09/28/2009 01:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Is Security?

Posted from Senator Hart's new blog at Matters of Principle.

If there has been a dominant phrase in the political vocabulary of my generation it has been “national security." Very few of those who threw the phrase around bothered to define it.  During the Cold War, and even beyond, national security was a phrase used by foreign policy and defense insiders, a priesthood with its own language and common understandings.

In a perfect world, sometime between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the era of terrorism in 2001 there would have been a national discussion about what national security actually meant.  Now the default meaning is defeat of terrorism.

But, assuming terrorists are kept in their cage, literally or figuratively, would we therefore be secure?  It is doubtful.  For there are new realities that threaten or at least challenge our security: pandemics (swine flu); climate change; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; failed and failing states; mass south-north migrations; and quite a number of other disturbances to the peace that we didn’t have to deal with previously.

One of the purposes of this web site is to stimulate thought (including by its operator) regarding what it means to be secure in an era where the United States has no peer competitor and where new threats do not lend themselves to military solution or solution by one nation, including the U.S., alone.

To comment, please visit the article at Senator Hart's new blog: