Six Nightmares: Real Threats in a Dangerous World and How America Can Meet Them

January 21, 2001

6 Nightmares: The Real Threats to American Security . . . by Anthony Lake


JOEL ROSENTHAL: Tony Lake, as most of you know, has spent his entire professional life looking at issues related to power and principle. He has done that as a scholar and also as a practitioner.

He has agreed to come to talk to us today about his new book, although he promises he is not going to try to sell it, just talk about it. His new book is called Six Nightmares, which raises some of the most urgent problems facing U.S. foreign policymakers today—and not only raises those issues, but suggests what might be done about them.

The book, like the author, is hard to classify. The book is part fiction, part analysis, part prescription, and part memoir. I think of this mixture as the quintessential Tony Lake. Inquiring minds will want to know what I mean by the quintessential Tony Lake, so I jotted down a few words.

I think the book is imaginative, as the title suggests, although we won't do any dream analysis today, I promise. It's analytical, as befits an expert. It's important—this is not a book about marginal issues; this is a book about important issues. It's engaging, and I sense that, in getting to know Tony over the years, he shares my view that being boring is a cardinal sin, and he's anything but that and the book is anything but that. The book is honest in its assessment of his own actions and also the assessment of others who have been involved in the policymaking process. And it's also playful—Tony has never met a pun he doesn't like. I was going to try some, but I don't want to steal any of your material.

I won't go into the long C.V. Many of you know about Tony's distinguished career in public service. I just want to mention that he is a member of the Carnegie Council's Board of Trustees and was also one of the founding members of our editorial advisory board when we started our journal Ethics & International Affairs.

I'll just mention four things that Tony has done since leaving the Clinton administration, in no particular order. He is a professor at Georgetown University; he has written this book; he served as the chief U.S. negotiator in the effort to end the conflict in Ethiopia and Eritrea; and he is currently serving on the Board of UNICEF.


ANTHONY LAKE: I'd like to begin by addressing how one should define national security, which traditionally is seen in unitary terms as the security of our nation, like a marker on a game board. This is something that we have discussed in this room going back over the last twenty years. I think that this definition is wrong both analytically and in ethical terms.

Increasingly, in an era of globalization and the semi-erosion of borders and the vitiation of the governing authority in nations, one needs to define national security as the security of people in a particular nation.

If you begin with that definition, then you can easily see my central point, which is that in this era of globalization, growing threats to American national security—defined as the security of American people in their everyday lives— flows not from the strengths of other nations, as all of us in the national security racket were trained to think, but from the weaknesses of other nations. This is a rather different prism through which to view national security, and it helps to explain why Washington has so much difficulty in coming to grips with the realities of the national security issues confronting us today.

It's easy to illustrate that point when you talk about economics. And certainly, if you go back over the last, say, two weeks' worth of newspapers and ask yourself whether the almost invariably front-page stories about foreign missiles and NMD [National Missile Defense]—NMD may or may not be real in eight years to ten years—will in fact have less impact on the lives of Americans than the stories about Japan's political and economic difficulties, which appear only occasionally in the business section or in the middle pages of the newspapers. If Japan's political difficulties exacerbate its economic difficulties, this more than anything else could have a profound effect on American lives.

I won't belabor the point, but clearly in economics it is foreign weaknesses that can play back here. Indeed, Japanese weaknesses could well create new problems in Asia that could play back here—thus are a threat to our national security as I have defined it. But the point goes well beyond that.

Consider the obvious example of how the weaknesses that produced fractured states—most notably (because most threatening to us) in Colombia and Indonesia, as well as the Balkans—are responsible for the issues that have obsessed us over the last decade. Another, though less obvious, example consists of the ways in which weaknesses in other nations—what in the nineteenth century we tended to call the "balance of power"—are producing policies and actions that seem threatening to us even when seen through the prism of our enormous strengths.

That's a complicated sentence, but let me illustrate what I mean by examining the examples of Russia, China, and North Korea. I would argue that while we debate in classic terms the threatening actions such states may take, many of those actions are driven in fact by weaknesses.

Example #1: Russia

Russia is a relatively obvious example. After the crash of 1998, the dire predictions of rampant inflation and so on happily turned out to be wrong. The Russian economy has been very modestly growing, in fact, over the last couple of years.

But if you look at it more closely, that growth has been very much dependent on energy prices rather than on the development of an internal market or true banking reform. The Russian government is doing better at collecting taxes, but it really hasn't reformed the tax system yet. And the economy remains in truly dire straits. The formal economy in Russia is still somewhere around one and a half times that of Switzerland.

You can see the dimensions of their problem when recalling that, after the IMF loan program, a lot of the loan money—no one knows how much, but between $50 billion to $250 billion—was shipped abroad, some into the American stock market, some into our bank accounts, and so on. You can get an idea of the dimensions of that problem when you see that in 1999 the budget of the Russian government was only $25 billion.

That economic weakness has produced in Russia a military that is starved for resources. It has helped to produce, at best, very haphazard security arrangements for their nuclear materials, which is dangerous.

Psychologically—and we are seeing this increasingly now—it has produced a compensatory nationalism that President Vladimir Putin has been using internally as well as externally. In today's Russian schools, we are seeing a renewed effort to instill almost Soviet-style nationalism; and in the foreign policy arena, Russia is increasingly tweaking the hegemon in ways that are not merely aesthetically displeasing but also increasingly substantive.

Much of Russia's current behavior flows from its psychological sense of weakness, and you can understand why. Just imagine our politics if we had lost the Cold War. It would make the Russians look relaxed, I think, about all of this.

Russian weakness is particularly dangerous in a nuclear sense. While Russia's 12,000 warheads are under some controls, they still have enough material to build 70,000 warheads, which, if just a tiny percentage leaked out, could be extremely dangerous. And their nuclear strategic command-and-control systems are in very bad shape, meaning they are moving towards a hair trigger in their strategic nuclear forces—which should make your palms sweat. I think there is some evidence for this. So where we can see a strength—i.e., the Russians cutting deals with the Iranians for their missiles— in fact much of that behavior is driven by weakness.

Example #2: People's Republic of China

The People's Republic is a less obvious example. Things are going well economically on the mainland; we often read about that. Beijing claims growth of just under 8 percent this year, and it had growth of over 8 percent during the past several years. Many economists discounted much of that; nevertheless, the growth was real. Productivity, too, has been rising. The reforms of the Chinese banking system are at least going, and in some places going well. State-run enterprises are being reformed. Foreign direct investment is around $40 billion a year. Exports are going well. . . .

That's all good news from the Chinese point of view. It's helping to underwrite, as we have read in the papers recently, a significant increase in China's defense budget, in its military spending.

Meanwhile, many in Washington consider China's growing economic strength to be a security threat. They argue that a strong economy will permit Beijing to build up its missile forces, threaten Taiwan, and so on. But I would argue, in fact, that economic strength is to be welcomed, because it is economic weakness that has created many of the problems the United States faces with Beijing now.

Let me expand on this point. China has—and there is no way of knowing this for certain—something close to 8 percent growth statistically. But much of that goes into unused inventory, which counts in China's GDP calculations when in fact it should be subtracted from it in many ways. So let's assume that China really has 4%, 5%, or 6% growth annually. That has to fund a massive infrastructure project as the government tries to carry out economic reforms. And once China enters the WTO, it will have even heavier expenses to compete in the global marketplace. China's military spending is expensive—we wish less so. While they say that they are trying to build a social safety net, in fact not a whole lot is going into that.

This, then, is China's problem: they have to carry out the economic reforms, and will soon be committed to so doing by the WTO, this year or next. Those economic reforms create internal unrest because they inevitably create, among other things, a lot of unemployment—25 million people in the state-run enterprises over the last couple of years, added to probably hundreds of millions of unemployed wandering around in the countryside.

So if you know that your economic reforms are going to require this kind of pain and create unemployment, what do you do about it? Well, you don't have the economic resources, despite the claims, to build the social safety net that will take care of your people. Therefore you will face increasing labor unrest—we in the West have already seen this. And coupled with that, the legitimacy of the ideology of the regime has been crumbling because there is a tension in China between the center and the regions. While the PRC claims it is upholding socialism, in fact it is carrying out capitalist reforms, causing a weakening of inter-generational belief in Marxism.

So the Chinese government needs to find ways to compensate for its loss of power and prestige. One way is through appeals to nationalism, and that means occasional saber rattling on Taiwan, an issue of real genuine emotion with leaders in Beijing but that nonetheless can be used as a rallying cry. Another way of handling the unrest is simply to repress it, whether it's spiritual with the Fa Lun Gong or economic with the unemployment.

This situation was created by China's weakness, not by its strength—by its inability to do what it has to do to avoid these problems.

This, in turn, makes it more difficult for Washington to manage a sensible China policy. Chinese nationalism plays into the Right in this country, who can say, "Look, they want to throw us out of Asia, they're about to attack Taiwan . . ." But then as the Chinese government represses its dissenters, the Left in this country—the human rights community and those who are saying that these are bad people because they repress their people—get excited. That is squeezing the center of what I believe remains a sensible policy towards Beijing, which is to disagree where we disagree—and God knows we do—agree where we agree, and mostly remain somewhat calm, always understanding that if we proclaim Beijing to be our enemy, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy with profound strategic consequences for us around the Pacific.

But again, my point is that we are wrong to paint a picture of China as the dragon breathing fire, one that is about to challenge us everywhere. In fact, many of the tensions in U.S.-China relations are created by a sense of weakness in Beijing rather than a sense of strength.

Contrary to what we who see this purely in terms of communism-versus-the-free-world think, the Chinese government is not simply preserving a communist regime; rather, it is expressing an historic Chinese concern with preserving the unity of China and an historic horror of instability and unrest.

By the way, I was very struck, in going to Beijing in 1996 and meeting with the leadership to discuss the so-called strategic dialogue, at how palpable a sense of history the Chinese carry around. They remember all the unequal treaties and still have a sense of aggrievement over what happened a century ago. This helps to explain how neurotic they are about our interfering on the Taiwan issue.

Example #3: North Korea

Most of my neighbors in Annapolis believe that the problem in North Korea is strength. North Korea has got these missiles, they're going to hit Alaska and so on, and that is at some point going to become a real problem.

But, of course, North Korea's underlying problem is weakness. However successful North Korean president Kim Jong Il is, President Bush should not worry. We are not going to prop up and save communism in North Korea. It is doomed. It doesn't work.

One government analyst, who happens to be a friend of mine, told me that during last year's energy crisis, Kim Jong Il arrived at the conclusion that he should aim for an "elastic soft landing"—in other words, he wants to keep spinning this out for as long as possible, in hopes that something will turn up to save the Korean peninsula, because he doesn't know how to save it either.

North Korea will collapse at some point. The overwhelming danger, as I suggest in my book, is that the collapse will suddenly threaten South Korea. We literally can see in North Korea—and I think this is about the most dangerous thing in the world—a kind of an Albania writ large: chaos, perhaps even civil war.

If that happens, the response of the international community is hugely important. Do we intervene or not, as the Italians did in Albania, to put a stop to it? How will China and South Korea deal with the flood of refugees?

This security threat flows from North Korea's weakness. South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung is right in pursuing his so-called Sunshine Policy. I also believe that American policymakers will come back to supporting Kim's approach as soon as they realize that the point is not to prop up North Korea but to forge stronger ties between North and South. The better the North Korean economy, the better for the United States because

  1. the less likely it is that Korean reunification will be a hard landing, raising the kind of crisis I talked about; and

  2. the less expensive reunification will be, which will be easier not only on the South Koreans but also on us Americans and others whom the South Koreans will ask for help. Indeed, reunification of Germany looks very simple and cheap compared to the cost of Korean reunification—of course the Germans may not think so . . .

In the meantime, there is no doubt in my mind that the North Koreans will go on doing what they have been doing all along, which is using missiles for blackmail, trying to make us twitch.

And here the Bush administration is right by trying to appear a little less concerned about this, or a little less willing to pay the blackmail, although in the end I think you almost inevitably have to comply to some degree. We have little choice but to walk the line between supporting the Sunshine Policy and maintaining deterrence. Over the last year, more North Korean troops appeared on the border than did a year ago. And there are no signs, as a result of the Sunshine Policy, of a reduction in actual military tensions between North and South.

So in all of those ways I would argue it's weakness, not strength, that we need to address fundamentally, and it is through the prism of weakness that we need to view top security problems such as the one posed by North Korea.

Hedging against terrorist-induced catastrophe

Another obvious way in which these weaknesses are a problem— I talked about this in my Morgenthau Lecture as well as in my book—is the increasing possibility of a catastrophic event, whether through biological, chemical, nuclear, or computer weapons. Even if the chances are quite small, the consequences of such an event are so large that it should be concentrating our minds wonderfully.

