Friday, March 3, 2017

Why Winning Wars Requires Soft Power

President Trump has announced an increase in the Defense budget, and reportedly, will help pay for this increase with sizable cuts in the State Department and foreign aid budgets.  Apparently, President Trump has not listened to the views of his own military leadership, who have repeatedly explained that winning our current wars will require a "whole of government" approach that includes significant work by the Department of State.  Gayle Tzemach Lemmon of the Council on Foreign Relations explains:
“This plan is a political-military plan; it is not a military plan,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “In the development of the plan, we have been completely engaged at every level with the State Department…Not only will it be a whole-of-government approach,” Dunford said, it’s “about a trans-regional threat.”

.  .  .

“The grievances of the civil war have to be addressed, the safety and humanitarian assistance that needs to be provided to people have to be addressed, and the multiple divergent stakeholders’ views need to be addressed,” Dunford said. “We do need to have a vision of how our military actions set conditions on the ground that actually then become the platform from which Secretary Tillerson goes to Geneva to come up with a political solution.”

 .  .  .

“Many policymakers, intelligence analysts, and academics believe expelling the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Mosul and Raqqah is the key to the terrorist group’s defeat and the destruction of its self-declared caliphate. This is only partially correct,” said Gen. Joseph Votel in a paper he co-wrote for the Center for New American Security.  “The United States must develop a long-term strategy that focuses on both the top-down and bottom-up pressures that have created this unique threat. This strategy must include unprecedented intergovernmental cooperation and coordination as well as close collaboration with foreign partners, nongovernmental organizations, and private industry…Regionally-led and U.S.-backed reconstruction efforts and initiatives to strengthen government institutions are a critical component of this strategy. Reconstruction also may contribute to increased opportunities for employment and education.”
Read it all here.

As I explained in a previous post, the importance of State Department was previously emphasized in previous remarks by Secretary Mattis and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  As Mattis put it, "“If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately."

No comments:

Post a Comment