The Agonist’s National Security Strategy

I try to keep my blog-promises, if perhaps not in an entirely timely manner. (I still owe Kaus a piece on welfare reform… shudder. )
So I finally got around to reviewing the responses I got from my call for folks to write their own National Security Strategy, as I suspected there was significant disatisfaction with Bush’s version (which I personally found impressive).
Actually, it was only one response, from The Agonist. I had two reactions reading it: first, it was quite well done, and second, it was far, far closer to Bush’s version than I had expected.
I’d like to go through it in detail — not as a Fisking, mind you, but to honestly try to understand where the differences —and similarities — with Bush’s policy exist. So here’s the key “action points” I took away from the Agonist’s submission (which, incidentally, was written as a speech to be delivered by President Bradley):
“Let us not be mistaken with what hatred our enemies desire our destruction. They are cunning, evil and determined and they will be destroyed. This nation will not tolerate, regardless of the perceived injustices of our enemies, the wanton murder of innocents. We will bring war to our enemies everywhere they are, in the bright light of the global media and the dark lairs of terrorist secrecy, we will hunt them down, and they will know the terror of the righteous, the might of the just, and the fury of the proud.”
Perfect; no moral equivalence or hesitation here. Consistency with Bush’s approach: pretty much identical.
“I will soon submit to the Congress a bill requesting the complete overhaul of our intelligence agencies. They have failed us and they must be reformed. I will not stand for the old politics of blame. The sacred blood of over 2,000 Americans forces us to put new emphasis on human intelligence gathering and analysis. Our intelligence agencies will be reformed and they will work as a team.
* In my request I am calling for:
*The Counter Terrorism Department of the FBI to be merged into the CIA, with identical statutory authority as they have previously enjoyed.
* All Intelligence agencies, NSA, DIA, Naval Intelligence, etc are to be moved into the CIA, controlled by the Director of the CIA and run by the Director of the CIA.
* I humbly request of Congress a doubling in funding for analysis, over the next four years, and a tripling over the next eight. Our failure was not one of gathering intelligence, it was a failure of analysis. This must change. “

I like it. We can quibble over how to reform the intelligence agencies, but the statement that they failed and must be seriously changed is bang on. Consistency with Bush’s approach: slight, but I like Agonist’s better.
“In the aftermath of September 11, it is clear, to members of this government, that certain nations have played a small, but significant role in the planning for the attacks that tragically shocked this nation on September 11. We know who you are. You harbor, aid and abet terrorists. Therefore you are terrorists. The prerogatives of sovereignty do not give you the right to hatch plans that seek to spread mayhem and destruction beyond your borders. “
Works for me. Also consistent with Bush’s approach.
“This nation did not allow Milosevic to spread his mayhem and destruction beyond his borders and we will not allow Iraq to do the same thing. The threat that Iraq poses to the security of the region and the prosperity of the global community is clear. And it must be halted. All weapons of mass destruction must be destroyed. Traditional international law, going back to the time of Grotius, sanctions pre-emptive action against an immediate threat. Iraq poses an immediate threat to his neighbors, us and the global community… Therefore, I will request from Congress a formal Declaration of War. Our nation must have the necessary tools to fight, the necessary unity and the necessary will. “
Whoah, wasn’t expecting that. But I’m fine with it. Declaring war is arguably more hawkish than Bush’s approach, but is more intellectually honest as well.
I cannot call upon Congress to ratify the Kyoto accords. The terms of this treaty are too onerous. But I do call for a new global environmental summit to renegotiate the treaty, to be held in San Antonio, Texas next year, on the anniversary of this speech.
What I can call upon Congress to do is the following:
*Recognize that the continued reliance on foreign oil is both detrimental to our security and a drain on our prosperity.
*Therefore, I ask the Congress to open up 1/3 of ANWR for exploration but this must be met with a statutory 15% increase in CAFE standards within the next four years, followed by another 1/3 of ANWR being opened up on the condition that another statutory 15% increase in CAFE is legislated.
*I request Congress enact the Tobin Tax on all currency speculation that falls within the sovereignty of the United States and all monies to be set aside into a special fund aimed at responsible debt relief for third world nations that meet the necessary criteria.
*I pledge to work with Congress to find an equitable national energy policy that spread the burdens and benefits to all citizens of this great nation. “

This seems reasonable to me; I’m not an environmental / energy expert, but the general outline that a) Kyoto is unworkable, but b) That doesn’t mean all environmental agreements are pointless, so let’s try again and c) Recognizing we need our own fossil fuel supplies while d) Trying to focus on renewables for the future all sounds right to me.
“If we the United States demand the right to infringe upon the sovereignty of other countries–by ferreting out their unsafe nuclear materials or uprooting their terrorist cells–in the name of preemption, we cannot obsessively reject even minor infringements upon our own sovereignty, as many Americans today do. We must understand, in short, what the architects of the Post World War II settlement understood in the early years of the cold war–that the United States needs not only the resolve to meet its enemies on the battlefield but also the generosity and liberal spirit to help keep fragile societies from becoming battlefields.”
Now here’s where I get a little lost. I see a call for Americans to be prepared to give up some of our sovereignty — with the honest acknowledgement that we’re depriving other nations of theirs — but I don’t see any specifics about what, precisely, the speaker is saying we should be prepared to give up. Without specifics, hard to say whether its reasonable or not.
Anyway, overall, I think its a great approach. But oddly, it seems if anything, just as hawkish as Bush’s. I don’t know Agonist well, so maybe I was just working with a bad set of preconceptions.
At any rate, it’s worth reading the whole thing, so go do so, and thanks to Agonist for joining in…