The following factors are increasing the likelihood of such a catastrophe:

  1. Increasing numbers of actors on the international stage who would use one of these devices in an American or European city.

  2. Easier access to such weapons and/or ease of construction owing to the weaknesses of borders, the availability of the Internet. . . . (That said, it is still difficult to obtain biological or nuclear agents.)

  3. A weakening of our ability to deter such events, and especially to deal with their consequences. The Clinton administration made a start: we now have anti-terrorism training programs in over 200 cities. But although we are ahead of most other nations in preparing for such a thing, efforts thus far have been embryonic and weak.

Let me briefly explain the first two points.

The nature of terrorism is changing away from a pattern of terrorists belonging to organizations that have clear political agendas and acting to advance those agendas, towards what I call "existential terrorists," who, because of a sense of their own weakness in the face of technological change, want to lash out at others who are more advantaged.

Before, terrorists were self-deterred in a way, and it was easier to track them. Now, however, no terrorist group takes responsibility for the action; rather, an individual acts on the simple need to get revenge, as the Unibomber said in his diary. This is what makes biological weapons so attractive. If there were anthrax in this room now, none of us would know it for two days. So for terrorists, weapons of mass destruction may be more attractive than they were, say, fifteen years ago—we've already seen that in the Tokyo subway.

Secondly, other governments may be more attracted to these weapons because of what is a cliché in Washington now, so-called asymmetric warfare. Because the United States is in such a powerful position, the likely response in future conflicts may be not to take us on conventionally but to do so through biological or chemical instruments.

In the book I argue that the problem is not so much asymmetrical warfare as it is something I call "ambiguous warfare," in which other governments could attack the United States without even claiming responsibility. This would put the president of the United States in an extremely difficult position, because if he were to respond without proof, the United States would rightly be blasted at the UN Security Council, General Assembly, and in our own newspapers. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure they did it and everybody knows it but because you can't prove, you don't respond, then you have lost.

The Washington nightmare

To reiterate, it is the weaknesses of the world that need addressing. It sounds easy enough, but there are several problems with Washington adopting this approach:

  1. The way Washington talks about national security issues makes it more difficult for Washington to deal with weaknesses than with strengths. There is not a foreign military that the United States cannot defeat, and fairly rapidly probably. By the same token, there is not a foreign economic crisis that the United States can fix, or maybe even would want to, in the coming years. But again, the latter may be more threatening than the former.

  2. It's also hard to summon political will to deal with weaknesses. It just doesn't lend itself to good table-thumping rhetoric the way a military crisis can. And it is harder to rally a public to try to help others become stronger than it is to keep others in a box because we perceive their strengths as threatening to our position of dominance.

  3. Finally, it is difficult because dealing with weaknesses requires multilateral action. The United States simply is not in a position unilaterally to fix most of the weaknesses around the world, or even come close to it. You can deal with international terrorist threats and international economic problems only on a multilateral basis.

As I said in my Morgenthau Lecture a couple of years ago, I find it pathetic—that's the only word for it—to hear people arguing that if we enter into more multilateral arrangements with other nations on arms control regimes or economic regimes or whatever, it will somehow mean relinquishing our national sovereignty. The fact is, the kinds of threats I've been talking about are far more dangerous to our sovereignty than any of the international regimes we would enter in an effort to combat these threats on a collective level. Those who are most jealously preserving our sovereignty are in fact doing more to erode that sovereignty—defined as the effect of foreign events on the lives of our citizens—than those fuzzy-minded idealists who are urging the United States to join in arms control regimes and comprehensive test ban treaties.

The sixth nightmare I mention in the book—the first five nightmares are bad things that could happen abroad if we don't concentrate more—is Washington today. I keep hoping I'll wake up from this nightmare to find it hasn't happened.

Over the last decade or two, largely because of political consultants and the way the press covers politics, we have seen a change not in the nature of American domestic politics—which if you go back to the nineteenth century has always been nasty; that's the way politics are—but in its purpose. You've got to have politics, nothing wrong with it, in a democracy; but the purpose of politics ought to be policy, a discussion of the great policy issues before you.

Now, however, the object of our politics is the politics, not the policy—who wins, who loses—and a complete subordination of the issues to political battles, both by Democrats and Republicans, assisted by the political consultants and journalists who keep egging them on. This—and I am seeing this now with my students—is producing a change from a skepticism that is absolutely necessary in a healthy democracy—that is central to our political culture, institutions, and everything else—to a cynicism that is destructive of democracy. Recent events have done nothing to change that.

