#NoApologyBookClub Power : Soft, Hard, Theirs, Ours

(This is the third #NoApologyBoockClub post. The second post is here.)

Having argued the case in the first two chapters of No Apology of why America should seek to restore and maintain superpower status, Romney uses the next two chapters, The Pursuit of Power and Pathways for American Power, to talk about the external threats to America and the specifics of how America can restore it’s influence and leadership.

…in the real world, there will always be those with more power and those with less, and it’s far better if those nations that hold power are “good.”

The Pursuit of Power

Of the four competing strategies in the world – China, Russia, Jihad, America and the west – only the America & its allies are reducing its military and defense capabilities. The other three are actively pursuing power.

Since the mid-80s, China reduced its number of soldiers while doubling military spending again and again. That money is going towards modernizing its army, investing in defense industrial capacity, in submarines, in ballistic missile technology, space-warfare and cyber-warfare. Romney notes two things: first, although China still lags behind the USA in military power, it is catching up. Second, they have not (yet) built up their military to challenge the USA head to head, instead they have shaped it to gain control of the theaters of import to them – Asia, as a stepping stone to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. (The recent ongoing showdown with Japan over the Senkaku Islands is one of these moves, imo.)

“It is in our best interest to draw China into the circle of responsible nations and, at the same time, to strengthen our capacity to intervene in Asia, if necessary, to prevent China from imposing its will on independent nations.”

Putin calls the dissolution of the Soviet Union “the greatest political catastrophe of the twentieth century” and he is taking steps to rebuild what was lost. “He has embarked on the authoritarian path traveled by Russia’s past tyrants – complete with the aggregation of personal power for himself, awards of wealth to cronies, suppression of free speech, attempted intimidation of the West, nationalization of key industries, and invaded Georgia*, an independent nation.” Putin is funding Russia’s return to global player status with Russia’s rich energy and natural resources. Putin’s foreign policy shows that he is focused on controlling energy pipelines and rebuilding alliances with repressive regimes, specially energy-rich ones. He is rebuilding Russia’s military and holding on to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. (*Georgia’s new President is rumored to be a Kremlin plant)

While China and Russia are looming threats, the ongoing danger to America’s security are the radical, violent jihadists. Radical fundamental Muslims – Islamists- are estimated to number about 200 million (some believe this is a very low estimate and taht they may be a significant minority of the Muslim population). All violent jihadists are Islamists, but not all Islamists are violent jihadists. While most Islamists do not condone the tactics of violent, jihad, they do share the shame vision. Every non-Muslim state is to be removed from all land once under Muslim control. All these lands must be united under on religious caliphate and eventually Islam will conquer the whole world.

The jihadists view America as the primary obstacle to their goals and a nation bent on denying Allah’s will. Therefore America is their primary target – it must be destroyed. Islamists view freedom as contrary to submitting to the will of Allah, and therefore evil.

Allah decides who will win a war and who will lose it. And most important, Allah will always grant victory to Muslims if they are sufficiently strict in adherence to all aspects of Islamic law and custom.

It is in this context that we have to understand that Islamist-controlled Iran is not just a threat to us – it is our enemy. Iran funds and directs Hezbollah’s efforts to destabilize Lebanon and attack Israel. Iran funds and equips any radical Islamist radical willing to strike at the West.

Pathways for American Power

“National power compels, convinces, or motivates other nations to act or to forbear from acting.” There is soft (economic, diplomatic, persuasive) power and hard (military) power.
America should have a lot of soft power – our economy dwarfs that of any other nation- and yet we do not use that potential influence to our advantage. One example is China, which relies on access to our markets for continued political stability. Despite that, we haven’t been able to stop China from supporting Sudan, or from dealing with Iran. Likewise with persuading with popularity – American brands permeate every corner of the world. Americans only make up 4.5% of the world’s population but  we donate 12% of global foreign aid – more than any other nation. Yet America’s “popularity and persuasive sway are on the wane.”

A counter example is Hezbollah – it spends only a relatively small amount of money building village schools, clinics, etc within Shia communities in Lebanon, but this has translated into grassroots support for them. Or in Latin America – everyone there has heard of “Operation Miracle” – Fidel Castro’s cataract surgery program. America spends much more on aid in Latin America than Castro, but because his aid is known, branded, and promoted, it is far more effective at winning hearts.

Romney ties this to the cumbersome nature of getting aid effectively and the lack of accountability.

Beyond State Department bureaucracy, who in the United States with authority and power is focused every day on Latin America, for instance, and is responsible for moving its nations toward freedom and free enterprise? …

Our nation’s military once faced a similar problem of accountability gaps…. No one person was responsible was responsible for pursuing our military objectives in a given region.

