The top U.S. military officer cautioned against ever-growing militarization of U.S. foreign policy, urging greater support for civilian approaches to the world's problems.
"I believe we should be more willing to break this cycle and say when armed forces may not always be the best choice to take the lead," Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said late Monday.
Mullen's comments, in a speech prepared for delivery at the Nixon Center, echoed U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' views that U.S. neglect of diplomacy and other civilian instruments of power has hurt Washington's standing in the world.
There was a time when terrorists and renegade states didnât believe that the powers would react harshly and firmly. Then they found out the hard way and massive âshock and aweâ would disrupt them and set their machiavellian plans back whilst democracy was saved for another decade or so. Now terrorists and renegade states see the powers attempting shock and awe, failing to achieve their aims and settling in for long but ultimately unsuccessful campaigns while their opponents play long-term hide and seek. So if you were the head shed of a leading power, wouldnât you suggest an alternative policy to watching your boys, girls and best toys be exposed daily as an imperfect solution? I think I might, don't you?