Can America Win a War? -Newsweek

“In interviews with Newsweek, military experts, strategists, historians and former government officials say that absent some major miscalculation on the part of Russia, China or Iran, the wars America will fight in the foreseeable future will be protracted, low-intensity struggles with no clear victories. There will be no raising American flags over a vanquished enemy’s capital, no parades. Wringing something resembling victory from the messes Washington is in now will require Americans to accept a new way of thinking about conflict.”

The crux of this article is that US has once again returned to containment as it’s primary strategy for dealing with foreign threats. George W. Bush’s grand strategy of preemption is no more.

Framing the article around the Vietnam war is a bit of cheap trick to take advantage of the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and actually misses the entire point. In terms of American strategy Vietnam was not a turning point. The Vietnam War was no less a war of containment than any of the cases referenced in this article. The difference is that Vietnam war was part of an effort to contain one major threat -“communism”. while the current conflicts are directed at containing to handle a diffuse set of of relatively minor threats.

Like the Vietnam war, however, these conflicts are all likely to be messy, protracted, morally ambiguous and unpopular at home.