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Defence Of The Western Hemisphere
AUTHOR Major W. A. Warner, USMC
CSC 1988
SUBJECT AREA National Security
I. Purpose. To establish a case for the revision/review of 
the National/Maritime Strategies of the United States,
specifically as they relate to the security of the Western
II. THESIS: While the defense of Western Europe [NATO] and
the concept of bottling-up the Soviets in their own waters is
a critical aspect of our National and Maritime Strategies,
are we doing enough in our hemisphere to thwart Soviet
expansion and aggression?
III. DATA: After World War II Europe was in an
economically, politically and military exhausted state.
NATO was formed by the (western) allies in order to combat
the potential aggressions of the Soviet Union. The National
and Maritime Strategies of the United States have been based
almost exclusively on the defense of Western Europe, our NATO
allies. The Soviet Union, knowing and understanding this,
has not stood still. They have been working over the last
two decades to build into their military (specifically the
Navy) the ability to project power. U.S. National and 
Maritime Strategies have not kept pace with the growing
Soviet expansion and potential threat. The security of the
Western Hemisphere is one specific area where our strategies
are very weak. The Soviet Union and its allies intend to
spread the threat throughout the Western Hemisphere (I.E.
Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Panama, etc.). If they
accomplish this they will destroy the United States ability
to support NATO. If the Military forces of the United States
are overly committed in this hemisphere they cannot fight in
Western Europe! The United states must revitalize its
National and Maritime Strategies to meet and eliminate the
Soviet threat in the Western Hemisphere. The United States
can accomplish through renewed interest in the hemisphere.
IV. Conclusions: Renewed interest in the hemisphere must 
be accomplished by updating the National and Maritime
Strategies. Increasing military aid, foreign aid and
economic assistance to our neighbors is one way to secure
this hemisphere, as well as renewed military operations with
and for our neighbors.
V. Recommendations. That the United States take a long hard
look at how the Soviet threat has changed and the potential
that it represents. And, that the United States change/
update to meet the threat, particularly in this hemisphere.
This will ensure that the strategies represent a coherent
plan to provide security for the world and not just Europe.
While the defense of Western Europe and the concept of 
bottling-up the Soviets in their own waters is a critical
aspect of our National and Maritime Strategies, are we doing 
enough in our own hemisphere to thwart Soviet expansion and
I. History of East-West Relations from WWII
    A. Europe after WWII
    B. Birth of NATO
    C. Role of NATO
II. Our Maritime/National Strategies vs USSR Strategy
    A. USSR'S military growth and strategy
    B. Where does U.S. stand Maritime Strategy
III. The Threat
    A. Addressing potential Soviet threats
    B. The security of the Western Hemisphere
    C. Present Soviet threat in Western Hemisphere
    D. Potential ramifications of threat in Western
       Hemisphere to NATO
IV. Changing the National/Maritime Strategies
    A. Ensuring stability in Western Hemisphere
    B. Reducing/Eliminating the Soviet threat
    C. Direct U.S. actions in Wesstern Hemisphere
    Our present Maritime Strategy emphasizes deterrence, and
if deterrence fails, defending as far forward as possible.
While this concept is and entirely sound one, what I object to
is that the Maritime Strategy does not accurately or
completely address all the aspects or contingencies that this
country's maritime forces may well encounter. While the
defense of Western Europe and the concept of bottling-up the
Soviets in their own waters is a critical aspect of our
National and Maritime Strategies, are we doing enough in our
own hemisphere to thwart Soviet expansion and aggression?
    Most Americans would prefer that the battleground for any
war fought against the USSR be Western Europe. That is a 
given. No one in their right mind, except the  Soviet Union
or their advocates, would desire war on their home soil.
So, the United States has correctly addressed itself to
maintaining a free and secure Western Europe. Obviously,
after World War I and II this country became keenly aware of 
the threat posed by the Soviet Union. We realized that to
deter another war, we needed to help rebuild Western Europe
economically, politically and militarily. For this reason
the United States poured billions of dollars into the
restoration of Europe and banded together with Western
European countries to form NATO. NATO has been our and
Western Europe's answer to potential Soviet aggression. If 
Western Europe would fall into Soviet hands, the balance of
power in the world would be dramatically altered, and the
econonic interests and political ties the U. S. presently
has would be crushed. This would ultimately lead to the
undermining of the United States ability to foster democracy
and freedom aroung the world. The question is not whether
NATO and our commitment to it is a sound one. It is whether
we are doing enough in other strategic locations throughout
the world, specifically this hemisphere.
