Resources are Scarce II

by Don Boudreaux on June 21, 2011

in Myths and Fallacies, Other People's Money, Reality Is Not Optional, Seen and Unseen, War

Here’s another letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Jonah Goldberg says that the U.S. should continue its unwise military intervention in Libya because “if you invest America’s and NATO’s prestige in an obstreperous North African backwater, you’d better recoup a worthwhile return on that investment” (“Libya and America’s commitment problem,” June 21).

Mr. Goldberg mistakenly assumes that ousting Col. Qaddafi is necessarily “a worthwhile return.”  But would Qaddafi’s ouster be worthwhile if it consumes a full year’s worth of U.S. GDP?  Surely not.  How about a half-year’s worth?  No.  So if the value of ousting that madman is not unlimited, Mr. Goldberg cannot possibly know that continued expenditures on this front will eventually yield “a worthwhile return.”

No private firm continues pouring resources into efforts, say, to develop a new product once that firm realizes that the value of the new product – even if it’s eventually produced – will be lower than the value of the additional resources required to bring it to market.

Instead, when a private firm discovers that its efforts to develop a new product are failing, it shifts resources from the failing venture to more promising ventures.  Rivals of that firm don’t conclude that it is therefore a weakling ripe for otherwise daunting competitive challenges.  And investors don’t conclude that that firm is so lacking in determination that further investments in it are unwise.  Quite the opposite.  Firms that persist in losing efforts perish.  Successful firms, in contrast, are less interested in proving their mulishness than in marshaling their scarce resources wisely.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

No private firm continues pouring resources into efforts, say, to develop a new product once that firm realizes that the value of the new product – even if it’s eventually produced – will be lower than the value of the additional resources required to bring it to market.

Unless you’re Sino Forest or WorldCom and are willing to use fraudulent accounting to lie to investors. But what if government if not a market manipulating fraud machine?

vidyohs June 21, 2011 at 1:27 pm

M’lady/Don

I think that at the point of that quote, a really sharp firm would cease its efforts, package the idea and so-far results into an anonymous presentation, and have an outside sales agency sell it to one of their chief rivals. That way they get rid of the idea yet make some money on their investment.

Think it can’t be done?

Jason June 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

If Mr. Goldberg wants to continue only because we have already invested a few months-worth of effort and money, he needs to understand the sunk cost concept that that effort and money is already lost and in the past. From the point we are at now, the costs exceed the benefits moving forward, regardless of the costs we have incurred in the past.

Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

Excellent point. Sunk cost is emotionally difficult to deal with and leads people to continue down the path of negative expectancy. It is ruinous not to realize the sunk cost, cut your losses and move on.

Bill June 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Like.

WhiskeyJim June 22, 2011 at 12:25 am

The Concorde Fallacy.

Only governments can afford to give us such extravagant examples of sunk cost that we dream up new names for them.

John Dewey June 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I cannot find a quote right now, but I remember hearing elected officials argue that we had to continue fighting in Viet Nam: to leave that fight would have meant that thousands of American boys died in vain. So thousands more died, of course. We can read their names on a black wall in Washington.

We really never learn, do we?

Molon Lobe June 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Guess not I mean look at all the WWI monuments and long lists of dead. Hitler and his ilk and legimate demands just l;ike the commies in Hanoi.

Right.

Sam Grove June 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

Goldberg and others pursue a reactionary and predictable government which makes it susceptible to external manipulation, a trait that enemies can reliably use to weaken the empire.

Not Sure June 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

“You’ve got to work 18 hours a day to compete in this industry!”
“Let’s just say we *work* 18 hours a day. Maybe our competitors will die trying to match us.”
“Would that work?”
“It almost worked on us.”
– The Boss and Dilbert

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

A conservative’s value for military victory is virtually unlimited in terms of money, human cost, and loss of domestic liberty.

geoih June 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

As long as it’s somebody else’s money, life or liberty.

crazyjetguy June 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Careful, people like me put our beliefs on the line and go fight. However, I do believe some of our war woes are not understanding the concept of a sunk cost and in the last five years of my life I have come to the realization that wars do only destroy. This reply to Mr. Goldberg is positively thought provoking.

crazyjetguy June 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

In the end we have to decide which is the lesser of two evils (costs).

