Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A modest proposal

When a major natural disaster strikes, like the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the U.S. military responds. On one level, that's good. On another level, however, it becomes grist for the rhetorical mill of those who argue that the U.S. is an indispensable provider of global public goods and that any cutback in its military posture would leave a vacuum that no one would fill.

What if the U.S. pushed for the creation of a multilateral Disaster Relief Task Force to be operated either as a freestanding entity or under the auspices of an international organization (it could be the UN, but wouldn't necessarily have to be)? That way, when a disaster strikes, the multilateral task force would be the main responder, not the U.S. military. That would, among other things, weaken the case of those who argue that the U.S. global military posture cannot or should not be reduced in any way.

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