Freddie argues that America lusts for another war War as Cope: Ukraine as Desert Storm, Iraq-Afghanistan as Vietnam
It was not until I was an adult that I realized that the absurd fervor for Desert Storm was in fact about Vietnam. Fifteen years earlier, American helicopters had fled in humiliation from Saigon, and nothing had happened to take the sour taste out of the mouth of Americans since. There was plenty of power projection in that decade and a half, but no great good wars for the United States to win in grand and glorious fashion, unless you worked really hard to talk yourself into Grenada. America had been badly stung by losing a war to a vastly poorer and less technologically-advanced force. Americans had been nursing their wounds all those years. So when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and the “international community” rose to expel him, the country was ready. We were ready for another righteous combat of the Goodies vs. the Baddies. We were ready for the good guys to be the winners again.
The Ukraine situation is not at all like the Iraq War, the Gulf War, or the Vietnam War. This comparison doesn’t even come close to holding. The Iraq war was an international effort. The UK and the US combined deployed over 300,000 troops, and by some estimates the war cost $5 trillion over a 15-year period.
Biden to his credit has not turned this into another Iraq. The administration is only assisting by providing arms and intelligence to Ukraine, not troop deployment. Nor has Biden tried to call upon the international community to try to mobilize an international effort, like in Feb 2003 when Powell made his case to the UN.
In Feb/March 2022 when the invasion began, many people were predicting ww3 or posting nuclear war memes, and here I was saying nothing like that would happen. Others blindly sent money to Ukraine, not knowing they were enriching one of the most corrupt politicians in the world, or they didn’t care. I understood Putin better than the media and pundits. I knew that Putin would drag it out as long as possible, even sustaining large losses and refusing to deploy his air force, to avoid this becoming an Iraq situation.
Had Putin been too successful, the international community would have taken greater interest. It took Iraq 2 days in August 1990 to capture Kuwait, and of course as history showed, that victory would eventually be Saddam’s undoing. Putin, being a smart strategist, did not want to make that mistake of winning too fast, too decisively, or even at all. Also, as long as oil and gas prices remain elevated, Putin has economic leverage over Western Europe, and the last thing he wants to is to forfeit this advantage by overplaying his hand.