U.S. National Security Agenda and U.S. National Security Policy: Realities and Dilemmas
William J. Taylor and Don M. Snider
Framing national security policy options that will find a bipartisan consensus at home and international consensus among our allies, as well as among our counterparts in the U.N. Security Council, is now extraordinarily complex. The United States as well as the rest of the industrialized world is experiencing a post-Cold War period during which the world order is undergoing momentous change. It is simply unknown how long this period of change will extend between the essentially bipolar order of the Cold War and whatever order ultimately replaces it. History teaches, if the era after World War II is predictive, that it may take half a decade or more, a major war, and at least one set of national elections before America can again chart a recognizable, consensual course in world affairs. Perhaps the new military strategy that began to take shape in the early 1990s will produce the functional equivalent of the containment strategy that began to take shape in the latter 1940s. Perhaps the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 was the modern-day equivalent of the Korean War, which produced NSC 68. And perhaps the nation has the leadership requisite to a new national security strategy needed for a new world order.
Let us summarize those factors in this transitional environment that are broadly apparent to policymakers and that are strongly influencing future U.S. national security policy. These factors are transitional guideposts to policy formulation. They do not determine its exact content, but policymakers seeking effective foreign policy must consider how these factors, both foreign and domestic, are now shaping the security environment. Let us also frame for analysis the evident challenges U.S. national security policy must address as the nation moves through the 1990s, and conclude by sketching some of the main themes in the emerging policy.
Even the current guideposts, however, are rapidly changing from those previously used. In the recent past one common guidepost for most all