3 June 2022
Please see the full document on Google Docs.
This essay provides ideas for incorporation in the coming version of “The National Security Strategy of the US” (NSS) and its successors. It is paired with a second essay addressing “The National Defense Strategy of the US” (NDS). These national documents have a close, symbiotic relationship, as do these two essays, which share a common logic, structure, and multiple cross-references. However, the ideas in these two essays are severable. The reader does not have to subscribe to one to endorse the other — though they are written with that linkage in mind. Critique and suggestions for action are offered in a spirit of utmost respect for the offices involved.
Rewrite the National Security Strategy of the US; adopt a geopolitical perspective, specifically:
Acknowledge that the US is a geopolitical seapower engaged in long-term competition with great continental adversaries.
The ultimate stakes are control of Eurasia, either through a) a stable balance of power (with no single entity in control) or b) through the hegemony of one state or a duopoly.
The security of the US depends on preserving a) and preventing b) and requires maintenance of a favorable military balance in the key economic regions of Eurasia — and on the world ocean.
Recognize that, if war cannot be prevented, the side that can exert control of the world ocean will, sought or unsought, deny its weaker adversary all access to the sea and may well force its adversary to face existential choices regarding its sea-based intercontinental nuclear forces, its economic well-being, and its very sovereignty. This sea-denial process — provisionally designated “blockade”— appears unavoidable and difficult, if not impossible, to modulate.
Defend the seapower’s vulnerabilities; the US has no greater vulnerability in conventional war than the sea lines of communication that link it to its allies; without defensible SLOCs, the US alliance will collapse, the US will lose the war, and then face a Eurasian hegemon alone — likely itself becoming the target of blockade.
Exploit the advantages that a seapower enjoys: 1)forming alliances, 2) prosecuting military-economic warfare, 3) exerting blockade (global sea denial) which has strategic meaning independent of what happens on land. Note that the third is conditional on acquiring and maintaining capabilities to control the sea — an option that is open to continental powers as well.
Combine competitive strategies with cooperative ones to deal with the security dilemma.
Publicly express the NSS in ideological language; privately base its development on geopolitical principles.