Biden Releases National Defense Strategy

Biden Releases National Defense Strategy

The Biden Administration has released a 48 page National Security Strategy document. What makes it unique from similar papers presented by prior presidents is that it broadens the definition of national security from defense issues to a broad range of topics.

The document stresses that “We are now in the early years of a decisive decade for America and the world. The terms of geopolitical competition between the major powers will be set. The window of opportunity to deal with shared threats, like climate change, will narrow drastically. We face two strategic challenges. The first is that the post-Cold War era is definitively over and a competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next. No nation is better positioned to succeed in this competition than the United States, as long as we work in common cause with those who share our vision …The second is that while this competition is underway, people all over the world are struggling to cope with the effects of shared challenges that cross borders—whether it is climate change, food insecurity, communicable diseases, terrorism, energy shortages, or inflation. These shared challenges are not marginal issues that are secondary to geopolitics. They are at the very core of national and international security and must be treated as such. By their very nature, these challenges require governments to cooperate if they are to solve them. But we must be clear-eyed that we will have to tackle these challenges within a competitive international environment where heightening geopolitical competition, nationalism and populism render this cooperation even more difficult and will require us to think and act in new ways… We do not seek conflict or a new Cold War. Rather, we are trying to support every country, regardless of size or strength, in exercising the freedom to make choices that serve their interests. This is a critical difference between our vision, which aims to preserve the autonomy and rights of less powerful states, and that of our rivals, which does not.”

The unusual emphasis on non-defense matters has provoked criticism from key U.S. officials. The strategy is based, as U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), lead Republican of the House Armed Services Committee, states,  “…on a fantasy world where all nations, even adversaries, work together to advance the common good. The President should be reminded that Russia, China and Iran, don’t care about the common good, and they don’t want to work with us to achieve common goals. they want to destroy us, and they have taken every step necessary to achieve that end. Russia hasn’t developed the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal just for show. China has not engaged in the most prolonged period of dramatically increased military spending to promote peace and harmony. “
At the end of the first cold war, America slashed its defense spending.  The response by Beijing was to conduct one of the largest military buildups in history. The response by Moscow was to annex Crimea, and eventually invade the rest of Ukraine. Iran’s leadership  continues to chant “Death to America” as it develops its nuclear arsenal.  North Korea is on the verge of having an intercontinental ballistic missile capability that could destroy the U.S.

During his tenure in offense, Mr. Biden has proposed defense appropriations that, after accounting for inflation, actually reduces Pentagon spending.  It opens his administration to criticisms that he is following the Progressive playbook that downplays foreign military threats, because in the eyes of the hard left, every penny spent on defense is a penny not spent on the type of giveaway domestic programs they employ to buy votes.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government

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