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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

American public diplomacy (and increasingly foreign policy in general) wears combat boots

From the Washington Post is : Gates Warns of Militarized Policy

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned yesterday against the risk of a "creeping militarization" of U.S. foreign policy, saying the State Department should lead U.S. engagement with other countries, with the military playing a supporting role.

"We cannot kill or capture our way to victory" in the long-term campaign against terrorism, Gates said, arguing that military action should be subordinate to political and economic efforts to undermine extremism. …

"America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long — relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more importantly, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world," Gates said at a dinner organized by the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, according to prepared remarks of his speech.

Over the next 20 years, Gates predicted, "the most persistent and potentially dangerous threats will come less from emerging ambitious states, than from failing ones that cannot meet the basic needs — much less the aspirations — of their people."

In brief, Yes.  Absolutely agreed.  Question: why is it the military who seems to be the public proponent of increasing America’s capacity in non-military engagement?

See also:

  • Smitten Eagle says:

    “Question: why is it the military who seems to be the public proponent of increasing America’s capacity in non-military engagement? ”
    Fair question, and there are myriad answers. But a better question is why we aren’t hearing more from State regarding increasing America’s capacity in non-military engagement?
    State seem to be MIA.

    July 16, 2008 at 1:35 pm
  • Matt Armstrong says:

    Smitten Eagle: BINGO! Why aren’t we? This is the same question I ask all the time (in person).
    Under Secretary Glassman is moving ahead in stepping into the void, but where is his boss? The Under Secretary can only do so much.

    July 16, 2008 at 4:01 pm

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