Andrew Bacevich Military Russia

Will the U.S. Learn Anything from Putin’s Disastrous Invasion?

Will the U.S. learn anything from Putin's disastrous invasion?
Flag of Russia on military uniform of soldiers (Bumble Dee / Shutterfly)

By Andrew Bacevich / TomDispatch

In Washington, wide agreement exists that the Russian army’s performance in the Kremlin’s ongoing Ukraine “special military operation” ranks somewhere between lousy and truly abysmal. The question is: Why? The answer in American policy circles, both civilian and military, appears all but self-evident. Vladimir Putin’s Russia has stubbornly insisted on ignoring the principles, practices, and methods identified as necessary for success in war and perfected in this century by the armed forces of the United States. Put simply, by refusing to do things the American way, the Russians are failing badly against a far weaker foe.

Granted, American analysts — especially the retired military officers who opine on national news shows — concede that other factors have contributed to Russia’s sorry predicament. Yes, heroic Ukrainian resistance, reminiscent of the Winter War of 1939-1940 when Finland tenaciously defended itself against the Soviet Union’s more powerful military, caught the Russians by surprise. Expectations that Ukrainians would stand by while the invaders swept across their country proved wildly misplaced. In addition, comprehensive economic sanctions imposed by the West in response to the invasion have complicated the Russian war effort. By no means least of all, the flood of modern weaponry provided by the United States and its allies — God bless the military-industrial-congressional complex — have appreciably enhanced Ukrainian fighting power.

Still, in the view of American military figures, all of those factors take a backseat to Russia’s manifest inability (or refusal) to grasp the basic prerequisites of modern warfare. The fact that Western observers possess a limited understanding of how that country’s military leadership functions makes it all the easier to render such definitive judgments. It’s like speculating about Donald Trump’s innermost convictions. Since nobody really knows, any forcefully expressed opinion acquires at least passing credibility. 

The prevailing self-referential American explanation for Russian military ineptitude emphasizes at least four key points:

* First, the Russians don’t understand jointness, the military doctrine that provides for the seamless integration of ground, air, and maritime operations, not only on Planet Earth but in cyberspace and outer space;

* Second, Russia’s land forces haven’t adhered to the principles of combined arms warfare, first perfected by the Germans in World War II, that emphasizes the close tactical collaboration of tanks, infantry, and artillery;

* Third, Russia’s longstanding tradition of top-down leadership inhibits flexibility at the front, leaving junior officers and noncommissioned officers to relay orders from on high without demonstrating any capacity to, or instinct for, exercising initiative on their own;

* Finally, the Russians appear to lack even the most rudimentary understanding of battlefield logistics — the mechanisms that provide a steady and reliable supply of the fuel, food, munitions, medical support, and spare parts needed to sustain a campaign.

Implicit in this critique, voiced by self-proclaimed American experts, is the suggestion that, if the Russian army had paid more attention to how U.S. forces deal with such matters, they would have fared better in Ukraine. That they don’t — and perhaps can’t — comes as good news for Russia’s enemies, of course. By implication, Russian military ineptitude obliquely affirms the military mastery of the United States. We define the standard of excellence to which others can only aspire.

Reducing War to a Formula

All of which begs a larger question the national security establishment remains steadfastly oblivious to: If jointness, combined arms tactics, flexible leadership, and responsive logistics hold the keys to victory, why haven’t American forces — supposedly possessing such qualities in abundance — been able to win their own equivalents of the Ukraine War? After all, Russia has only been stuck in Ukraine for six months, while the U.S. was stuck in Afghanistan for 20 years and still has troops in Iraq almost two decades after its disastrous invasion of that country. 

To rephrase the question: Why does explaining the Russian underperformance in Ukraine attract so much smug commentary here, while American military underperformance gets written off?

Perhaps written off is too harsh. After all, when the U.S. military fails to meet expectations, there are always some who will hasten to point the finger at civilian leaders for screwing up. Certainly, this was the case with the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. Critics were quick to pin the blame on President Biden for that debacle, while the commanders who had presided over the war there for those 20 years escaped largely unscathed. Indeed, some of those former commanders like retired general and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus, aka “King David,” were eagerly sought after by the media as Kabul fell.

So, if the U.S. military performance since the Global War on Terror was launched more than two decades ago rates as, to put it politely, a disappointment — and that would be my view — it might be tempting to lay responsibility at the feet of the four presidents, eight secretaries of defense (including two former four-star generals), and the various deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and ambassadors who designed and implemented American policy in those years. In essence, this becomes an argument for sustained generational incompetence.

