Aside from the moral, political, and social considerations which have to go into an eventual and ultimate choice or tradeoff on the part of American bureaucrats and statesmen in terms of their 21st century global strategy from this point forward, there are logistical, strategic, and technical considerations which also have to be accounted for, lest our assessment of an evolving global reality is out of touch with such a reality and in turn our assessment of our novel global reality is discredited over the long run. It has been said: “A lack of realism in the vision today costs credibility tomorrow.”
I was once told by a former political appointee who worked for the Bush 43 Administration in Washington that: “Logistics is for the professionals, and strategy is for the amateurs.” Because our ever-growing aspirations have to meet capabilities that are diminishing over the course of time, it follows that “one cannot hold two watermelons in one hand” as I found out while I was researching and writing my final master’s paper on Afghanistan as a graduate student in 2013. Although one would wish to penetrate and overtake all the regions of the world, such an endeavor is far from achievable or realistic. And it was a lesson which stuck with me to this day, not to mention that it was a lesson which humbled me to a certain extent.
But what does not being able to hold “two watermelons in one hand” mean in the present-day foreign policy context for the United States? Essentially, it all comes down to choosing one of the following two foreign policy paths in Washington, but not both:
1. Focus and throw all your weight behind the “forever war” with Russia in Europe
2. Overextend yourself into the Middle East and Asia and get the same results and outcomes as you did in Afghanistan and Iraq
Although the ultimate choice, decision, and tradeoff between these two possible paths should be a no-brainer for Washington, the choice and the ultimate decision is also not as simple as one would wish for it to be, given the moral, political, and social considerations and factors which play into the ultimate choice, decision, and tradeoff. We will have to wait and see what the ultimate choice, decision, and tradeoff will be in Washington. I have argued that Western hemispheric development and security is actually a domestic priority for the United States rather than a foreign policy priority. Thus, on the foreign policy front, the tradeoff comes down to choosing or picking one of the aforementioned paths or the other.
In my humble opinion – and I could be wrong – Russia poses a bigger threat to American national security than Iran or China. As a result, the likelihood is that Washington will opt for throwing a large proportion of its energy and focus on deterring Russia in Europe rather than overextending itself in the Middle East and Asia. In a sense, prodding and poking Iran and China is a “war of choice” whereas deterring Russia has real-life impacts and implications for both Americans and for anyone who is living in the Western world in general. In a sense, it is a “collective priority” for people living in the West, regardless of their race or religion, to choose the path which has a direct and real-life impact rather than one which goes beyond the scope of what is a direct and immediate issue and priority. But as I mentioned before, coming down to reality means hurdling over the array of appetites, lusts, and vanities of Washington, which one must note, is no easy endeavor and task.