There have been several events recently which unfortunately illustrate both the complexity and the increased dangers we are facing in the current global stage and how our response and security infrastructure often does not match the risks we face.
President Obama is trying to restart the Middle East negotiations by hosting the leaders of Israel and Palestine with Secretary Clinton as the key “mediator.” Yet the basis of a likely agreement will hinge on their inability to understand their own respective security, national interests, and above all their place in an ever-changing global landscape which has grown increasingly antagonistic, especially to Israel. This reality is mirrored in almost every major security issue which we and others face in a clearly more dangerous world.
Part of this changing environment is related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons including but not limited to Iran. New approaches by rogue states in working to disguise and hide nuclear activities has made it easy each day to not only elude detection but also to develop advanced technology related to weapons systems.
Further, there are a large number of states that seem bent on selling weapons and military technology to the highest bidder regardless of the recipient’s responsibility or peacefulness. One need only look at North Korea, Pakistan, Russia (the loose nukes problem), and a few Western democracies which I would rather not name for examples of this reckless behavior. Recently, it was discovered that some individuals were selling nuclear materials in an Eastern European country that was formerly part of the Soviet Union.
The aforementioned “loose nukes” are a major problem as Russia has an abundance of tactical nuclear weapons deployed along their Western border. This deployment has caused NATO member states to respond similarly with their own tactical nuclear weapons. These weapons serve no earthly purpose strategically, tactically, or militarily. The Russian so far have refused to negotiate on this issue and NATO will soon review its strategic posture which I hope will include the possibility of getting rid of these mutually-destructive weapons. More on this in a later post.
Further, the number and severity of regional conflicts is growing and it seems we have not yet found sufficient methods to deal with most of these flash points. These places include: The Congo and its neighbors, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Ethiopia, North Korea-South Korea, India-Pakistan, Mexico, Burma, and yes Afghanistan, Iraq. And that list is only some of the places where conflict and civil strife already has arisen.
I hope in future posting by me and others we will examine in more detail our changing strategic needs and how to use “preventive diplomacy” to address them effectively and change, as Eienstein said, “our mode of thinking.
By Harry C. Blaney III, Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy