China Top Card in Pentagon Shuffle


xin_47080331080723207961.jpgSo, imagine you are the Rumsfeld Defense Department. You are locked in a "global struggle against violent extremists" stretching from"stretching from Indonesia through the Middle East,". You have 150,000 troops stationed in Iraq as the central front in said struggle. The United States is facing major foreign policy crises in Iran and Lebanon, of other which might involve your beloved Pentagon.You decide to elevate one Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with regional responsibilities to become a full Assistant Secretary over a region. This is an easy call. You pick: Asia-Pacific.Oh, sure, sure, you have no exit strategy for Iraq and you are sizing up air defenses around Tehran, but c'mon ... real men hate on China.Of course, focusing on China ... er the Asia-Pacific ... was the plan, from the first Defense Strategy Review by Andy Marshall which reportedly "cast the Pacific as the most important region for military planners..." I kind of admire the sticktuitiveness of the whole thing, 9/11 and Iraq be damned.You almost wonder why they didn't have the stones to pin the 9/11 attack on Jiang Zemin. After all, their friends did.I've posted the new organization at my blog, Arms Control USD(P) Eric Edelman explained the issue as one of matching up to State and NSC:

The secretary sensed that we were misaligned in some ways ... and we wanted to make it easier for Policy and the (combatant commands) to figure out what the right address was (in the other agencies) to go forward solving problems. I think this will make it a little easier to operate interagency.
Now, when I was at Policy -- oh so briefly -- the fact that the State Department Bureaus were headed by Assistant Secretaries, one level higher than the equivalent DOD offices, was kind of irritating.And maybe I am being too cynical. As an "Asia expert" -- whatever that means -- I am psyched to see my region getting attention. And, were I ever lucky enough to hold that office at OSD, I'd appreciate the extra step to full Assistant Secretary.But, really, wouldn't a single "Assistant Secretary for South West and Central Asia" with DASD's for the Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia better protect the country's interests?-- Jeffrey Lewis, cross posted at Arms Control
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