President Truman (him again!) fixed this by dividing the world into military regions and assigning a single commander to be responsible for each. It’s worked. “Military success and failure are never orphans in the world of the American military.”
Romney wants to use the same model for soft-power – divide the world into regions and out a person in charge. Then have an independent agency do a yearly evaluation based on defined metrics on how the region was progressing. Ideally other allied nations would create similar positions for their areas of influence (Spain – Cuba, France – Lebanon, etc) and our efforts could be coordinated. Romney sees the leveraging of soft power as an urgent need in the face of rising Jihadist sympathies in the Middle East and Africa. (Even more timely now after the Arab Spring, imo.)

Hard power is defined by military might. Romney explains the need for a defense budget necessary to meet the job we are asking our military to fill. He warns against taking various estimates of defense spending out out by third parties at face value, specially when they are comparing our budget to other nations (apples and oranges). He cautions against cutting defense spending out of unwarranted optimism about the prospects of peace – an under-prepared military could cost tens of thousands of lives.
Romney proposes these five missions for our military:

1. Strategic Defense – this relies on credible nuclear deterrence. This is the big stick – “We must convincingly make clear to friends and foes alike what our response will be if any nation or group chooses to use a nuclear device or other weapon of mass destruction.”
2. Counterinsurgency and Land War Capacity – we must be prepared to fight and win land wars and counter-insurgencies. Right now we are over-using our Reservists and National Guard, creating a heavy burden on families. Romney projects the need for at least 100,000 more soldiers and increased ground warfare weapons.
3. Control of the Commons – this means our military must be able to move freely on seas, in the air, and in space. This allows us to protect trade, respond to humanitarian crisis, enhance our credibility to allies and project our power.
4. Defending Against Discontinuities – defense against cyber-threats and anti-satellite warfare, and even EMP attacks. “Space and cyberspace are the twenty-first century’s new battlefields.”
5. Counterinsurgency Forces – Romney holds up the example of small US military teams partnering with the Philippine military to repel the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao as a model for “Special Partnership Forces.” It a model that could be employed in the many countries now battling jihadist insurgents within their borders.

Lastly, there is our Alliances Capacity. We need strong allies, and we need to strengthen our NATO ties and our leadership.

None of this will be easy, nor will it be cheap. But it is necessary in order to secure the freedom upon which our future prosperity and safety rests.

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102 Responses to #NoApologyBookClub Power : Soft, Hard, Theirs, Ours

  1. votermom says:

    I forgot to put in the bit about Putin being a fan of Stalin. Mitt says Stalin is getting a makeover on Russian history books.

  2. votermom says:

    No poll in this post but what do you think of the soft power idea? Very Ceo like …

    • yttik says:

      Soft power is absolutely vital. That’s why you talk about peace through strength. Hillary used to talk about creating an umbrella, like between Iran and Israel where you use diplomacy, sanctions, economic incentives, but you have to back it up with military power. Nobody wants war, but making sure everybody understands that the US will retaliate, like if Iran were to bomb Israel for example, can help to keep the peace.

      • Erica says:

        I think Hillary specifically used the term soft power. I can say for sure I would feel better with Mitt at the helm than Obama. I even wondered at times if Mitt would offer Hill a cabinet spot.

        By the way, at the Clinton Global Initiative site there is a front page (or it was) video of Romney’s talk there, and it is impressive. He is so much more substantial than 0. No wonder Bill spoke so highly of him.

        I read the intro to the book waiting for my kid at Barnes and Noble. Probably will take the rest of the plunge soon.

    • elliesmom says:

      The thing about power, even soft power, is that it helps to trust the person you give it to. I don’t trust Obama. I wouldn’t want him to be the Commander-in-Chief if my children were in the armed services – or the diplomatic corps/

      • votermom says:

        Obama has done so much to erode our credibility both with our allies AND our enemies. That lack of credibility is a thousand pound boulder that Hillary has had to lug around with her everywhere as she meets with foreign leaders. She says something and they think – “but will Obama honor that?”

  3. carol haka says:

    Fbi just stopped plot to blow up federal reserve in manhattan that was in action. Geez. I hate these creeps. 👿

  4. Constance says:

    Off topic: Don’t you all wonder why Justice Ginsburg hasn’t resigned and let Obama pick another judge? She is nearly 80, has pancreatic cancer and was appointed by Clinton. What is she waiting for a Republican President?

  5. wmcb says:

    Glenn Greenwald right now is example of the idiocy of the left. He is moaning how the guy who tried to blow up the NY bank with a 1000 pound van bomb was “entrapped” by the FBI. The poor, poor young uneducated muslim men would not be taking it into their heads to blow anything up were it not for the entrapment stings of the FBI.

    BULLSHIT. I know lots of poor uneducated people. Tons of them. You know what? I don’t care WHAT some undercover agent told them or provided them with, they would never try to drive a van loaded with explosives into a building while praising OBL. Never. Would not happen. But these poor poor young muslim men supposedly never had a violent bone in their bodies until the evil FBI agent suggested, “Hey, dontcha want to go blow up a building to strike a blow for Islam?” And they, like any rational person would, said, “Well, if you say so, sure!”

