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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasThe End of American Militarism?

The End of American Militarism?

Author: Andrew J. Bacevich, Annelle Sheline

Affiliation: Quincy Institute

Organization /Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: October 19, 2021 /USA 

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2465


Keywords: Militarism, Biden, Bush Doctrine, New Cold War, Policy Makers 


The article discusses President Biden’s commitment to the United Nations General Assembly session to end American militarism. The authors, Andrew J. Bacevich and Annelle Sheline, quoted his statement that ‘the United States will lead “not just with the example of our power” but “with the power of our example”’ and adopt a suggestive approach.  The authors argue that Biden needs to annul the Bush Doctrine, explicitly reinstating deterrence as the cornerstone of US military policy. Biden should do something tangible to build his administration’s policies and spending choices.  The commitment to the UN charter regarding the use of force and individual or collective defense should be uniform for all member countries, including the US. The president should detail what it will mean in practice by beginning with the US Department of Defense, whose purpose is not a defense but power projection. Biden should insist on redressing this imbalance, allocating more money to agencies such as the Coast Guard, the National Institutes of Health, the US Forest Service, and the US Border Patrol, with the Army, Navy, and Air Force obliged to get by with a bit less. The authors claim that Biden seems to either accept a new Cold War as all but inevitable or welcome such a prospect. In the recent submarine deal, the credibility of Biden’s assertion that the United States now intends to lead by example begins to look relatively thin. Possibly Biden is banking on enhancing the military power of second-tier US allies to make China more accommodating. If so, he is placing a huge and risky bet. The authors conclude that the policymakers might consider the possibility that further misuse of military power will only serve to squander what remains of the United States’ privileged status.


By: Razia Wadood, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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