    Our strategy (maritime) has been a good one for four
decades. The Soviet Union and its military leaders know our 
intent, however. They are highly capable of reading our
manuals and discovering our thoughts on military strategy and
tactics. They fully understand that our Maritime Strategy is
based upon forward deployment of forces. Forces which
include our Navy and Marine Corps. They understand that we 
intend to keep our critical SLOCs open by bottling up their
navy and forcing a confrontation over there. Recent history
shows that they are working very hard to counter our 
strategy. Their intent regarding our strategy is to take a 
page out of our book(s). If we intent to fight them over in
Western Europe, bottle-up their fleet and maintain our SLOCs,
they will ensure that we are occupied somewhere else (to the
greatest extent possible). They will spread the "threat" to
locations and countries throughout the world.
    The Soviet Union is very commited to the defense of
their homeland, a defense we call the"Bastion Concept".
Their fortification of their homeland has consumed their
political and military leaders to the tune of well over 15%
of their GNP annually. Their "Bastion" is second to none.
Their navy is almost four times our size. True, it is built
up of many World War II vintage subs, ships and small craft;
but, it also has many nuclear powered subs that dwarf ours,
new nuclear powered aircraft carrier(s) and nuclear powered
cruisers, etc. The Soviet Union is not standing still. They
are starting to counter our Maritime Strategy. It is not
difficult to understand what the Soviet Union is doing
militarily. When we couple their military intentions with
the economic needs of the Soviet Union in the next century,
the need and desire of the Soviet Union to expand its
economic base and influence throughout the world becomes
readily apparent. Keep in mind that the next century has
been coined "the century of the pacific".
    The seeds of their intent have been published before.
During the early stages of the Soviet naval buildup, for 
example, Gorshkov's writings gradually altered to disclose
evidence of a far more comprehensive Soviet aim in the
employment of their sea power. Typical of his broadening
strategic thoughts is in his 1979 passage:
    Today, a fleet operating against the shore is able not
    only to solve the tasks connected with territorial
    changes, but directly to influence the course and even
    the outcome of the war in this connection. Operations of 
    the fleet against the shore have assumed paramount
    importance in armed conflict at sea.1
There can be little or no doubt about the meaning of the
      1S. G. Gorshkov, "The Power of the State" (London:
Pergamon Press, 1979), pg.219.
statement made by the Soviet's Commander-In-Chief of the 
Naval forces. While the Soviet Union has avoided any direct
confrontation with the United States, they have nevertheless
commenced to exhibit an increasing willingness to expand
their influence to strategic points around the world-moving
in some cases to areas where a Russian military presence has
never before been a significant factor. Certainly, the
current attempt to spread Soviet influence throughout Central
America, Africa, the Indian Ocean and, most recently, to the
South China Sea (Cam Ranh Bay and Danang) are perfect
examples. This expansion of Soviet influence poses
potentially serious threats to Americans, to Western
Europeans and to the Japanese.
    During the past two decades, we have witnessed deployment
of the most up-to-date Soviet warships at unprecedented
distances from the USSR's home waters. As the number of
truly oceangoing ships coming off the building ways increase,
the trend must become obvious. The Soviet Union intends to
thwart our Maritime Strategy by using our strategy. That is,
to make the enemy (the U.S.) fight in their own hemisphere.
If this concept is successful, our forces will not be able to
put the concept of deterrence by defending as far forward as
possible into effect. We will be too committed here at home.
The Soviet Union's building of nuclear subs, aircraft
carriers and other ships represents a move to project power
to foreign soil by use of amphibious forces, naval aviation
and nuclear weapons. We already know how effective these
concepts are, because they are ours! We can no longer simply
adhere to an out-of-date Maritime Strategy. We must
reevaluate it and remold it into a more complete strategy to
address all of the potential Soviet threats.
    So, where do we stand with respect to a reliable maritime
strategy to counter this Soviet threat? Willlian S. Lind, a
constant predicter of doom and intense adversary of the U.S.
military had the following to say:
    The United States correctly committed itself to a
    continental strategy when NATO was formed. Europe had
    been devastated by war and was unable to defend itself.
    The United States held unchallenged nuclear supremacy
    over the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's ability to
    inflict damage on the United States with its strategic
    nuclear forces was considerably less...It is time to
    reconsider this continental strategy. A true maritime a plausible alternative.2
Further, The Commission on Intergrated Long-Term Strategy had
the following to report about this nation's strategy:
    But the strategy has had some setbacks. Soviet power has
    bypassed the lines we drew and has pushed into Southern
    Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central
    America...The Commission is not proposing to replace the
    strategy. We believe in forward deployment of American
    forces...But we also believe that the strategy needs to
    be brought into line with contemporary realities.
The following statement was made by General Fred F. Woerner,
USA, Commander-In-Chief, U.S.Southern Command.
     2Willian S. Lind. "Bad Strategy or Global Deterrent?"
Proceedings/February 1988, page 57 
     3The Commission On Integrated Long-Term Strategy,
Discriminate Deterrence, (US Government Printing Office)
January 1988, page 5.
     The intrusion of the East-West conflict into our relations
     with our neighbors [Central and South Americans] has added
     a new dimension to the fashioning of a coherent strategy
     within our political process...Their strategy priorities
     have always focused on internal economic and political 
     development, while ours have focused on the global
     strategy of dealing with Soviet power. We must carefully 
     balance the two for our strategy to be effective.4
As more and more commissions publish their reports on our
strategy, and the more articles are published by military
proponents and adversaries alike, the more it becomes
apparent that the Maritime Strategy of the United States must
be altered/revised to meet the ever-changing Soviet threat.
The Maritime Strategy is but one part of our national
strategy, but it is a big part. The Maritime Strategy need
not be scrapped, but it must be revitalized. No longer is
NATO and Western Europe the only game in town. The Western
Hemisphere is starting to play and ever increasing role in the
formulation of coherent global strategy.
    In order to ensure our Maritime Strategy is a coherent
and functional strategy, it muse address all of the potential
threats that Soviet aggression throughout the world may
pose. What is the threat to the U.S. and NATO if the Soviet
Union employs a sizable fraction of its vast attack and
nuclear submarine force in the South Atlantic? They could
potentially interdict the flow of exported and imported raw
material from the U.S., as well interdicting military
reinforcements and supplied in transit from North America to
Western Europe. Moreover, such threats to NATO and the 
     4General Fred. F. Woerner, USA,"Shield of Democracy in 
Latin America", Defense/87 November-December, pg. 21.
U.S. is not necessarily confined to the sea lanes. The
Caribbean provides a prime example of how the defense of
Western Europe can be endangered outside of their continent.
The two channels which connect the Gulf of Mexico to open
water are the Straits of Florida and the Yucatan Channel.
Through these passageways approximately 60% of all U. S.
imports and exports for the eastern half of the U. S. flow.
Of critical significance to Europeans, in the event of war,
is the fact that more half of all reinforcements and follow-
on supplies destined for Western Europe would depart from
U. S. Gulf ports. It requires little intelligence to 
recognize that the spread of Comunist revolution in the
Nicaraguan mold to other countries in Central [and South]
America would inevitably generate potential perils to this
maritime traffic.5
    Without a secure Western Hemisphere this country's full
attention and military might cannot be brought to bare
against a Soviet aggressor in Europe. So crucial is the
security of this hemisphere that President Reagan had the
following to say:
    The defense of North America is the nations's most
    fundamental security concern. Since the second World War
    this has entailed a hemispheric security system, composed
    of a strong U.S. nuclear deterrent, greater cooperation
    with Canada, and the promotion of collective security
    arrangements with Latin America. New threats and new
    opportunities for democracy in the Western Hemisphere 
    require that this traditional approach be revitalized by
    building on the interests we share with our democratic
     5Instituite For Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc., "Naval
Forces and Western Security, Pergamon-Brassey's, pg. 25.
