Why is the risk of cascading war in 2023 higher than ever? A tragedy in three acts...

In 2020, faced with the risk of a cascading war, the Pentagon believed that it was able to simultaneously engage in a conflict against a major adversary such as Russia or China, and against a secondary adversary. With the dispatch of two aircraft carriers to the Eastern Mediterranean following the terrorist attack by Hamas on October 7, everything now suggests that the military tool will quickly reach its limits, especially if the Israeli conflict were to end. 'extend.

In this context, what are the risks that other conflicts of opportunity will appear, in the months and years to come, faced with a Western military power now incapable of fulfilling the role of regulator that it assumed for 30 years since the end of the Cold War?

Introduction

Beyond the shock that followed the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel on October 7, and the emotional response that followed, many commentators and experts quickly questioned the American and Western capabilities to simultaneously support Ukraine faced with the aggression started 600 days ago by Moscow, and Israel in the event of a conflagration in the Middle East.

So while the hypothesis of a double front has represented for several years the worst-case scenario for the Pentagon, particularly as long as the transformation of the American armies has not been sufficiently advanced, Washington's first reaction to the aggression of the Palestinian terrorist movement was to deploy two carrier groups in the Mediterranean Eastern, and to strengthen all American forces present in the region.

Just as quickly, questions arose about the capacity of the United States, its armies and its defense industry, if it were to simultaneously support Israel in a military campaign that would have extended to the Middle East, particularly in the face of Iran, and simultaneously, continue to support Ukraine, for which the American umbilical cord is vital.

M1 Abrams 105mm US Army
American power at the end of the Cold War was without any competition

For several days, we have seen industrialists and Pentagon officials alerting Congress and the executive about the limits of US support Today. Above all, concerns emerge about the risk of conflict contagion, while many areas whose status quo directly depends on American intervention capabilities, are under tension.

It appears, in fact, that theThe two subjects are closely linked, in a tragedy in three acts which finds its origins at the end of the Cold War.

Prologue: the post-Cold War Pax Americana

Every good tragedy begins with a Prologue. It takes place here at the end of the Cold War, in 1991, which was simultaneously marked by the explosion of the Warsaw Pact, the political collapse of the Soviet bloc, and the economic and social one of Russia.

In fact, of the two major players who have set the tone throughout the last 40 years, only one remained capable of playing the role of superpower, even if Moscow still had a substantial nuclear arsenal.

The United States quickly proclaimed itself winners of the Cold War, and undertook to play the role, then uncontested, of policeman of the world, in what will quickly become a Pax americana, in reference to the Pax Romana of Antiquity.

With its powerful conventional military tool still intact, an undeniable technological advance, and economic and diplomatic resources infinitely greater than its potential competitors, Washington imposed itself on all theaters.

US Air Force F-15 F-16 Gulf War
The first Gulf War established American military and technological power.

The refractory to the American threat saw themselves exposed tosevere sanctions, both by United States themselves, only by European too happy to put an end to a defense effort that had weighed down their public finances for 40 years, and even a convalescent Russia, and an China, still on growth hormone.


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