The voice of young liberal democrats

Iraq Not the Last Front in the War on Terror by georgeinwashington
October 26, 2007, 3:51 pm
Filed under: America, defence, Foreign Affairs, war on terror

In the Washington Mayflower last night the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, gave an insight into the future strategic outlook of the United States. “We have to realize that the the Middle East is larger than Afghanistan and Iraq, and the World is larger than the Middle East.” It would seem that that the US is far from ready to recede to the sidelines in international affairs.

The Admiral went on to remind us that we are in a generational war, and that he foresees a series of continuing engagements in the future. As belligerent as this sounded the Admiral did qualify himself by noting that these engagements would not necessarily be of an offencive nature. The US, he said had to utilise all of its efforts in future interventions, in diplomacy, foreign aid and the private sector as well as the military.

This kind of commitment will require a substantial financial commitment. When the Iraq conflict finally ends there will be no peace dividend. The Admiral told the audience that the current defence spending of the US of 4% of GDP should be considered an absolute minimum.

The Admiral was also candid about the kinds of stresses the military is currently facing. Whilst the Army is not as some claim broken, but it is breakable, the current troop rotations had to be shortened.

These goals will surely be a challenge for the Admiral who faces international suspicion of US military motives, declining enrollment, a large budget deficit and a hostile public. In the end his most pressing problems may be political rather than military. Whilst the US Military may say it stands ready to undertake a larger role in the world. It will have to rely on the White House and Congress to rebuild the political goodwill that will allow it to do so.