To the Editor:
Andrew Krepinevich ("The Pentagon's Wasting Assets," July/August 2009) writes that "the military foundations of the United States' global dominance are eroding," compromising the nation's "unmatched ability to project power worldwide." He would have us believe that unless reversed, this trend will produce dire consequences.
The problem with Krepinevich's argument lies in its assumptions that "global dominance" is possible and that global power projection by the United States offers the most effective way of ensuring international peace and stability. Recent events call both assumptions into question.
Krepinevich claims that U.S. dominance, expressed through the projection of hard power, has produced a "long record of military successes." Yet this contention is difficult to sustain given episodes such as those experienced by the U.S. military in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq (both in 1991 and since 2003) -- not to mention the devastation of 9/11. It would be more accurate to say that force -- even when wielded by the seemingly strong against the nominally weak -- continues to be an exceedingly uncertain instrument. The United States' penchant for projecting power has created as many problems as it has solved. Genuinely decisive outcomes remain rare, costs often far exceed expectations, and unintended and unwelcome consequences are legion.