My book is essentially a plea for waking up and doing more about these issues. I'm somewhat optimistic actually, in part because I'm a Red Sox fan— and you have to be optimistic, especially in the early spring—but mainly because I see it as congruent with the realities of the world and with the beliefs of the kinds of folks I see in this room.

Questions and Answers

QUESTION: Following up on what you had to say about Russia: If it is indeed true that Putin is following a more nationalistic strategy for the Russian Federation, how far do you think he would carry it, and what should the Western response be to counter it?

The other, related question concerns China. The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and something like close to 25 percent of its resources; and China is almost the reverse. So, unless technology increases the pie so much that everybody can have almost as much as they want, I would foresee serious competition for resources between these two major nations down the line. What should be the U.S. strategy towards that?

ANTHONY LAKE: On the first, how do you respond to the growing nationalism, I think obviously when it comes down to substantive differences between Russia and the West, as over arms trade to Iran, you simply take it on and you deal with it, you use pressure. . . Mainly you need to ensure that you react in a way that doesn't exacerbate the fundamental problem, which is to say that if you publicly bully the Russians, or if you overreach—for example, telling the Russians off for selling arms to Iran by saying "Okay, no more conventional arms"— you're not going to get anything done. You ought to use diplomacy rather than a shotgun or rifle—say, "Here are exactly the things that concern us," and try to negotiate.

If you start calling them a rogue state—or what is the term these days? That's right, a "state of concern." I'm sure there was a two-week State Department study that came up with that. A committee finally came up with that phrase. In any case, if you start calling the Russians names, you are simply exacerbating the problem. And, as with one of our allies in Europe—which in my experience occasionally takes delight simply in irritating us—you have to remember that if you look irritated as you sit at the table, you lose. That's what their point is. And so, get beyond it.

It will be very interesting when Condi Rice goes to Russia in a couple of weeks because she has been very skeptical in her views of Russia. Americans have yet to come to grips with my central point, which is that Russia's weaknesses are the real problem: its weaknesses are producing this kind of compensatory nationalism. I'm quite critical of the way the United States handled Russia during the 1990s. We have yet to figure out how we can be most constructive in helping Russia to create the conditions for overcoming these weaknesses.

On China: I think you're absolutely right to say that China is the greatest environmental challenger we are going to face. As the Chinese burn more and more coal and as their economy advances, the demand on petroleum is going to increase.

Against this background, there are two ways that the competition between the United States and China can take place:

  1. Classic strategic maneuver, including military; or

  2. "Let the market decide."

On this issue I am an capitalist and believe we should let the market decide and that Beijing should do the same. So I don't think that the situation will lead to a repeat of, in another context, the late-1930s, where a lot of what happened in World War II flowed from the resource competitions in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

This issue ought to be seen more in economic and environmental terms than in strategic and military ones. But it is a very serious problem and it is the downside of Chinese economic growth—still, a problem we should welcome.

QUESTION: I'd be curious as to how you would apply your central thesis of weakness to two other situations you haven't mentioned, the Arab-Israeli problem and South Asia—namely, the situation in Pakistan. Also, Joel mentioned that your book uses fiction. How do you manage that?

ANTHONY LAKE: I'm told by a number of people badly. They have suggested I not give up my day job.

The beginning of each chapter is a fictional account five to ten years down the road, when something truly horrible is happening.

I kill off a very nice little girl, slightly ambiguously. She went to a basketball game at the MCI Center in Washington and ends up dying of anthrax.

It goes on. There is a North Korean collapse, and the South Korean president and the American president are in conversation about what we should do, each of them trying to get the other to take the political heat for making a hard decision.

On the failure of the Arab-Israeli peace agreement: I believe we let the diplomatic work get almost completely divorced from the work on the ground in preparing each side for peace. Obviously President Mubarak of Egypt—but also, I believe, Arafat—would have liked to have gotten a peace agreement, but neither could pull it off.

The fundamental reason for the failure of the negotiations was that both sides, each in their different ways, perceived themselves as being in a position of public weakness vis-a-vis the other. That sense of weakness on each side—and that sense that there is nobody to talk to on the other side now—is the most profound cause for why there is going to be a hiatus in real progress—though I hope not in contacts—over the next couple of years.

