Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Security Strategy for New Threats

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Security Strategy for New Threats

Article excerpt

This article is an excerpt from 'New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century.' Released Sept. 15, it is the first of three reports by the US Commission on National Security, co-chaired by former US Senators Gary Hart, a Democrat, and Warren Rudman, a Republican. The full text of this report can be found on the commission's Web site, www.nssg.gov

In many respects, the world ahead seems amenable to basic American interests and values. A world pried open by the information revolution is a world less hospitable to tyranny and more friendly to human liberty. A more prosperous world is, on balance, a world more conducive to democracy and less tolerant of fatalism and the dour dogmas that often attend it. A less socially rigid, freer, and self-regulating world also accords with our deepest political beliefs and our central political metaphors - the checks and balances of our Constitution, the "invisible hand" of the market, our social creed of E Pluribus Unum, and the concept of federalism itself.

Nevertheless, a world amenable to our interests and values will not come into being by itself. Much of the world will resent and oppose us, if not for the simple fact of our preeminence, then for the fact that others often perceive the United States as exercising its power with arrogance and self-absorption. There will also be much apprehension and confusion as the world changes. National leaderships will have their hands full, and some will make mistakes.

As a result, for many years to come Americans will become increasingly less secure, and much less secure than they now believe themselves to be. That is because many of the threats emerging in our future will differ significantly from those of the past, not only in their physical but also in their psychological effects.

While conventional conflicts will still be possible, the most serious threat to our security may consist of unannounced attacks on American cities by sub-national groups [such as drug cartels, cults, or criminal gangs] using genetically engineered pathogens. …

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