    Caribbean, North, Central and South American neighbors... 
    Many of the current challenges for the United States fall
    outside of the formal collective security arrangements
    created in previous  decades. Our national security
    requires an emphasis on political and economic support
    for the hemisphere's democracies and diplomatic
    initiatives to strengthen alliances.6
    During the past decade(s) the U.S. has witnessed the
shocking growth of the Soviet war machine, more specifically
the Soviet Navy, and a very effective and aggressive policy
for expansion of their realm of influence and spread of
communism. This growth cannot be ignored. Any national or
military strataegy that is developed must take into 
consideration all prospects and contingencies of an East-West
conflict. The communist virus is now fully entrenched in
Cuba and Nicaragua. Anyone who would doubt that a similar
fate for the rest or part of South/Central America is not a
possibility is naive to say the least. The following state-
ment is made in Pergamon-Brassey's "Naval Forces and Western 
    These states of Soviet and surrogate military forces
    throughout the Carribbean Basin...If war comes to
    Europe...large American forces --army, navy, and air-- 
    would have to be committed to a campaign directed at
    regaining control of the Caribbean Basin and protecting
    the exits from the Gulf of Mexico. Theses forces would...
    be needed to shore up NATO's defenses...The American 
    pledge to rush to Western Europe's aid in time of war is
    imperiled by these developments in the Carribean.7
A comprehensive Maritime Strategy must take into account
potential threats within this hemisphere first. The war may
     6Ronald Reagan, "National Seurity Strategy of the
United States, Reprint by C&SC, January 1988,pg. 14.
     7Institute For Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc., "Naval
Forces and Western Security", Pergamon-Brassey's 1987, pg.27
be fought in Western Europe, but will never get there if
we can't get out of the Gulf of Mexico or if we are too
engaged in our own hemisphere.
    The state of affairs in the Carribbean is becoming
alarmingly unstable. Honduras and Guatemala hang in the
balance as Nicaraguan and Cuban forces supported by the
Russians attempt to spread communism throughout this
hemisphere. In and article written by Alexander Haig which
was published in The Christian Science Monitor, the former
Secretary of State had this to say:
    ...shutting off Soviet-Cuban inroads and shoring up 
    Central America's economy, not establishing "democracy"
    in Nicaragus, should have been the aims of Washington
    policy...the strategic dimension of Central America...
    is the violation of international law by Castro's Cuba
    and the Soviet Union, and intervening in the internal
    affairs of Central America republics...8
President Ronald Reagan had this to say about the regional
policies as they apply to the Western Hemisphere:
    Aggressive Marxist regimes in Cuba and Nicaragua have
    made the Western Hemisphere, once considered indisputably
    secure for the United States, an area of strategic
    opportunity for the Soviet Union. The fragility of
    social and political arrangements in Latin America and
    the presence of these two Soviet client states, with
    their support for guerrilla movements in other Latin
    nations and their ties to international terrorism,
    promise continued instability and conflict in the region.
    This situation is compounded by continuing economic and
    debt-servicing problems, the on-going problem of drug
    trade...have begun to pose serious challenges for the
    reborn Latin democracies.9
The report of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy
     8Alexander Haig, "Al Haig: where the contra policy went
wrong", The Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 1988.
     9Ronald Reagan,"National Security  Strategy of the 
United States". reprint by C&SC, January 1987, 	pg. 13-14.
on Disriminated Deterrence (whose members included such
knowledgeable public figures as Henry Kissinger,Zbigniew
Brzezinski, W. Graham Claytor, Jr., James L. Holloway, III,
William P. Clark and John W. Vessey) had the following to say
regarding the emergence of new threats in the Western
    If the Sandinista regime consolidates its power in
    Nicaragua and continues to receive Soviet support,
    hostile Communist regimes might gradually become
    established elsewhere in Central America--for example, in
    El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama. Any such trend could
    be expected to endanger control of the Panama Canal and
    threaten the political stability of Mexico. These
    developments would force the United States to divert far
    more of its foreign policy resources and defense assets
    to the Carribean region, leading to a reduced American
    role in NATO.10
    What has been bluntly pointed out by all of the quotes
listed so far is that the United States cannot fight
effectively with its NATO allies if the Western Hemisphere is
not secure. Why then shouldn't the United States expend more
of its energy and dollars on doing just that? Agood 
question! Some of the signs of distress of our Latin 
neighbors because the evolution to civilian democratic 
governments has not been accompanied by a corresponding
growth and development in the social and economic sectors.
