Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mr. Y is no Mr. X

An essay entitled A National Strategic Narrative by Mr. Y is the talk of the town.   Mr. Y of course, is a pseudonym for the person who penned the article.

The name is inspired by Mr. X, the author of a memorable 1946 State Department telegram.  Mr. X was later revealed to be George F. Kennan, and his seminal telegram, later published in Foreign Affairs,  was an early warning about the Soviet threat to the Free World.  But any comparison between X and Y is strictly alphabetical.  That's because, unlike Mr. X,  Mr. Y's intention is not to warn America of a new foreign threat.  In fact, it's unclear what Mr. Y's true motivations might be. 

Foreign Policy Magazine describes the article:
The piece was written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a "personal" capacity, but it is clear that it would not have seen the light of day without a measure of official approval. Its findings are revelatory, and they deserve to be read and appreciated not only by every lawmaker in Congress, but by every American citizen.
The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report says Americans are overreacting to Islamic extremism, underinvesting in their youth, and failing to embrace the sense of competition and opportunity that made America a world power. The United States has been increasingly consumed by seeing the world through the lens of threat, while failing to understand that influence, competitiveness, and innovation are the key to advancing American interests in the modern world.

Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world.
CNN comments:
Take a look a the report and then, if you feel so moved, write your congressperson about it here.  [DoF urges you to write your congressperson to complain about Mr Y.  After all, your hard-earned tax dollars pay his salary.]
The United States Department of Fear has issued an Official Statement in response to the article:
It's one thing when the liberal media journalists or bloggers pen rants, but we expect better from people paid to serve us. We need to determine the identity of the authors of the article. They should be fired or possibly prosecuted for insubordination. In a world plagued by terrorism, drugs, and illegal migration, we simply cannot tolerate defense department employees undermining the defense establishment. 
Rumor has it that the article may be part of a sophisticated U.S. intelligence operation.  The idea is that when senior leaders give the appearance of tolerating radical thoughts, government employees who are not sufficiently committed to the agenda will speak out in favor of the message.   In other word, perhaps it's part of a strategy to smoke the liberals out.  

Others have suggested that the article may be someone's idea of a belated April Fool's joke. We think that's highly unlikely because the article concerns a topic most Americans know better than to joke about (certainly not around DoF, and DoD is not so different).  To suggest that America should cut back on defense not 10 years after the worst attack on the Homeland in our history is not funny.  To do so in view of the dangers we face and the various wars we are fighting (and at some risk of losing) abroad is not amusing.   Rather, it's profoundly disrespectful towards the national security establishment.     

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Dr. Rebecca Wolf
Undersecretary for Community and New Media
United States Department of Fear