As for South Asia, there is a sense of Pakistani weakness vis-a-vis India, and at least the Indians claim a sense of weakness vis-a-vis China so as to justify their nuclear capacity.

QUESTION: You keep pointing to weaknesses such as a lack of human rights and so forth. The question is: who will address them? Obviously, the weak states have to do as much as they can to address their problems on their own. But then what can the strong, if there are such states, do to enhance and strengthen these weaker states, because I agree that if you could create that strength, you would have a balance that would ease the tensions. Another obvious question: what role do you give, not only to force, but to law in this context, and what can the United States in particular do to enhance the rule of law in international relations?

ANTHONY LAKE: In the most general terms, the rule of law should become the substitute for the rule of force. I think everybody in this room would share this hope. On the other hand, we live in a less-than-ideal world.

When I was in the government, I always found grating the arguments both within government and with forces outside that there is something inherently immoral in combining diplomacy with the use of force. One side wanted to do simply the diplomacy without force; the other always wanted to do force without much diplomacy. In a world like ours, you don't get things done unless the two tactics are combined.

There would not be a peace agreement now between Ethiopia and Eritrea if the military course of events had not been so tragic and horrible last spring. Diplomats simply have to use the events on the ground and force—horrible as it may sound—to get diplomatic agreements.

From your point of view, the most interesting tension here is not whether states will use force—I hope for good more than ill—but whether they should authorize it. One of the great arguments—and it was an agonizing one certainly for the lawyers on my staff—was whether only the UN Security Council may authorize the use of force for national security, or if we can use regional organizations to authorize it.

There are very important legal and political arguments on each side of this, but I think the fact is, even when we found lawyers to argue otherwise, the action Western powers took in the Balkans was in international legal terms probably not absolutely right, to the degree it was not authorized by the Security Council.

But, as I said in an intemperate moment once with one of the lawyers on my staff, how many bodies are you going to pile up on the altar of international law? You won't let us act because of the UN restrictions, because of the veto power, because of this and that legal impediment. . .

If I could make just one last point, though, because obviously for most of us in this room, since we are mostly Americans, the key question is what can the United States do in all of this. I think you got my drift on our need to act more multilaterally.

I was in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia] before we got the agreement on the UN peacekeeping operation, talking about what is now UNMEE—thank God for the UN, thank God for UNMEE. In the meantime, I was fighting an internal bureaucratic struggle with the Pentagon to allow us to support that operation with economic resources and to come up with a heavy-duty American contingent of I think it was six—count them, six—American military personnel in the whole operation of many thousands.

It occurred to me during the negotiations that each of the parties—Ethiopia and Eritrea —were talking to me and listening, to some degree at least, because I represented Washington and the United States. Many said over and over again, "Only the United States can do this."

This reminds me of another instance when I was a special envoy to Haiti and had a taxi driver tell me that only the United States can solve Haiti's problems. So I ended up being the Haitian nationalist, saying, "Wait a minute. You Haitians have to do it. The United States can help, but it can't do it alone. There is no deus ex Washington that is going to fix all of Haiti's problems."

Whenever this kind of thing happens, it occurs to me that the United States is becoming a bit of a fraud, that all these other countries think we can fix all of their problems because we are in a stronger position in every sense—economically, culturally (in terms of world impact), militarily, and diplomatically—than any nation ever in history, even during the Roman Empire (at least in relative terms).

But we are, I think, a fraud in the sense that we are a statistical superpower, which gives us incredible voting rights in the international financial institutions, yet we are acting like a poker player who has this huge pile of chips in front of him and who, for various reasons, is scared of putting the chips into the center of the table and playing—whether it is in the resources we devote to foreign assistance, whether it is our fear of entering into entangling multilateral arrangements like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, whether it is a State Department that is starved for resources, whether it is our risk aversion that goes to such an extent that in Kosovo we see British soldiers going out and doing things that American soldiers ought to be doing but dare not. . .

If you visit our embassies now in most foreign capitals, they are isolated from those capital cities out of fear of a terrorist incident, which makes sense because terrorism is mostly directed at us. But it affects our diplomacy.

We are allowing our fears to stand in the way of using our chips to deal with problems abroad that affect the lives of American citizens. We need to begin by changing our minds, by accepting a more realistic appraisal of our strengths.

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