At National Journal’s National Security Expert Blog, Heritage Senior Research Fellow James Carafano reacts to the new director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair’s recent claims that the worldwide economic crisis is the single greatest threat to the national security of the United States. Carafano writes:
Sure the economic troubles have “implications” for national security. After all, the world gets less not more safe in troubled times. Right before World War I, tariffs were sky-high and open trade was under assault on every front. The economic woes of the 1930s precipitated and accelerated the political developments that led to World War II.
On the other hand, and it’s a big hand, labeling everything from a bad day at the stock market to bad mortgages a “national security” issue…let alone a crisis, is a really, really bad idea.
Making every global challenge a security issue trumps free markets and limits personal freedoms. The concept of national security needs to be put back in the box, reserved for moments of peril in dealing with people (either states or non-states) who threaten through the use of violence to take away the political freedoms that governments are supposed to protect. We need to put an end to national-security proliferation.
Not to mention national security proliferation becomes a first class excuse to divert resources from national security instruments, like defense, to politician’s pet projects. For example, not sure what the logic is when the White House pushes for multi-billion dollar stimulus package to “create jobs” and then guts the Pentagon’s buying budget (eliminating well-paying jobs for make work in the process).