There’s a flipside to that argument, however. It would tag the parade of generals who presided over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and lesser conflicts like those in Libya, Somalia, and Syria) as uniformly not up to the job — another argument for generational incompetence. Members of the once-dominant Petraeus fan club might cite him as a notable exception. Yet, with the passage of time, King David’s achievements as general-in-chief first in Baghdad and then in Kabul have lost much of their luster. The late “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf and General Tommy Franks, their own “victories” diminished by subsequent events, might sympathize.

Allow me to suggest another explanation, however, for the performance gap that afflicts the twenty-first-century U.S. military establishment. The real problem hasn’t been arrogant, ill-informed civilians or generals who lack the right stuff or suffer from bad luck. It’s the way Americans, especially those wielding influence in national security circles, including journalists, think tankers, lobbyists, corporate officials in the military-industrial complex, and members of Congress, have come to think of war as an attractive, affordable means of solving problems.

Military theorists have long emphasized that by its very nature, war is fluid, elusive, capricious, and permeated with chance and uncertainty. Practitioners tend to respond by suggesting that, though true, such descriptions are not helpful. They prefer to conceive of war as essentially knowable, predictable, and eminently useful — the Swiss Army knife of international politics.

Hence, the tendency, among both civilian and military officials in Washington, not to mention journalists and policy intellectuals, to reduce war to a phrase or formula (or better yet to a set of acronyms), so that the entire subject can be summarized in a slick 30-minute slide presentation. That urge to simplify — to boil things down to their essence — is anything but incidental. In Washington, the avoidance of complexity and ambiguity facilitates marketing (that is, shaking down Congress for money).

To cite one small example of this, consider a recent military document entitled

Army Readiness and Modernization in 2022,” produced by propagandists at the Association of the United States Army, purports to describe where the U.S. Army is headed. It identifies “eight cross-functional teams” meant to focus on “six priorities.” If properly resourced and vigorously pursued, these teams and priorities will ensure, it claims, that “the army maintains all-domain overmatch against all adversaries in future fights.”

Set aside the uncomfortable fact that, when it counted last year in Kabul, American forces demonstrated anything but all-domain overmatch. Still, what the Army’s leadership aims to do between now and 2035 is create “a transformed multi-domain army” by fielding a plethora of new systems, described in a blizzard of acronyms: ERCA, PrSM, LRHW, OMVF, MPF, RCV, AMPV, FVL, FLRAA, FARA, BLADE, CROWS, MMHEL, and so on, more or less ad infinitum.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Army’s plan, or rather vision, for its future avoids the slightest mention of costs. Nor does it consider potential complications — adversaries equipped with nuclear weapons, for example — that might interfere with its aspirations to all-domain overmatch.

Yet the document deserves our attention as an exquisite example of Pentagon-think. It provides the Army’s preferred answer to a question of nearly existential importance — not “How can the Army help keep Americans safe?” but “How can the Army maintain, and ideally increase, its budget?”

Hidden inside that question is an implicit assumption that sustaining even the pretense of keeping Americans safe requires a military of global reach that maintains a massive global presence. Given the spectacular findings of the James Webb Telescope, perhaps galactic will one day replace global in the Pentagon’s lexicon. In the meantime, while maintaining perhaps 750 military bases on every continent except Antarctica, that military rejects out of hand the proposition that defending Americans where they live — that is, within the boundaries of the 50 states comprising the United States — can suffice to define its overarching purpose.

And here we arrive at the crux of the matter: militarized globalism, the Pentagon’s preferred paradigm for basic policy, has become increasingly unaffordable. With the passage of time, it’s also become beside the point. Americans simply don’t have the wallet to satisfy budgetary claims concocted in the Pentagon, especially those that ignore the most elemental concerns we face, including diseasedroughtfirefloods, and sea-level rise, not to mention averting the potential collapse of our constitutional order. All-domain overmatch is of doubtful relevance to such threats.

To provide for the safety and well-being of our republic, we don’t need further enhancements to jointness, combined arms tactics, flexible leadership, and responsive logistics. Instead, we need an entirely different approach to national security.

Come Home, America, Before It’s Too Late

Given the precarious state of American democracy, aptly described by President Biden in his recent address in Philadelphia, our most pressing priority is repairing the damage to our domestic political fabric, not engaging in another round of “great power competition” dreamed up by fevered minds in Washington. Put simply, the Constitution is more important than the fate of Taiwan.

