The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy

Share

Hits: 1832

One has to wonder just how much longer the American people will silently permit the categorical failure of American foreign policy, both in theory and in practice. The evidence confirming the totality of our failure is breathtaking in scope and severity. Changes are needed to preserve U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

Recent headlines have captured the character of this failure. Fifteen years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released findings that “corruption substantially undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan from the very beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. … We conclude that failure to effectively address the problem means U.S. reconstruction programs, at best, will continue to be subverted by systemic corruption and, at worst, will fail.”

Earlier this month, a British Parliament study found that the result of Western military intervention in Libya “was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa.”

Airstrikes and drone attacks are accidentally killing thousands of civilians, aid workers, wedding parties, and now even the troops of a nation against whom we are not at war. Each of these mistakes, repeated hundreds of times over the past 15 years, creates more antagonism and hatred of the United States than any other single event. Whatever tactical benefit some of the strikes do accomplish, they are consumed in the still-worsening strategic failure the misfires cause.

Bottom line: The use of military power since 2001 has:

  • Turned a previously whole and regionally impotent Iraq that balanced Iran into a factory of terrorism and a client of Tehran;
  • Turned Afghanistan from a country with a two-sided civil war—contained within its own borders—into a dysfunctional state that serves as a magnet for terrorists.
  • Turned a Libya that suffered internal unrest, but didn’t threaten its neighbors or harbor terrorists, into an “unmitigated failure” featuring a raging civil war, serving as an African beachhead for ISIS and a terrorist breeding ground;
  • Contributed to the expansion of al-Qaeda into a “franchise” group, spawned a new strain when ISIS was born out of the vacuum created by our Iraq invasion, and seen major terrorist threats explode worldwide;
  • Joined other nations in battles in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other areas within Africa whose only result has been the expansion of the threat and the deepening of the suffering of the civil populations.

These continued and deepening failures kill unknown numbers of innocent civilians each year, intensify and spread the hatred many have of America, and incrementally weaken our national security. But these military failures have another, less obvious but more troubling cost.

Perpetual fighting dissipates the fighting strength of the armed forces. The non-stop employment of the U.S. Air Force in flying sorties, bombing runs, and strategic airlift has been orders of magnitude higher than what it was in the 15 years prior to 9/11, dramatically cutting short the lifespan of each aircraft, increasing the maintenance requirements, and depleting stocks of bombs and missiles.

The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have put thousands of miles of grueling use on their tanks and other armored vehicles and worn out countless weapons. The refurbishing and replacement costs for these vehicles has been enormous, and—like the Air Force—the Army has severely shortened the lifespan of its armored fleet. But not only have these permanent military operations degraded the vehicles, the damage has come at the expense of conventional military training.

This might be the most alarming cost. The Army has recognized this problem and has belatedly begun to reorient some of the training time to high-end conventional battle. But it will take many years of focused training to rebuild the strength the military had prior to Desert Storm or even the opening operations of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Entire generations of leaders and troops at every level have grown up training almost exclusively on small-scale counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare.

As one who has fought in both high-end armored warfare and small-scale COIN, I can tell you that creating effective battle units for conventional war is far, far more difficult and time consuming.

Likewise, the Air Force has not fought against a modern adversary with fleets of effective fighter jets, bombers, and potent air-defense capabilities. Such operations are orders of magnitude more difficult than attacking insurgents on the ground who pose no threat to aircraft.

It is critical to understand that no insurgency or terror group represents an existential threat to viability of the United States. Failure in a conventional battle to a major power, however, can cripple the nation.

It is discouraging to see the administration, Congress, and the Department of Defense fully tethered to the perpetual application of military power against small-scale threats. Terrorism definitely represents a threat to U.S. interests, and we must defend against it. But the obsession with using major military assets on these relatively small-scale threats has not only failed to stem the threat, it has in part been responsible for expanding it. Meanwhile, the unhealthy focus on the small-scale has weakened—and continues to weaken—our ability to respond to the truly existential threats.

If the incoming administration does not recognize this deterioration of our military power and take steps to reverse it, our weakness may one day be exposed in the form of losing a major military engagement that we should have won easily. The stakes couldn’t be higher. A change in foreign policy is critically needed. We will either change by choice or we will change in the smoldering aftermath of catastrophic military failure. I pray it is the former.


Originally published on 2016-09-29

About the author: Daniel L. Davis is a foreign-policy fellow and military expert at Defense Priorities. He retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel after 21 years of active service. He was deployed into combat zones four times in his career, beginning with Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and also to Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan twice (2005, 2011). 

