The headline may state the obvious but we should sometimes remind ourselves of important truths.
Whatever one thinks of President Obama's new strategy in Afghanistan it is worth noting that America is alone in the free world in having the capacity to mount such massive military deployments. Only Britain comes close to America in demonstrating a willingness and ability to deploy troops overseas but the gap between the two nations' commitments to the two theatres of Afghanistan and Iraq tells its own story:
- In Iraq Britain has now withdrawn all combat troops. America still has 120,000 deployed.
- After Obama's troops surge of an expected 30,000 the US deployment in Afghanistan will increase to 98,000. Gordon Brown's promise of an extra 500 troops will take Britain up to approximately 10,000.
America also maintains massive commitments in other parts of the world: there are over 85,000 American troops in Europe, for example, and over 70,000 in East Asia and the Pacific.
America still accounts for 45% of global defence expenditure despite Chinese and Russian rearmament.
> AmericaInTheWorld briefing: The American military and its role in the world