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A Jewish State
Theodor Herzl proposes a solution to the 'Jewish Question' and to anti-Semitism: a separate and independent ...
My Father's Girl
Jane Addams, whose Hull-House became a symbol of progressive reform, here remembers her father who helped ...
Paris Goes to War
As the World War engulfs Europe in August 1914, Edith Wharton reports from Paris on the ...
Lord Charnwood recounts the development and importance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a signal event in American ...
Darwin Changes His Mind
Here is Darwin’s account of his visit to the Galapagos Islands with its myriad species, which ...
A Grand Way to Chronicle a War
A fascinating glimpse of World War II journalism behind the front lines at Paris’s Hotel Scribe, ...
The Genius and the Jerk
Walter Vatter explores the early years of Steve Jobs--was he a genius, or simply an expert ...
Is a College Education Still Worth the Price?
A former dean looks at American higher education and finds ...
Rethinking National Security - Preview
An Outmoded Concept Is Sapping America's Strength
by John Prados
America today stands at a crossroads. Beset by economic woes, driven to attempt reform that might enable the nation to regain a sense of honor and purpose, and seeking desperately to identify what actions are needed, Americans are searching for a way forward. But there is an elephant in the room that blocks the way: what we call “national security.” Few observers have paid much attention to national security. Citizens have long deferred to government and allowed it full sway in the defense of the land. But our present crisis is too great, and our resources too strained, to continue with business as usual. America’s myriad difficulties cannot be overcome without dealing with the issue of national security.
As presently conceived, national security is a trap. Left untouched, pursuit of it will continue to cripple our country. In the essay that follows I try to show how national security evolved, why in its present form it ensnares the nation, what would be the consequences of failure to correct the situation, and what a new approach might look like. I also argue that a solution to this problem is urgent: escaping the national security trap may be the critical issue of our era.
During his presidential campaign Barack Obama made many promises, some of them concerning foreign policy and defense. His ideas resonated with Americans. Candidate Obama promised to end the war in Iraq; close the notorious detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; stop torture and renditions; move away from the nuclear standoff that still exists with Russia; ratify the comprehensive test-ban treaty; end regulations that oppress gay Americans serving in the military; strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency; and place U.S. diplomacy on a broader foundation. Mr. Obama foresaw a global fair deal in which the United States would multiply assistance to the Third World, forgive the debts of underdeveloped countries, and reduce foreign hostility by means of transparent policies and frank answers to critics of America. Candidate Obama believed in strengthening common security by investing in the common humanity of all peoples.