NSS 2015

The White House has just released our National Security Strategy 2015 and posted it online here. National Security adviser Susan Rice gave a speech touting the strategy that is posted here. It’s the first update to our national security strategy in five years. Rice insists that things are getting better all the time; I think the deterioration has steadily proceeded under Obama’s leadership.

Quotable quote: “[T]oo often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective. Yes, there’s a lot going on. Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or the Cold War. We can’t afford to be buffeted by alarmism and an instantaneous news cycle. We must continue to do the hard work of leading a complex and rapidly evolving world, of seizing opportunities, and of winning the future for our children.”

This is barely argued and poorly written. Left unstated is the existential threat on the horizon when the administration finalizes its efforts to facilitate the acquisition of a nuclear arsenal by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

When she gets around to summarizing the strategy, Rice speaks in cliches lacking the slightest credibility, as in this sentence: “The first element of our strategy is to secure the U.S., our citizens, our allies and partners through a dynamic global security posture in which we employ our unique capabilities, forge diverse coalitions, and support local partners. This approach builds on a more secure homeland and a national defense that is second to none.”

In the event that you are confronting existential dread, this probably won’t pick you up: “We’re also reaching out to populations that America can ill-afford to neglect. With more than half the world under the age of 30, our strategy invests in and empowers young people through educational exchanges and entrepreneurship. Our Young Leaders initiatives in Africa and Southeast Asia identify and mentor the next generation of talent to grasp opportunity.”

Eli Lake picks the Middle East component of the strategy apart — it doesn’t take him long — in the column “Obama’s Middle East fantasy.”

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