U.S. Hemispheric Interests
I read with interest the comments made in the Winter 1999 Naval War College Review by Captain Jorge H. Recio, of the Argentinean Navy, about my article in the Summer 1998 issue ("Redefining U.S. Hemispheric Interests: A Bold Naval Agenda for the Twenty-first Century"). I would like to express just three ideas, which I consider support my thesis and by no means justify the criticism made by my friend and classmate of the 1997 Naval Command College Class at the U.S. Naval War College. First, my theory is based upon an intellectual exercise and as such it is subject to all sort of critiques, but in no way does it lose its character of academic exercise. In that respect, it represents my personal point of view, and it cannot be considered as an official opinion from my country or the Chilean Navy at all. I wrote the article as an analyst of the U.S. interests in the region, on the basis of my experience as student, and afterwards as teacher and researcher in the U.S. Naval War College. As I stated in my article, I attempted to interpret the U.S. interests in respect to the hemisphere, and not to represent the Chilean interests, or those of any other country in the region. To try to give another interpretation to this academic exercise would be capricious.
Second, in developing my work, I tried never to ignore the geopolitical, political, economic and military importance of Argentina. On the contrary, I situated that nation in the context of what I called the "geopolitical triangle" of South America, i.e., as one of the three more important countries in the region with respect to U.S. hemispheric interests. To mention only one of the many arguments that support this condition, such as the length of the coast of these three countries, is a deceptive simplification and a complete distortion of what I attempted to demonstrate.
Third, regarding the "confidence" matter, which seems to be the main concern for Captain Recio and the one that provoked his criticism, I would like to insist that I have tried to interpret the regional interests of the United States and not the Chilean interests in Latin America. The Falkland War was, undoubtedly, a hard blow to U.S. interests, because Argentina engaged in a conflict with the traditional and main North American ally: the United Kingdom. To ignore the fact that after this episode the United States decreased her degree of confidence in Argentina means to be blind to a contemporary reality. Today nobody can deny that Argentina has a navy with a "blue-water" capability, but this is not the point analyzed in my article: the eventual support of the United States to the future development of that capability, in a regional context. Thus, I have framed this article in the twenty-first century. As I said, the naming of Argentina as a "major non-NATO ally" is a favorable sign of the recovery of the confidence lost by the United States during the past decade.
I hope that this explanation meets doubts and concerns of Captain Recio, and I send my most respectful regards to him and to all the journal's distinguished readers, with a thought in mind: "The only way to make oneself free from flattery is to make men understand that nobody offends them saying the truth" (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince).
Commander Edmundo R. Gonzalez, Chilean Navy
"Shock and Awe"
Re your review of Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance in the Summer 1998 edition, your reviewer rendered a gross disservice both to our paper and to those who are genuinely seeking innovative, creative, and constructive ways to deal with the future security of this nation. One hopes this disservice was inadvertent.
In the first instance, reviews are meant to be complete if not timely. The National Defense University edition of Shock and Awe was published over two years ago. A student in the field would know that since then, a second, followon, and far more specific work, Rapid Dominance: A Force for All Seasons, was released in 1997. …