|Battle of Rocroi - 1643, Thirty Years War by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau (Source)|
...US has grown too accustomed to wars of choice and picking on 3rd world militaries. Sooner or later it will have to confront a true peer competitor in global warfare.As most good comments do, this made me think. Is it inevitable that the United States will have to face off with another country that is able to project power on a global scale? Is there any other country on the planet, short of launching ICBMs, which can project power outside of the region next to their own border?
The way I see it, at this moment in time, only the U.S. can project power anywhere on the Earth. To include, God forbid, nuclear weapons. Russia and China aren't quite there yet. Even the old Soviet Union was more of a regional power than a global power. Their navy, while large, was hemmed in by the NATO navies. One thing which every Russian leader since Peter the Great has yearned for is a warm water port which gives access to the sea without going through a choke point like the Sea of Marmara.
Without that, they would have a huge amount of difficulty projecting power much beyond their borders. Of course, that distance includes much of Western Europe. While they could have thrown their weight around in Asia, I'm sure that China, again short of the nuclear option, would stop them cold.
Again, that was the old, now defunct, Soviet Union. Though Putin would love to see the old Russian (read Soviet) empire resurrected, they're not there yet.
Though the PRC is making lots of noise in the South China Sea, and they have a huge army and an increasingly capable and dangerous navy, they too are still a regional, not a global power. Again, as long as things stay non-nuclear.
So what are the chances of a major conflict involving the United States and a "peer" competitor occurring in the next, say, fifty years? A hundred years? How about twenty-five?
|Trenches of the 11th Cheshire Regiment at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, on the Somme, July 1916. One sentry keeps watch while the others sleep. Photo by Ernest Brooks (Source)|
Much has changed since the days of World War II, where the battle lines literally encircled the globe. There was almost no place at peace outside the polar regions. Mass armies setting forth to conquer land held by others are events launched by absolute rulers, not elected leaders, and not even by unelected collectives such as the PRC. Yes, China was involved in Korea from 1950 to 1953, but that was in reaction to Allied forces approaching the border between North Korea and China. Made them nervous it did and quite rightly so. Nations get nervous when large armies approach their border in hot pursuit of a defeated enemy.
|Through flak and over the destruction created by preceding waves of bombers, these 15th Air Force B-24s leave Ploesti, Rumania, after one of the long series of attacks against the No. 1 oil target in Europe. Photo by Jerry J. Jostwick, the only survivor of the 16 cameramen of the operation. (Source)|
Then again, we didn't learn much over the preceding few thousand years did we?