Conclusion: How the Challenges and Dangers of the Post-Containment Era Can Be Mastered
H. Joachim Maitre
This book was written during historic times of great international upheaval, the defeat of this century's most destructive secular utopia, and American promises of a new world order based on the rule of liberal and pluralistic democracy almost everywhere.
The peaceful liberation of the nations of Eastern Europe, the collapse of communist global ambition, and the sudden disintegration and demise of the Soviet Union spelled the end of the Soviet threat that had shaped the defense strategy and posture of the West for four decades. On the first anniversary of the Gulf War, which had seen U.S. military forces at their height of preparedness and performance on the field of battle, a clear signal of dramatic changes to come in defense policy emanated from Washington. In a brisk speech before the Atlantic Council on January 6, 1992, under the heading "Understanding the New Security Environment," chairman Les Aspin of the House Armed Services Committee proclaimed with congressional authority, accompanied by the nation's vehement nodding, that U. S. forces must now be reshaped to meet the (yet undefined) threats of the new post-Soviet epoch. "We are experiencing a profound shift in the bedrock of our national security requirements. The demise of the Soviet Union means the old basis for sizing and shaping our defenses is simply gone." 1
The authors of this book, all of them undisputed authorities in their respective fields of military and strategic studies, do not challenge Congressman Aspin's basic assessment. Rather, their thoughts aim at his claim that "the new American force must be created from the bottom up, not just by subtracting 25 or 30 or 50 percent from the old Cold War structure." 2