I apologize: I know that I have blasphemed. But the times suggest that we weigh the pros and cons of blasphemy. With serious people publicly warning about the possible approach of civil war and many of our far-too-well armed fellow citizens welcoming the prospect, perhaps the moment has come to reconsider the taken-for-granted premises that have sustained U.S. national security policy since the immediate aftermath of World War II.

More blasphemy! Did I just advocate a policy of isolationism?

Heaven forfend! What I would settle for instead is a modicum of modesty and prudence, along with a lively respect for (rather than infatuation with) war.

Here is the unacknowledged bind in which the Pentagon has placed itself — and the rest of us: by gearing up to fight (however ineffectively) anywhere against any foe in any kind of conflict, it finds itself prepared to fight nowhere in particular. Hence, the urge to extemporize on the fly, as has been the pattern in every conflict of ours since the Vietnam War. On occasion, things work out, as in the long-forgotten, essentially meaningless 1983 invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada. More often than not, however, they don’t, no matter how vigorously our generals and our troops apply the principles of jointness, combined arms, leadership, and logistics.

Americans spend a lot of time these days trying to figure out what makes Vladimir Putin tick. I don’t pretend to know, nor do I really much care. I would say this, however: Putin’s plunge into Ukraine confirms that he learned nothing from the folly of post-9/11 U.S. military policy.

Will we, in our turn, learn anything from Putin’s folly? Don’t count on it.

Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His latest book, co-edited with Danny Sjursen, is Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America’s Misguided Wars. In November, his new Dispatch book, On Shedding an Obsolete Past: Bidding Farewell to the American Century, will be published.

34 comments

  1. Bacevich shows himself to be both an idiot and wholly in the grip of the empire’s lie machine.
    Try Scott Ritter and Andrei Martyanov and the Duran &
    New Atlas and Moon of Alabama and Gonzalo Lira and
    Douglas McGregor and John Meirsheimer.

    Bacevich and Tom Dispatch have destroyed their feeble
    Credibility by this kind of empire propaganda worship.

    What excuse does Robert Scheer have for re-publishing
    Such drivel?

  2. Disastrous invasion?

    You mean the one that is crushing the EU and making Russia a boatload of cash?

    Yeah, I thought so.

    What utter crap.

  3. Well, now, Tom Dispatch.  You have put out something here worth replying to. And as usual, I have already written and posted a pretty good reply. Find it at https://yaxls.wordpress.com/2022/08/19/get-ready-for-world-war-two-and-a-half/

    I dont think I have put this up in Sheer post yet. If I have, sorry for over using you.

    But my point is that these remarks are appropriate regarding the American army, they do not really apply to the Russian army.

    It is hard to say just what has happened lately in Ukraine. Even the Russians do not agree. There is a big argument in the Russosphere about it. Some want the whole command of western front shot and a full mobilization to wipe out the kokols. Others think its no big deal, they just shortened the front, killed lots of Kokols with minimal Russian casualties, and can continue the ‘rope a dope’ tactic until the NATO states collapse.

    We shall see what eventually develops.

  4. I would be interested in hearing Robert Scheer – who I admire greatly – explain his editorial decision, as well.

  5. The US will never learn while the people give the military a blank check with the implied understanding to do what you will to keep us safe but don’t let us know. After all, we have a conscience.

  6. fascist putin – a dying propaganda dinosaur

    with e.u.’s imminent accelerated transition towards “renewable energy” sources and future independence on russia’s gas and the threat of putin no longer getting massive fossil fuel CASH kickbacks flowing directly into his mafia bank accounts he decided to invade ukraine desperate to slow that shit down – aint gonna happen you useless one-foot-in-the-grave fuckwad

    #Fuckputin

    Natural gas, power plants, and why Putin’s strategy is as bad as his tactics

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/9/13/2122566/-Ukraine-update-Natural-gas-power-plants-and-why-Putin-s-strategy-is-as-bad-as-his-tactics

      1. awww . . . tears. i’m sure putin would love your warm heartfelt defense. it’s not going to win him his preemptive special-d(for dicktator) war. he ‘n’ g. duhhhbleyuh b. oughta curl up in a 2f’r one pine box 6ft deep asa-they’re finished self-adulating or self-hating or whatever privileged white supremacist fascist narcissists spend their sleepless nights doing
        good-ta-go those toaster-bound turds they are

        unapologetic trashing is fully appropriate for trash so easily willing to destroy 10’s-100’s of thousands of people, families, communities, lives and countless non-human beings and ecosystems for their own myopic self-serving scams

        #Fuckputin

      2. MORE IRRATIONAL CENTRIST DEM ARGUMENTS FOR A DEATH-DEALING STATUS QUO

        @Rob N.: You’re simply asking for reason and at least a modicum of decorum despite all the too common on-line incivility.

