For 70 years this strategic approach has prevented the outbreak of devastating wars like those of the first half of the twentieth century. That we did so at an affordable, though not an insignificant, cost, is a triumph of strategic thinking and of American foreign policy.That's an extremely high-level view of the international order. Where the ability of the Eurosclerotic social democracies to provide limited "free" medical care follows from not having to spend much tax money on defense, or on pharmaceutical research, people in the United States might have reason to fret about free riding, and it ought not come as a surprise to see panderers like Barack Obama or Donald Trump pandering to that sentiment. Where the limited wars, from Vietnam to the Middle East, blight the lives even of troops who come home uninjured, without destroying the lesser enemies, it ought not come as a surprise that people question whether the strategy is affordable. War is cruelty, notes Marine Lieutenant Colonel Kent S. Ralston, and ought not be entered into lightly, but ought be conducted accordingly.
Weak leadership and a failure of strategic intelligence now threatens the success of the most successful world strategy of modern times, a strategy whose success has been the root cause of American prosperity and global stability for two generations. There is no enemy powerful enough to destroy the Pax Americana today, except for the greatest of all great powers in human affairs: the power of stupidity.
We will know that American foreign policy has started to work again when military budgets around the world go down, while ours remains at an affordable level. Those are the metrics we are looking for; right now, we seem to be getting the opposite.
COMING TO GRIPS WITH NAGASAKI SYNDROME.
An unsigned American Interest post invites readers to look at the redeeming features of the Pax Americana.