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Supporting U.S. Stretegy for Third World Conflict

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Nearly all the armed conflicts of the past 40 years have occurred in what is vaguely referred to as the Third World the diverse countries of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Eastern Caribbean. In the same period, all wars in which the United States was involved--either directly with its combat forces or indirectly with various forms of military assistance--were in the Third World. For Americans, these have been contentious wars the only U.S. involvement that has not provoked rancorous disagreement among us is support for the Afghan resistance to Soviet aggression. Integrated long-term strategy requires a much greater consensus, within Congress and among the electorate, on what to do about U.S. interests in Third World conflicts. Without such agreement, we are unlikely to undertake the long-range measures needed to protect our own security interests there, or those of allies and friends. We will postpone the legislative reforms, organizational realignments and resource allocations needed within our own Government, and the diplomatic initiatives required abroad to anticipate contingencies there. In particular, we will not begin the years of development required to exploit U.S. technology for support of national strategy in the same way that we have for the more dire threats of war with the Soviet Union. This report seeks to contribute to such a consensus by examining strategic ends, ways, and means the national objectives the United States ought to pursue in the Third World, the concepts it should employ in doing so, and the resources it should be prepared to bring to bear. In keeping with the Commissions focus, the Working Group has dealt more extensively with ways and means than ends. Future Administrations and future Congresses will determine the latter, based on their appraisal of threats to our interests at the time.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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