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Preserving new world order requires military preparedness, Hoover scholar says
STANFORD -- The United States should maintain its military forces because "tensions between differing national, religious and minority groups are now more likely to result in violence" than during the Cold War, a Hoover scholar says.
The United States should not "abandon its [current] military forces for the miniscule, ill-equipped army of the 1920s and early 1930s" that is being recommended by legislators eager to spend the "peace dividend," writes Thomas H. Henriksen in a monograph published recently by the Hoover Institution.
Henriksen is an expert on war, revolution, guerrilla efforts and counterinsurgency activities. He has written five books and numerous articles on the nature and scope of revolutionary activities and movements.
"The new world order is much more unpredictable and risky than during the bipolar standoff of the Cold War, when both superpowers would act to contain bush fires out of concern they could escalate to nuclear conflicts," Henriksen writes in the monograph, "The New World Order: War, Peace and Military Preparedness."
"The United States cannot become the world's police force, but as the world's sole superpower, it will no doubt have to serve from time to time as the counterweight in regional struggles."
To do so, the United States must maintain "a credible force, and, in some case, a forward presence overseas" to safeguard American interests, he says.
While the temptation exists to decrease military preparedness and readiness in light of the collapse of the Soviet empire, "modern forces, with their reliance on highly trained crews and electronically sophisticated weapons, are not easily rebuilt," he says. "Even in a slower moving world, the United States was unprepared for the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"The current tempo of political change and proliferation of advanced weapons around the globe and in the hands of unfriendly governments should make American politicians think carefully about the potential risks before cutting back too severely on U.S. military forces."
Above all, states Henriksen, the United States cannot return to the isolationism of the 1930s. To protect its long-term interests, the United States must continue to be engaged diplomatically around the world.
"And military power is a necessary component of effective diplomacy," he writes.
"Uncertainty about developments within the former Soviet Union, south Asia, the Middle East, the Korean peninsula and elsewhere all caution the United States not to neglect common sense about the human race's propensity for organized violence. Without a strong U.S. role, our alliance systems in Europe and in Asia also lack leadership, inviting instability and perhaps military expansion against American interests or allies."
Henriksen is a senior fellow and associate director at the Hoover Institution. He served as a member of the U.S. Army Science Board from 1984 to 1990 and has been a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships since 1987.
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