Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
11 January 2012
The least convincing forecast in the history of politico-military predictions appeared in an editorial in the UK Guardian newspaper on 6 January 2012.
The editorial began: “There were two unmistakable messages in the defence review outlined yesterday by Barack Obama in his appearance at the Pentagon briefing room.The first was that America is never going to fight wars like Iraq or Afghanistan again.”
Among political predictions of all time, this must surely be the least credible.
Believe that and you will believe anything.
This message is being put about by America as the nine-year US occupation of Iraq is just ending, the Afghan and Somali wars are in full swing, the US war in Pakistan is just beginning, America’s undercover operations in Yemen show no let-up, and the US/Israeli attack on Iran is about to begin. As if that were not enough, the US is shifting its focus from Europe (see * below) to China, as it cosies up to the dictatorship in Burma, stations troops at a new base in northern Australia and beefs up its presence in the Philippines.
And did the Americans learn anything from the earlier defeat in their nine-year war in Vietnam (1964-1973)?
As if recognizing the untrustworthiness of Obama’s defence message, the Guardian editorialist adds: “Turning the page on a decade of war (the president’s words) may not be an entirely accurate description of a power that will spend more on its forces than the next ten countries combined.”
However, the editorial goes on to say that “the signal that the US will not fight another expensive, troop-intensive counter-insurgency campaign is clear enough”.
Words fail us.
* The editorial defines the second message of Obama’s defence review as follows: “…the message is that Europe’s collective defence is up to Europe, and its forces have to stand alone.”