H.R. McMaster’s Critique of Light-Footprintism

In a recent talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Major General H.R. McMaster emphasized the continuing importance of ground maneuver forces. Excessive reliance on Special Operations teams that operate in a narrowly-targeted manner or on proxies and partners to achieve broader military objectives is unwise, as it greatly limits the ability of U.S. policymakers to determine strategic outcomes. Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. has more:

Through US history, McMaster said, “our tendency is to decide what we would like to do [and] then assume that’s going to be relevant to the problem…. We make these projections into the future that are unrealistic and, as a result, we create vulnerabilities that our enemies exploit.” At times, he said, American strategy can be “almost narcissistic.”

The tendency McMaster identifies is proving difficult to counteract in our post-Iraq debates over U.S. national security strategy.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More