The US’s Fantastical Foreign Policy: Sowing the Seeds of Failure
The 1980s were a kind decade for the United States when it came to its ability to project military power. Coming off the heels of decisive interventions in Grenada and Panama and devastating punitive actions against Libya and Iran, the US’s confidence was gradually restored after its humiliating withdrawal from Vietnam in the 1970s.
The US’s covert support of the Afghan mujahideen followed this trend of foreign policy successes. The well-equipped Islamic insurgency in Afghanistan did the unthinkable and made the Soviets cry uncle. In 1989, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan and in two years’ time the Soviet political experiment dissolved into the annals of history.
Brimming with confidence after giving the Soviet Union its own Vietnam, national security strategists were itching to use US hard power against other states who dared to break liberal internationalist norms.
Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 presented an opportunity for the US war machine to continue flexing machines. And it did so during Operation Desert Storm, where US forces clobbered the Iraqi military and prevented the annexation of Kuwait. The irony of this entire conflict is that the CIA aided Saddam Hussein in his rise to power throughout the 1960s. Later on, Iraq was used as a strategic partner in countering the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. If the world of international relations has taught us anything, it’s that alliances and partnerships can be discarded at the snap of the finger. Those are some of the many perks of being a superpower.
As the Cold War began winding down, the US’s presence in the Middle East heightened. The US’s raw display of military power in the Persian Gulf War left the world awestruck, especially China, which felt compelled to overhaul its entire military modernization program to try to keep up with its American rival. The collapse of the Soviet Union further created the notion that America was in a unipolar moment with no peer competitor on the horizon who could challenge it. For many in the foreign policy blob, America was a force for good that could do no wrong. Liberal
Article from Mises Wire