Friday, August 10, 2007
by Gabriel Kolko
"The United States has rarely lost any conventional military battle since at least 1950. Nor has it, at the same time, ever won a war. It has successfully overthrown governments through interventions or subversion but the political results of all its efforts – as in Afghanistan in the 1980s and Iran in 1953 – have often made its subsequent geopolitical position far, far more tenuous. In a word, in international affairs it bumbles very badly and it has made an already highly unstable world far more precarious than it otherwise would be if only the U.S. had left the world alone. No less important, Americans would be far better off thereby. Because – to repeat a critical point – it has failed to attain victory in any of the real wars it has fought since Korea. Its adversaries learned as long ago as the Korean War that decentralization would stymie America's overwhelming firepower, which was designed for concentrated armies, and provided a successful antidote for massive, expensive technology.......
We are at point zero in the application of American power in the world: the U.S. cannot win its extremely expensive adventures nor will it abstain from policies which increasingly lead to disasters for the nations in which it intervenes and for itself as well. All the factors I have mentioned – its myopia regarding technology, the policy consensus that binds ambitious politicians and often makes public opinion irrelevant, the arms makers and their local interests, or the limits of rational inputs – have all combined to deliver us to this impasse. It is difficult not to be pessimistic when – as it should be – realism rather than illusions guide our political assessments. But realism is the only way to avoid cynicism."