        @danleeb: Does your collection of logical fallacies and a crude rebuttal represent the best centrist Dem apologists can do?! Since when is grade school level name calling–or ad hominem in formal language–proof of anything other than irrationality?

        Perhaps the E.U. is about to transform immediately to renewables (as long nuclear plants and wood burning aren’t counted) or perhaps not. You offer only argument by assertion and deflection. The link also doesn’t really prove its claims; instead using the same hyperbolic language the MSM now offers as supposed unbiased news reporting. Edward Bernays would be proud.

        Dinosaurs, you say? Look at the overwhelming evidence of the last 50 years. The U.S. corporate establishment and its military enforcers haven’t won anything in decades. The same folks who brought us Vietnam, the Best and Brightest a.k.a. Ivy educated Dem elite, are status quo neolibs. They’ve now joined with the old neocon imperialist Rs into a sick elite funded by the same corporate interests. No wonder they’re so unconcerned with us, the declining majority working class.

        You make vague allusions to destruction of people and ecosystems without acknowledging the cause. The econ system is for sure “a myopic self-serving scam” that considers humans and ecosystems as nothing more than resources to be used up to produce profits for the few. The neolib/neocon elite has destroyed plenty trying to hang onto their failing power through supplying the world with expensive weapons of death. Paid for by rank and file Americans as our health, schools, infrastructure, and environments decay.

        As for privileged white supremacists, look in the mirror. As someone raised on a Native reservation, I see in you just another condescending white guy. So sure of his own superiority he takes for granted the right to speak for others. While assuming no responsibility for the continuing effects of racism and genocide.

      3. Rafi Simonton keep on pushing that bolder up that hill hero-saurus

        your mind is grifting you with fanciful stories about who “danleeb” is

        who ever thought so whimsical a self indulgent rant might = “a modicum of decorum”
        OooF

        “look in the mirror” “ad hominem” hypocrite self-pedestaling supremacist-splaining ignoramus

      4. THE DEMS: OFFERING NOTHING BUT FEAR ITSELF

        This non-answer is the answer. Clearly the neolib-neocon centrists and their Dem party line defenders have nothing of substance by which to make allies. They’re fine with perpetual war; anything to keep the status quo for the 20% professional and administrative class. So what if that means accelerating decline for the majority?

        I was a local campaign mgr. decades ago when the D party still had a rank and file. When the Ds were proudly New Deal. Now instead of FDR’s “we have nothing to fear except fear itself,” these elite Dems offer nothing but fear.

  7. The American military is the best equipped and best trained in the world. But it was asked to not only defeat enemy combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan, but to ‘pacify’ the country.

    By pacify, their mission was to invade these countries, kill tens of thousands of inhabitants, including untold numbers of civilians, and get the people to love us and install an American puppet as head of state.

    Not only was this an impossible task, but one that made no sense at any level.

    The battlefield performance of our military, especially at the junior officer level, was stellar. But the political mission that the senior leadership accepted was a disaster.

    American presidents just can’t seem to get out of a country unless they’ve already got a new one to invade.

    Now, our misguided leaders think that Taiwan is like Ukraine and China is like Russia. Our great challenge is to get our political leaders and the sycophants in the DC media to abandon that madness.

    The US military will be quite busy in the next few years, relocating hundreds of bases that are likely to be at or near underwater.

    Mother Nature bats last.

  8. Meanwhile our vastly over financed, overly admired military-industrial-national security-congressional complex failed so miserably in its core mission to “keep America safe” we ended up with airplanes flying into buildings, killing thousands right here. The result – no introspection whatsoever and further boosts of massive amounts of debt-financed money to wage more wars and interventions in other countries, and a noose tightening at home in the name of “security” threatening our basic civil and constitutional rights

    1. You hit the nail on the head. America is its own worst enemy continuing to find and fight foreign wars that have no bearing on our security while at home, a crime wave is wrecking the lives of its citizens, health care is still bogged down in bureacratic ropes and social reform is a long way from turning this society from a materialist vacuum to a spiritual nirvana. If we don’t implode over the next 20 years it will be an accomplishment itself.

