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Young Politics May 2015

What do you believe are the top 3 issues that pose the biggest threats to national security of the United States? 

  

WVM Photo Columnist Danielle Secor 1x1Danielle Secor – NY, Seton Hall University 2015 Graduate, Working on Masters Degree, Bio –  Recently having attended a course at the United Nations, I learned about several issues that are threatening the national security of the United States. These issues range from terrorism to debt to sustainable development issues, and all can be seen as extremely important. Although there are several important issues the U.S. faces, issues pertaining to sustainability and terrorism are of the upmost importance.

Within these two broader topics, the support of the development and implementation of natural disaster risk reduction tactics, the implementation of a sustainability framework and climate change, and a prioritization of early warning and early action tactics for preventing terrorism, are of the most important in order to maintain a safe and sustainable environment for everyone for years to come.

Although there are many other important issues, issues dealing with long term sustainability are most important, because after everything, the human species could not survive without their health and their environment which is why it must be protected.

At the same time, preventing terrorism attacks against the U.S. should also be one of the main focuses, because if these threats are dealt with early on, they may be able to be resolved before they turn into irreversible events.

A lot of times, health and environmental issues are not seen as issues of the same standard as others, but in the long term, they are the most important issues that must be dealt with.

Human health and the earth’s environment are the most important, because people cannot survive without their health and their environment, and it is up the U.S. to help set the standards for the rest of the world.

The world cannot continue to accept the large amount of obesity. This leads to several diseases and irreversible illnesses which in turn lead to more spending on medications and hospital bills.

As a side effect of the harm humans have done to the environment, natural disasters are also a major concern. The U.S. must put more emphasis on decreasing the impact on the environment to reduce the concern for natural disasters and climate change.

Terrorism must also be prevented for the U.S. to maintain a safe environment right now. This is a pressing issue for the current well-being of our country, and most Americans will agree it is one of the greatest concerns for our country. The United States must make major changes now to set the stage for a better future in the years to come.

 

WVM Photo columnist Paul Bremmer crop 2x2 YOUNGPOLITICSPaul Bremmer – Wash D.C., St. Bonaventure University 2012 Graduate, BioThe number one national security threat to the United States at the moment is Islamic terrorism. The Muslim terror threat has loomed over us for many years, but it has gotten worse in the past year or so with the rise of ISIS. ISIS has shown no mercy with its numerous beheadings of Christians and other sick, barbaric forms of torture.

This might not constitute a threat to the U.S. if ISIS were indeed a “JV team,” as President Obama said, but unfortunately, the Islamic State is well on its way to establishing a caliphate in the Middle East. With its own territory, it would be easier for ISIS to launch an attack on the U.S., or simply shut off the flow of Middle Eastern oil to American shores.

At the very least, ISIS is already inspiring American Muslims to launch attacks. I’m sure we all remember the Muslim convert who beheaded a female coworker in Oklahoma last September.

More recently, two Muslim men were killed while trying to shoot up a Prophet Muhammad art contest in Texas, and ISIS took credit for the attempted attack. If ISIS was indeed responsible, that would be downright terrifying to think they already have soldiers in the U.S. willing to die for their cause.

Another major national security threat is our porous southern border with Mexico. It’s important to realize not everyone sneaking across the border is a poor Central American trying to make a better life for his or her family. Many of them are gangsters, drug smugglers, human smugglers, and other assorted criminals.

And, getting back to the first threat, many of them are terrorists as well. If we want to be serious about combating terrorism, we have to secure our borders.

The third major national security threat, which happened recently, was the hacking of the Office of Personnel Management and theft of federal employees’ personal information, supposedly by the Chinese government.

U.S. analysts believe China wants to use all that stolen private information to target certain Americans as potential spies. If true, that means China seeks some sort of conflict with the United States, and that should frighten all of us.

China is a large and powerful adversary that seems poised to replace the U.S. as the world’s dominant superpower. They likely have the economic and military capacity to do so, and now it seems they also have the will.

 

WVM Photo Columnist Josh Lim Young Poltiics 1x1 headshotJosh Lim – PA, University of Warsaw 2012 Graduate, Ateneo de Manila University 2014 Graduate, BioWe live in a time of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Borrowing the above from the marketing playbook, it’s hard to believe we’re not in a time when we aren’t really sure what the next thing is that’s going to hit us.

It’s not an unusual feeling. We are often unsure, both as a nation and as a people, if we’re really doing the right thing. And, if we are, over time, we end up being proven wrong, and we would have to change course.

Never in the post-isolationist history of the United States have we been so unsure and yet also so threatened about the dangers we’re about to face next. We are left to effectively guess who our enemies are.

