The United States of America is feared as the most powerful country, both militarily and economically. It is often said that no warship can cruise anywhere in the world without the US approval. The world is treated by the American arrogance as their fiefdom where they can set foot at will. Not only the economy and the military but they also own the so-called United Nations Organization which is at the beck and call of Uncle Sam as are the Bretton Wood sisters; the World Bank and IMF.
Two American misadventures in the first decade of the current century, as those in the last century, amply demonstrated that despite its military might and overflowing kitty, the American generals are not capable to control, let alone win, any war in more than one region outside the American continent. Cases in point are US adventures in Vietnam and Cambodia and Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars bled American economy very badly with masses losing their faith in their generals. It also added to the hatred people of the world had nurtured against the arrogance of Uncle Sam.
American Think Tank, the Heritage Foundation has recently released the first of what will be an annual report on America’s military might. The report, entitled 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength: Assessing America’s Ability to Provide for the Common Defense, is modeled on Heritage’s widely successful Index of Economic Freedom.
The report is based on two critical premises namely; measuring America’s hard power in terms of “capability or modernity, capacity for operations, and readiness,” against threats to vital U.S. interests and assessment of “the ease or difficulty of operating in key regions based on existing alliances, regional political stability, the presence of U.S. military forces, and the condition of key infrastructure.”
The report concludes that America only possesses “marginal” military strength to defend its vital interests in the current threat environment. “Overall, the Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is adequate to meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities,” the report states. “But it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two, near-simultaneous major regional contingencies,” as successive administrations of both political parties have used as their benchmark for military strength.
The Index also grades each of the services, as well as the Marines and America’s nuclear forces on a five-point scale based on their capacity, capability and readiness. Only the Air Force receives an above-average grade; it is assessed as “strong,” the second-highest ranking on the scale.
The Index gives the rest of the other services and America’s nuclear arsenal the middle-of-the-pack “marginal” grade. The U.S. Army comes in at the lower end of this spectrum, owing primarily to its low state of readiness. The U.S. Navy, on the other hand, exhibits a higher state of readiness but is lacking on the capability front. Capacity is the largest weakness of the Marines, according to the Index, which also gives poor marks to the modernization and readiness of America’s nuclear arsenal.
In assessing the current threat environment, only six threats are considered: Russia, Iran, Middle East terrorism, Af-Pak terrorism, China and North Korea.
All of these actors pose at least an “elevated” threat to vital U.S. interests, with Russia and China judged as especially problematic. As the report explains, “While all six threats have been quite problematic in their behavior and in their impact on their respective regions, Russia and China are particularly worrisome given the investments they are making in the rapid modernization and expansion of their offensive military capabilities.” China and Russia are listed as “high” threats to vital U.S. interests.
The National Interest: Most Chinese Say Their Military Can Crush America in Battle