1)Staying in the fight to a dubious end to prevent the perception by neerdowells that the USA is a “paper tiger” causing more attacks in the future
2) Pulling back and shoring up our home defense at (hopefully)less of a cost.

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Yes. And conservatives place an irrationally high value on prediction (1), which mostly accounts for their love affair with big government, in contradistinction to their usual rhetoric.

Patrick June 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm

The people making the decisions to go to war will never, in modern America, be the ones whose lives are at risk.

John Dewey June 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm

A conservative’s value for military victory is virtually unlimited

I don’t think that’s entirely true.

William F. Buckley was the leading voice of conservative thought during his lifetime. Here’s what he had to say in the National Review on Feb 27, 2006, about the war in Iraq:

“One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. … Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven’t proved strong enough. … And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. “

Buckley acknowledged that the Iraq invasion he had previously advocated was a failure and should be abandoned.

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

John,

I’m glad you bring up Buckley’s ultimate position on the war, but that wasn’t the first time Buckley was a lonely voice in the conservative wilderness. A better measure of conservative opinion is the common voice you hear coming from conservative pundits, columnists, radio talk show hosts, and politicians.

Dan J June 22, 2011 at 1:47 am

Since, the Libertarian voice has been so prevalent and successful……There are tens of millions in the tent with ya.
Again, while having disdain for the conservative voice, an embrace is more in order, in the trenches against progressivism, till the once allied can now lock in on each other cordially, so as to not weaken each other allowing progressives to fall back and reorganize.
Even in revolution, statism will prevail and begin anew. Less you use force/coercion to implement values.

John Dewey June 22, 2011 at 5:03 am

Vikingvista, I think you are mistaken. With respect to continuing and expanding the war in Iraq, Buckley was not a “lone voice in the conservative wilderness”. Here’s a few:

George WIll
Henry Kissinger
Sen Sam Brownback
Sen John Warner

Less than a year following 9/11, some conservatives objected to invading Iraq in the first place:

Rep James Leach
Rep Constance Morella
Rep Amo Houghton
Rep John Duncan
William Shearer
Charlie Reese
James Webb
Paul Craig Roberts

I could look back in my conservative magazines and find more, but I cannot justify the time to do so.

Look, I’m not arguing that most conservatives opposed invading Iraq. But your slam of conservatives:

“A conservative’s value for military victory is virtually unlimited in terms of money, human cost, and loss of domestic liberty.”

is untrue, and really pissed me off.

vikingvista June 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

So perhaps GWB was the lone voice in the wilderness, because it sure wasn’t the liberal crowd (beyond a list perhaps as short as the one you provided) who steadfastly defended continuing the Bush wars during his administration.

“is untrue, and really pissed me off.”

If you are a rare conservative dove who DOESN’T insist upon continuing wars merely for the fear of losing them, then it should be the overwhelming number of your conservative comrades who should be pissing you off.

Or maybe you should become less emotionally committed to that label.

Molon Lobe June 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

A leftist values his chains and living on his knees. No sacrifice can ever be justified when a cheaper and easier course is available.

Its so French.

Westie June 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

What type of ‘Conservative’ is Jonah Goldberg? JG is basically an Globalist Empire c-sucker, he is no Conservative by any stretch of imagination!

Chris June 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

IBM has a reputation** for never settling lawsuits, even when the cost of defending the lawsuit exceeds the damages sought. Why? Because the reputation of “we never settle” is enough to discourage lots of lawsuits that would have happened under the alternate policy.

A similar principle may apply in the use of US force.

[**note: I don't know, for a fact, that this reputation is accurate. But, I do know attorneys who have been dissuaded by it.]

Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Attorneys may be dissuaded by it, but IBM may very well have overpaid to dissuade. Paying more than something is worth is a dumb idea.

