Review: US National Defense for the Twenty-first Century: Grand Exit Strategy

3 Star, Force Structure (Military), Military & Pentagon Power, Priorities, Strategy

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3.0 out of 5 stars One Superb Point, Missing the Other Half of the Idea,

July 5, 2003
Edward A. Olsen
This book is worth buying for its documentation of one really superb point, to wit, that the U.S. is in fact entangled in too many alliances requiring too much money and too much manpower to support, all of which in the aggregate hand-cuff the Nation and drain its resources. Right on–we should start with getting out of Korea and cutting all military assistance funds to the Middle Eastern nations.Unfortunately, the book strikes a very libertarian and somewhat naive tone in suggesting that a Fortress America approach to national defense is both possible and desireable. Although published after 9-11, and by an author who is surely aware of the 32 failed states, 66 nations with mass migration issues, 33 countries with starvation, 59 with modern plagues, many with water scarcity and ethnic conflict–18 of which have degenerated into genocide in recent times–he marches blithly on without reference to the inherent vulnerability of the US–not just US forces, but US businesses and US citizens and US children in the heartland–to terrorism, disease, illegal immigration, and countless other threats to global stability (and therefore to US prosperity and security here behind the water’s edge).

On balance, I do not regret buying this book. The author provides a tedious but worthwhile examination of why so many of our entangling alliances should be brought to an end–including NATO–and on this vital point we are in agreement. This is not, however a strategy–it is a policy, and only a half-baked policy at that, unless it is accompanied by a larger consideration of ends, ways, and means that will prevent the rest of the world from imploding in a manner most threatening to the USA.

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