Partnering Key to Global Security

February 17, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Previous efforts at barriers failed dismally; teaming works.


Countries must abandon a fortress mentality and reach out to each other to confront international threats, according to the former supreme allied commander Europe. Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, decried old defense thinking during his keynote address opening West 2016, being held in San Diego February 17-19.

Noting that the two world wars killed tens of millions of people and represented “a collective failure of security,” Adm. Stavridis laid the blame at the feet of bad thinking from that time. “The 20th century was about building security by building walls,” he said, citing the Maginot Line and the Berlin Wall as two obvious examples. “Building walls doesn’t build security,” he declared.

Nations need to understand each other better and reach out to one another, the admiral continued. Partnering against the diverse threats is the key to maintaining security. And, mixing soft power with hard power is vital. “Wikipedia is the symbol that no one of us is as powerful as all of us working together,” the admiral stated.

And, the United States must hold on more to its values: “We execute our values imperfectly, but they are the right values,” he emphasized.

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