Why Our National Security is About Diversity and Inclusion
Yesterday, Joe Cirincione tweeted out comments made by Joe Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan about his mandate as defined by Biden.
Cirincione’s tweet reads: In his remarks, Jake Sullivan says @JoeBiden tasked them to “reimagine national security” to include “the pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruptions, threats to democracy, racial injustice and inequality in all forms.”
Biden is clearly acknowledging the threat that domestic terrorism represents to our national security, in the form of both masculinity extremists (incels, MRAs, MGTOWs) and white nationalists (proud boys, KKK) which are more or less the same population according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. But Joe goes further in a crucially important way.
In an previously unseen holistic view of national security, Biden names Covid, jobs, the climate crisis, technological disruptions, threats to democracy, racial injustice and inequality in all its forms as threats to our collective well being. They all are. And they all are interconnected.
It signals that the Biden administration and by extension, the entire Democratic establishment, understand that defeating Trump and the GOP’s white nationalism requires a big ideas approach to addressing all that ails us culturally and as a society. We have little time. We must be bold.
Seeing the scope and scale of what threatens our national security includes understanding that status quo Democratic politics won’t defeat Trumpism. They will crush us in the mid terms if we don’t go big on restoring the right to vote, to insuring access to heath care, creating good paying green energy jobs and much more.
The threat inequality poses isn’t simply about the abusive, divisive behavior committed by some. The price we pay collectively for our systemic inequality is we don’t get the powerful benefits of a fully diverse and inclusive system of leadership. Look at Deloittes’ data:
National security is at risk when when our systemic racism and sexism blocks women, BIPOC, and LGBTQI+ people from contributing as leaders to our collective well being. Deloitte’s data shows that fully diverse and inclusive systems provide 6X more innovation. Think about that for a moment. This is the price we pay and have been paying for centuries. Imagine how many of the world’s problems would be solved had we had had six times higher levels of innovation at our disposal over the last few centuries.
Democracies are fragile things. The GOP has spared no expense successfully undermining our democratic institutions via voter systemic suppression, disinformation, and unfettered corporate money in elections. Meanwhile, too many Democrats have tried to win by being GOP lite. This has allowed our nation to slide into Trumpism.
This moment is Biden’s chance to go big. Covid has shown us how interconnected we all are. White Americans have witnessed four years of Trump’s ugly and chaotic white nationalist presidency. We have woken up (far too late) to how real racism is in our everyday lives.
But something very interesting has emerged from all this. Putin’s wildly successful disinformation assault on the US, has shifted the gaze of national security from military readiness in wartime to the fragility of our US democratic institutions, under assault and chipped away at by decades of predatory capitalism, right wing media, and corruption in both parties.
Ongoing attacks by our enemies will be designed to inflame divisions inherent in the utter disconnect between our American narrative of equality and the reality of a nation ruled by the 1%, divided and conquered via intentionally inflamed class, race, gender and religious divisions.
It’s time we all connect defeating racism and all inequality directly to national security. And now that Trump has used racism to take us to the precipice, to the end of American democracy, we all can see exactly how providing equality and opportunity to every American is a national security priority.
Because, divided we fall.
We must bridge the vast historical disconnect between the promise of our nation’s storybook equality narrative and the ugly reality of our systemic gender bigotry and racism. To defeat the vast right wing political machines of billionares like the Koch brothers we must be bold, not meek. We must fulfill our nation’s promise, before its too late.