Articles by

Jason Brownlee

Jason Brownlee is a professor in the department of government at the University of Texas – Austin. He is the author of Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the U.S.-Egyptian Alliance (Cambridge, 2012) and is completing a book manuscript on US military interventions after the Cold War.

The Limits of Military Counterrevolution

Richard Lachmann’s informative autopsy of corruption in the counterinsurgency complex traces America’s staggering defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq to a lack of equipment, domestic will, and local partners. This essay responds that the Pentagon retains the capacity to physically decimate revolutionary movements but suffers from a chronic shortage of political authority abroad. Power, in the Arendtian sense, has only come when US administrators deferred to the local society, as they did in Germany and Japan. Such deference in the greater Middle East is functionally inconceivable for today’s policymakers. Citizens in the prime sites of US militarism repudiate Washington’s interventions. Hence, US soldiers and Marines continue trying to impose Washington’s designs through force — and in vain — but not for lack of material, training, homeland support, or foreign cronies. Not only is the phenomenon of military defeat broader than the variables Lachmann identifies; its political-economic constituents extend beyond the neoconservative-neoliberal clique he fingers for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.