"In one sentence, the strategic narrative of the United States in
the 21st century is that we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential
player in a deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in
defense and more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement."
This is a great paper. It fits nicely with my belief that the US needs to stop wasting its money and effort on its own paranoia and start living in the current world. As the author notes, "The 21st century is an open system, in which unpredictable external events/phenomena are constantly disturbing and disrupting the system. In this world control is impossible; the best we can do is to build credible influence – the ability to shape and guide global trends in the direction that serves our values and interests (prosperity and security) within an interdependent strategic ecosystem." That's another contention of mine, is that chaos is ok. You don't need to worry about stability so much as just having an overall view of where you're going. If there are sidetracks and diversions well, that's the world we live in now.
Our paranoia since 9/11 has caused us to create the TSA where we pat down 6-year-olds from our fear of airplanes exploding. We have created Homeland Security because we don't trust foreigners or even ourselves anymore. We have a higher precentage of our population in prison than any other nation. Our military outspends all other militaries in the world combined! What could we have done with the trillions of dollars spent in Iraq for a war that was never needed? Where would we be if we'd seen 9/11 as what it was, a diabolical strike by a handful of insane people, rather than the spear tip of some huge conspiracy to wipe out the United States? Where can we go from here if we drop our unrealistic fears and learn to live in the 21st century, where history moves fast and those afraid of their shadow get left behind?
The Pentagon also says that "we have to focus first and foremost on investing our resources domestically in those national resources that can be sustained, such as our youth and our natural resources (ranging from crops, livestock, and potable water to sources
of energy and materials for industry). We can and must still engage internationally, of course, but only after a careful weighing of costs and benefits and with as many partners as possible."
We are not a broke country. We are a country that has let fear steer us completely off course. We need to rethink what we stand for, who we are, and where we want to go. Right now we are aiming downward, cutting school and health funding, at the same time we are granting more and more power to corporations, like granting them personhood. It IS possible for us to be a caring nation as well as a strong nation.