Navy Chief: After These Wars End, Come See Us
Posters note: The Constitution calls for a permanent Navy, and an Army when needed…but I’m biased in my take
University of Chicago professor Robert Pape has a provocative thesis: If you want to stop suicide terrorism, stop putting U.S. troops in other people’s countries. Admiral Gary Roughead, the head of the Navy, likes where this is headed.
In a Washington speech that Pape introduced, the U.S.’ top naval officer said the Navy was “fully committed” to supporting the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But after the U.S. involvement there comes to a close, he said, it’ll be the Navy that takes point in defending the country once again.
The basic idea Pape promotes is called “offshore balancing,” and it means that the U.S.’s long-term security interests are better served by keeping troops near unstable or failed states but not actually stationing them there, where their presence provokes local resentment — and, ultimately, violent resistance. That’s the conclusion of his new book, Cutting The Fuse, which finds that keeping ground and tactical air forces in insurgent-contested countries motivated 87 percent of documented suicide attacks since 2004. (You can check his work in an online database he established.)