Source: The American Conservative

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
If NATO Wants Peace and Stability it Should Stay Home
A curious op-ed appeared in The National Interest, penned by Hans Binnendijk and David Gompert, adjunct senior fellows at the RAND Corporation. Titled, “NATO’s Role in post-Caliphate Stability Operations,” it attempts to make a case for NATO involvement everywhere from Libya to Syria and Iraq in fostering stability in the wake of a yet-to-be defeated Islamic State. The authors propose that NATO step in to fill what it calls an impending “vacuum left as the caliphate collapses,” heading off alternatives including “chaos or Iran, backed by Russia, filling the void, with great harm to U.S. and allied interests in either case.” The op-ed never explains why ...
READ MORE
US has Killed More than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” since World War II
After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by ...
READ MORE
Recognize the Genocide that Happened—And the One Now Beginning
The United States, Europe, and their partners must officially recognize the Mountainous Karabagh Republic within its constitutional frontiers.Stepanakert, Mountainous Karabagh — I no longer know what to do on April 24—or where to go. This is the day Armenians across the globe commemorate the genocide in 1915 that destroyed the Armenian people and its homeland of thousands of years.Those killing fields, the homes of my grandparents, are located in historic western Armenia—now eastern Turkey. But a century later, this very region has erupted in all-out war. Turkish forces are on the offensive again, this time, Armenians having been eliminated, against ...
READ MORE
Lithuania’s alleged involvement in Maidan contradicts supposed European values
New scandalous information about the 2014 Maidan coup d'état in Ukraine has emerged that implicates Lithuania’s important role in instigating the violent events. David Zhvania, a former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, revealed on his YouTube channel that the seizure of power in Ukraine was financed in “several ways.”“One of the external sources was the Lithuanian embassy, ​​through which money and weapons were transferred, and the internal channel was Diamantbank. I have documented evidence to support my words,” said the former ally of Petro Poroshenko, the previous president of Ukraine.Zhvania called on Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova to initiate criminal proceedings ...
READ MORE
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Dechani monastery in Metochia - one of the most important shrines of Serbian Orthodox Church (14th century) The region of Kosovo & Metohija was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of ...
READ MORE
Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”
Tyrants and despots have never required justification for their actions. In the 17th century, as political philosophers began to reject the classic Catholic doctrines of politics and ethics, The Prince was viewed as more relevant: truths are more important than ideals. It is probably not an accident that The Prince has been misinterpreted for 300 years. Taken literally, there is no better justification for tyranny, whether political or economic, than the universal misinterpretation of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. This small pamphlet, written in 1513–1514, addressed to the new Medici prince, if taken literally, outlines the best practices to attain and ...
READ MORE
Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims
The day commemorates lost lives of US servicemen and women sent to war for the wrong reasons – from the 18th century to today, notably America’s so-called War of Independence, its Civil War, WW I and II and all subsequent wars of choice.America’s only enemies in the past 70 years and throughout at least most of its history were and remain ones it invents.It could have been a model peaceful nation had it chosen a different path. Instead, its history reflects unbridled militarism, endless wars of choice, related violence and chaos, contempt for rule of law principles, along with unparalleled ...
READ MORE
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
So, here's how it is: 1) There is still no evidence - that has been presented to the public - that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack. 2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days - but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and ...
READ MORE
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )
GR Editor’s Note The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of  Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007.  The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate. Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies. We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”.  Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, ...
READ MORE
The Sabra & Shatila Massacre
On September 16, 1982, Christian Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in Beirut under the watch of the Israeli army and began a slaughter that caused outrage around the world. Over the next day and a half, up to 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were murdered in one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history. The New York Times recently published an op-ed containing new details of discussions held between Israeli and American officials before and during the massacre. They ...
READ MORE
Here’s your ‘Putin Did It!’ Survival Guide…
As the Duran reported, it was only a matter of time before the ‘Putin Did It’ (see The Duran Lexicon for more) line crept back into the news in light of a re-opened FBI investigation, following the discovery more incriminating Hillary Clinton emails. Sure enough, Howard Dean, the man who ended his own presidential campaign by acting like a crazed hooligan on stage, has said that now the FBI and Putin are on the same side.This comes days after Putin reassured the world that he really doesn’t want, need or care to meddle in the US election. Of course the usual suspects in the western ...
READ MORE
Trump’s Straw Nazis: A Horror Story
Introduction – Nothing is More Dangerous than a Discreet Nazi People have been digesting the appointment of Stephen Bannon as Trump’s chief strategist and the sudden rise in overt racism and Nazi symbology. There are people saying “Heil Trump”, giving Nazi salutes, and spray-painting swastikas in alarming numbers. The US is a large, populous, diverse country, but there is clearly something of significance here beyond just a few ignorant teenagers with spraycans and emotional issues. The overt Nazism is very disturbing. It was less than reassuring when Anne Coulter sought to tweet some perspective “Rachel shows FIVE PEOPLE at Richard Spencer meeting ...
