The U.S. Military’s Real Foe: The Tyranny of Distance

When it comes to war, America is almost always playing an “away game.” The conflicts the nation has recently fought, and the defense activities it engages in, are in distant places.  There is little reason to suspect this tendency will change anytime soon. Afghanistan and Iraq are both nearly on the opposite side of the globe from the continental United States, and much of the War on Terror over the past two decades has been conducted thousands of miles from U.S. shores. The nations that the 2017 National Security Strategy lists as being of particular concern—ChinaRussiaIran, and North Korea—are not only themselves quite far from the United States, but the most likely areas of conflict stemming from these threats—the East and South China Seas, Eastern Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Korean Peninsula, respectively—are likewise proximate to the potential adversary and quite far from North America.

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