In our piece in today’s USA Today, General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), co-chair of the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and I discuss increasing global security through means of diplomacy and using “smart power.” The following is an excerpt:
“In this turbulent new century, the security of the United States will depend increasingly on how we engage, persuade, and inspire people in countries in the rest of the world.
To combat the global challenges America faces in the world today, we know that we cannot deliver security solely from the barrel of a gun. The United States must combine the tools of development and diplomacy alongside defense to create the stability and prosperity around the globe that is in our national interests, prevents conflict, and sustains peace. That’s what we call smart power.
This may seem unusual coming from two former career military officers, but our experience tells us that America faces vastly different threats now than it did when we entered the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during the Cold War. And that means we have to rely on new approaches to our security.
Because of globalization, new threats from violent extremists, human-traffickers and drug smugglers to name a few, have emerged who do not respect national boundaries. Unfortunately these enemies are also in the most dangerous in places with corrupt and ineffective governance, persistent poverty and disease, poor educational systems and widespread marginalization of girls and women. We know this from our times as commanders of U.S. forces in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
In the 21st century, we cannot create security by building walls, as we did for most of the 20th Century, when we worried about conflict between nation states with large armies, navies and air forces. Instead, we need to build security by building bridges.
Dean Stavridis with his basset hound, Lilly.
Dean James Stavridis is the 12th leader of The Fletcher School since its founding in 1933. A retired Admiral in the U.S. Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander.