The Weinberger Doctrine

He lists six cautions or tests for U.S. forces to be sent into combat abroad:

  1. The commitment must be deemed vital to our national interest or that of our allies.
  2. It should be made “wholeheartedly, and with the clear intention of winning.”
  3. Political and military objectives and the ways to meet them must be clearly defined.
  4. As conditions change, whether the commitment remains in the national interest must be reassessed.
  5. Before a commitment is made, there must be “some reasonable assurance” of popular and congressional support.
  6. A commitment to arms must be a last resort.

.. Secretary Weinberger, who came of age in the 1930s, is still stirred by the failure of the democracies to respond to Hitler in a timely and forceful way. What is more on his mind now, however, is a Vietnam-type situation in which the United States may succumb to the “danger of (a) gradualist incremental approach which almost always means the use of insufficient force.”

.. In a sense Mr. Weinberger is simply distilling the post-Vietnam consensus — in a way that, strangely, relates to Gary Hart’s minority plank on “the selective, judicious use of American military power”


John Bolton is a great addition to the White House

Bolton, they claim, is a dangerous warmonger unfit for the office. That’s wrong. As the president’s top security aide, Bolton will be an honest broker and someone who can drive decisions through molasses-thick resistance. These qualities, plus his top-shelf intellect, make Bolton the best national security player to join Trump’s West Wing team so far.

.. What he is, however, is a Reagan realist.

.. Bolton said that “He’s very good at negotiating about giving up his [nuclear] program. . . . He’s done it four or five times in the last 15 years.” That pointed to Bolton’s conclusion: “He’s not going to relinquish those nuclear weapons voluntary. No way.”

.. “John Bolton may have a very fuzzy mustache,” retired admiral and NATO commander James Stavridis declared Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “but his elbows are very sharp.”

.. the “Weinberger doctrine” of a vastly superior American military force deployed quickly, decisively and then withdrawn.

.. I am always impressed with his razor-sharp mind, vast knowledge and refusal to be shy about stating his positions. He’s usually been the smartest guy in the room when doing so.

.. But Bolton’s Yale undergrad and law school education prepared him for boors and imbued in him a graciousness towards those less informed and definitely less polite.

.. What to expect from Bolton? The bottom line is that Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare just walked into the West Wing. Bolton can outlast and outthink anyone Putin, Kim Jong Un or Xi Jinping sends to negotiate quiet deals before the public big ones.

Look for his old friends at the U.N., State, Defense and Justice to show up soon in the Old Executive Office Building and to work towards the implementation of the comprehensive National Security Strategy put together by his predecessor, H.R. McMaster, and company. It’s a great day for Reagan-era realism of which McMaster was a superb steward during his tenure.

.. There are rough waters ahead across the globe and the president is to be commended for surrounding himself with strong, competent and very smart foreign policy professionals.