I happen to have a little bit of experience with the intersection of national security and foreign affairs (masters from the Naval War College, worked on the Joint Staff J5 (Politico-Military Affairs) in ’92-93). One thing I learned was there is no simple answer on anything. Pres. Clinton discovered this when he took office with his think-tank driven multilateral engagement policies. Somalia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, North Korea, etc. [Note: of those listed, only Yugoslavia turned out relatively well.]
What do we see today? There are no longer two generally rational superpowers maneuvering chess pieces & fighting proxy wars for strategic gain. Russia is now focused and quite a bit more belligerent. China is stronger and playing for the long game. We have Islamic aggression that we refuse to acknowledge much less confront. Iran is strengthening and will soon have nuclear weapons.
The U.S.? Gazing at our navel because we have no clue and no strategy and no plan.
We have a mess. We haven’t learned from Iraq & Afghanistan (which by the way I supported). We support the toppling of dictators in the name of freedom yet we “hope” that the radicals won’t take over. Doves are now hawks to save political face, not because they have any convictions. Hawks are now doves because either they (1) hate the administration or, in my opinion, (2) see we haven’t a clue about what we are trying to accomplish. That would require a strategy.
Hope isn’t a strategy.