Neocons' Nightmare: Not Being Able to Attack Who We Want
Five retired NATO generals (from the US, UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands) recently released a report with the Center for Strategic and International Studies called "Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing the Transatlantic Partnership." It details new and terrifying threats the world has never faced before (p. 27, pdf):
In addition to the ongoing threats posed by international terrorism by non-state or proxy-state actors, acts of war can be committed by individual nation states or allied states by abusing the leverage that other resources bring. China and Russia today are economic powers that might be tempted to deter other nations with the weapons of finance and energy resources. This kind of deterrence by non-military means represents a new phenomenon and has never been a part of traditional military thinking. To appreciate such cases strategically will demand a much broader conception of strategy than we have hitherto employed...On the one hand, I thank God the United States and Europe have never stooped to using the "weapons of finance and energy resources." But how will innocents like ourselves know what to do when confronted with such nefarious enemies?
ALSO: Note the slippery change from one sentence describing other countries committing "acts of war," to the next sentence, where these countries merely are "tempted to deter other nations." This belief, that it is unacceptable and essentially an act of war for other countries to have the power to deter us from doing whatever we want, runs deep in US strategic thinking.
A good example is in this little-known January, 2001 memo from Donald Rumsfeld.