Molon Lobe June 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm

So tell us sir do you have life insurance?

Sandre June 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Prof. Boudreaux,

Since we are on the topic of Resource Scarcity, I thought I’ll bring to your attention an article that mentions Paul Ehrlich. It shows the boondoggles that statists get society into, heinous policies they design, and its regrettable consequences they still defend.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576361691165631366.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

Sam Grove June 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Though her belief that the “West” was particularly violent is perceptual, not actual.

Not Carl Sagan June 21, 2011 at 4:33 pm

“she proposes banning the common practice of revealing the sex of a baby to parents during ultrasound testing. And not just ban it, but have rigorous government enforcement, which would include nationwide sting operations designed to send doctors and ultrasound techs and nurses who reveal the sex of babies to jail”

She seems to be quite the statist as well.

Sandre June 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I’m sure she is statist, but I think part of it is coming from the reviewer..I found the review interesting nonetheless. India has laws against a fetus’s gender before birth, and that isn’t stopping the foeticides. The idea that more laws will solve these problems is ridiculous in itself.

WhiskeyJim June 22, 2011 at 12:33 am

Abortion is helping guarantee that we will not have the Armageddon of population explosion and starvation that the Left uses to argue for World government. The numbers are already baked in.

Some years ago Mark Steyn wrote an article on the irony of Feminists pushing abortion, wherein world populations promptly began killing female fetuses.

It is a strange and often tragic world.

Observer Guy1 June 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

“Firms that persist in losing efforts perish.”

Or they seek a government bailout.

nailheadtom June 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Doesn’t the frequently heard logic behind seat belt laws and motorcycle helmets enter into this? “If it saves just one life, it’s worth it.”

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

(Il)logic that reformed consumer reporter Jon Stossel fights against all the time.

vidyohs June 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm

The problem being addressed here is the over-all costs of victory in Libya.

Okay take a look at it from a country boy view who is also ex-military, and make an honest appraisal of the reality.

1. There is no way to invade a country and effectively fight its military without killing some its civilian population, therefore a practical assessment is to accept that and deal with it in the most realistic manner.

2. Invading another country, regardless of your intentions – regardless of the political situation in that country, is going to create a great deal of hatred against your military and your nation for the reasons in #1 plus not everyone in the invaded country is going to see you as a savior because very likely they are satisfied with their situation prior to you invasion.

3. Invading another country to subdue them while trying to avoid #1 and #2 subjects the men and women in your own military to ridiculous restrictions and exposes them to unnecessary harm or death.

4. The real expense of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, et. al., is in trying to avoid #1 and #2 while imposing the factors in #3.

It is of the utmost idiocy to think you can attack another nation, subdue it and cause no deaths, no harm, and they will love you for it.

If in the infinite wisdom of government elected officials and appointed bureaucrats who can’t even run AMTRAK at a profit, it is decided the USA must go to war/use the military in its combat capacity to accomplish some grandiose scheme or realignment in the internal affairs of another nation, then doing so in the most practical and efficient manner possible is the only thing that meets the country boy test of wisdom.

With that in mind, the mission in the on-going wars should shift to being administered under the wisdom of Gen George S. Patton. “There is only one tactical principal which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wounds, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.”

As #1 and #2 above are inevitable, and they are, and #3 results from that inevitability, using the wisdom of Gen Patton, the cost of the wars or actions in terms of harmed people, killed people, ruined infrastructure, and in damage to our national reputation could be immensely reduced by simply giving the military the mission, the supplies, and turn them loose to do what Gen Patton said to do.

If a soldier is to be put into a hostile nation in contact with an enemy, to not allow him to kill people and destroy things as quickly and as efficiently as possible is not only the ultimate stupidity, it is criminal in the worst way.

This nation is a firm, a public corporation, and it has/is screwing itself to death with waste of lives and and wealth, and has been doing so for decades.

Ryan Vann June 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Ah good ole vetran killer Patton.

dean June 22, 2011 at 1:43 am

Wow, lucky for Patton he had others there to help him out of the shite. And he never had to hang around afterwards, always on to the next opportunity to cover himself in glory.

