These days, it’s hard not to notice that the Obama administration’s foreign policy is on the skids. More and more, the critiques leveled at the Administration from both the left and the right of the political spectrum share a common condemnation: that U.S. foreign policy has become characterized by strategic drift, with serious consequences for American interests abroad.
It’s high time, then, to take stock of just where U.S. foreign policy is currently, and where it is heading. The American Enterprise Institute’s David Adesnik starts us off with a devastating critique of “realist” foreign policy thinking—and an impassioned appeal for continued American exceptionalism. Boston University’s Angelo Codevilla then gives us a glimpse into the systemic dysfunctions that plague America’s vast—and growing—intelligence community. From there, two seasoned counterterrorism experts, National Defense University’s Sebastian Gorka and the London Center’s Jed Babbin, provide answers to two pressing questions: why al-Qaeda has proven to be so resilient, and why America is adrift in the War on Terror. Robert Zarate of the Foreign Policy Initiative explains why the U.S. must match ends and means in defense budgeting. Harvard University’s Will Tobey explores why the Obama administration’s record on nuclear nonproliferation is decidedly mixed. And Rachel Ehrenfeld of the American Center for Democracy maps out some salient priorities for defending cyberspace.
That’s not all, however. This issue of The Journal also takes a look at the changing nature of war, and the new battlefields now confronting the U.S. military. StrategyPage’s James Dunnigan starts us off with a survey of past cycles of military evolution, and explains how these developments set the stage for the future shape of the American armed forces. Then the National Defense University’s T.X. Hammes weighs in with his thoughts about the changing nature of warfare, and the technological innovations that will help shape how and where we fight in the years ahead. From there, former National War College Dean Ken Allard offers a provocative argument that the relationship between citizen and soldier is fundamentally broken, so much so that it requires a wholesale rethink of the all-volunteer force. After that, Thomas Chen of City University London gives us a glimpse of where the U.S. military stands in the cyber domain. Last, but most definitely not least, the American Foreign Policy Council’s Avi Jorisch maps out why we are falling short in the critical mission to “drain the financial swamp” that fuels contemporary terrorism.
Our Perspective interviewee for this issue is the Honorable Jon Kyl, who last served as the Senate’s Minority Whip—and who, during his quarter century in public service, became a truly “indispensable man” in the national security arena. Our Dispatches for this edition come from Jordan, France and Russia. And we wrap up our coverage, as always, with reviews of several important books. The selections this time deal with the changing global military environment, Chinese-Indian strategic competition, and the emergence of economic warfare as an intrinsic part of America¹s strategic arsenal.
Our goal at The Journal is to shed new light on the dangers and opportunities confronting the United States in an increasingly complex global environment. We believe that this issue, like previous ones, does just that. We hope that you agree.