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Autumn 2005 (Vol. 1, No. 1)
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THE AMERICAN INTEREST • VOLUME 1, NUMBER 1 (AUTUMN 2005)
Defining The American Interest Symposium: The Sources of American Conduct
A panoramic analysis of Bush Administration policies. Short articles by Francis Fukuyama, Josef Joffe, Anne Applebaum, Eliot Cohen, Glenn Loury, James Q. Wilson, Peter Berger, Ruth Wedgwood and Walter Russell Mead are anchored by a spirited critique of the Administration’s perception of the historical moment:
The Dilemma of the Last Sovereign
by Zbigniew Brzezinski
A Conversation with Condoleezza Rice
The Secretary of State gets beneath the headlines to address the theory and practice of American statecraft.
58 Asia’s Destiny, America’s Choice
by Kishore Mahbubani Despite an enormous reservoir of goodwill for the United States in
Asia, the Pacific Ocean seems to grow wider every day. Here’s a diagnosis of the problem, and a plea for urgent care.
by Robert D. Kaplan The American soldier fights for freedom, and for God. An “embedded” view of the code of personal conduct that motivates America’s warriors.
“I Will Be Your Poet”: Walt Whitman’s America
by David Kirby Leaves of Grass is 150 years old, but vibrant as ever. A fellow poet celebrates Walt Whitman as America’s muse to the Kosmos, and the craftsman of America’s own spirit.
Suffer the Intellectuals
by Owen Harries Western intellectuals are endlessly engaging and edifying. But when it comes to capturing the trends that define present reality and gauging the shape of the future, they are uncannily wrong.
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Global Warming Goes to Market
by Senator Joseph Lieberman Global warming is real, and the dangers it raises are serious. Luckily, an affordable, market-based solution is at hand.
92 U.S. Port Security and the Global War on Terror
by Stephen Flynn Seven specific suggestions for immediate Executive action.
The Gloryland Chorus
by Clifford Orwin Robert Wuthnow worries that America’s traditional “live and let live” approach to religious diversity isn’t good enough. He seeks a more engaged pluralism, but his own analysis suggests he’s not likely to get it.
by Mary Habeck A guide to the hundreds of books that have been written in the past four years about Islamist terrorism and the 9/11 attacks.
Tinseltown’s Tin Ear
by Michael Medved Hollywood is having box office troubles; a review of some recent and prospective films shows why.
Retroview: Family Guys
by David Landes Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has turned one hundred years old. An eminent economic historian provides a slice-of-life illustration of Weber’s wisdom.
Notes & Letters
Letters from James Hoge, Jr., Moisés Naím, Richard John Neuhaus, James Kurth, Tod Lindberg, David Goodhart, Steven Lagerfeld and Colin Powell
An Autumn Note: The Wrong Stuff
by Adam Garfinkle The major intelligence error that presaged the Iraq war and the many errors that followed raise questions about the capacity of the United States to manage complex interventions. They cast a shadow forward on U.S. Middle East policy, as well.
DEFINING THE AMERICAN INTEREST
The American Interest (AI) is a new and independent voice devoted to the broad theme of “America in the world.” Our agenda is threefold. The first is to analyze America’s conduct on the global stage and the forces that shape it—not just its strategic aspects, but also its economic, cultural and historical dimensions. American statecraft is not simply about power but also purpose. What is important to the world about America is therefore not just its politics, but the society from which those politics arise—including America’s literature, music and art, as well as its values, public beliefs and its historical imagination. The AI ’s second aim is to examine what American policy should be. It is our view that the challenges and opportunities of our time transcend the assumptions and vocabulary used by both the Left and Right in recent years, and that we need to move beyond the defense of obsolete positions. We therefore seek to invite the best minds from a variety of professions to engage in lively and open-ended debate founded on serious, sustained arguments and evidence. We wish to provoke and enlighten, not to plead or to please the guardians of any ideology. We take a pragmatic attitude toward policy problems, privileging creativity and effectiveness over contending orthodoxies. Third, though its name is The American Interest, our pages are open to the world. The simple and inescapable defining fact of our era is that America is the foremost actor on the world stage. For good or ill, the United States affects the lives of billions because of its dominance in military, economic and, ever more so, cultural affairs. Hence, the AI invites citizens of all nations into the American national dialogue, convinced that Americans have much to learn from the experience and perspectives of others. There is of course no single or simple “American interest.” The United States is what novelist Tom Wolfe once labeled our “wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog-stomping Baroque country”; it is a complex society that not just foreigners but Americans themselves often do not well understand. Therefore, The American Interest will not represent any single point of view. The names listed on our editorial board and global advisory council form an eclectic group, though not infinitely so. As the pages below attest, we share many first principles, but we often disagree energetically on their application. Both through what we share and what we contest, we mean to enliven and to enlighten the public debate. We therefore invite adepts of all political schools and persuasions, and those too busy thinking to concern themselves with labels, to join the fray. In our five annual issues we want to provide the premier forum for serious and civil discussion on the full spectrum of issues—domestic and international—that shape America’s role on the world stage. We seek a discourse characterized by mutual respect, humility and a passion for useful truths. Please join us. —Francis Fukuyama, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen & Josef Joffe