I would have thought the simplest solution was not to go invading other countries for your own “national interest”.

The US has not won a war for a long time, and appears incapable of doing so. After spending multiples of anyone elses military spend, the US cannot win against tens of thousands of guerilla fighters armed with 1940′s technology.

All you have to do is lie low for the intial tactical onslaught, then if you can survive that, and you will – the actions of the invading US troops will win you more supporters to replace those you loose, you have won the strategic war.

brotio June 22, 2011 at 2:52 am

The US military won the war in Iraq. Saddam was removed from power, and his military was destroyed.

The US diplomats are losing the post-war. The nation-building hasn’t been successful, but the nation-destroying was pretty devastating, even with the McNamara Rules that our military has had to operate under for over forty years.

Molon Lobe June 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Dean displays the same sort of mindset that must have enabled the Romans to withstand the Huns through the payment of bribes and begging on their knees. The old republican virtues were discarded in favor of the wisdom that Dean demonstrates.

Obviously Dean is a veteran of many long fought out battles in his local playground sandbox till some bully five year girl stole his soldiers and kicked his bottom.

Don Kenner June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

And of course there is the presumption on the part of Goldberg and others that whatever replaces Qaddafi will be preferable to his (mis)rule. This is dubious, to say the least. The opposition to leaders such as Qaddafi (and Saddam Hussein) is often the virulent, fundamentalist Islam we most fear, kept in check by an admittedly tyrannical, but largely secular (at least by comparison) thug.

A mob yells for “change” and we immediately interpret it to mean “freedom.” Naive.

Don Boudreaux June 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Yep. Well-said.

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

And of course all states, and the International Association to Secure Statism (aka UN), fear statelessness more than ANYTHING else, including the most malignant of authoritarian slaughterhouses. They battle emergent orders no less than despots. Usually they do so by picking and funding their favorite of the available potential tyrants. The belief is that coordinated systemic unchecked and highly successful butchery is preferable to the uncoordinated scattered skirmishes of several small groups.

Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

“Association to Secure Statism”

We call it the Dictator Debate Society.

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm

That’s good, but I like my acronym better.

Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

No contest. You win by a wide margin.

Although, the original “un” is pretty good. unintelligent, unworthy, uncouth, unneeded, etc.

WhiskeyJim June 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

To Mr. Kenner’s point, who exactly are we saving since we know neither specific circumstances or the future?

It appears G~d has no ‘will’ to interfere in the lives of dictators to alter their sovereignty.

We on the other hand, seem to have no such compunction.

The Other Eric June 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Leave aside, just for argument, the costs of actual lives and buildings destroyed…

U.S. ships and submarines in the Mediterranean have fired an estimated185 Tomahawk cruise missiles (roughly $305 million). I’ve no idea what the fuel costs are for over the horizon fleet operations.

Fuels and maintenance for US Air Force F-15s (which are $36 million to replace, per plane) run into the $28,000 per hour range, per plane. Sentinel and Global Hawk, and Reaper drones are $10 to 36 million each but cost (only) $6 to $8,000 an hour in operational costs. Bombers that fly from Missouri to Libya and back cost just under $80,000 per hour to operate.

So our undeclared war that would take “days not weeks”, sorry– our multilateral mission is running over $42 billion (the balloon went up on March 19 and it’s almost July).

We could have simply offered the entire country a cash bounty– We’ll pay each Libyan man, woman and child $6,500 if you just arrest and convict the bastard. And if that’s too crass, too much like some running-dog imperialist bribery, then please explain how bombing and killing people is better?

Viking, I disagree with your characterization, although I understand where it comes from. I am a conservative who supports our military. But I do not support their misuse and waste. I cannot support the idiocy of leadership that said, “We’ll be there days, not weeks.” I heard howls of rage when Bush said “mission accomplished” but we hear barely a word about the irresponsible, murderous stupidity of what is happening now.

vikingvista June 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm

“But I do not support their misuse and waste.”