      1. David, The world is awaiting for fabulous fireworks for next 2 elections. Donnie will not disappoint as he is in a bit of a pickle. In fact, record breaking amounts of lawsuits. His supporters also are facing much legal problems. Is there a betting, wagering site for Mr. Pillow paying 1.4
        billion? Or Donnie in orange jump suit? Or Trump organization banned in NY?
        Or the Supreme Court gets impeach.

  9. has this Bacevich just emerged from a closet? amerikkka hasn’t won a war against the weakest of foes in decades! and at the highest possible expense to amerikkka’s tax paying slaves.

  10. Basically the Americans went in and bombed the shit out of everything in their wars in having no concern for local populations of towns and cities hence the high rate of civilian’s killed put to death in the US blitzing, killing everything moving or living, making it hard for citizens to survive …The taking out of infrastructure water, electric and sewage systems….Maybe the Russians need to follow this wonderful example of American warfare….

  11. Putin did not plunge into Ukraine without thinking. That is wrong assessment.

    He showed utmost restraint for eight years. In 2014 he had his army ready to intervene in Donbas and obliterate corrupted Ukrainian Army in a state of decay with zero morale dominated by ethnic Russians who did not have have will or material means to fight their brothers.

    So why Putin did not plunge into defenseless Ukraine back then?

    Simply because he understood Kiev coup as western provocation to unleash unprecedented, economy destroying sanctions against Russia at that time hopelessly dependent on the west for 70% of economy and most of high tech and military technologies.

    Sanctions against Russia in 2014 even in part resembling sanctions of today would have destroyed Russia and collapsed Putin regime in matter of months via hyperinflation, food shortages and collapse of GDP OF 50%+.

    Today Russian GDP declined into mild technical recession in. Par with US that is in technical recession since January 2022. Ruble is best currency performer in 2022. Inflation is comparable to US and EU so is unemployment of 3.8% despite of mass shutdown of big western corporations operations as a result of sanctions.

    Russia was not abandoned or isolated in the world as 77% of western corporations operating in Russia continue operations and investments. Zero of Japanese firm left Russia. Over 100 countries in the world refused anti Russian Sanctions and expanded trade with Russia. In contrast EU self emasculated by self defeating sanctions making ordinary people to pay for elites psychotic delusions of forcing Russia to Her knees.

    Russians are wining this dangerous socioeconomic war, predominantly economic and financial war to destroy Russian state. Ukrainian war is just a sideshow in the aim to weaken Ukraine and preclude NATO expansion into Ukraine without using nukes.

    In the same time fury unleashed by the west was an impetus to create Easter Asian block with possibly involvement of India which cannot defeated economically or militarily by decaying west. And by that creating multipolar world. And that is main Putin concern no Kiev or even NATO.

    So who is underperforming ?

  12. AMERICAN BIRDS

    The American MIC is no soaring, observant eagle. It’s a bird in a very well gilded cage singing praises to itself and admiring its own reflection. It also assumes all fine birds would look as it does. And ignores how increasingly, the vultures are circling overhead.

    1. “vague allusions!” “look in the mirror!”
      “Since when is grade school level” poetic waxing “proof of anything other than irrationality?”

      go get ’em hero-saurus

      you’d put a hibernating bear to sleep with that euthanizing sanctimonious drivel
      careful though the a mic might grab you and use you as a secret weapon at a pipeline protest

      maybe dial down the element-bending “wit” to be safe

      1. SCRATCH A WHITE MALE DEM, FIND A FEARFUL RACIST CORPORATE APOLOGIST

        @danleeb Had to keep it personal, huh? Come here to a post irrelevant to my rebuttal above because you cannot produce any well-reasoned evidence.

        Then indulge in flat out racism. If pipeline protests upset you, are you then okay with Big Oil as long as it benefits the interests of the American elite?

        Indigenous peoples have retained their ability to think metaphorically. To feel one’s place in the world as part of nature. If you’ve lost that, no wonder the angry broadsides. You aren’t at home anywhere. And nowhere to feel safe makes fear, which no real man can express. But anger and hatred are fine.

        Of particular amusement to me is that charge of “element bending.” That’s precisely what the arts do; I’m a Pacific NW Indian art woodcarver. And here’s the worst part: I’m transgendered, a two-spirit. That should make an easy target for you and your vicious ad hominem diatribes.

