American foreign policy has suffered a substantial failure due to the war in Iraq. Namely, by attempting to stop Iraq from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, we have allowed other belligerents to develop the very weapons we sought to eliminate. Perhaps this is another “failure of imagination,” or perhaps our politicians-Kerry as much as Bush-have failed the American people; regardless, it seems that the Iraq war, supposedly fought to prevent a catastrophic terrorist attack upon the United States, may help guarantee it.
The American military is the most powerful in the world, and most international organizations heavily depend upon it to exercise force toward world threats. Most other nations, acting separately or in concert, simply do not have the ability to engage in full-scale global operations without assistance from the United States. In short, the U.S. military is the linchpin of international security.
But today, our military is stretched thin. The likely reinstatement of retired soldiers and the calling up of the National Guard clearly indicate that the United States cannot engage in another conflict outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if enough soldiers were available, the American people would not readily tolerate another war placed entirely upon their shoulders.
This means that the United States, international organizations, and other nations cannot hope to threaten, let alone engage, other nations that pose a threat to world security.
Furthermore, the damage to American international legitimacy inhibits the world from following an American charge against other threats oriented primarily toward America.
The problem is that Iran and North Korea know this, and that is precisely why they continue to develop nuclear technology: a window of opportunity has appeared, and we cannot move quickly enough to stop them.
This could have many adverse affects upon the security of Asia and the Middle East. But the most serious ramification of the Iraq war is that Iran and North Korea, regardless of whether or not they build, test, and use nuclear weapons, will soon be able to sell enriched uranium to the highest bidder. Once well-financed terrorists have that material, building a bomb is only a webpage away.
This means that our foreign policy has failed. It is a central goal of our foreign policy to “keep the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the world’s most dangerous hands.” But by banking on a success in Iraq while simultaneously alienating our allies and committing the bulk of our resources to the war, we today have insufficient funds moral and physical to restrain those dangerous hands.