Thursday, November 29, 2012

Re-Thinking the War Cap

I posted a while back a rumination: what if the US were restricted from fighting more than two Mideast wars at a time?  This would be like a salary cap in sports.  But the problem with this analogy (ok, there are seventeen problems) is that a salary cap is part of a bargain with the players and among the owners.  With whom would the US negotiate such a cap?  With its allies?  Hey, we all agree we can only fight a couple of these wars in a certain period of time, right?  Or with the public: support the wars we are in and we will not get involved in any more until these are done?

Of course, the problem with a self-imposed cap is that countries in the Mideast may be then encouraged to be forces for instability, knowing the US is at the cap.  The reality, of course, is that the dual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated that there is a limit to how many wars the US can fight at one time, which meant that Iran could, for instance, be frisky. 

Perhaps a sports cap is not the best analogy, but a diet?  That is, the US resolves to become involved in less wars in the future?  This would certainly be the healthy choice for the country's economy.  Indeed, when people ask me about the US and NATO using force in Syria, my first thought is not efficacy but budgets--why would any country in this fiscal climate opt for a very expensive new budget item that might go on for years?  Alas, if only the Bush folks had thought about the budget in 2003.

Anyhow, with Iraq over (for the US) and Afghanistan ramping down (for the US and its allies, not so much for Afghans), leaders and pundits may think the US would be under the cap and encourage more interventions. So, perhaps my analogy really sucks.  What do you think?

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