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For the Courage of the Founders
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Why is this important?
This is step two. If you accept the premise that terrorists cannot win then the logical train of thought is why are we spending so much time, effort and cash on this problem. The answer, of course, is that we are afraid. We are afraid. Even though we know that the chances of being killed or injured are very low, our fear mandates that we take action. The problem is that if that fear is not checked by policy or a set of strategic parameters, there is nothing to stop the fear from becoming the foundation for policy and strategy. The framers of the Constitution understood this concept. That is why they designed a government of law and made upholding that law the primary duty of the president and military. They knew that they had to bind the future thoughts and action of men to their grander strategy for government.
The most likely way that the United States is going to be attacked is through terrorism, but this should have the least impact on our future. The most likely way that the United States is going to decline is by failing to be able to develop a sound long-term plan to maintain world dominance. By acknowledging that we can lose and examining how, we can determine a strategy to avoid the fate that has befallen all of the other superpowers. It will not avoid risk; it will avoid decline. It will seek to avoid the foibles that frightened people are liable to undertake by understanding the true forces at work and the true consequences of short-term poorly focused asset application. The terrorism problem is only a small subset of this problem, and must be treated as such. We cannot allow terror to manipulate us into untenable situations. We cannot allow ourselves to be put into situations where we cannot utilize our inherent advantages. We cannot take actions that the terrorists will be able to use against us in a strategy to isolate us from our allies. We cannot develop plans that constrain our ability to apply the full force of our humanitarian nature. We have to understand that with the position of being the sole super power comes a great deal of responsibility. Part of that responsibility is to act with extreme caution and malice of forethought to maintain a stable world environment. We can absorb casualties; that is an inherent benefit of having a robust society. What we can’t absorb is a wandering national strategy that shifts with every minor stimulus. We can’t absorb a generation of people who are not being provided the educational and social opportunities of our peer competitors for they are being set up to fail. We can’t absorb having only one solution set, weight of arms, to prove us correct or protect us, when we are being deluged with diverse challenges. Rome depended on its military strength and collapsed. Napoleon depended on his armies and collapsed. The Ming depended on their secure borders and collapsed. If we do not look at the way that we can lose, then build a plan to avoid that loss, of which terrorism will be a consideration, then we will certainly lose.
PART II - Toward an Effective Strategy
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Copyright ©2003-2007 by Thomas Rancich. Printing, copying, creating or transmitting of electronic copies of this transcript in whole or in part without the written consent of Mr. Rancich is expressly forbidden and will be construed as constituting copyright infringement.