But even in such instances, linkages remain between domestic and national security agendas. Without such distinctions, however, it is easy to argue that every domestic issue is also a national security issue. The policy and political turmoil emerging from such a concept will surely diffuse and denigrate national security policy to a meaningless exercise.
In this period of transition, it is clear that efforts must be undertaken by the military and national security establishment as well as by political leaders to develop and sustain a degree of awareness and sensitivity of the American people to the continuing dangers in the external world, to the reality that the end of the Cold War did not necessarily bring peace. Indeed, the "fog of peace" seems to have made it more difficult to design a strategic vision that clarifies U.S. national interests in the new world order. And in such circumstances it is important that the notion of national security not be so separated from domestic concerns that it becomes isolated along with the military instrument. Without such efforts, national will, political resolve, and staying power may be lacking in meeting serious threats that may emerge in the future. Without such efforts, sometime in the future the United States may be faced with a serious security threat that triggers a precipitous response and an open-ended commitment that leads to, yes, another Vietnam.