The New US Defense Strategy and the Priorities and Changes in the FY2013 Budget

Anthony H. Cordesman with Bradley Bosserman. Center for Strategic & International Studies, 30 January 2012.


The US must fundamentally rethink its approach to “optional wars.” It is far from clear that it can win the Iraq War, rather than empower Iran, without a strong military and aid presence. It will decisively lose the Afghan and Pakistan conflict if it does not quickly develop plans for a military and diplomatic presence, and help to aid Afghanistan in transitioning away from dependence on foreign military and economic spending during 2012-2020. US troop cuts are not a transition plan, and focusing on withdrawal is a recipe for defeat.

That said, the US cannot, and should not, repeat the mistake it made in intervening in Iraq and Afghanistan. It must deal with nontraditional threats with a far better and more affordable mix of global, regional, and national strategies that can deal with issues like the turmoil in the Middle East, and South and Central Asia, and terrorism and instability on a global basis. It must rely on aiding friendly states, deterrence, containment, and far more limited and less costly forms of intervention.

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