During the week of December 13, 2021, I was invited by the Moscow State Institute for International Relations to speak about the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and President Joe Biden’s defense budget at the Moscow Arms Control Conference and the Russian Congress of Political Science. My visit came at a critical time for U.S.-Russian relations. At the time, Russia was amassing tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine; it all looked reminiscent of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Also, December marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Soviet Union’s collapse. So, naturally the situation in Ukraine hung over the conference’s formal and informal discussions.
In my presentation on why the United States failed in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I pointed out that U.S. military superiority was unable to garner the public support in those countries necessary to support U.S. objectives. Consequently, this failure amplified the lack of support at home as these conflicts dragged on and levied a heavy financial and human toll.
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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