Small Wars Journal

Pentagon Shifts Away From Terrorism Threats, Sets Sights on Russia, China in New Defense Strategy

Pentagon Shifts Away From Terrorism Threats, Sets Sights on Russia, China in New Defense Strategy by Carlo Muñoz - Washington Times

Pentagon war planners are shifting away from the George W. Bush and Obama-era strategies dominated by battling extremist groups such as al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State, and setting their sights on the growing military threat posed by Russia, China and other nation states.

Defense Department and national security officials within the Trump administration outlined this doctrinal shift in its new National Security Strategy (NDS), released Friday. Defense Secretary James Mattis made the case for the administration’s divergence from extremist terror threats to those posed by global powers during a speech Friday in Washington.

“We face growing threats from revisionist powers as different as China and Russia. Nations that seek to create a world consistent with their authoritarian models,” Mr. Mattis said during his speech at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

Noting the development of the NDS required “tough choices” to be made by defense and national security leaders, Mr. Mattis said the end product “makes a clear-eyed appraisal of our security environment, with a keen eye on America’s place in the world.”

Those tough choices, he noted, were made “based on a fundamental precept: That America can afford survival.”

Specifically, the defense strategy contends Beijing though “military modernization, influence operations and predatory economics” is pursuing its own designs to replace the U.S. as the premier regional power in the Indo-Pacific region…

Read on.

Comments

Vicrasta

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 1:04am

In reply to by Warlock

Well said..and concise:

"justify desired force structure and equipment modernization programs in the face of more easily defined threats from opponents such as Russia and China".

Opponents or competitors. Either way, you need money to compete..and win.

Warlock

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 12:42pm

In reply to by Bill C.

You have a gift for taking academic and journalist opinions and presenting them as if they are unassailable fact. Rather than the elaborate theory of global transformation you've recycled here, we might say that the services are better able to justify desired force structure and equipment modernization programs in the face of more easily defined threats from opponents such as Russia and China -- who remain the only two countries who pose an existential threat to the U.S. -- than they can from an amorphous and difficult to present collection of terrorist groups in foreign countries.

Follow. The. Money.

Improved on a little, I hope, from my initial attempt:

First, from our article above:

BEGIN QUOTE

Pentagon war planners are shifting away from the George W. Bush and Obama-era strategies dominated by battling extremist groups such as al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State, and setting their sights on the growing military threat posed by Russia, China and other nation states.

END QUOTE

Next, from our current "Shaping of the Cold War 2.0" thread here on SWJ:

BEGIN QUOTE

But the Cold War as an ideological struggle disappeared only in part, despite Communism’s implosion. On the American side, not so much had changed on that day (dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991). The Cold War was over, and the United States had won it. But most Americans still believed that they could only be safe if the world looked more like their own country and if the world’s governments abided by the will of the United States.[i]

END QUOTE

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/shaping-of-cold-war-20-the-role-of…

Given the above, might we say that the earlier post-Cold War primary threat -- to the U.S.'s desire to "make the world look more like our own country," and to "make the world's governments abide by the will of the United States" -- that this such old primary threat was seen as "al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State?"

Likewise, might we say that the new primary threat -- to the U.S.'s desire to make the world look more like our own country, and to make the world's governments abide by the will of the United States -- that this such new primary threat is seen to be "Russia, China and other nation states?"

Thus, taken together, might we say that, over the recent period, the U.S. has come to consider -- as the primary threat to the U.S.'s desire to make the world look more like our own country, and to make the world's governments abide by the will of the United States -- both great nations (exs: China, Russia, Iran) and small (ex: N. Korea), and both state (all of these) and non-state actors (exs: al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Islamic State, etc., etc., etc.)?

To wit: the exact same categories/the exact same groupings (both great nations and small, and both state and non-state actors) -- of "primary threat" Rest of the World entities -- who came to stand (separately and/or together) against the Soviets/the communists during the Old Cold War -- and against their "transform and incorporate"/expansionist designs for the Rest of the World back then?

If this indeed is the case (these categories/these groupings are similar to/the exact same as those that stood against the Soviets/the communists and against their expansionist designs in the Old Cold War), then how might this such "containment" and "roll back" understanding -- of both our new and old "primary threat" actors -- how might this such understanding effect what the U.S./the West does now; this, to:

a. Overcome these significant, different and varied "primary threat" actors (only their place in the "obstructionist" line seems to have changed with the new NDS) -- and, specifically, their "containment" and "roll back" efforts -- and, in spite of same,

b. Achieve the outlying state and societal transformations -- and incorporation into the U.S./Western sphere of power, influence and control -- that we desire/require?

(Our "soft power" having failed us post-the Old Cold War, thus a mission similar to that which the Soviets/the communists had back-in-the-day -- but for the U.S./the West to now to achieve -- via other ways and other means?)