In a Washington Post op-ed today titled “The Limits of Force,” former Nebraska Republican Senator and Vietnam combat veteran Chuck Hagel warns against excessive use of military power in the face of new and rapidly changing 21st-century challenges and realities.
“We need a clearly defined strategy that accounts for the interconnectedness and the shared interests of all nations,” Hagel writes. “Every great threat to the United States — whether economic, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, health pandemics, environmental degradation, energy, or water and food shortages — also threatens our global partners and rivals.”
He goes on to discuss the importance of non-military means of securing the peace: “Development of seamless networks of intelligence gathering and sharing, and strengthening alliances, diplomatic cooperation, trade and development can make the biggest long-term difference and have the most lasting impact on building a more stable and secure world.”
“Relying on the use of force as a centerpiece of our global strategy, as we have in recent years, is economically, strategically and politically unsustainable and will result in unnecessary tragedy — especially for the men and women, and their families, who serve our country.”