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Well Ray, we're probably closing up shop there because Putin is taking the lead around the world while the US displays an ever strengthening image of weakness. It's no coincidence that the world is coming unglued with all these bad actors,. When the US is perceived as a paper tiger, and these days that would be an improvement, there's no shortage of despots that are just itching to poke the corpse.
It's nowhere near as bad as that, Jim. The United States still spends more on their armed forces than the next five countries combined, based on the last data I saw. I'll note that its armed forces are still better suited to fighting Iraq's army, or the Soviets, than they are to fighting counterinsurgency or counterterrorism mission profiles... but there is nothing toothless or paper-like about the U.S. armed forces. Nor, overall, is the United States as a country / military leadership any less respected around the world.
Note: the following is entirely my own opinion and interpretation of world geopolitics, and I'm entirely happy to entertain different viewpoints if someone has them. Feel free to disagree and let's have a conversation about it. No political slant is perceived or intended in any of this, I just find geopolitical diplomacy (verbal or military) fascinating.
There are two caveats to that first paragraph above:
First, I do believe that significant mistakes have been made in the command of those forces, and in the decisions to use them or not, during the past 10-15 years that have weakened your country's standing. Going into Iraq was a Republican mistake, especially since it was done for all the wrong reasons and based on bad intel. Getting out of Iraq was a Democratic mistake, because it made no military sense whatsoever. And not making sure that he had the political consensus to follow through on the chemical-weapons ultimatum Obama issued to Assad was a personal screwup that echoed far and wide, because his failure to follow through on that threat really did destabilize the region a little bit more.
But second, and this is the important part, I think the biggest pressure felt in Washington is that of most of the country's voters, who simply do not want to see more bodies coming home. They don't understand the importance of a functioning, semi-stable Middle East to the overall world order, and they want to get out of Iraq/Afghanistan just as badly as they want to stay out of Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and others. Most of what you're seeing is, I think, really a function of that voter perception. Regardless of who wins the 2016 election, or even in the hypothetical case that the Republican party had been in power at this time, neither one would have, nor will, go into Ukraine... they'd get skewered by their own people at home.
The USA needs (IMHO) to bolster NATO and be more active in world leadership. It needs to strike a better balance: to provide more leadership and more force than the Democrats have been willing to put forth, but with less of the aggressiveness and reckless disregard for the opinions of other allied countries than the Republicans showed. The US needs to continue being a leader, but without trying to be the only leader or acting unilaterally. In fact, the decisions made about how to throw around the still-world's-best might of the U.S. military machine need to show less polarization and less extreme behavior: the same thing I'd say about most of the U.S. political decisions today.
The ever-growing left-right polarization of both your people and your government is your biggest, most dangerous enemy, bar none.