    Utter bullshit.

  6. thanks again for the great post votermom….

  7. carol haka says:

    Ot. What does everyone think about Lance Armstrong? In my day before all of my neck problems I swam on a Master’s Swim team and went to a hard core gym where women and men were juicing! I just do not think Lance has any o9f the physical symptoms of someone using steroids. He is too thin all over. Steroids make you large everywhere, and he is practically skin and bones. Also steroids would feed any cancer cells. 👿

  8. angienc says:

    BTW — in case you are wondering about the Binder hysteria there’s this:

    • angienc says:

      Also, Obama pulling money from NC & FL — plus things not looking so good in VA or CO either.

      What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

      It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not guaranteed, in all three. They are similarly upbeat about prospects in Colorado but not confident enough to predict victory. That Plouffe left Colorado off his list of states where Obama’s leading and can withstand a Romney surge might be telling…

      Romney, according to RCP, has 191 electoral votes. If you add Florida (29), North Carolina (15), and Virginia (13), that brings his total to 248 electoral votes. Add Colorado (9) –which neither campaign is prepared to claim or concede–and Romney’s total rises to 257 electoral votes. If Romney wins Ohio (18) in addition to these states, he would have 275 electoral votes. If Romney loses Ohio, he would need to win Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire to reach 273 electoral votes.


      I like how they pretend WI (tied) and PA aren’t in pay — OK, I’ll give you PA because of Philly (they’ve got the voter fraud system there down pat) but WI is tied as of today’s Marquette poll (which was only one to get WI recall right).

      Obama is losing ground in “blue” states — yet they keep talking about how narrow Romney’s path is and say that Ohio is Obama’s “firewall.” I think its more akin to his Maginot Line.

  9. elliesmom says:

    Is it OK to use the word “stupid” here? I was told today by a FB friend that she doesn’t allow that word on her FB page. Because I want to post a Jimmy Kimmel video, but I don’t know how else to describe the people they interviewed on the street. Is “clueless” better?

    • Erica says:

      I am not surprised by this. He has really been pitiful in his approach to the black community. He fosters dissent and class warfare instead of problem solving. He’s broken so many promises. And he is not very presidential in his demeanor or his accomplishments. Aside from the initial happiness that a black man became president, I think it’s been downhill since then.

  10. swanspirit says:

    I just had to write this to a friend of my sons, who should know better than defend this idiotic lying POTUS who had the absolute gall to fake high umbrage during the debate ; at the suggestion he was using the deaths in Libya for political purposes , when in reality these men died because he was using them for political purposes .,

    Perhaps you do not understand why this is important to me . As you know , Shawn was in the M.E. for many years, some of which included embassy details. If MY GOVERNMENT ( and the media) IGNORED repeated attacks on an embassy , IGNORED and DENIED REPEATED REQUESTS for increased security , since FEBRUARY , and my son LOST HIS LIFE because the POTUS wanted to “normalize” the situation too soon so he could point to success in the M.E. , and then LIED and blamed what they knew was a TERRORIST ATTACK on a freakin stupid movie for weeks ; I would be beyond any consolation , and I would damn sure hold the administration DIRECTLY responsible. And I for damn sure would NOT vote for anyone who perpetrated such a crime and fraud on the people of this country .


    An Incriminating Timeline: Obama Administration and Libya (VIDEO)
    The latest incriminating information on the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya indicates that the State Department turned down a request for additional security from concerned U.S. embassy staff. New evidence shows there were security threats in Libya in the months prior to the deadly September………

  11. carol haka says:

    I think our military presence in each country should be paid for by the country or area we are protecting. We build their economies while we are out of cash and they treat us like shit. 👿

    • votermom says:

      Imo if we start charging they start treating us worse – ordering us around like rent-a-cops – but I agree we should not be short-changing our interests. We should be getting access to markets, favorable trade relations, etc — all the stuff that will pump blood into our economy.

  12. FYI, VM. I’m not going to be able to write the post for the third section until Monday now. Hope that’s okay.

  13. myiq2xu says:

    The Giants are stuck in a rain delay. They are losing 3-1

  14. angienc says:

    This almost qualifies as parody but I think it’s a little too close to reality to:

  15. votermom says:

    Btw, the next section of No Apology is domestic policy:
    6. Entitlements
    8. Education
    9. Energy
    I will probably end up not being able to lump all of these into one post – I’ll be lucky to squeeze them into two. 8-o

  16. votermom says:

    day by day on the debate

  17. HELENK says:

    this was a no quarter and I loved it.

  18. myiq2xu says:

    Rain delay finally over!