READ MORE
Great Expectations for Kaunas, as City is Named 2022 “Capital of European Culture”
Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg.The city’s leaders now have a splendid opportunity to take the moral high road in dealing with a number of ghosts from the present and the past. To start with the present, will the city’s officials now act rapidly to avoid a public perception disaster by moving this year’s neo-Nazi parade away from the city center during the February 16th Independence Day celebrations? Previous years’ marches have on occasion glorified actual Kaunas Holocaust collaborators, causing deep pain to Survivors ...
READ MORE
Venice and Lombardy: Why is the Request for Independence Growing?
The following article was written before the recent referendum in Venice and Lombardy. It remains relevant as far as, everything happening in Europe those days is becoming, more a more, a manifestation of extreme social “egotism”, of generalized destruction of any form of solidarity and adherence to more general projects. This is especially true after the strategic defeat and capitulation of the European Left on the Greek question. “Everybody for himself” seems to dominate the continent. It is the historic triumph of the neoliberal Europe, but it reminds somehow the triumphs of the cancer on living organisms. Europe will hardly ...
READ MORE
Vietnam War and Yemen False Flags
The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred.Does history repeat itself?  Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen.Don’t be mistaken, we have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with ...
READ MORE
U.S. Conceals Thousands of Airstrikes in Middle East
On February 5, Military Times published a report stating that Washington has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The investigation reveals that in Afghanistan in 2016 alone, the U.S. air force carried out at least 456 bombings. The open-source report published by the Air Force Command doesn’t include these figures.According to the Military Times, the information was obtained from “Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups” and it shows that much of what the Pentagon has disclosed may be misleading or simply ...
READ MORE
What Hillary Clinton has in Common with Communist China
What do Hillary Clinton and the communist government of China have in common? Aside from their shared support for subverting freedom, lack of respect for human rights, and support of invasive surveillance, they both possess armies of trolls who manipulate online narratives.According to a new report from researchers at Harvard’s Department of Government, the Chinese government employs millions of people to make posts praising government on their behalf. The internet mercenaries are deemed, collectively, “The 50 Cent Party,” because of rumors they are paid per post (the report concluded they do not appeared to be paid and most are government employees ...
READ MORE
The Problem is Washington, not North Korea
Washington has never made any effort to conceal its contempt for North Korea. In the 64 years since the war ended, the US has done everything in its power to punish, humiliate and inflict pain on the Communist country. Washington has subjected the DPRK to starvation,  prevented its government from accessing foreign capital and markets, strangled its economy with crippling economic sanctions, and installed lethal missile systems and military bases on their doorstep. Negotiations aren’t possible because Washington refuses to sit down with a country which it sees as its inferior.  Instead, the US has strong-armed China to do its bidding by using their diplomats as interlocutors who are expected to convey Washington’s ultimatums as threateningly as possible.  The ...
READ MORE
Americans have Forgotten What We did to North Korea
Perhaps no country on Earth is more misunderstood by Americans than North Korea. Though the country's leaders are typically portrayed as buffoonish, even silly, in fact they are deadly serious in their cruelty and skill at retaining power. Though the country is seen as Soviet-style communist, in fact it is better understood as a holdover of Japanese fascism. And there is another misconception, one that Americans might not want to hear but that is important for understanding the hermit kingdom: Yes, much of its anti-Americanism is cynically manufactured as a propaganda tool, and yes, it is often based on lies. But ...
READ MORE
Understanding Jewish Power: Who has Helped Create a War-Addicted America?
I recently was asked to speak at an online conference entitled Deep Truth: Encountering Deep State Lies. My panel addressed Understanding Zionism: Deconstructing the Power Paradigm and my own topic was How Jewish Power Sustains the Israel Narrative. Working on my presentation, I was forced to confront the evolution of my own views on both the corruption of government in the United States and the ability of powerful domestic lobbies to deliberately distort the perception of national interests to benefit foreign countries even when that activity does terrible damage to the U.S. My personal journey began half a century ago. I ...
READ MORE
If NATO Wants Peace and Stability it Should Stay Home
US has Killed More than 20 Million People in 37 “Victim Nations” since World War II
Recognize the Genocide that Happened—And the One Now Beginning
Lithuania’s alleged involvement in Maidan contradicts supposed European values
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Neoconservatives, Machiavelli and “The Prince”
Memorial Day Ignores Millions of US Imperial Victims
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )
The Sabra & Shatila Massacre
Here’s your ‘Putin Did It!’ Survival Guide…
Trump’s Straw Nazis: A Horror Story
Great Expectations for Kaunas, as City is Named 2022 “Capital of European Culture”
Venice and Lombardy: Why is the Request for Independence Growing?
Vietnam War and Yemen False Flags
U.S. Conceals Thousands of Airstrikes in Middle East
What Hillary Clinton has in Common with Communist China
The Problem is Washington, not North Korea
Americans have Forgotten What We did to North Korea
Understanding Jewish Power: Who has Helped Create a War-Addicted America?
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share
Share
Publish your articles on global politics, history, and international relations online & advertise your website for a moderate charging fee at www.global-politics.eu (contact: globalpol@global-politics.eu). For more details see the Submission section on our website. We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We mainly rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations. Follow us on our social platforms!
+ +