JPC Senior Director Shoshana Bryen participated in a panel with Middle East analysts Lee Smith and Danielle Pletka during the RJC Leadership Meeting in Washington on 13 October.
Smith, author of the book The Strong Horse and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, described the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region, including its role in the Syrian uprising. Pletka, vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, offered policy prescriptions for Western diplomacy in the region. Shoshana focused on the nature of America’s adversaries across time and across space. She told the audience:
Traditional wars are fought over territory because, historically, if you capture your enemy’s geographical center, you win. The Allied armies were dispatched to take Berlin – to defeat the Nazi army across territory. Patten didn’t ask people if they were Nazis, didn’t care if they liked or hated Jews. When the Allies were in Berlin, the war was over.
The two large post-WWII conflicts – Korea and Vietnam – were NOT won, in part because they were armed, managed and funded from a geographical location the U.S. chose not to go – namely, China.
Enemies advance across time as well as space, and losing a battle or losing a war is only prelude to the next war. Serbia’s relationship to Kosovo starts in the 6th Century and runs through losing it to Kosovo Independence in the 21st Century – and don’t believe they’ve given up on getting it back. Looked at that way, Arab determination to reverse the 1948 independence of Israel – only 64 years ago – looks almost reasonable, from their point of view.
Today the US faces both: China, Iran and Al Qaeda are adversarial over time and over space.
She told the RJC leadership that while the economic impact of the impending sequestration of funds will make it harder for the U.S. to field a competent military force, money isn’t the chief impediment to security.
If you consider America’s adversaries over time and over space; conventionally and non-conventionally, the inevitable and sorry conclusion is that because the Administration has misunderstood the nature of the Islamic war against the West, whether defense budget cuts amount to $40 billion a year for 10 years, or $92 billion a year for 10 years, the United States is not well-placed to defend itself, its interests or its allies.