The war in Iraq has been a disaster from almost every perspective worth considering. And the war in Afghanistan, combined with the severity of the Great Recession, have profoundly impacted the minds of most leaders on the need to rethink the role of American military might in the world. I welcome this new direction.
Consider that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, has called the national debt the "biggest single threat to national security." (Read that again!) The Pentagon, which is often the last to admit that it should ask for cuts, actually proposed its own cuts several months ago. On April 13, weeks before the death of bin Laden, the president announced his proposal to reduce defense spending. He framed this proposal—cuts as great as $400 billion over ten years—not only as a response to the fiscal crisis but also as part of a "fundamental review of America's missions, capabilities and our role in a changing world." Only the most steadfast hawkish conservatives opposed him. The political consensus seems intent on such military cuts now. And most Americans have no heart for a war around the globe. In fact, I do not think serious “hawks” could win an election on the national stage if they had everything else going for them in the next election. It is a no win position and most know that by now. If a Republican candidate runs on this stance he/she will lose no matter what else is on the table.
Two Christians authors, Andrew Bacevich and Gregory Metzger, recently suggested: “The era of American global hegemony—if such an era ever existed—is ending. Events have demolished expectations, commonly expressed by Democrats and Republicans alike during the interval between the cold war and the war on terror, that U.S. military dominance would enable the U.S. to reign supreme on the global stage. We are entering an age of multipolarity.” I agree!
Greg Metzger, a friend and a regular reader of this blog, has laid out as well as anyone the way that I see the U.S. going forward in the post 9-11 world. He and Andrew Bacevich write, “Washington will find itself obliged to take into account—even to accommodate—the interests of others, especially China, India and the European Union.
The June 28 Christian Century article by Metzger and Bacevich is well worth your reading time.