Two weeks ago former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) visited The Heritage Foundation’s weekly Blogger Briefing to promote his book What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports, which includes a chapter on national security titled “Defense Wins Championships.” Heritage Foundation senior research fellow for national security James Carafano picks up the theme in his weekly Washington Examiner column:
Of course, national security challenges are not the same as sports challenges. The former is a matter of life and death. Moreover, sports have rules. People like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad play by their own rules.
But sports and national security are both competitions: a struggle of action and counteraction between determined foes. Every strategy has a mix of offense and defense. And be it on the football field or the field of battle, defense is often the less appreciated of the two. That is why Allen’s father was so surprised and honored when his half-frozen players handed him the symbol of victory. Truth is — winning without defense is unthinkable.
In his book, Allen promotes a strategy of “peace through strength.” Not surprisingly, his discussion starts not with offensive weaponry, but with missile defense. “Effective missile defense systems are not just interesting high-tech options for defending our nation, they are necessities,” he writes.
An enemy able to hit the American homeland with a nuclear-tipped missile has a get-out-of-jail-free card. No matter how great or small their beef with the United States, enemies can raise the threat of a mushroom cloud exchange. No American president wants to take that bet. Once armed with nuclear weapons, enemies increasingly ignore red lines, red flags and all other warnings. The likelihood of competition — and conflict — only grows.
“As any defensive coach knows,” Allen writes, “you don’t stop an offense by being passive.” The U.S. needs to get active on missile defense. Unfortunately, the National Security Strategy envisions stopping the long bomb with only humility, tact and international fan support.
Read the while column, here.