Published in the online edition of Foreign Policy on July 29. Please find the time to read it all.
Even a Short War Over Taiwan or the Baltics Would Be Devastating
Daniel R. Mahanty, the director of the U.S. program at the Center for Civilians in Conflict
False promises are at the heart of making war. In August 1914, German and British soldiers were sent to the front on the false promise they would be home by Christmas, as were American soldiers shipped to Korea 36 years later. The Vietnam War and Iraq War were both started and sustained by false promises of purpose and outcome. In the 1960s, U.S. Army Gen. William Westmoreland spoke of a “crossover point” to victory in Vietnam, and during his presidency George W. Bush promised “peace in the greater Middle East” by means of war in Iraq….
As the United States emerges from the shadow of the forever wars into a new era of superpower competition where war between the great powers is thinkable again, it seems to be preparing for the next war on the basis of a particularly dangerous false promise: that large numbers of civilians, including in major population centers in Asia and Europe, won’t be affected by it.
In a recent survey conducted by my organization, the Center for Civilians in Conflict, and ReThink Media, 61 percent of just over 1,000 Americans polled favored airstrikes against Russia or China in response to an attack on U.S. military assets, even if those airstrikes were to lead to 10,000 civilian deaths.