The United States has been locked into unconventional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for several decades. Along with counterterrorism operations in Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya, one could argue America has not achieved its true objectives in these theaters.

Being bogged down in perpetual unconventional conflicts was unsuccessful in several nations and took away from the central focus of the United States Armed Forces—being the world’s most at-ready conventional military.

Geopolitical Rivals Taking Advantage of Perpetual War

Destabilization in the Middle East only gave life to terrorist organizations such as ISIS and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). China has dramatically increased its military capabilities and been ever-more provocative across East Asia, taking advantage of America’s ill-advised military ventures.

During the past decades of unconventional war, Russia exploited global discontent toward U.S. foreign policy. Reasserting their foothold over Syria, Russian Forces successfully propped up Bashar al-Assad with an intense and brutal air campaign. Russian mercenaries, known as the Wagner Group, attempted to overrun a U.S. Special Operations Outpost in 2018 but were quickly annihilated.

Many of America’s global allies, particularly those in Eastern Europe and East Asia, feel the brunt of the imperialistic ambitions of Russia and China, respectively, and an American focus on conventional conflicts again can help turn the tide against geopolitical rivals.

Nation Building Was a Failure Due to the Cultural History

The aftermath of WWII saw a large contingent of U.S. Forces permanently stationed in Japan and Germany, with postwar reconstruction in both nations. Rebuilding Japan and West Germany (as the Soviets held the East) was relatively simple. These nations had a unified culture, and the fall of the ultranationalists would lead to democratic governments and values.

Nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq was a quagmire due to a lack of understanding of the region and cultural situation. Afghanistan and Iraq were always powder legs of various ethnic groups consolidated into unstable borders from the age of colonialism.