“Michèle Flournoy, who spent three years as undersecretary of defense for policy at the start of the Obama administration, also said via a webcast hosted by the Hudson Institute that U.S. attempts at deterrence in the Middle East must evolve beyond force presence. She called for an American version of China’s Belt and Road Initiative — an economic growth strategy.
“‘We are defining national security too narrowly. Dealing with pandemics and safeguarding the health of the American population from a threat like [coronavirus] should be part of our national security thinking and rubric,’ Flournoy said. ‘But when you go to Capitol Hill, the colors of money, the politics of money [really] matter. A vote for a defense dollar is a patriotic act. A vote for the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] or a vote for public health hospitals has not been seen as a patriotic act.
“‘Maybe this pandemic will change that. But we have got to think about public health preparedness as part of our national security going forward…'”