Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Why Military Adventures of the US Empire Fail

Stratfor is the corporate research firm that is considered by many to be the "shadow CIA."

The firm's intelligence reports are read within government agencies and global corporations. In a recent analysis George Friedman, Chairman of Stratfor, has provided insight into why attempts by the U.S. military to control certain foreign geographic areas are destined to fail:
The primary limit of the American empire is the same as that of the British and Roman empires: demographic. In Eurasia — Asia and Europe together — the Americans are outnumbered from the moment they set foot on the ground. The U.S. military is built around force multipliers, weapons that can destroy the enemy before the enemy destroys the relatively small force deployed. Sometimes this strategy works. Over the long run, it cannot. The enemy can absorb attrition much better than the small American force can. This lesson was learned in Vietnam and reinforced in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq is a country of 25 million people. The Americans sent about 130,000 troops. Inevitably, the attrition rate overwhelmed the Americans. The myth that Americans have no stomach for war forgets that the United States fought in Vietnam for seven years and in Iraq for about the same length of time. The public can be quite patient. The mathematics of war is the issue. At a certain point, the rate of attrition is simply not worth the political ends.

The deployment of a main force into Eurasia is unsupportable except in specialized cases when overwhelming force can be brought to bear in a place where it is important to win. These occasions are typically few and far between. Otherwise, the only strategy is indirect warfare: shifting the burden of war to those who want to bear it or cannot avoid doing so....

There are two varieties of indirect warfare. The first is supporting native forces whose interests are parallel. This was done in the early stages of Afghanistan. The second is maintaining the balance of power among nations. We are seeing this form in the Middle East as the United States moves between the four major regional powers — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey — supporting one then another in a perpetual balancing act. In Iraq, U.S. fighters carry out air strikes in parallel with Iranian ground forces. In Yemen, the United States supports Saudi air strikes against the Houthis, who have received Iranian training.

This is the essence of empire. The British saying is that it has no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.


  1. at this point the public voice is completely irrelevant what happens is the devicers of a policy move on to something else and the new people who don't want to be stuck with a loser and have all new fish to fry, let it peter out.

  2. The wars don't fail. You are misidentifying their goals.

    Chemo may not shrink the tumor, but the doc still gets paid.