If the fourth of July mid-day parade in Washington D.C. was depressing, perhaps the heavy, hot and humid weather was to blame. It seemed to take the life out of the marching bands despite being supplied by reviving swigs of water. The evening was a different matter.
from usual jingoistic display of military hardware and aircraft flyovers with
the president orchestrating the event and supported, as the occasion warranted,
by a military band was the order of the day.
News leaks have it that military chiefs were not too keen on the
president’s plans; hence the small numbers of aircraft. There is a good reason. If the military appears too strong and too
advanced, — and it is — the public is less likely to support new hardware
spending is by far the largest category of discretionary spending by the
Federal government. It is also third
overall of expenditures, behind only the required disbursements for social
security and medicare. The U.S. spends
not only more on defense than any other country in the world, it spends more
than the next seven countries combined as noted in a May 2019 infographic
report by the Peterson Foundation.
military also extends its reach through bases across the world as well as
through pacts like NATO. If one was to
ask exactly how many foreign bases the U.S. maintains … 10, 20, 50, 100,
bearing in mind that Britain, France and Russia all together have about 30, an
answer in two digits might be most plausible; in fact, the figure is 750 to
over 800 down from a number closer to 1,000.
Since a base is loosely defined, the total can vary depending on the
firepower at a president’s finger tips is tempting. Yes, the authority to declare war lies with
Congress but modern presidents are able to manipulate that body by fake
propaganda (the infamous ‘smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud’ of the Iraq war
for example) and spurious attacks leading to an emergency response.
the U.S. is currently involved in a war in Afghanistan, how many years has the
U.S. spent at war since independence from Britain in 1776? The answer is a mind boggling 222 out of 239
years calculated by Freakonometrics in 2017 and we have continued to be in a
war since then.
despite the fact that we have been notoriously unsuccessful in the latest such
adventures: still bogged down in
Afghanistan; Iraq run by a Shia government beholden and closer to Iran; and, of
course, Vietnam, which was a defeat par excellence. Immense firepower wins battles certainly, as
the U.S. did in these countries, though without guarantee of final
victory. Nimble asymmetric warfare has a
way of paralyzing large military forces, and a tired nation then seeks
peace. None of this detracts from the
sacrifice and heroism of individual soldiers.
Were it only for a worthwhile (in retrospect that is) objective?
does all this say about Iran? Clearly,
it would be the worst of follies to go to war against battle-hardened forces,
in a larger country, with greater military self-sufficiency. More than all this, the Revolutionary Guard
is almost a nascent guerrilla force armed and ready for asymmetric war and, if
it happens, America’s next disaster in blood and treasure. Can we trust Trump to see reason?
Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US. Educated at King's
College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary
background that has frequently informed his research. Thus he headed the
analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in
major journals has been widely cited. He has for several decades also written
for the press: These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print
media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star
Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others. On the internet, he
has written for Antiwar.com, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch,
Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among
many. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its