The U.S.’s model for international engagement is based around three pillars: development, defense, and diplomacy. The 3 D’s are not mutually exclusive – they require a wholesome government approach, one which the U.S. has yet to achieve.”
Historically, U.S foreign policy has relied heavily on its defense component to win wars, while bypassing more effective diplomatic and development efforts historically. By strengthening our forces for modern war, we expect the U.S government to sustain a cycle of recruitment with armed services needed in order to retain long-standing force as well as recognition for those who have served over time.
Diplomacy is the first line of engagement to address conflicts and build constructive relationships. It requires listening to our allies, understanding their needs, then working with them to overcome these. By building mutual respect and cooperation with international partners we decrease conflict likelihoods while ensuring peaceful relations in future generations. Diplomatic efforts take place through multilateral institutions (such as UN), state-to-state interaction via Department of State) federal capacity building).
The United States invests in international development, through non-governmental organizations and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to reduce global poverty by extending its resources towards developing nations with hopes of creating economic opportunities that benefit impoverished communities as well as create a market for American goods abroad.
As former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton argued her point to say development should be on the same level as defense and diplomacy. She said, “We cannot stop terrorism or defeat violent extremism when hundreds of millions see a future with no jobs and hope.”
Although a focus on defense is necessary for national security, diplomacy and development are required for long-term stability. But in recent years the budget towards foreign aid has been cut consistently. Worse yet 21st-century threats require a coordinated effort between allied nations and civilians on the ground which we have failed to develop as well.”
Moreover, the U.S.’s reliance on defense has made development and diplomatic efforts less effective because as more money is given to them they are also granted power over sending military personnel into crisis situations which makes these missions primarily political due to their “hearts and minds” approach in counterterrorism effort while oftentimes this lack of skill undermine it altogether.
The US government should consider a shift in focus from defense to diplomacy and development as tools for resolving conflict. Diplomatic efforts can help spur economic growth, prevent conflict, strengthen states, and lift people out of poverty. The current structure may not be entirely balanced but refocusing these policies would better ensure national security.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that diplomacy and development are “long, slow drilling through hard boards.” It’s the only way we’re going to be able to move together in a world with many different interests.
In order to create a lasting policy of national security, the United States should make clear distinctions between USAID, NGOs, DoD, and State. At present time it is the Department of Defense that has been dominating U.S foreign affairs even though other agencies may have greater capacity in creating effective change
To make the 3Ds work, Congress needs to give them all the training and funding they need. We should also consider supporting international development programs so that we can achieve our goal of a more peaceful world.