Last week, the Biden Administration issued the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance while designing a genuine National Security Strategy. The rush is understandable. After four years of contradictions, avatars, uncertainties, and personalistic outbursts, the United States should soon define its foreign policy and national security priorities, rebuild relations with its allies, and assure them of its support, accurately and unagonisticly determine its adversaries, and, in a deeper perspective, reaffirm its status as the world’s first power.
The document points to all that. It has a diagnosis of the international security situation; identifies its adversaries: China and Russia and, to a lesser extent, Iran and North Korea; it singles out its national security objectives, and the priorities and instruments of its foreign and defence policy, in an integrated and mutually complementary manner. Similarly, it establishes U.S. interests, objectives, and means in various regions of the world. In addition, it assumes the current realities of US domestic policy and its effect on its international situation, a fundamental issue in any strategic analysis and national security policy-making. Although this is an interim document, it is reasonable to assume that the final version of its new national security strategy will not be fundamentally different, only more detailed and specific.
Although it contains almost no references to Latin America, one wonders whether this provisional orientation may have any effect on Chile. The question is not rhetorical at all. Soon, a couple of decades ago, Chile, perhaps without fully aquilating its magnitude, bet on a strategic alliance with the United States, which had cross-cutting support and has been regularly entrenched, in terms of being Washington today the country’s main strategic partner. In addition, some time ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Chile would maintain an «active neutrality» in the face of the DISPUTE between the United States and China, a sensitive and sensitive issue for any medium-sized power and especially for the country.
In view of the above, it can be noted that the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance contains elements affecting Chile’s security situation in at least four areas.
First, there is his diagnosis of the international security situation. Although it responds to Washington’s own approach, it confirms what has been weighed in various studies and articles in Chile. Global policy is undergoing a process of deregulation, of greater tensions, of the emergence of new threats and less predictability and especially of new forms of conflict. What John Mearsheimer saw in his classic article Why We Will Soon Miss The Cold War, published in 1990, is a reality. This is complex for the country. Although most of these phenomena are more noticeable in the Northern Hemisphere, they produce reflex effects in the other regions. Chile cannot find solaity in its alleged remoteness from strategic confrontational areas. For the sake of stay, there is no functional and effective regional security structure today that mitigates global security risks for the country.
Second, the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance confirms the existence of a real, effective confrontation between the United States, China and Russia. A kind of neo or second cold war, though devoid of the ideological connotations of the first. This is a central issue in the dynamics of international security and has special relevance to Chile. Beyond the aforementioned «active neutrality», it is a fact that Chile is part of the Indo-Pacific security system, a geostrategic magnitude where the new global dispute acquires its most intense and potentially more explosive manifestations. In addition, it has responsibilities for guarding one of the Indo-Pacific focal geostrategic points, the Southern Maritime Steps. This increases Chile’s value as a relevant player in the Indo-Pacific power schemes, but also increases its debit.
Third, America’s new strategy confirms the value of multilateralism in the field of international security. Not any form of multilateralism but a realistic approach, which combines one’s own interests with those of friends and allies. This topic is relevant to Chile. Of course, it is imbric with Chile’s contribution to security international cooperation in peace operations. Similarly, the country values and assumes multilateralism, but in this, its foreign policy may have to learn to better integrate national interests, at least in the field of security.
Finally, the latest form of projection of the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance is conceptual. And it revolves around the value of a national security strategy. Historically, this concept has been coined and used by the great powers; in fact, it fits very well with its positioning in the International System, as it can more independently control its power factors, especially those of a political and military nature. However, there is no reason why it cannot be used equally by medium powers. This is an outstanding issue in Chile and will not hesitate it will remain an issue for the next Administration. Then it must be approached and resolved with a sense of future, sophistication in the strategic gaze and not little political will. .
In short, in strictly realpolitik optics, the Interim National Security Strategy Guidance recently published by the United States at the same time supports and confirms diagnostics relevant to the country’s international security and strategic positioning and, at the same time, leaves – or should leave – tasks for the higher authorities responsible for foreign policy and the defense of the Republic.
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