Jefferson Morley | March 12, 2019
‘The Problem With Americans’: Q&A With War on the Rocks
War on the Rocks is a reliable source of independent news on the U.S. military. Ryan Evans, founder and editor, talked with Bloomberg about covering–and understanding–the United States world-wide military empire.
Ryan who served in a civilian capacity in Afghanistan, has some smart and interesting things to say.
RE: I think that the U.S. is not hopelessly overcommitted, but nearly hopelessly overcommitted. We’re a country that due to our strategic culture – not really an American people problem, but a Washington problem and, in some ways, a foreign policy establishment problem – is that we’re incapable of making choices. We’re incapable of saying, “No, we just can’t afford to do that,” or, “We’re not going to do that.”
One of our biggest problems is that we tend – and I fall victim to it myself – to view foreign policy and strategy solely through the lens of military footprints and military operations. Part of that isn’t just that we’re an overly militarized society in some ways, which is true. But it’s also because the State Department isn’t nearly as effective as it could be, and this administration has taken steps to make it even less effective than it was before.
One of the other problems we have as Americans, we fancy ourselves these very pragmatic people who are not really affected by ideology. We just look at practical results, but we’re actually very ideological people. Despite our experiences, they’re very unsatisfying experiences, to say the least in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 18 or so years. We still have this idea that the world should look very similar to how our society looks and that people – no matter what their problems are – probably just need more stuff and more democracy.