Small Wars Journal

Martin Dempsey’s World Is Falling Apart

Martin Dempsey’s World Is Falling Apart by James Kitfield, Politico Magazine

… At the end of a long and storied career in uniform Dempsey was in a reflective mood, and the one reality he could not escape was just how much war and conflict there still was to be fought, and how many memorials to the fallen had yet to be erected.

This was his final trip as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the last act of a Zelig-like military career that began over here more than 40 years earlier in a small German village, then proceeded to his personal involvement in every major war since, starting with the famed “left hook” in the first Iraq War and then command of the 1st Armored Division in the second. Forty long years of effort—and yet now at the end Dempsey is blunt in admitting that some things are actually worse than when he started his unusually long four-year tenure as a member of the Joint Chiefs.

By Dempsey’s reckoning today’s complex array of threats presents NATO with its greatest challenge since the end of the Cold War, and a refugee exodus from war zones the like of which hasn’t been seen in Europe since World War II. “As recently as four years ago, most of the strategic white papers and plans within the alliance began with some version of the following sentence: `Europe is experiencing an age of prosperity and peace unlike any in its history,’” Dempsey said in an interview on his aircraft. “My challenge to my NATO colleagues now is, ‘If you can still write that sentence with candor and a straight face, please give me a call. Because I just don’t see it that way.”…

Read on.