The Coming Era of U.S. Security Policy Will be Dominated by the Navy by Robert D. Kaplan – Washington Post
President Trump’s decision to withdraw the bulk of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan has found grudging support among sectors of the foreign policy establishment and the Democratic Party. Clearly, out of a sense of collective fatigue, we are ending an era of land interventions in the Middle East that began with the 1991 liberation of Kuwait by President George H.W. Bush. At a cost of 7,000 lives and several trillion dollars for remarkably little demonstrable result, those interventions have not been a happy experience. The admonition about never fighting a land war in Asia could also be applied to the Middle East.
After 28 years of land wars in the Middle East, counterinsurgency doctrine is now for the bookshelves: lessons learned the hard way, and always available for use upon the next mistake or quagmire, but hopefully allowed to gather dust. No military service has suffered so much and learned so many lessons as the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the object of strategy is to avoid its use in such a manner again.
The upshot of this will not be isolationism. Instead, we will project power across large swaths of the earth the way maritime empires have done so throughout history: using our Navy. The Navy is our “away team,” as Obama-era Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus liked to say. You can move an aircraft carrier strike group — with almost a half-dozen big warships, thousands of sailors and enough weaponry to destroy an entire city — from one conflict zone to another with the media barely noticing. We do it all the time. But to move a commensurate number of soldiers and their equipment is impossible without a debate in Congress, or a front-page headline. Given the moral taboo against the use of nuclear weapons, the Navy is the United States' primary strategic instrument, projecting power 24/7 around the globe. And by Navy, I mean naval power in all its dimensions: sea, air and ship-based missiles…