The US military’s budget continues to float around the all-time record for any military in human history, and is built around the idea of multiple major wars being fought at once.
But the Earth is a big planet, and the administration’s ambitions stretch well beyond the Pentagon’s capabilities. Fortunately for them, the Pentagon is only about 36% of the world’s military spending, and much of the rest is available for hire.
Proxy wars are nothing new, but the US policy of global interventionism at all times, in all theaters, is relying on proxy fighters like never before, with US foreign aid and the implicit threat of being labeled a “rogue nation” combining to ensure that militaries the world over are at the administration’s beck and call.
US intervention in Somali often comes in the form of Ethiopian ground troops, while US moves against undesirable factions in Western Africa usually amounts to just sending the intelligence to the existing regimes and standing back while they do the dirty work.
Direct US involvement in nations like Pakistan and Yemen have produced huge anti-US backlashes, and the policy of intervention by proxy seems to be driven not only by the Pentagon’s limits but by the hopes that indirect intervention will keep critics silent.