The 2018 US National Defense Strategy in Plain Words: Tragi-Comic!


Jan Oberg | The Transnational – TRANSCEND Media Service

26 Jan 2018 – Excerpts from Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America:

“For decades the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain. We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted. Today, every domain is contested air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.”

In plain words:
An admission of two things, namely that the US considers it right, or natural, to dominate the entire world and do what it pleases. And that its relative power is decreasing.

”Challenges to the U.S. military advantage represent another shift in the global security environment. Our network of alliances and partnerships remain the backbone of global security. China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and ‘rules of the road.’ “

In plain words:
NATO – a West-only alliance aimed at defense among its own members – and some partners shall remain the backbone of global society: there is no role to play for other countries; it’s our security, not theirs that is the backbone.

“A more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating Joint Force, combined with a robust constellation of allies and partners, will sustain American influence and ensure favorable balances of power that safeguard the free and open international order.”

In plain words:
This global security policy – to become even more lethal – shall sustain American influence. Balances of power shall be favourable to the US, meaning non-favourable to others – a somewhat strange philosophy if you want a free and open international order.

“China is leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce neighboring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage.”

In plain words:
The US has only negative perceptions of China. If it so evil, how come the world’s largest future economic+ project is the non-military, China-initiated Silk Road And Belt that attracts lots of countries while Western global capitalism for 300 years has thrived on exploiting colonies, used multinational corporations and established 600+ US military bases and secured strategic resources such as oil by the repeated use of violent interventions, occupations, regime change, coup d’états etc. Predatory?

“Russia seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery in terms of their governmental, economic, and diplomatic decisions, to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor.”

In plain words:
Russia is what Reagan called the Soviet Union, an Evil Empire. It’s however one country with 8% of NATO’s 29 members’ military expenditures. It’s out to shatter NATO! Did we know that NATO is that weak and believes that little in its own capabilities? I didn’t!

“Rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran are destabilizing regions through their pursuit of nuclear weapons or sponsorship of terrorism.”

In plain words:
The US knows something the rest of us don’t: Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. So that’s why it signed the deal about abstaining from acquiring them (JCPOA), has done what it should according to that deal, is a member of the Non-Proliferation Treat (NPT) and accepts tighter international inspections than any other. The US does not have to mention Israel, of course, because Washington believes that the rest of the world doesn’t know that Israel has 200-300 nukes, isn’t a member of the NPT and would not even think of accepting inspections.

“Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability.”

In plain words:
These cunning Iranians have moved their country so unacceptably close to all our bases and our CENTCOM. They haven’t “killed their own people”, they have a lively political debate, a parliament and hold elections and – worst of all – they are just playing tricks by not having invaded any other country the last 250 years. Israel, in contrast, has shown some real occupation capability. The Iranians have the guts to be grumpy just because CIA & Co. destroyed their democracy in 1953, gave Saddam Hussein chemical weapons with which he could mass kill them and because we continue to impoverish their 85 million people with our sanctions. And, while we are at it, we no longer mention Syria because it’s now and opportunity; we are chopping it up to better serve our interests and we see no problems when our allies, Saudi Arabia, do Yemen.

“In support of the National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense will be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.”

In plain words:
We are God’s own country, his chosen people – we have a God-given right to be the biggest and most violent, always for our common good. Balance is fine but only if it’s in our favour; the international order shall not serve all humanity; it shall serve us/US. And what is good for us is good for the world. As simple as that!

“As we expand the competitive space, we continue to offer competitors and adversaries an outstretched hand, open to opportunities for cooperation but from a position of strength and based on our national interests. Should cooperation fail, we will be ready to defend the American people, our values, and interests. The willingness of rivals to abandon aggression will depend on their perception of U.S. strength and the vitality of our alliances and partnerships.” We must “be strategically predictable, but operationally unpredictable.”

In plain words:
Cooperation is not the preferred US style but, OK, it can go along with it if it remains superior and the cooperation is based on its interests, not their interests. And to really scare the crowd into submission/obeyance, the US shall be un-predictable. No, the US doesn’t do confidence-building, it is second to none in conventional strength and has lots of nukes and big buttons…

What is a strategy?

A strategy is overarching goal and means plan based on some cohesive thoughts.  It is based on some clearly defined concepts, theories and visions – or scenarios – of the future and defining who shall do what, when, at what costs and to the benefit of whom?

This National Defense Strategy is as problematic as it is scary for the American people and the world, because:

  1. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a defense philosophy or plan. With just a tiny sense of empathy, it should be clear that it will antagonize/frighten and provoke any present real or potential adversary and convince friends too that it’s impossible to work with the US, or trust it. It’s megalomaniac, out of touch with reality. It’s a plan for de-creasing security and increasing the risk of major war(s).
  1. Understood as a result of analyses of the world and what defense and security is, or could be, in the 21st century – its intellectual level is such that it defies serious discussion. Is this really the best defense intellectuals in Pentagon and the Armed Forces can produce with the help of multi-billion dollar university institutes and corporate-funded think tanks?
  2. Its exceptionalist, God-like, imperial (white) supremacy philosophy will turn off the far majority of the world, many inside The West and virtually everybody outside it, in The Rest.
  3. Studied closely, it is a systematic psycho-pathological projection of the US’s own dark sides unto others. It seeks to construct enemies that must be antagonized, shown contempt, held down and, if necessary, destroyed.

For that the US needs more and more lethal weapons although it is already by far human history’s largest military power and its military expenditures are larger than the next 7-10 largest military spenders combined! It’s never enough, we need more, a new fix – like the drug addict.

How come that the world has become so insecure when its backbone since 1945 has been the US-lead Western backbone? What is so madly wrong with this entire imperial, militarist way of thinking?

Given its content and underlying world view, this strategy has received surprisingly little media attention.

There is a reason for that: If the whole world gets to know its details, it will become impossible to sell the US and NATO re-armament and worldwide warfare system based on fake, paranoid “analyses” of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran etc. to taxpayers and, thus, the US Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, won’t get what it demands.

This Strategy is not healthy.

It’s dangerous for the US itself and for the world. 2017-2018 would have been the right time to say something new and seek co-operation with the Rest. US MIMAC elites are unable to.

A world power that sees enemies everywhere and hates so many so strongly, that is unable to see opportunities for benign, mutual-benefit cooperation and therefore increasing isolates itself on top of a powder keg with a deliberately unpredictable, chaotic administration is a very very dangerous creature.

God, bless America! But before You do, please save it from itself!


TFF Director Prof. Jan Oberg is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.



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One Response to “The 2018 US National Defense Strategy in Plain Words: Tragi-Comic!”

  1. rosemerry says:

    I thought the GWBush “Strategy” was bad enough, but this, with its simplified and arrogant lines shows definitely no learning by the “Administration”. Peace is not a word any would dare to use,, and also the vast majority of US citizens do not benefit from all the belligerent behavior and words of the “leaders”.
    Thanks for the careful and clear explanations.

    “Russia seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery in terms of their governmental, economic, and diplomatic decisions, to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor.”
    So it is “normal” to expand NATO all around Russia when there is no longer the “commie threat of the USSR” and the Warsaw Pact has dissolved; Russia is not supposed to take any interest in its neighbors; Russia is not to care about its interests at all!