  19. HELENK says:

    Joe Biden got another job

  20. myiq2xu says:

    Fucking Giants!

  21. westcoaster says:

    I’m lovin’ this new 3AM ad (Hillary! Hillary! answer that call!)

    • DM says:

      OMG! I wrote to the Romney campaign to make that ad. I’m so glad my idea was good. I’m in tears.

      • DM says:

        I wrote to them after the Benghazi event.

      • DM says:

        There’s one minor difference from my idea. I simply said that nobody was answering the phone. I did not say that Obama would tell Hillary to answer the phone.

      • lyn5 says:

        WTG! Don’t you love it? I e-mailed McCain to play Barracuda at the 2008 convention, and I screamed when they did. Others probably thought of it, but it still was scream-worthy.

      • DM says:

        But the ad is not from the Romney campaign, so maybe the PAC that developed that ad came up with the same basic idea, not from me. Any way, I’m glad it was done. Obama doesn’t answer that phone.

    • cj says:

      ROFL it sounds just like him too.

  22. DM says:

    I also gave the campaign another idea. If I see it, I’ll tell you it’s mine.

    • DM says:

      Women are missing an opportunity because women organizations have decided, first, that the Democratic Party should get their vote with no strings attached, and second, that Obama is a feminist.

  23. angienc says:

    BTW — all day long the MSM & vile progs have been trying to make “binders” happen to say Romney is “sexist” but meanwhile Obama delivers this doozy:

    I’ve got to tell you, we don’t have to collect a bunch of binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women, ready to learn and teach in these fields right now.

    Because teaching (along with nursing) is an “acceptable” job for women? That’s a *much* easier statement to label sexist than Romney’s.

    And while WaPo reported it as above, NYT chopped it up & reporting it as:

    Speaking in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Mr. Obama made his own reference to Mr. Romney’s “binders” comment, saying that there were enough talented women in the country that finding them required no special search.

    So the NYT actively edited out the potentially sexist part of the statement to make it look *better* for Obama.




    • Pips says:

      “Bunch”, “folks”, “stuff” are some of the words that, when Obama uses them, to me sounds not only undignified but almost offensive. Certainly not expressions I’d expect from a president. Not from any president.

    • Pips says:

      And yes, the “WORMing” is infuriating.

      I rarely go to NYT anymore but recently by accident hit a link to an article about Stephanie Cutter. Slobber, slobber, slobber!

      Didn’t read much further than realizing that when she came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of hitting Romney with his ‘attack’ on Big Bird, of course it was ‘Tongue in cheek’. Sure, snort.

  24. DM says:

    The IBD poll has an interesting breakdown of the vote

    Obama loses 9% of his 2008 voters to Romney and 9% of his voters are undecided
    Obama gets 3% of the 2008 McCain voters and 3% are undecided.

    I see a landslide brewing

    • angienc says:

      I’d bet the 6% McCain voters are PUMAs — 3% like many of us here who are torn between voting Romney or 3rd party (which most pols are counting as “undecided” because only choice are Obama/Romney/Undecided) & 3% like those at skyhating who’ve been assimilated back into the borg. No way anyone *else* but PUMAs who voted McCain last time are voting Obama or are undecided now.

      I think the 18% Obama is losing is a mix of Republicans who voted for Obama last time (and believe it or not, a lot of evangelicals did — he’s not getting them again), PUMAs who gave in at the end of 2008 & the normal Dem/Indep who didn’t pay too much attention last time & just voted for the guy who had a (D) after his name.

  25. tommy says:

    I can’t understand why Rasmussen and IBD polls differ so greatly from Gallup. As Karl Rove says, there has not ever been a candidate who tracked over 50% late in Oct at Gallup polls, and then loses the election. Its almost a done deal. But Rassie and IBD differ.

    • Lulu says:

      The number of undervotes from Dems is going to be statistically significant even if it is rather small. There will be a number who vote down ticket for Dems in many states who refuse to vote for a Repub or third party for Prezzy. This was one of the great unreported stories of the primaries for Dems this year. The media hid it.

  26. kanaughty says:

    Putin scares me. If he weren’t always getting elected to a position of power in russia, then i wouldbelieve that they truly wanted to be a democracy. As it stands right now, that one guy just has too much control and for too long now for me in my head to see russia as a true democratic ally. Right now i dom’t trust that thhey would help us fight al queda in the middle east or they would help us against iran. I feel like if iran gabe them enough of something russia would work with them and help them finish up their nuke program and turn it into a viable weapon for today. And these are only thoughts i have strictly because of putin and how he just won’t leave any position of power in russia.

    • votermom says:

      When the USSR collapsed, there was such chaos and corruption that it was a power vacuum, and Putin stepped in.
      He’s kind of like a latter-day Napoleon that went thru KGB-school, imo, and I think we should all be very wary of him.

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