Two weeks ago, the CSIS Europe and International Security Programs, in partnership with the Noaber Foundation, hosted the launch of "Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing the Transatlantic Partnership."  --  Below is a link to the 152-page document, co-authored by some of the West's most prominent military leaders:  German Gen. Dr. Klaus Nauman, former chairman of NATO's Military Committee, U.S. Gen. (ret.) John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and resident of Pierce County, WA), British Field Marshal The Lord Inge, former chief of the U.K. Defense Staff, French Admiral Jacques Lanxada, former chief of France's Defense Staff, Dutch Gen. (ret.) Henk van den Breeman, former chief of the Netherlands Defense Staff of the Netherlands.  --  The document reveals the growing unease, indeed despair, of contemporary national security state élites.  --  The generals warn that we have lost "certainty" (as if we ever had it) and fear the widespread availability of information represented by the Internet.  --  This democratization of knowledge and information they see this as paradoxically encouraging the rise of "fanaticism," "rise of the irrational," and what they call "the loss of the rational," no less.  --  What does "Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World" conclude?  --  That preemptive permanent war against "enemies"  — described in the report as "proactive prevention," followed, if need be, by "enforcement operations" — is the appropriate response.  --  "What is needed is a new deterrence, which conveys a single, unambiguous message to all enemies:  There is not, and never will be, any place where you can feel safe; a relentless effort will be made to pursue you and deny you any options you might develop to inflict damage upon us" (p. 95; emphasis in the original).  --  The fact that "[a]ll action must be legitimate, properly authorised and in general accordance with customary international law," (p. 94) is regarded as "a grave impediment."  --  The plan here is to use brute force, threats, and fear, like Mafia chieftains.  --  Lip service is paid to citizens' "freedoms," but only in a neo-Orwellian sense in which "freedom" loses its meaning in a world in which legal authority no longer defines limits.  --  Thus "public debates" can "provide encouragement for the opposition," "drive a wedge into a nation's or an alliance's cohesion," and actually "increase the danger of terrorist attack" (p. 105).  --  (The conclusion that follows from this premise under the principle of "proactive prevention" is left for the reader to draw.)  --  The first use of nuclear weapons, too, is explicitly on the table:  "Regrettably, nuclear weapons — and with them the option of first use — are indispensable, since there is simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world. . . . nuclear escalation continues to remain an element of any modern strategy" (p. 97).  --  Albert Camus, on Aug. 8, 1945, declared on the day after news reached the West about Hiroshima, that "Humanity is being offered, no doubt, its last chance . . . to choose once and for all between hell and reason."  --  We can understand "Towards a Grand Strategy" as a declaration that we have chosen hell.  --  And so, the authors of this report believe, we must behave like demons....


2007 (released Jan. 10, 2008)