“Striking a Balance: A New American Security” was a conference held by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) on 11 June 2009. You can see the transcripts and related reports here. If opera is money set to music, then events like this are the equivalent for political power.
- The Honorable Dr. Richard Danzig (Secretary of the Navy 1998-2001)
- Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns (senior US diplomat 1997-2008)
- Dr. John A. Nagl
- General David H. Petraeus
- Thomas E. Ricks
- General John (Jack) Keane
- George Packer (The New Yorker)
- Nazar Janabi
- Samir Sumaida’ie, Ambassador of Iraq to the USA
- Lieutenant General David W. Barno
- Andrew Exum
- Nathaniel C. Fick
- Dr. Andrew J. Bacevich
- Colonel Christopher G. Cavoli
- Dr. Kristin M. Lord
- The Honorable Judith A. McHale, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
For a brief review of this event, I recommend reading “One-Sided COIN – The military-industrial complex surges Washington“, Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, The American Conservative, 1 August 2009 (hat tip to Antiwar.com). It is too good to excerpt. Vlahos uses this event — and the rise of the CNAS — to show that Obama has brought no serious foreign-policy change in Washington, just different people carrying the flags for perpetual war.
Both parties share the hubris of America’s global hegemony — built on money borrowed from foreigners. We need not consult the ghost of Clausewitz to know this is insane. The fancy slides, the gather intellectual and military elites, the millions of fine words — nothing can disguise this bitter truth.
It’s incredible that such an event occurs while the foundations of America’s prosperity — the ultimate source of military power — wash slowly away. The combination of geopolitical hubris and ever-rising debt tells us much about the intelligence of America’s elites.
Rome’s elites fell victim to lead in their water and wine, a illness they lacked the tools to see or understand. What is our excuse?
Update: this is a 2nd post about this conference. The first was A wonderful discussion about the American Empire on 24 June 2009.