OVER THE LAST TWENTY YEARS, as militaries have shifted from a core responsibility of preparing for and prevailing in major war to more direct foreign policy engagements and training partners' militaries, a natural opposition arose. Security scholars and practitioners have been debating the proper use of the armed forces for decades. While some policymakers call for a conservative approach for the use of military power based upon a careful calculation of national interests reminiscent of the Weinberger Doctrine of the 1980s, others seek to apply the military instrument of power to an increasing range of non-warfighting missions such as civil engineering, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
The debate begins with national strategy, which largely determines how presidents use the military. Because of the timing and character of the Clinton administration (see chapter 2), Clinton's 1990s “shape-respond-prepare” strategy gave rise to the “superpowers don't do windows” counterargument. Some identified diplomatic engagement by generals Wesley Clark, Tony Zinni, or Charles Wilhelm in the 1990s or state-building missions in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo as apostasy for an organization that is supposed to prepare for and win the nation's wars. The first year of the Bush administration emphasized this— militaries fight wars and do not conduct foreign policies or do peacekeeping. By the last years of the Bush administration, however, things were very different. His two defense secretaries added security assistance as a strategic pillar by institutionalizing stability operations in 2005 and then irregular warfare in 2008. And security assistance had expanded from 49 to 149 countries over eight years. Finally, the military found itself doing state building in several countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of the demand for the U.S. military in these areas, resistance to these missions continued throughout the 2000s.