National Security Priorities of the 112th Congress


Anticipating National Security Priorities in the 112th Congress from Stimson Center on Vimeo.

Gordon Adams, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center, is one of the nation’s premier national security budget experts and a big part of the muscle behind the defense budget blog, The Will and the Wallet.
I recently joined Gordon Adams as well as Politico‘s Jen DiMascio, National Public Radio’s Tom Gjelten, and Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy‘s “The Cable” for a feisty discussion titled “Anticipating the National Security Priorities of the 112th Congress.”
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “National Security Priorities of the 112th Congress

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, right in unison with this electoral referendum on Obama’s pathetic political cowardice, the State Department releases an audit declaring that pulling out of Iraq in ‘011 is “extremely dangerous”, and suggests we should remain there for years.
    So, uh, where is this “success of the surge” these fuckers have been selling us? Mass bombings across Iraq yesterday. But never mind, don’t look there, its Yemen that our attention is now being pointed, using the same scare tactics and fantastically unbelievable “plot” scenarios that already engaged us in two costly clusterfucks of epic proportions.
    Obama must be creaming his jeans now that the hawks are once again unfolding their wings. With a Secretary of State drooling for more dead Muslims and further Israeli expansion, and the rising power of the scum that launched this huge deception known as “War on Terrorism”, Obama can now point to the right and act as though if it wasn’t for the opposition, he’d be for peace.


  2. Warren Metzler says:

    Well, well, Nadine,
    I see that you are alive and well; not only giving us a stream of propaganda regarding Israel’s real intentions. But also acting as a publicist for American hegemony.
    Because our constitution explicitly prohibits empire building, we do it in surreptitious ways. We do it by corrupting (or eliminating via disgrace or assassination) government officials of other countries, and we let multinational corporations collect the tribute (and then through graft and corruption, via speaking fees, corporate jobs and board seats; see Clinton’s 100 million in 8 years; commissions are given after retirement to the government officials who did the “right thing”).
    You don’t seriously believe we spend over a trillion dollars every year on the “Defense” department to protect us citizens here at home do you? Do you listen what people like Henry Kissinger actually say?
    If you go to The Real News, and type in Brzezinski in search, you’ll find a series of interviews where he lays it out in black and white in regard to Afghanistan; explicitly admitting we sucked Russian into it to facilitate our ability to control central Asia. Oh yes, he cloaks it in “national security” terms, but that is just a code word for American empire.


  3. erichwwk says:

    For those interested in the nuclear weapons scam, try or my blog:
    The idea that it is Iran or rogue states that are the problem with nuclear weapons is beyond ridiculous.
    Those that believe that might be interested in buying the Brooklyn Bridge I have for sale. email me privately @ gmail as to where to submit cash for a quitclaim deed.


  4. erichwwk says:

    Amen, Warren Metzler. You made my day. There actually IS someone that understands that national security does not come from the ability to inflict harm on other humans.
    Dan Kervick wrote:
    “It is absolutely absurd that we have fought so long, so expensively and so inconclusively over a country like Afghanistan.”
    Indeed.Well said.
    However, you seem to shift the blame to “other countries” the “global situation”.
    There we part company. I see the problem as self inflicted, the fact that private incentives contradict national interest. The solution is totally within our control, but I am increasingly skeptical that we will find the wherewithal to change the incentive structure, or that those that are able to essentially prey on other Americans as we have preyed on foreigners for decades will change their ways.
    It is far easier to “cheat oneself” rich than it is to enrich oneself through an organizational or production process that creates net wealth.
    The powerful do not give up their ability to obtain a free lunch off of the rest of us willingly.
    Those who are being increasingly impoverished ARE realizing that their pockets are being picked.
    Mostly they have no clue as to HOW it happens, and thus how to stop it.
    “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill)- by David Kay Johnson
    Nuclear proliferation belongs in the “self created problem”, as the desire for private gain trumps the desire to stop proliferation.
    See eg ABQ Journal “Labs Likely To Gain From Treaty Push” By John Fleck Nov.2, 2010
    “The underlying need for the money


  5. nadine says:

    “For over 100 years, and steadily increasing over time, US foreign policy is one of empire securing empire; the antithesis of what our Constitution states we are about. ” (Warren Metzler)
    In 1900, any British child could show you the extent of the British empire “upon which the sun never set.” Where’s ours?
    Please delineate the borders of our “empire” and explain what happened to all the tribute that the center of an empire collects from its provinces.
    I think something must be seriously wrong with our empire-building skills. Our tribute has gone missing.
    I doubt that you know much about the history of any real empires, or you wouldn’t distort language in this fashion.


