Defense Strategy: What is it, why is it important, and why doesn’t Lebanon have it?
Although the term Defense Strategy can be a rather esoteric one within the circles of political science, it is actually a fundamental concept to the art of statesmanship. This paper defines Defense Strategy as being the strategic and prioritized protection of assets and interests from all threats by any means necessary – in essence, Defense Strategy is the study and application of grand strategy.
A national Defense Strategy is crucial to the survival of a state in a modern, globalized, and hyper-competitive world. The term is not limited to the domain of the military, and rather encompasses all of a state’s assets whether they be demographic, natural, and technological inter alia. Comprehensive Defense Strategies are adopted within timeframes and must determine and prioritize state assets for protection before conceptualizing possible threats to these assets and finally working on mitigating these threats. Threats to state assets are either (i) potential or present, (ii) internal or external, and may occur during either (iii) peace or war.
The Lebanese Republic does not currently have a comprehensive Defense Strategy. This paper explores the reasons for this oversight and the legal and constitutional mechanisms surrounding such a policy. Finally, this paper proposes a Defense Strategy for the Lebanese Republic. Not comprehensive by any means, this proposed Defense Strategy nevertheless discusses Lebanon’s assets in light of its geopolitical status and posits propositions in the matter of geography, military, water security, economy, human capital, intelligence, and finally oil & gas. This proposition has a self-admitted hamartia – it does not account for Hezbollah and other armed groups, as to do so would be impossible given the diplomatic intricacy and sensitivity of the matter. Indeed, the matter of Hezbollah and other armed groups is one of the main reasons why there is no Lebanese Defense Strategy to begin with. The Lebanese Republic must determine whether or not Hezbollah et al. are a national asset or a national threat, something that it has so far failed to do. This paper does not take a position on the matter.
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