Is America prepared for another war?

What is less certain is America’s objective. We want to destroy ISIS. And we say we want Assad out—though how that can be accomplished at this point without risking open war with Russia is unknown. As is who rules a divided, ravaged Syria after the total collapse of its government.

We are flying blind. And the problem is much larger than the Middle East. A rudderless America, in a moment of transition, is heedlessly reacting to events rather than influencing them. What Halford Mackinder dubbed the world-island of Eurasia is ringed by wars both hot and cold—from the Baltics to the Donbas, across the Shiite crescent, along the Indo-Pakistani border, through the South and East China Seas.

Putin tests NATO, fuels guerilla war in Ukraine, and pummels Aleppo. Turks fight ISIS and Kurds. America fights ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Iran sends aid to Hezbollah, militias to Syria, and swift boats to the Straits of Hormuz. India and Pakistan battle over Kashmir. Americans fight in Afghanistan. China builds its forces in the Pacific. North Korea flirts with nuclear war.

This planet is laced with dynamite. Only one spark is necessary to light it up. And the chances of miscalculation are immense.