Democracy cannot long endure in Central America without
supporting social and economic development. Some signs of
the problems are: declining trade, high unemployment,
inflation, declining income levels, insufficient diets,
     10The Commission On Integrated Long-Term Strategy,
"Discriminate Deterrence", January 1988, pg.11.
inadequate education, extremely high foreign debts and a lack
of confidence by investors in the local economies. As the
United States looks to the future of  this hemisphere, there
are four basic needs that need addressing. They are (1)
defense of the homeland, (2) our economic well-being, (3) our
stake in international order, and (4) the strenghtening of
our values as a people. Latin America is important to the
defense of the United States because a secure southern flank
affords us flexibility in our global strategy. We no longer
enjoy such unimpeded security. A combination of social and
economic factors has been exacerbated by a relentless and
sophisticated push by the Soviets, the Cubans and recently
the Sandinistas to insinuate violence and totalitarian
solutions to the problems of the region.11
    It is clear that the United States must ensure stability 
in its own hemisphere. But, how can we do this? It simply 
is not a matter of abandoning one ally for another. We must
ensure stability throughout the world if possible.
Priorities must be re-evaluated and funding for foreign aid
(security assistance), military assistance (in the form of
military aid and stationing of U.S. military personnel).
The 1987 budget for military assistance (for example) was 5
billion dollars. Congress has earmarked 62% for Egypt and
Israel, 17% for Greece and Turkey and 6% for Pakistan. With
the obvious need to provide funds for El Salvador, Honduras
     11General Fred F. Woerner, USA, "Shield of Democracy in
Latin America". Defense/87, November-December Issue, pg.20-
and the Philippines, the Administration had less than 10% for 
the rest of the world.12  Truly this country is not
responding in a very expeditious manner. The vast majority 
of U.S. funds for foreign aid and military assistane goes 
overseas to European, Middle Eastern and Asian allies.
It is obvious also that the vast majority of U.S. Servicemen 
are serving over in Europe and Asia also. While the threat
of direct Soviet aggression is in Europe , the Middle East and
Asia more of the funds, materiel and personnel must start to
find its way back to this hemisphere. If not, then the
threat we are now experiencing can only elevate.
    So, how could the United States rid itself of the Soviet
threat in this hemisphere? Many potentialities are open to
any Congress and/or Administration willing to try. Let's
sample a few. Alexander Haig had the following to say
regarding getting the Cubans and Soviets out of our
    A degree of linkage between things that the Soviets
    want and things we want is a fact of is not
    an option. It's a reality. And I believe we have enough
    hunger in Moscow for normalization, for western credit,
    for international legitimacy, for technology , to take   
    targets of opportunity and resolve them at the
    negotiating table.13
The Soviet Union may well be in a position to be forced to
the negotiating table. The "Century of the Pacific" is on
its way and the Soviet economy is and is expected to grow
     12The Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy,
Discriminate Deterrence", January 1988, pg. 17-18.
     13Alexander Haig, "Al Haig: where the contra policy
went wrong", The Cristian Science  Monitor, Feb. 1988
very little over the next decades. If they do not take steps
to remedy this situation, then they will surely end up in a
much less favorable position than they are presently in. It
is easier to bargain and coexist than to fight ones way into
economic growth and prosperity. The price may be right for
the United States now or in the near future to bring the
Soviets to the bargaining table.
    Only 4% of the total worldwide security assistance goes
to Central America, much less to South America. This is not
enough. While Israel and Egypt need are large percentage of
our security assistance, 62% appears to be an awfully
inordinate amount of our total funds availabe. Some of that
62% could be sent Central America's way (even if it was just
another 4%). The area also only receives 0.6% of the DOD
manpower and 0.1% of the DOD budget (1987 figures).