  6. Warren Metzler says:

    Having read Dan’s comment, I am reminded of an issue that I think is big that isn’t being noticed: the meaning of security. Words are powerful, partly because they communicate a certain meaning, and I have a major problem with the current meaning being assigned to the word security.
    What is security? Is it vast numbers of government employees using more and more sophisticated tools to identify the “enemy”, and “taking them out”? I suggest not. I suggest that security really means having a strong foundation from which to operate; in other words, to operate from a base out of which you feel secure, instead of feeling insecure. And more, the context in which you will feel secure is not what you perceive is the problem when you feel insecure.
    Then what is the context that gives you a sense of security, when you operate from that context? I suggest it is to repeatedly know that you are doing the right thing, to know that you have moral character, to know that your goals, actions and things on which you focus repeatedly lead you to outcomes, in the situations which you encounter, that are successful; that produce excellent results and you really enjoy the process. Stated another way, security arises from pursuing and not compromising what is true.
    Therefore “national security” is never really having a powerful military, being able to wreak havoc anywhere in the world you wish to act as such. Our authentic national security is our country doing what is right. Having a military that only engages in conflicts that threaten our way of life; never fighting a war, just because of some geo-political view held by people in the administration’s foreign policy team. It means recognizing the foundation on which this country was founded, and from which it achieved greatness: having a government that creates an infrastructure in which each resident can pursue his or her authentic destiny, and achieve his or her full potential. Having a government that recognizes EACH human has inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    When a person, or a group of people (in this case a group of 300 million people; the US) operates in its foreign policy contrary to the context that person, or group, knows is right, unavoidably more and more incompetence and irrationality enter the scene; leading to more and actions that just produce more problems, and more and more money is spent, eventually resulting in economic disaster and moral depravity.
    I propose this country return to operating from the valid meaning of national security, and give up operating from the current invalid meaning of national security, which is degrading the character of more and more of our citizens, leading us into more and incompetent actions, and moving us rapidly toward bankruptcy. We have left the state where we were considered the envy of the world, and more and more are entering into a state where we are the pariah of the world.
    Please let us change.


  7. Dan Kervick says:

    US national security going forward depends more than ever on global economic health, on our trade relationships, on the health of the global finance system, on global wealth balances, on global labor relations, and on the capacity of national governments to work individually and cooperatively to direct their countries destinies, and to keep those destinies in the hands of governments that are at least somewhat politically accountable, and that have the capacity to negotiate mutually beneficial policies with one another.
    We might be losing control of our future to unaccountable and stateless enterprises that have the ability to manipulate currencies, countries and countries’ citizens into costly and deadly conflicts, wasteful expenditures and exploitative water carrying on behalf of the few. There are many vultures in this world that will gladly feed on the carcasses of the rest of us, and who have the economic wherewithal to bid up conflict and place winning hedge bets on all sides. There are also many corporations and financial baronies that, while ostensibly American, do not have interests that align closely with the interests of the majority of Americans.
    We need a serious shift of resources and attention from hard metal power tools into tools of economic power; and those aspects of security that are effectively a matter of global policing need to be diversified and devolved onto a broader coalition of cooperating political powers with a mutual interest in preserving global law and order; in thwarting terrorism, piracy and corporate and state crime and corruption; and in keeping global commerce and capital flowing.
    The nuclear issue is a continuing problem, and we need to keep our focus on actually preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear conflict, instead of allowing ourselves to be diverted into ideological side-squabbles.
    Some day, if we don’t wake up and re-direct our attention to what is really important and to the the places in the world where all the people are, and while Washington is is still worried about some kid from Yemen hiding a suitcase nuke in his underpants, or keeping Iran from enriching uranium for its so-far non-existent nuclear weapons, we are going to find ourselves on the verge of an actual hot conflict with a quarter of the world’s population, in a country that actually has intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles.
    The foreign policy and punditry class, from what I can see, which after a decade seems to consist now in an entrenched GWOT old guard, seems to be somewhat depressed that Americans have turned their attention away from the issues that used to keep the pundits’ Middle east bailiwicks at the center of attention. If it were up to someone like Peter Bergen, Americans would probably still be watching *Osama Bin Laden Today* on the news every night – starring Peter Bergen no doubt.
    It is absolutely absurd that we have fought so long, so expensively and so inconclusively over a country like Afghanistan.


  8. Warren Metzler says:

    As a result of my work, I have a lot of experience of people trying to extricate themselves from an obviously unworkable situation. And based on my experience I suggest that what is essential, and nothing beneficial occurs until it takes place, is developing a clear awareness of what is proper. Only out of knowing what is proper, can a person (or a large, in this case 300 million, group of people) move toward success.
    I didn’t have time to listen to the entire program, but what I heard in the beginning gave me a clear impression of what was to come; which was not looking at what is the proper role of the military, and what ought to be the guidelines as to when we involve our military.
    I suggest that if we are a country that favors democracy, and organizes itself to facilitate its citizens to each achieve his or her full potential, we need to act in that manner overseas. And that means we don’t move a muscle to force others to do our bidding. And we don’t, which we have too too too numerously done, conduct foreign policy so as to facilitate major companies pursuing solely and only actions that fatten their wallets; often if not always to the significant detriment of the people who live in the countries around the world where those companies operate.
    For over 100 years, and steadily increasing over time, US foreign policy is one of empire securing empire; the antithesis of what our Constitution states we are about. And empire securing empire, especially when it is contrary to the context of the home country, ALWAYS results in massive inefficiency, incompetence, and corruption; which progressively destroys the moral fiber of all involved, and becomes more and more expensive.
    If we keep up our current insane military and foreign policy approach it won’t be long before we kill this country, and put it into a state from which it is impossible to recover without huge disruption and economic chaos.
    Let us wake up America, and begin to move back to the attitudes and behaviors that made this country the envy of the world. Instead of now more and more becoming the pariah of the world.


  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “National Security Priorities”
    Fumigate Washington DC, and after you’re sure every single maggot has stopped wiggling, start over.


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