Diplomacy in a New Age: How the National Guard Builds International Partnerships through Local Communities

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[The following article is solely the product of the author (as footnoted); and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of DISAM, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, DoD, the Air Force, or Air National Guard.]

Giving Power to Gain Security--Detente

Under the Nixon Administration, the President looked for a way to extract the United States (U.S.) from Vietnam. Containment of communism was not working. Henry Kissinger proposed a new security arrangement. He was the chief architect of detente. Kissinger championed detente as a new system that promoted stability and equilibrium. To do this, "major powers had to renounce the use of nuclear weapons." [Jones 2001]. During the 1970s and 1980s, there was an unprecedented movement towards nuclear disarmament and control under the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) I and II treaties. During this transition period, states began to work in a cooperative fashion to defuse tensions between the East and the West. Significant draw-downs of strategic nuclear weapons made the world a much safer place from atomic holocaust. Detente was an early signal that the world was prepared to march into a new era. Cooperation through equilibrium of power changed how modern nation states interacted. Absolute security was not the goal, as seen earlier in the 20th century. Under detente, the U.S. and the USSR recognized that no single nation could have absolute security.

This new security arrangement required that nation states yield some of their sovereignty. Nations would now allow their potential enemies access to their most closely guarded secrets. Transparency was essential to ensure compliance with the SALT treaties. This is a dramatic departure from traditional security systems. During the age of detente, nuclear-armed states agreed to destroy weapons, decommission missile sites, and allow for weapons inspections. Since the end of the Cold War, the nature of bi-polar strategic threats has evaporated. With the re-balancing of power, the Soviet Union began to dismantle. The U.S. became even more concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, the U.S. did not have political or diplomatic relations with these newly emerging countries.

Preventative Defense and Global Engagement

During the Clinton Administration, the National Security Strategy highlighted the policy of engagement. Known as "Shape, Respond, and Prepare," the National Security Strategy emphasized the need to achieve global and regional integration through Theater Engagement Plans (TEPs). TEPs would "shape" the battle-space by building alliances and partnerships through the use of all instruments of U.S. power, diplomatic, military, and economic. Then Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry outlined his view of Preventive Defense, "actions we can take to prevent the conditions of conflict and create the conditions of peace." [Perry 1996] Perry voiced his opinion that democracy was the key to ensuring U.S. security interests. Democratic states were important in advancing stability and reducing violence. Perry called for U.S. foreign policy to be engaged throughout the globe to promote democracy, with particular emphasis aimed toward Eastern Europe. Perry likened Preventive Defense to the aims of the Marshall Plan. He observed that the Marshall Plan provided stability to Europe immediately after World War II. This helped nation-states rebuild their capability to support the regional defense system as east-west tensions grew. As the world was changing, the role of the military has transformed dramatically. Perry looked for alternative means to protect U.S. national interests. To do all of this, he advocated alternative and non-coercive methods to shape international behavior. To make his point about paving the way towards peace, he highlighted the impact of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He held this program up as an important diplomatic tool that was integrating former Soviet Bloc nations into the new security architecture, promoting democratic regimes, and spreading free-market reforms. …