MACGREGOR: I think the last twenty years have had a profound, negative impact on the American military, particularly combat forces that have had to go through these long occupations, long deployments, without clear missions and obtainable objectives. We have also fought a very weak enemy, an enemy without air forces, air defenses, without armies, and people reached erroneous conclusions about the nature of combat under those circumstances. I think to some extent that is what is happening now. I think these policies are detrimental in most cases, and probably divisive.
None of our potential opponents — whether they are in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, Eastern Europe, it doesn’t make any difference — none of them would even think of adopting any of these positions and policies under any circumstances. They are training for the Super Bowl. I think that is important for us to understand. We have been fighting, or playing, against pickup teams. We are not training, organizing, [a] fighting power to deal with the Super Bowl. They are. I think we are in for a real surprise. Many of the assumptions we are making about what will or won’t work, they will be destroyed.
The Pentagon talks about China all the time because they link their budgets and core structures to this enormous Chinese threat that they hype. I think it’s overdone. It would make much more sense for us to talk to the Chinese since we are the ones that sail carrier battle groups up and down the strait of Taiwan. We are the ones challenging the Chinese in the South China Sea. I think we might find the Chinese are willing to talk to us and we can avoid collisions that way.
Until you fight a really capable enemy, you can make many assumptions about the force that are erroneous. I think that is where we are. We assume certain things will work because they worked in Iraq or Afghanistan. They have no chance of working at all against the Chinese, the Russians, the Turks, any number of people. We need to come to terms with that and back away from some of the policies that I don’t think have been carefully considered in that context.