To predict the next US military adventure that would be on the same scale as Iraq 2003 and Afghanistan, I start by drawing a sketch of the mechanism of US interventionist mentality. This mentality is divided into four sections: A military doctrine, a prominent threat, a political/ideological vehicle, and justifications (acceptable both local and international).
- The US ‘military doctrine’ calls for "full dominance" over all possible US adversaries in every type of warfare now and in the future. This includes the control of physical earth and outer space, where many lethal weapons have recently been deployed as well as virtual or cyber space, which is the battleground of the future. The US has proven to be the only nation in history that was (and still is) capable of exerting such power over the rest of the globe or obtained such vast economic advantage. This power projection that built the American Empire is based on sheer military power. Thus, it became essential to prevent the rise of any power that challenges the American empire, or as we call it in the post WWII era; the socioeconomic structure of the US global order. In the post-Cold War era, the United States has become the world's only superpower, and it has every intention to keep it that way. According to the "Defense Planning Guidance" (DPG) that was drafted under the supervision of Paul Wolfowitz during the Bush Sr. administration in 1992, the United States strategy is focused on maintaining its military hegemony in the world. This is done either by preventing any state from developing military capabilities equal to or greater than the US, or by pre-emptive strikes against states that develop new military capabilities that might effectively challenge the United States supremacy.
- During the Cold War era, the Soviet nuclear apocalypse threat served as an appropriate reason to justify US military interventionism in the world. The US used this threat to maintain access to strategic resources (oil, gas), markets, and cheap labor, as well as to ensure regimes’ loyalty to the US, and to overthrow hostile regimes and movements. The rising so-called Jihadist Attacks served the same purpose starting 9/11, 2001, which brings us to wonder about the nature of the future threat that will justify the US military interventionism?
- During the Cold War, anti-communism served as the ideological vehicle to justify the US intervention in many regions to circumvent any attempt to change the dominant socioeconomic structure of the US led world order. In the post-Cold War era, anti-drugs and the ‘war on terror’ serve as the latest vehicle for the continued US intervention in the world. There has thus been a major continuity in the policy of finding vehicles for the US interventionist mentality to carry on its military adventures. Which makes us wonder, what the next vehicle might be?
- In the recent history, the 9/11 attacks on the US soil justified its military intervention in Afghanistan. Americans as well as the international community were emotionally and morally mobilized by the 9/11 catastrophic attacks, no one dared to stand against the US especially after president Bush declared: “either you are with us, or against us”, and if you are against the US, then you are with the terrorists. Although the US did not have the same supportive national and international community in its war on Iraq 2003, it could not have carried out this campaign without claims of Saddam’s possession of WMD. We ask again, what might be the next intervention’s justification?
With that being said, even today with the decline in the US economic supremacy, the United Sates still views itself as the sole military power in the world. The US still has less restraint in using military intervention to force other nations to concede. In today’s world, China is the rising power (both economically and militarily) challenging US supremacy. The Obama’s pivot east shows the US intention to start targeting China as a military threat in order to carry out its military expansion in Asia. The United States made it very clear long before 2007 that it would not tolerate any challenge to its domination over Asia. However, with the rapid expansion of China’s military capabilities, the next prominent threat to the US might be losing its domination not only in Asia but also in the world. It cannot be denied that the US is building military alliances around China (India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, &South Korea) along with deploying more US troops in Asia-Pacific to be ready for any necessary measures.
During the US-Sino competition era, the vehicle to justify US military intervention in Asia would be socioeconomic reforms and security (maybe we'll call it socioeconomic Spring) to circumvent the Chinese attempt to change the dominant socioeconomic structure of the US led world order. The US will focus on surpassing the Chinese in control over natural resources, markets, labor, and loyal regimes. These factors facilitate US military intervention in any volatile region in Asia such as Taiwan, Chinese sea, Indian Ocean and even in Central Asia.