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United States Department of Debate Washington, D.C. 20500
September 6, 2005
TO: FROM: President George W. Bush Stephen Flynn
SUBJECT: U.S. Port Security and the GWOT We have a serious national security vulnerability within the broad framework of the Global War on Terror. This memorandum outlines that vulnerability succinctly, and proposes seven specific steps you can take immediately to remedy it. * * *
The harbor shared by Los Angeles and its neighbor Long Beach is arguably America’s most important seaport. Its marine terminals handle more than 40 percent of all the ocean-borne containers shipped to the United States. Its refineries receive daily crude oil shipments and produce one-quarter of the gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products that are consumed west of the Rocky Mountains. It is a major port of call for the $25 billion ocean cruise industry. Just three bridges handle all the truck and train traffic to and from Terminal Island, where most of the port facilities are concentrated. In short, it is a tempting target for any adversary intent on bringing its battle to the U.S. homeland. Yet no one in the Pentagon sees it as his job to protect Los Angeles and the nation’s other busiest commercial seaports from terrorist attacks. Oakland, Seattle, Newark, Charleston, Miami, Houston and New Orleans are America’s economic lifelines to the world, but the U.S.
STEPHEN FLYNN is a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer and a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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Department of Defense does not view them as national security priorities. These ports do not deploy the navy ships, troops, munitions and supplies needed for overseas combat operations. Lacking such “defense critical infrastructure”, DoD has decided that the responsibility for safeguarding them is not its job. It is the Department of Homeland Security that should be assuring that there is credible security along America’s long-neglected waterfront. But the new Department lacks both the resources and the White House mandate to undertake this critical mission. This is because the Office of Management and Budget sees port security as primarily the responsibility of state and local governments and the Homeland Security Strategy sets forth principles to guide federal
private companies that operate marine facilities. The 2002 National outlays for homeland security, maintaining that all levels of government must “work cooperatively to shoulder the cost of homeland security.” It also hands much of the tab for protecting critical infrastructure to the private sector. “The [federal] government should only address those activities that the market does not adequately provide—for example, national defense or border security. . . . For other aspects of homeland security, sufficient incentives exist in the private market to supply protection.” So when it comes to port security, the buck stops somewhere outside Washington, DC. Since seaports in the United States are locally run operations where port authorities typically play the role of landlord, issuing long-term leases to private companies, it falls largely to those companies to provide for the security of the property they lease. In the case of Los Angeles, this translates to the security for 7,500 acres of facilities that run along 49 miles of waterfront being provided for by minimum-wage private security guards and a tiny port police force of under 100 officers. The situation in Long Beach is even worse, with only 12 full-time police officers assigned to its 3,000 acres of facilities and a small cadre of private guards provided by the port authority and its tenants. The command and control equipment to support a new joint operations center for the few local, state and federal law enforcement authorities that are assigned to the port will not be in place until 2008. In the four years since September 11, 2001, the two cities have received only $40 million in federal grants to improve the port’s physical security measures. That amount is equivalent
to what American taxpayers spend every day on domestic airport security, or every few hours on military operations and reconstruction in Iraq. But the fallout from a terrorist attack on any one of the nation’s major commercial seaports would hardly be a local matter. For instance, should al-Qaeda or one of its imitator organizations succeed in sinking a large ship in the Long Beach channel, autodependent southern California will literally run out of gas within two weeks. This is because U.S petroleum refineries are operating at full throttle and their products are consumed almost as quickly as they are made. If crude oil shipments stop, so do the refineries. The nation’s manufacturing and retailing sectors depend on “justcargo containers that move around the planet on trucks, trains and ships. If that circulation is disrupted, assembly plants go idle and store shelves go bare almost immediately. When a labormanagement dispute led to a 10-day lock out of longshoremen on the West Coast in October 2002, U.S. businesses quickly racked up billions of dollars in losses. In light of these realities, U.S. Navy deployments are not in balance. While the Navy owns all the federal government’s marine salvage capabilities, it has no salvage ship stationed on the West Coast—the nearest is located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. If the threat to shipping came from some relatively low-tech underwater mines, as happened in the Red Sea in 1984 and in the Persian Gulf in 1990, it would take the Navy up to 30 days to get one of its few minesweepers to the Pacific Coast. They would have to sail from their homeport of Corpus Christi and steam through the Panama Canal to complete the voyage. in-time” logistics. Their warehouses are the millions of 40-foot
