2020-01-03 11:13:54 | 网户台后新闻网


名豪娱乐平台代理,in the united states, “national security”is the preoccupation that never has to explain itself. in some quarters, refugees fleeing violence and destitution are a “national security threat.” so too are imported automobiles, as president donald trump's administration declared last year.

one might think that states have always been obsessed with national security. but americans didn't begin using the phrase with any frequency until the 1940s, when edward mead earle, a historian based at the institute for advanced study in princeton, new jersey, from the 1930s to the '50s, helped popularize the concept among policy elites and ordinary americans alike.

before then, many military planners and civilian leaders spoke of “national defense.” speaking in 1940 before a new york auditorium crowded with academics, military men, and journalists, earle claimed the term “defense” to be “misleading.” the term implied a passive and reactive position—one of “waiting until the enemy is at one's gates.” but this amounted to suicide in an age of totalitarianism and air power, which gave the advantage to the aggressor. “perhaps,”earle said to the audience, “a better word is security.” in making this case, earle had introduced something new: a “national security imagination.”

“national security” caught on, quickly becoming a watchword of the war effort. a month after earle's speech in that new york auditorium,franklin delano roosevelt gave his first radio address centered on the idea: “my friends,” the president told the nation, “this is not a fireside chat on war. it is a talk on national security.” by 1945, one washington insider said it had become impossible to “go to a dinner party” without hearing talk of the “future security of the united states.” after the war, interest in security was institutionalized through the national security act of 1947, which established the national security resources board, the central intelligence agency,and the national security council. the national security agency arrived five years later.

the imaginative dimensions of national security were on full display during the early cold war. an ocean away from the u.s. mainland, the countries of asia were imagined as a set of wobbly dominoes; if one tipped over to communism, it would lead to the obliteration of american security. the red scare imagined a communist fifth column infiltrating america.

more recently, the war on terror expanded the national security imagination. the 9/11 commission named “failure of imagination” as one of the critical errors leading up to the attack on september 11, 2001. simply put, experts had failed to imagine a civilian aircraft being converted into a ballistic missile.

so totalizing is the conception of national security today that it has even recast commercial disagreements with america's closest allies as existential threats. last year the trump administration labeled canada a “national security threat” because of its steel exports.

now, “national security” threatens to swallow everything. it's hard to challenge it, because there are threats worth guarding against. but we might reasonably ask if the concept has nevertheless been pushed too far. there was a time in the not-so-distant past when americans didn't subsume every area of policymaking under “security,” when peace advocacy and the import of foreign car parts weren't treated as existential threats. defense was a wartime concept, not an all-purpose excuse for officials to conceal or destroy information. remembering this, we might seek something similar today—to put national security back in its box, and,perhaps, in so doing, to breathe more easily.













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