How military superiority made America less safe

“since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reason that brought forth US global supremacy has ceased to exist. There was an original argument for the United States shouldering the immense burdens of global military dominance: Without it, totalitarian powers would conquer much of the Earth. That would be terrible for the world, the thinking went, and it could be bad for the United States.

The problem, though, is the pursuit of military dominance since then has created a lot of enemies of the US that didn’t need to be enemies of the US. We’ve engaged in bad behavior ourselves and stimulated it in others.

I worry that — in a world where the foremost threats to the American people are pandemic disease and climate change — America will continue to define its biggest threats in military terms, even if they aren’t.”

“Since 1991, I think almost everybody has lost out, aside from the major defense firms and some ruling elites. America’s strategy has been incredibly destructive for people throughout the greater Middle East, and of course, the Iraq War resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

And I don’t think the American people have won out, either. I think that we have gotten less safe and more fearful as a society as a result of constantly being told by leaders of both parties that the whole world is out to kill us and that that’s why we’ve got to go to war to kill them first.

Look, the argument that US military power contributed to world order was very real. The Bretton Woods system played an important role in stabilizing global capitalism. But since the 1970s, and especially the 1990s, I think it’s hard to argue that US military dominance somehow underpins everything else.

It’s very difficult to see how applying sanctions on dozens of countries and waging continual warfare in the greater Middle East somehow serves the general interest of capitalism. Maybe it serves the interests of particular firms, but not the system of capitalism.”

“What I’m opposed to, first and foremost, is military dominance as an end in itself. That’s what I think it has become in our own time, and I don’t think it began that way. That doesn’t prohibit the US from being a robust power: It’s going to be a great power and it’s going to have a strong military. We should absolutely be able to defend ourselves. I’m not even closing the door on things like humanitarian intervention, either.

What we have to ask, though, is if the US has used all this power wisely and judiciously. It’s clear that we haven’t, and it’s making all of us in America and around the world less safe. Just think of this: Roughly 80 percent of all US military interventions have occurred after 1991. Can we really say the millions at home and abroad have had their lives improved by that? I don’t think so.”

“I’d lead a systematic policy of disentangling the US from regions where its interests are either not vital, as in the Middle East, or not really imperiled, like Europe. I absolutely believe in the capacity of Europeans to manage their own affairs. The United States does not need to be the protector of Europe.”

“we have to be cautious in observing how China continues to rise and how it behaves. It has not had a record of territorial conquest with anything like the record of past US adversaries, like the Axis powers or the Soviet Union. That’s a good thing, though you wouldn’t know it from all the cries about China’s desire to dominate the world emanating from Washington, DC.

A President Wertheim — and please let your readers know I’m rolling my eyes as I say that — would recognize the US has an opportunity to cautiously retrench its position militarily in certain regions as it ramps up cooperation on the issues that really matter. I’d encourage allies and partners in the region to step up to counterbalance China. We still have time to allow that process to happen, and that’d be a good thing since it takes two great powers to make a great-power war.”

“What I am fearful of right now is that it’s almost impossible for many people in the foreign policy community to envision circumstances in which the United States could ever pull back from a region. I worry about the United States putting itself on the front lines of any potential conflict, which could mean a great-power war. We should avoid being in that situation in the first place if we possibly can.”

Biden ordered airstrike after determining Iran supported rocket attacks

“The attacks and retaliatory strike marked the first major military action of the Biden administration. The strike was calculated to signal to Iran that such attacks through proxies in the region would not be tolerated, the officials said, while avoiding escalation into a wider conflict as Biden seeks a diplomatic breakthrough with Tehran on the Iran nuclear deal.
The “proportionate” military response was conducted along with diplomatic measures, including consulting with coalition partners, the Pentagon said.

“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel,” said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby. “At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq.””

“”The targets were chosen to correspond to the recent attacks — the facilities are utilized by KSS and KH — and to deter the risk of additional attacks over the coming weeks,” the spokesperson said. “The strikes were necessary to address the threat and proportionate to the prior attacks.”

At around 6 p.m. EST on Thursday night, U.S. fighter jets dropped seven 500-pound precision bombs on seven targets in eastern Syria, the official said. All bombs hit their targets, a crossing used by several Iran-backed militia groups to move weapons and other goods across the border. Initial reports suggest there were no casualties, militant or civilian.

Biden made the strategic decision to conduct the strike in Syria, rather than on Iraqi soil, in order to avoid pressure on the Iraqi government, the official said.

Conducting an airstrike in Syria is also less politically complicated for the Biden administration than an operation in Iraq, said Becca Wasser, an analyst with the RAND Corp. The U.S. does not need to request the permission of the Syrian government as it does not recognize Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, she said.

The airstrike came after Biden spoke Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The White House readout of the call hinted at the coming action. The men “discussed the recent rocket attacks against Iraqi and Coalition personnel and agreed that those responsible for such attacks must be held fully to account.””

Iran Just Handed Biden His First Credibility Test

“as many as 24 rockets were fired at a U.S. military base at Erbil International Airport, in the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The attacked, almost certainly launched by an Iran-backed militia, wounded an American soldier, killed one non-U.S. contractor and wounded five others. Three local civilians were also wounded.”

U.S. warns Myanmar’s military it’ll be punished for coup

“According to reports from the region, the Myanmar military has taken into custody several top civilian leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy activist whose political party has won recent elections. In a televised statement, the military said that it had taken control of the country and declared a state of emergency for one year.

The military has been unhappy with the outcome of elections in November in which Suu Kyi’s party did well, while the military-backed party fared relatively poorly. The military is alleging voter fraud. Myanmar’s new parliament was due to convene Monday for its first session.

In a statement late Sunday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the United States is “alarmed” by the reports.

“The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition,” Psaki said, adding that the U.S. “will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.””

Russia’s Terminator Weapon Is Unquestionably Terrifying, Possibly Unnecessary

“The Russian Army has received its first batch of BMP-T tank support vehicles, more than 30 years after they were first conceived. The BMP-T, also known as the “Terminator,” is designed to accompany tanks on the battlefield, zeroing in on and terminating enemy anti-tank teams.”

A brief, bloody war in a corner of Asia is a warning about why the tank’s days of dominance may be over

“The debate has been around since at least 1973, when dozens of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed daily by Arab infantry using Soviet-built AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missiles during the Yom Kippur War.

Those arguing against the tank say that there is no point in investing in new ones since they will easily be destroyed by attack helicopters and anti-tank weapons, which have only gotten more advanced since the 1970s.

The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh seems to lend credence to this argument.

On October 26, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claimed his country’s forces destroyed 252 tanks and 50 infantry fighting vehicles. A day before the armistice was announced, Armenia claimed it had destroyed 784 armored vehicles in total.

Both sides are likely exaggerating, but dozens of videos published by the Azeris, as well as open-source analysis, make clear that armored units suffered catastrophic losses.”

Pentagon Fails Another Audit, Will Likely Get Budget Increase From Congress Anyway

“The third time wasn’t the charm for the Pentagon, which has once again failed to successfully complete an audit.

Thomas Harker, the Pentagon’s comptroller, told Reuters that it could be another seven years before the department can pass an audit—something that it has never accomplished. Previous attempts in 2018 and 2019 turned up literally thousands of problems with the Pentagon’s accounting system and millions of dollars’ worth of missing equipment.”