Rethinking National Security
An Outmoded Concept Is Sapping America's Strength
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In addition to its involvement in three major wars since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States now spends far more on its military than any other nation. In a time of severe economic constraints that linger from the Great Recession, some policymakers question whether Washington can continue to act as the world’s policeman at the expense of mounting domestic problems.
In this trenchant analysis, the distinguished national security historian John Prados calls for a total rethinking of our concept of national security.
As we now view it, Prados says, it has become so expansive as to include almost any threat. We need to rein in “national security” and make hard decisions about existential and marginal dangers to the United States. If we don’t, he concludes, we will find ourselves in a death spiral as a nation, committing ever-increasing portions of our treasure in a vain attempt to achieve perfect security.
John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. He is the author of more than twenty books in the field, including Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA; Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975; Combined Fleet Decoded: The Secret History of U.S. Intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II; and Keepers of the Keys: A History of the National Security Council from Truman to Bush. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
'Rethinking National Security' is published by Now and Then Reader, Digital Publishers of Serious Nonfiction. Each week, Now and Then publishes original and excerpted nonfiction titles ranging from 5,000 to 25,000 words.