  13. as Bennett notes Bacevich is wrong—in past week 15000 ukie casualties, nearly no Russian….130,000 Russian troops vs 700,000 ukies and more than original objectives already achieved. nato can do nothing to prevent denazification—they can only deindustrialize themselves and enrich Russia

  14. THANK YOU for mentioning the Constitution! I am sick to death of listening to the Dems bleat about the democracy, the democracy, the democracy! While the ReTRUMPlicans are actively trying to violently overthrow the Constitution, the D’s prefer to pretend it can be taken more as loose guidelines, rather than strict limits on Federal power.

    As for war, we don’t win because we don’t try. That’s because winning is not the point. Just as treating a disease provides an endless revenue stream, but a cure kills that revenue stream (that’s why Rx companies don’t market them), fighting is a permanent revenue stream that victory kills. Wars are no longer formally declared, as required by the letter of the Constitution, because of Economic Mobilization during WW2 – read about it some time, it’s a real eye-opener.

  15. I know the author is a moderator, but could he please leave comments he made such as “ God bless the military -industrial- congressional complex” , however wistfully stated, as if once had been a good thing, ( which for him personally as a career military man it may have been) to more military- minded publications? And the military perfected nothing. Or perhaps they did perfect the cult of nationalism as the true religion in America, and all those dress uniforms went toward that. But now they cannot change. They’re like Martin Luther in saying “Here I stand, I can do no other. “ The military industrial complex is built into society and trounces all other societal goals and budgets. It defends America by kicking in the doors and then the heads of the most beloved relatives of people who then become politicised advocates of ridding themselves of American drone strikes- these then provide the next tranche of billions in the military budget by themselves becoming the ultimate terrorist, the lone Wolf, the clean-skin, and the biggest threat of all, the truth-teller, the Julian Assange.

    Putin is working from the WWII model of retreating across the vast distances of land available, before letting the assault freeze, and coming back in Spring with another offensive. Then when you’ve run out of Ukrainian proxies, and have to commit more Americans than are doubtless there already, explaining how to target the weapons- and we know there are excellent tallies of destroyed targets available from somewhere- Putin will look for protest against the war in the US to help him reach a settlement.

  16. “God bless the military-industrial-congressional complex.”???

    Please tell me the writer was trying to be sarcastic … ironic … cute … silly.

    With 70% of US weaponry flooding into Ukraine going unaccounted for and never reaching the front line troops, the weapons profiteers are doing more to flood the international weapons black market .

    CBS News actually had a good report on the issue that was pulled down after the War Department whined. Here is a link to that now censored story: https://www.bitchute.com/embed/g5OgTXkzzLy9/?fbclid=IwAR14bGq5i9NnYbTQTndBfvgo6WliVi3W7LDZTIWlUOGgLHkVIfvN-w16CAE

  17. maybe playing chicken w/ NATO over a nuclear power plant was a bit much for Putin & he/they decided to cut their losses and leave the US to bankroll the clean up,
    maybe there’s a time bomb in power plant!
    who even cares anymore
    the lunatic fringe have the weapons

  18. We invade nations on false pretenses, maintain 800 bases around the world, have the world economy in a stranglehold, sanction, threaten, cajole and invade, shoot down civilian aircraft with 300 passengers onboard and don’t apologize, overthrow reformist governments, prop up murderous dictators, squash any opposition party at home, keep our population without health care and dumbed down and yet we have the gall to call ourselves a Democracy and ” the Leader of the Free World” ????

  19. Andrew’s major point is : militarize Gobalization is unaffordable. pressing priority in repairing domestic political fabric.

    The trend is more defense, Pentagon budgets will be increased, as politicians will never be elected otherwise.

    All polls show significant amounts of Trump’s Confederates are willing to Stand back and Stand by.
    Nothing will ever change their minds but

    they are also much the same as American foreign policy, no matter what evidence, they are always right, never wrong. They are the chosen ones to rule as laws do not apply to them. They are exceptional just as American exceptionalism.
    Just mere ‘wishful’ thinking justifies any wrongful action.
    The very best analogy is Trump’s head on Rambo’s muscular military body which is adored and worshipped but it is fake, fraud, deceit, myth, idol worship and no different than our constant military misadventures.

    Andrew’s desire for smaller, isolationist military will never be accomplished, for it will collapse the economy and employment.

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