National Strategy, Collective Security, and the Global Common

By Hart, Gary W. | Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

National Strategy, Collective Security, and the Global Common


Hart, Gary W., Denver Journal of International Law and Policy


The answer we give to three questions will largely determine whether the United States will flourish or decline in the 21st century. First, will we anticipate events or merely react to them? Second, will we form new alliances to address new realities? Third, how rapidly will we adapt to transformational change? These questions share an assumption: the world is changing and it is changing fast. Our national predisposition, however, has been to rely on traditional institutions and policies and to use them to address unfolding history on our own timetable.

We are also inclined to employ a simple, all-encompassing, central organizing principle as a substitute for a national strategy. During the second half of the twentieth century that principle was "containment of communism." After 9/11 it became "war on terrorism." Unfortunately, the period in between, the largely peaceful and prosperous 1990s, was not used to develop a comprehensive strategic approach to an almost totally different new century that was emerging.

One lone effort represents the exception. In January 2001, the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century produced a road map for national security for the first quarter of this century. It was almost totally ignored and, one decade later, of its fifty specific recommendations only one--the creation of a Department of Homeland Security--has been adopted.

There are reasons for our lassitude, our false sense of security, and our reliance on reaction. Between 1812 and 2001 our continental home was not attacked. And because we are a large island nation, we have felt ourselves to be invulnerable. Our economic expansion between the end of World War II and the first oil embargo of 1974 created a very large, productive, and secure middle class. We have possessed economic and military superiority for more than half of a century.

For most of our history, strategic thinking and planning, especially on the grand scale, has been an enterprise confined largely to the academy. Instead, our policymakers would deal with events as they arose. Further, as a dominant power in the nation-state era, we could always try to rely on protectionism and tightened borders to keep the turbulent world at bay. No longer. Isolation and a policy of reaction are impossible in the 21st century.

I. HISTORIC REVOLUTIONS AND NEW REALITIES

Multiple revolutions will continue to remake the world for decades to come. Globalization--the internationalization of finance, commerce, and markets--is making national boundaries economically redundant. Notice the mounting, unresolved struggles within the Eurozone. Further, information has replaced manufacturing as the economic base of our nation, and it is furiously integrating global networks. Together, globalization and information are eroding the sovereignty of nation-states. And this erosion has contributed to the transformation of war, and the changing nature of conflict.

As the Arab Spring has demonstrated, the state no longer possesses the ability to control the free flow of information. Also the nation-state no longer possesses the monopoly on violence that was the principal product of the Westphalian settlement in the mid-17th century. On September 11, 2001, the most powerful nation on earth could not guarantee the protection of its citizens. A world accustomed to a two dimensional chess board suddenly found that a third dimension had crystalized. Our nation had organized its international relations on the plane of the nation-state. In a heart-beat we are now forced to recognize the new dimension represented by the stateless nation.

In large part because of these multiple political, economic, and social revolutions, a host of new realities characterize the 21st century. These include: failed and failing states; mass south-north migrations; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the rise of ethnic nationalism and religious fundamentalism; the emergence of tribes, clans, and gangs as alternatives to the nation-state; the threat of pandemics; energy interdependence; climate change; and many other new phenomena.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

National Strategy, Collective Security, and the Global Common
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.