The limited exceptions to the general lack of port security rule are San Diego and Norfolk, which are homeports for much of the Navy’s fleet. There the Defense Department has financed substantial security upgrades, including underwater detection of swimmers, a stateof-the-art closed circuit TV system, and a joint operations center. This is crazy. We should have learned from the 9/11 attacks and the more recent July 2005 bombings of the London Underground that we cannot count on forever keeping the threat of catastrophic terror-
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ism at arm’s length. There are limits to what our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan can achieve, and our current intelligence capabilities are not yet up to snuff when it comes to this new adversary. It is reckless to rely on a strategy that depends so much on “taking the battle to the enemy.” When it comes to protecting the critical infrastructure concentrated in our seaports, the firewall that the national security establishment has so diligently erected and preserved needs to be torn down. There are seven things that must be done right away. • First, over the next 18 months, the Department of Defense must work closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, and with local authorities in organizing and participating in exercises that involve simulated attacks on the
nation’s largest commercial seaports. The aim of this training
should not be to prevent every terrorist act; that is unrealistic. Instead, training should focus on identifying what is required to quickly restore the operations of the port in the aftermath of a successful attack. These exercises and planning efforts must be a joint DoD-DHS effort. The reality is that DHS responsibility is not yet matched by an adequate resource base, and only DoD has the physical assets needed to address this vulnerability. • Second, DoD needs to take the lead on funding and setting up joint operations centers in all of our major ports: to outfit them with advanced information and communications technology that supports surveillance and data sharing; and to provide the necessary training to the local, state and federal agency participants. The resources and skill sets to accomplish this are concentrated within the national security community. It would be too costly and time consuming to try to develop these capabilities without the support of the military. This should be completed by 2007.
• Third, as Commander-in-Chief, you can order the Navy to reposition one of its two salvage ships in Norfolk to the West Coast and take the lead in drawing up commercial salvage contracts to support domestic harbor clearance. Over the next five years, the Navy should double its salvage fleet from four vessels to eight, and base two of them on the West Coast, two on the Gulf Coast, and two on the East Coast. The remaining two can be deployed overseas to support Navy operations.
• Fourth, the Navy needs to construct and deploy two new minesweepers to the West Coast. In the interim, the existing fleet should be used to complete bottom surveys of all the major U.S. commercial seaports. This baseline information is indispensable in quickly spotting mines should an adversary deploy them. Without it, the centuries of junk at the bottom of most harbors has to be examined by divers to determine if it poses a risk. This examination could take many weeks or even months, and that is unacceptable.
• Fifth, you must double to $1.5 billion annual funding for the Coast Guard so that it can replace its ancient fleet of vessels and aircraft, and bring its command and control capabilities into the 21st century. Many of its cutters, helicopters and planes are operating long beyond their anticipated service life and routinely experience major casualties. Under the current delivery schedule, it will be 25 to perform its mission. This, too, is unacceptable. years before the Coast Guard has the kind of assets it needs today • Sixth, you must persuade Congress to authorize the reallocation of all the duties and fees that are collected in seaports to go back into those ports to support security upgrades and infrastructure improvements. Currently, ports are the only transportation sector where the federal government is parasitic. That is, unlike airports and highways, the federal treasury takes more money away than it returns. According to the Coast Guard, seaports need to invest upwards of $5 billion to put in place minimal access control and physical security measures. Neither the ports nor the municipalities nor the states in which these ports are located have those kinds of resources.
• Finally, you should order the Executive Branch of the U.S. government to develop a national port plan that takes into account long-term trade and security trends. Relying on a patchwork quilt of locally-based decisions for managing this critical infrastructure is just not acceptable. As our dependence on global trade grows and the catastrophic terrorist threat persists, we must acknowledge that our commercial seaports are critical national security assets. As such, we must work to ensure that they possess adequate capacity, redundancy and resiliency to meet the challenges that lie ahead. CC: OVP, NSA, SECDEF, SECSTATE, SECDHS, DCI.
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