In an address at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on January 19, 2018, US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, discussed details of the first National Defense Strategy to be drafted in a decade. Mattis stated that terrorism will no longer be the main focus of US security.
“…with great power competition between nations becoming a reality again, though we will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we’re engaged in today, but great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of US national security.”
The unclassified summary of the National Defense Strategy, or NDS, makes it very clear who these great powers are. It states “China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability. Despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly.”
The NDS is peppered with language that demonstrates the desire for US global dominance. It states that the Department of Defense will “be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.”
Apparently, the war hawks are feeling the need to remind the world that the US is the mightiest great power, and is willing to do whatever it takes to defend its empire. After all, these competing great powers have been building up their strength for years while the US has been eroding its own in Afghanistan and Iraq (and everywhere else). Mattis warned, “if you challenge us, it will be your longest and worst day.”
What could go wrong?
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