Strategic Challenges for the Bush Administration: Perspectives from the Institute for National Strategic Studies [open pdf - 702KB]
"As the Bush administration settles into office, the United States confronts an international environment marked by growing volatility and rapid change. To answer these questions, leading policy specialists in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University recently prepared a series of assessments for the Department of Defense. Together with the Institute's previously published Report of the National Defense University Quadrennial Defense Review 2001 Working Group, these assessments offer a broad menu of security policy choices. At the same time, it will have to deal with several points of friction in U.S.-China security relations, particularly the risk of conflict in the Taiwan Strait, and address the complex political and social crises in Indonesia that threaten regional stability. In the Middle East, the collapse of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the dynamics of the oil market pose grave concerns, but the most vexing security issues in the region concern the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Iran, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). With support for sanctions evaporating, crafting a sustainable Iraq policy that eliminates its WMD and promotes regime change is a clear priority. Internal political changes in Iran will not alter Iran's foreign and security policies considerably, including its determination to acquire nuclear weapons. With Russia, the key challenge will be to develop a new strategy for dealing with a declining power whose ambitions generally exceed its capabilities. In South Asia, enduring tensions between India and Pakistan that could erupt into a nuclear war, the vulnerability of Pakistan to growing Islamic militancy, and mounting competition between India and China cloud the security environment."