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Why Can’t the Most Lethal Military in History Win its Wars?

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Since the end of World War II, the American military has been described by defense analysts, military historians, and U.S. presidents as the most lethal armed force in history so often it’s become a cliché. During the Cold War, Moscow claimed with some validity to have military capabilities on a par with the United States. But since the demise of the Soviet Union and America’s crushing victory over Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991, no serious student of military affairs of whom I’m aware disputes the reality of American military supremacy. 

The most capable military in history is also by far and away the most expensive. The United States will spend at least $650 billion on defense this fiscal year, which is more than the next seven nations’ spending combined.

All of this begs an awkward but important question: Why can’t the most lethal military establishment in history win its wars?

The military’s scorecard since the world-changing victory in 1945 has been, in a word, underwhelming. In Korea, an ill-prepared American army was almost driven off the peninsula in its first few months of combat in 1950.  Ultimately, the American-led U.N. army did oust Communist forces from South Korea, but it was driven to the brink of defeat (again!) before it did so. In November 1950, the Chinese People’s Army entered the fray and drove the U.N. army out of North Korea, frustrating its goal of unifying the two Koreas under a pro-Western government.

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Thanks !

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