You may be an exception, but conservative rhetoric hasn’t changed in decades.

It isn’t even so much a rush to start war that I am referring to, since leftist politicians historically have shown a lower threshold and greater eagerness for initiating militarism. The problem is the “once there we must be victorious” belief without regard to any rational cost assessment that I am referring to.

In particular, the cost to American freedom of growing government through the military is horribly undervalued by conservatives.

Molon Lobe June 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Does military spending grow faster than welfare programs. Strange it seems for the past sixty years we have seen an astronomical expansion in welfare programs while the per centage of military spending (as a total of the budget) has declined.

I’d posit that our liberties and freedoms are more at risk from an out of control government growing its reach and influence be replacing the free market with a government directed and dominated economy.

vikingvista June 22, 2011 at 12:50 am

It is typical for a conservative to argue that because an elephant is standing on your right foot, you shouldn’t care about the hippopotamus on your left foot. That is, of course, because conservatives have a fettish for hippopotamuses.

Defense spending is enormous, and growing. Government spending always abuses the free market, so enormous government spending is never something that someone who TRULY cares about the free market would discount.

Molon Lobe June 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Care to demonstrate show evidence about this vast upswing in defense spending there genius? Is defense spending double what it was in 1999 for example and how does social spending compare.

Crickets.

It is typical for a Leftist/progressive/Marxistto ignore reality and retreat into the realms of magic bean-unicorn land. Only someone of your undoubted experience and wisdom could boldly assert defense spending is growing and constitutes a danger to the free market when Obamao is illegally engaging in wars in Libya, Yemen and god knows where else as well as Iraq and Afghanistan and think this is unique.

Tell us how did you manage to acquire such wisdom? Better yet answer the question if you blinders allow you to;

Which constitutes a larger part of the budget defense spending or social spending.

Whic sector of the budget exceeds the growth of the other in quantam terms.

Hint of great progressive, its not military spending bankrupting the USA.

Hint, try as I might, neither the Federalist Papers nor the Constitution mandate social spending. And among the very limited number of things the government is required to do is defend the nation.

Again thank you for your unique demonstration of how the educational system has failed to provide Americans with the skills to comapre and evaluate knowledge and instead amkes them think that bold assertion is a substitute for critical thinking.

vikingvista June 23, 2011 at 1:09 am

Moron Lobe,

“Care to demonstrate show evidence about this vast upswing in defense spending there genius?”

I provided you with with exactly what you are not asking for–a link that exactly supports my statement. Since you obviously didn’t read my post, I see no reason to read any more of your blather.

Mao_Dung June 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Libertarians and right-wingers launch into a cost-benefit analysis whenever it suits their evil purposes. Don’t trust them. Which select billionaires will benefit from bombing Libya or from clear-cutting the Amazon rainforest is the real question. Ask who benefits financially from circumcising a male infant. Rest assured it isn’t the baby. They don’t plant his foreskin to watch it grow. Whose bank balance goes up and whose goes down?

State your goals and execute them if you can. Does the world community want Gadaffi out? Why is that? Do the multi-national oil companies want him out? Who stands to gain the most from his ouster? What’s the real deal?

North Korea and Iran are building A-bombs because they do not want externally imposed regime change. They have a point. Those nasty regimes believe in the 2nd Amendment. They are just protecting their mafia regimes with thermonuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. One may land in your backyard someday. When that happens, you can kiss your libertarian assets good-bye.

vidyohs June 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

For once we can almost agree on something.

What keeps it from being agreement is your lapse in acknowledging that the looney left is engaged in its own cost-benefit analysis that is equal to or exceeds the insanity of the right-libertarian side.

Then too there is your close. “When that happens you can kiss your libertarian assess good-bye.” And no looney left assets will touched, eh?

Your entire problem is wrapped up in my point #1 in my post above. You either accept you kill them all who gets in your way, or you kill none and don’t commit to the action in the first place.

One R t’other.

Ryan Vann June 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I agree with everything you are saying here, minus the first sentence.

Gordon Richens June 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

External economic pressure without military intervention helped bring about apartheid.

It seems to me that since that time nations have become disinclined to join together and assert economic pressure on so-called “rogue” regimes – or those countries that actively support such regimes.

Gordon Richens June 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

…(the end to) apartheid.

Molon Lobe June 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Wow do write for Charlie Sheen?

WhiskeyJim June 22, 2011 at 12:43 am

The irony of this statement is that it was the Looney Left who most recently attempted to rehabilitate Qaddafi’s image.

jorod June 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm

There are plenty of reasons not to get involved in Libya. Also, plenty of reasons to get involved. I don’t think anyone wants oil money going to terrorists. Problem is no one knows who is on first.

Peter June 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

By Goldberg’s logic, a football team should never punt

AlB June 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm

The key here is what is the perceived return under discussion. I believe Goldberg believes that the return consits of two elements: 1) the benefit of removing Gadhafi, and 2) more important, the US avoiding looking ineffectual. Goldberg seems to feel that almost any level of investment is necessary to prevent the diminution of the US’s prestige as a world leader. Of course, the value of this second component is highly conjectural so it becomes impossible to assess whether it warrants the investment being made.

Methinks1776 June 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

If Jonah is so worried about the United States losing prestige as a world leader, he should be demanding we pull out of Libya, stop debasing our currency and stop politicians from spending us into poverty. There’s nothing less prestige than becoming the next Greece or Zimbabwe.

Don Boudreaux June 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm

*LIKE*

Colin Keesee June 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I am actually going to have to take the side of Mr. Goldberg on this matter or rather, I agree with professor Boudreax that nothing has an unlimited value.

The value of US prestige is very, very high and what ever you may think about the invasions and subsequent occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and this intervention in Libya, once this US is in it cannot be allowed to be seen as being defeated.

If you can be defeated by simply out lasting the Us military and letting the US body politic suffocate unde its own partisan weight, that send s amessage to every potential adversary of the US.

Some say that we only have adversaries because we are so mean and it is all just “blow back.” In the eyes of the most recalcirant Islamic Fundamnetally, simply existing as reasonably free society, with freedom of religion, freedom of speecch and freedom of markets makes them fall into homicidal rage. The degree to which the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, Mummar Qaddafi and other Middle Eastern autocrats are connected to the Islami facsists is debatable.

What is not debatable is that the Islamic fascists, swor enemies or classical iberalism are watching the US, watchin gfor forms of weakness and if this country enters a conflict and then leaves after suffering not one single death and a few casualties, it will embolden our enemies and while we libertarians reject the notion that we are part of collective, a nation-state, the Islamic Fascists see us all as Americans, appendages of the “Great Satan” and they will seek to eliminate if them are given the chance.

We should avoid nation building and we should avoid “kenetic military actions” (wars are wars) unless we have the political will to stay in it and at least force a staelmate if we were attacked and we were the aggressor we have to have victory, in some form or another.

PS, it is not just Islamic Fascists that are watching but the Russians and the Chinese, the latter whose conventional military forces and its cultural chuvanism are bolstered with each passing year and the latter with massive stockpiles of atomic weapons. Our allies are also watching, if the US is weak even the generaly pro American, Anglophone countries such as Britain, Canada, India, Israel and certainly nations on the fence like France, Germany, Turkey and Pakistan will stay neutral or will assist or further assist the enemies of a United States that has demostrated that it cannot fight for victory but rather one that it withdraws in time for elections.

Economiser June 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

> If you can be defeated by simply out lasting the Us military and letting the US body politic suffocate unde its own partisan weight, that send s amessage to every potential adversary of the US.

This is a lesson that the world learned in Vietnam. Moving on.

dean June 22, 2011 at 1:59 am

The US has lost all of it’s recent engagements for exactly the reason you say. Having nuclear weapons probably means you will avoid the shock and awe bit, but with AK47′s and some explosives you can certainly beat the US, once you go through the bit so the President can say “We’ve won”.

Once those words are uttered, you are home and hosed, because the US public will wonder “Why are we still there when we have won??”

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