     The Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Southern Command
(responsible for Central and South America security and
security assistance) has stated the following:
    I believe our overall strategy is appropriate, but its
    effectiveness hinges on two factors. The first is a
    long-term and consistent U.S. commitment...equally
    important is a balance in our strategy...we have been
    focused on...Central America, but always looming ahead is
    the restoration of a security relationship with South
He goes on to say that the keys to regional stability and
security is (1) sustaining professional military-to--military 
relationships, (2) promoting professional military
    14General Fred F. Woerner, USA, Commander-In-Chief, U.S.
Southern Command, "Shield of Democracy in Latin America",
DOD, Defense/87, November-December, pg.23.
institutions that support democratic development and respect
human rights, (3) enhancing deterrence in Central America by 
signaling a firm commitment to the area, assisting in
improving the readiness of local militaries, and, at the same
time, providing high-quality training for U.S. military 
personnel, and (4) assisting in the improvement of regional
defense cooperation to counter insurgent unification and
narcotics trafficking, to preclude regional conflicts and to 
encourage collective security.l5
    So, how does all of this relate to a needed in our
Maritime Strategy? Simply put, the U.S. must shift some of
her military assets, monies  and attention to this hemisphere.
If the United States plans on being successful in securing
the Western Hemisphere she needs help. Help from her
Central and South American neighbors. Which means we must
pay more attention to their needs (economic, political and
military) in order to satisfy ours. This can be accomplished
by putting a lot more than 4% of our total foreign aid
program into the area. It means working with our neighbors
to resolve their staggering debts, or at least finding
solutions that enable all to prosper. And, yes, it means
putting a little less military support, equipment, and
personnel in the NATO theatre. NATO cannot be abandoned.
Our primary mission, support and strategy must still be based
on Western Europe and NATO.
     15General Fred. Woerner, USA, Commander-In-Chief, U.S.
Southern, Command, "Shield of Democracy in Latin America",
Defense/87, November-December, pg.23.
    Cooperation among American States can be accomplished by
working more closely with each other. For example, our
militaries do not spend enough time together working as we
do, for instance, with our NATO allies. More military 
exercises could be conducted in this country as well as other
American countries. This will build confidence among
American States. When the U.S. conducts a military exercise
with another American country, it does much to show our flag
when our personnel and ships/equipment roll into their port.
That represents instance publicity and promotes good
relations. When our military personnel spend large amounts
of American dollars in that port and spend much of their work
time repairing roads, bridges, schools, etc., and providing
medical care to those same people, it does much the same
between our military and their civilian populace.
    The showing of the American flag and the faces of
American servicemen and women cannot be over emphasized in
its effective at winning the hearts and minds of our American
neighbors. Which is one thing we have done poorly at
throughout our illustrious history, Showing our strength,
both militarily and economically, is also a must. It helps
to provide our neighbors with the knowledge that we are never
too far away or too removed to help them. And, it lets our
enemies know where we stand. Winning the hearts and minds of
our neighbors cannot be accomplished without the assurance
that we will help them economically, politically and
financially. Struggling democracies cannot long endure
without firm foundations. We must help our neighbors build
those foundations.
    The changing of a Maritime or National Strategy is a very
complex job. Our Maritime Strategy has been a good one, but
needs to be updated to meet the ever-changing world we live
in and the ever-changing threat that menaces us. The points
made or alluded to in this paper reflect not only personal 
opinions of mine but of many prominent, knowledge and
informed people also. It is time for America to secure her
southern flank and ensure the entire world, not just NATO
countries, are adequately supported and defended.
Gorhkov, S. G. The Power of the State. Pergamon Press,
     London, 1979.
Haig, Alexander. Al Haig: where the contra policy went
     wrong. The Christian Science Monitor, Wednesday,
     February 1988.
Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. Naval Forces and
     Western Security. Pergamon-Brassey's Press, 1987.
Lind, William S. Bad Strategy or Global Deterrent?
     Proceedings, February 1988.
Reagan, Ronald. National Security Strategy of the United 
     States. Reprint by Command and Staff College. January,
The Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy.
    Discriminate Deterrence. January, 1988.
Woerner, Fred F., General, USA, Commander-In-Chief, U.S.
     Southern Command. Shield of Democracy in Latin America.
     Defense/87, November-December.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias