Defense One is a reactionary, in the know, American war journal for the military elite/war complex. Its editor recently wrote about the escalation in Syria proposed by Michelle Flournoy, the current 3rd civilian in the Penguin, whom Hillary Clinton is likely to appoint secretary of "Defense" Now the US has waged no strictly defensive wars since 1812 though the North justly fought bondage and the US helped take out the Nazis. Arguably, the US taking out of Bin Laden, bombing of Benghazi, and bombing to protect the Yazidi, are all retributory or humanitarian interventions, though every other military action of American foreign policy in modern times, has either been an aggression or an expansionary quest for oil and bases (H.W.'s Gulf War) In American English, the post is Secretary of War.
Hillary Clinton’s Likely Defense Secretary Wants More US Troops Fighting ISIS and Assad
What might that look like?
Last week, three CNAS authors, in a new report, call for the United States to “go beyond the current Cessation of Hostilities.” The United States should press Syria and Russia to agree “not to treat the Southern Front as an extremist group and to cease air attacks on the territory it controls,” wrote Ilan Goldenberg, Paul Scharre, and Nicholas Heras. CNAS says those views are not the entire organization’s, but noted the report was “informed by deliberations of CNAS’ ISIS Study Group, chaired by CNAS CEO Michèle Flournoy and CNAS President Richard Fontaine,” a former foreign policy advisor to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
If Syria’s bombing continues, the United States should consider instituting what the paper dubs a “no bomb zone.” If the Assad regime bombs areas that are held by the Southern Front, an opposition alliance that the United States supports, then the United States would retaliate, using standoff weapons like cruise missiles to hit targets associated with the Assad regime, but notairbases housing Russian forces. The retaliatory strikes might include Syrian forward operating bases or “security apparatus facilities in Damascus that are fixed regime targets and would require less invasive reconnaissance.”
The targets need not be ones that are directly tied to Assad strikes on U.S.partners, so long as the message is clear to Assad.
Flournoy called the no-bomb zone worthy of more examination. “The analysis that needs to be done is playing out the concept, two, three and four steps down the road. What if the Russians do test it? What would the response be?” she said.
I am writing in response to your piece on June 20 that fundamentally mischaracterized my views on the role U.S. forces should play in Syria. Both the headline and article erroneously suggested that I advocate sending more U.S. troops to “push President Bashar al-Assad’s forces out of southern Syria” and “remove Assad from power.” I do not.
In short, I advocate doing more to support our partners on the ground to make them more effective; I do NOT advocate putting U.S. combat troops on the ground to take territory from Assad’s forces or remove Assad from power.
Michele A. Flournoy
By Gareth Porter
Focusing on domestic issues, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech sidestepped the deep concerns anti-war Democrats have about her hawkish foreign policy, which is already taking shape in the shadows, reports Gareth Porter.
BY STEPHEN M. WALT
Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
To maintain America’s “leadership role,” the report calls for significant increases in national security spending and recommends the United States expand its military activities in three major areas: Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It leaves open the possibility that the United States might have to do more in other places too, so its real agenda may be even more ambitious than the authors admit.
In the Middle East, the CNAS group wants to “scale up” the effort against the Islamic State, with the United States in the leading role. It also calls for a no-fly zone in Syria, and if that’s not enough, Washington “must adopt as a matter of policy, the goal of defeating Iran’s determined effort to dominate the Middle East.” The report does not explain how Persian Iran will manage to “dominate” the Arab Middle East with a defense budget that is less than 5 percent of ours, and in the face of potential opposition from Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and several other states. In fact, the only way Iran will dominate the Middle East in the near future is if the United States keeps toppling its rivals, as it did when it foolishly invaded Iraq in 2003 (a step most of the signatories of this report supported).
In short, this report calls on the United States to maintain every one of its current international commitments, double down on policies that have repeatedly failed, and take on expensive, risky, and uncertain projects in several regions at once. Some of its recommendations make sense — for example, I’d endorse some of their prescriptions regarding Asia — but the overall package is the same boundless vision of U.S. “leadership” that has guided U.S. foreign policy since the Soviet Union broke apart. And in case you haven’t noticed, that strategy has done little to make the world or the United States safer, stronger, or richer.