less salient. Recognizing the new assurance imperative and the consequences should assurance fail, the Obama administration has worked relentlessly to strengthen extended deterrence and assurance in Northeast Asia. The administration has taken steps to strengthen extended deterrence while increasing its political, economic, and military engagement, including establishing regular extended deterrence dialogues with Japan and South Korea. These efforts have achieved considerable progress, but important assurance challenges remain. To keep extended deterrence credible in the eyes of allies, the United States must address their anxiety about low-level provocations and decoupling pressures by sustaining key conventional and nuclear capabilities, maintaining dialogue and consultations, effectively signaling U.S. interests and resolve, and deepening political and economic integration. Failing to do so would jeopardize regional security, weaken the U.S. alliance system, and risk driving allies to develop nuclear weapons capabilities of their own.

17 —  Turn – diplomacy fails without hard power

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, 2002, Keynote speech, http://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2002/s020517a.htm

These dramatic changes were not brought about by “soft power” or moral appeals. They were brought about by military force – applied in a determined and bold fashion, and embedded in what amounts to a political masterstroke: an almost global coalition against terror. Don’t get me wrong. There is also a vital role for the application of “soft power“, for humanitarian assistance, economic re-construction, and the development of civilian institutions. In Afghanistan, the time for applying soft power has now come. But the fact remains that without serious military capabilities, we would have had no serious influence on the situation. There can be no doubt, therefore, that effective military means will remain a precondition for our security. As UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once memorably put it: “You can do a lot with diplomacy, but much more with diplomacy backed by effective military force”.

18– Soft power not sufficient, need hard power

 

National Defense Panel, 2014, National Defense Panel Review of the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, Ensuring a Strong US Defense for the Future, William Perry, John Abizaid, Co-Chairs, http://www.usip.org/publications/national-defense-panel-releases-assessment-of-2014-quadrennial-defense-review

The growing gap between the strategic objectives the U.S. military is expected to achieve and the resources required to do so is causing risk to accumulate toward unacceptable levels. There are many tools the United States uses to reduce risk and execute its foreign and national security policy. Among these are “soft” power tools, including diplomacy, economic and trade relations, foreign aid, humanitarian assistance, and partnerships with other nations for common goals. All of these are important, but they cannot be fully effective unless they operate in concert with a robust capability to deter or defeat aggression against the United States or its allies abroad. With regard to national security, risk is the possibility that the U.S. military may not be able to carry out some part of the national military strategy. That possibility is increasing as the global threat environment worsens, American military readiness declines, and invest- ment in future military capabilities is cut. Without a robust, ready, and forward deployed military, the United States will not long retain leadership and direction of the liberal international order so vital to American security and prosperity. We have already discussed the increasing global threats in this period of profound strategic change and uncertainty. The bipolar constancy of the Cold War era has yielded to regional forces of instability and new strategic challenges to U.S. interests and security, as we have detailed earlier in this report. Risk is heightened as the delta between threats and capabilities grows, and that gap is expanding today. Shortfalls adding to risk include reduced capacity—the availability of forces—and reduced readiness among units re- quired for rapid response to crisis. In addition, cuts to investment in needed future capabilities translate into additional risk in the future.

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