all sorts of faraway, irrelevant conflicts.rnThe case for maintaining 100,000 soldiers in East Asia isrnequally dubious. South Korea has 24 times the GDP and twicernthe population of North Korea. The former is a dominant tradingrnnation, produces a wealth of hi-tech products, and hasrnstolen awa}’ almost all of its adversaries’ allies. The latter is impoverished,rnisolated, and incapable of feeding itself It is as ifrnthe United States were dependent on outside support to deterrnMexican aggression.rnSimilarly, a militar’ presence imposed on Japan when it wasrna distrusted and war-torn former militar)’ dictatorship remainsrntoday, even though Japan is now the second-ranking economicrnpower on earth and has peacefully attained most of its WorldrnWar II goal of a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperit’ Spliere. It wasrnone thing to borrow money from Japan to defend Japan whenrnToko faced a potentially aggressive Soxiet Union and was incapablernof defending itself It is quite another to do so when thernthreats against Japan have greatly diminished and Tokyo’s defenserncapabilities have greatly increased.rnAnd no replacement threats loom on the horizon. Ghina isrngrowing, but it seems assertive rather than aggressive, and itsrnmilitar)’ expansion has so far been minor. Japan and the otherrnEast Asian states are capable of maintaining a sufficient militaryrndeterrent, and that will not change for many vears. China remainsrnpoor and underdeveloped despite its recent explosiverneconomic growth.rnGermany and Japan are still feared by some neighbors, butrnneither has a double dose of original sin, and both are unlikelyrnto attack powerful neighbors, many of whom possess nuclearrnweapons. Brazil, India, and other nations may eventuallyrnevolve into regional powers, but the United States has no reasonrnto treat them as enemies and plentv of time to respond ifrnthey become hosdle. Oudaw states like Iraq and North Korearnpose local conventional threats that should be contained byrntheir neighbors, not the United States. The problem of nuclearrnproliferation is more complex, but not easily resolvablernthrough conventional military means by Washington.rnThe administration found this to be the case with Iraq. ThernPresident was never able to articulate a serious purpose for arnwinter war in the Gulf Defense Secretary William Gohen,rnwho promised “substantial” strikes, admitted that they wouldrnneither drive Saddam Hussein from power nor stop his attemptrnto create weapons of mass destruction. They might not evenrnhave caused Hussein to agree to further inspections. And yetrnthe United States remains prepared, should Hussein againrnresist U.N. authority, to risk military action, kill innocentrncivilians, foul relations with allied states, and inflame potentialrnterrorists.rnThe Hussein regime is one of the more ugl}- to dot the globe,rnbut it is hardly alone. It is not even the only unpleasant dictatorshiprnattempting to build biological, chemical, or nuclearrnweapons. Every time the United States threatens such regimesrnwith war, it only strengthens their desire for such weapons to deterrnfuture American military action.rnWhile Iraq has no capacib,- to respond militarily, sober Washingtonrnpolicymakers shoidd realize that the United States remainsrnat risk to terrorism which, as the bombing of the WorldrnTrade Center demonstrated, is the poor man’s form of retaliation.rnWashington needs to negotiate an end to sanctions onrnIraq and, along with allied states, rely on normal military meansrnto deter Iraqi use of any weapons that it might acquire. Americarnobviously faces no danger, while Israel already possesses anrnadequate deterrent. And the Gulf states, if they feel threatened,rncan cooperate with such nations as Turkey, and build militariesrncapable of doing more than arresting domestic critics.rnT he globe remains an uncertain place, and new threatsrncould arise over the long-term. But that does not requirernWashington to attempt to micromanage a world that will alwavsrnbe unsettled. Secrctar)- of State Albright savs of her interventionistrnvievs: “My mind-set is Munich.” There was onlyrnone Hitler, however, and Europe’s circumstances during thern1930’s were unique. Thus, the United States need not confrontrnmilitariU ever- nation with vhieh it has a disagreement.rnRather, Washington shoidd remain wary and watchful, preparedrnto pla’ the role of distant balancer sliould a potentialrnhegemonic threat arise tiiat cannot be contained bv friendlyrnstates. America will be better able to meet genuine futurernthreats if it does not exhaust itself attempting to maintain anrnhegcmonv, benevolent or not, that is sure to be resisted brnmany friends as well as foes.rnAnotiier mission is trving to rebuild failed societies, whichrncould also absorb significant militan’ forces. In tact, it alreadyrnhas. As John Hillen, a Fellow for National Securitv at thernCoimeil on Foreign Relations, puts it, “the United States hasrnhad difficult}’ saving no to almost any call for militan’ action inrnthe past five years,” undertaking some 50 different militar)’ missionsrnall over the world. And there could be even more demandsrnfor Anreriean intervention in the future. Today some 30rnThird World brushfires are raging. National Seeurit)’ AdvisorrnSandy Berger talks of using American power as “the decisiernforce for peace in die world.” Senator Richard Lugar, one ofrnthe GOP’s leading foreign policy spokesmen, argues diat “wernhax’c an unparalleled opportunih’ to manage the vorld.”rnBut Somalia vividly demonstrated how difficult it is for officialsrnin Washington to reach inside and manipidate other societies,rnlet alone to resolve ancient hatreds and political divisions.rnAmerica’s nrilitary pressure helped halt the fighting in the Balkans,rnbut only after allowing the very partition that Washingtonrnhad long resisted. Moreo’er, American inxolvement has simplyrnsuppressed regional antagonisms, not resolved them.rnNor is there any reason to try to fix broken states. That traged)’rnaliounds in a world so full of opportunit)’ is perhaps the greatrnanomaly of our age. But failing to recognize the inherent limitationrnon the abilit)’ of Washington to “manage” other countriesrnensures that officials will only compound the tragedy elsewherernby sacrificing the lives of Americans as well.rnOf course, some analysts seem unconcerned about thernprospect of risking the li es of American servicemen for anvrnnumber of dubious purposes. Then-U.N. Ambassador Albrightrnasked Colin Powell, “What’s the point in haxing this superbrnmilitary that you’re alwavs talking about if we can’t use it?”rnThat’s ea,5y to say if one doesn’t have an)’ faniih’ members orrnfriends in tire militar)’. But as Powell retorted, Gls are “not toyrnsoldiers to be moved around on some kind of global gamernboard.” The American people obviously agree, given their reactionrnto the disaster in Somalia. This has led to criticism b)rnsome foreign policy elites. Writes Thomas Friedman of thernNew York Times, “We can’t lead if we don’t put our own peoplernat risk.” But real leadership does not mean sacrificing soldiers’rnlives for interests irrelevant to their own political communit’.rnEven in distant wars with some plausible seeurit)’ implications,rnlike the Balkans, other nations, in this ease those ofrnEurope, have far more at stake than does the United States.rnJUNE 1998/17rnrnrn