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The US response to the Georgian crisis has taken military force off the table, which is quite striking, for this administration, which has always insisted in almost any crisis that military force is on the table.
The Pentagon talks in terms of a generational war. A war that will last for decades.
Well, economically, what's this cost? In terms of human sacrifice, what's this cost? Who will pay? These are things that just have not really gotten the kind of public attention that they deserve.
But my other concern is that, it doesn't seem to me that the lessons of the last half dozen years would persuade us that war is the correct response to the threat posed by violent Islamic radicalism.
I don't dispute that there is a terrorist threat, it just seems to me that imagining that invading and occupying countries is going to provide an antidote to that threat, really takes us down the wrong path.
I believe the basis of our strategy should be to view the threat really as an international criminal conspiracy, almost the equivalent of a religiously inspired mafia as it were.
And the proper response is international police action, not war.
I think that it's quite apart from the security challenges we face in a post-9/11 world. The US today is living beyond its means, in almost any measure that one would look at, our savings rate which is below zero, our trade balance which is in the red, to the tune of about $800-billion a year.
Our national debt which is now approaching $10-trillion on a $14-trillion economy.
Our dependence on energy, we're now importing about 60 per cent of our oil from abroad.
On a whole host of measures we are living beyond our means, and I think the urgent imperative is for Americans to take stock of the way we live, and change the way we live in order to ensure that the American way of life is sustainable for the long haul.
The key I think here is, for policy makers but also Americans more generally to recognise that the expectations that we developed after the Cold War, with regard to the effectiveness of military power, those expectations were false and misleading.
Our capacity to use military power to bring about political change is limited, and the costs of using military power are enormous.
Bacevich believes romanticized images of war in popular culture (especially movies) interact with the lack of actual military service among most of the population to produce in the American people a highly unrealistic, even dangerous notion of what combat and military service are really like.
Andrew J. Bacevich (born 1947 in Normal, Illinois) is a professor of international relations at Boston University, former director of its Center for International Relations (from 1998 to 2005), and author of several books, including American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy (2002) and The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War (2005). He has been "a persistent, vocal critic of the US occupation of Iraq, calling the conflict a catastrophic failure." In March 2007, he described George W. Bush's endorsement of such "pre-emptive wars" as "immoral, illicit, and imprudent." His son died fighting in the Iraq war in May of 2007.