Our history has often been defined by who our enemies were by name. What ties the British, slavery, Spain, Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, communism and Islamic terror, for example, together is these were enemies etched into our conscience, born of a pervasive existence.

But, we live now in a time when we don’t only have one enemy, unlike all the others that came before. These threats to our national security come from all sides. We have to take that into account, and at the same time, these threats need not be physical. But, more importantly, what exactly are they?

First, I would argue one of our greatest threats to our nation’s security is our own inability to recognize the multipolarity of today’s geopolitics, not helped by our confused foreign policy. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and of communism in general, we’ve relished in our status as the world’s only remaining superpower.

While it is good we are able to celebrate the rise of this new “Pax Americana,” I strongly believe at this point we’ve relished so much in our victories that we’ve lost sight of future battles, both militarily and diplomatically.

We used to make the trends, but now we’re struggling to keep up.

Second, our nation’s security is also at risk owing to our extreme political polarization. On many fronts, the United States has lost legitimacy, because the people who run our government can no longer agree on even the most basic decisions.

The world has seen how ineffective and inefficient we’ve become. Other nations have learned to compete against us, and we’re losing our competitive advantage both politically and economically.

Finally, we are threatened by our incapability to foresee the consequences of current threats, and what we’re doing to stop them. Our natural response is to attack when we’re attacked, but in the last fifteen years, we’ve opened more cans of worms than we could possibly handle.

Terrorism, for example, has proven itself to be like Medusa: cut one head off and two take its place. Many of the decisions we think were right back then have come back to haunt us. This includes reducing taxes to supposedly create economic incentives, fighting wars in non-hostile lands, or even adopting a position of ambiguity with our allies abroad.

But, it isn’t over yet for America. Our security may be under threat now, but we can certainly deal with it if we reorient our priorities towards thinking over things through the first time and then acting upon them in a swift manner.

We can still reassert our global dominance and legitimacy—and ensure a safer nation—if we start becoming that reliable ally, that country with its affairs in order, and that land of blissful opportunity again. The question now is whether we will heed the calls.

 

Arianna Mendez Profile Phot cropo

Arianna Mendez – FL, Florida International University 2014 Masters Degree, Bio – National Security threats to the United States have radically changed since the end of the Cold War. Historically, other nations like the Axis powers and the Soviet Union posed the greatest threats to U.S and international security.

After 9/11, the United States began a global war on terror, and the way we looked at national security threats was dramatically altered.

In the second decade of the 21st century, after crippling Al Qaeda and killing Osama Bin Laden, the United States must now face new national security threats. Cyber warfare, ISIS, and a rising national debt pose great threats to U.S security and national interests.

Army General Keith Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, sees a day in the not too distant future when “cyber security threats cross the line from theft and disruption to destruction.” In the last decade, cyber terrorists have targeted U.S businesses and other organizations to steal money, intellectual property, and disrupt operations.

Cyber warfare has the potential to take down U.S infrastructure such as power grids, dams, transportation systems, and other sectors using computer-based industrial controls.  These cyber attacks could result in the loss of life and damage to the U.S economy on par with what happened on 9/11.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) both have local and global ambitions. ISIS is a terrorist group that seeks to create an Islamic state (caliphate). Through heinous acts of violence (beheading, crucifixion, and burning alive), ISIS has tried to extort concessions from the United States and other countries.

ISIS is also looking for notoriety by using the widespread availability of social media to spread their message. This allows ISIS to effectively raise funds and compete with other violent Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Shabab, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram, and the Taliban.

Unlike other terrorist groups who rely exclusively on through donations, ISIS sells oil on the black market and is looking for alternative ways to raise money for their efforts.

At 8:46 am on Monday, June 18 the national debt was $18,272,476,897,510 and climbing. We cannot face threats like cyber warfare and ISIS with $18 Trillion in national debt around our neck. How can we promote American culture and way of life when we have this albatross around our necks?

In 2012, Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “A nation with our current levels of unsustainable debt cannot hope to sustain for very long its superiority from a military perspective, or its influence in world affairs.”

If the debt continues to grow unbridled, the U.S. will be limited in its military and diplomatic operations. The United States could potentially lose diplomatic leverage with countries like China and Japan (who hold the most U.S foreign debt).

The United States must be capable of proactively protecting the nation and its citizens from cyber warfare and international terrorist organizations like ISIS, but our rising national debt could prove to be the biggest impediment to addressing these important national security threats. We must be strong at home to be strong abroad.

 

WVM July 2015 YoungPolitics IMAGE

Photo Credit –  franky242