A thought-provoking essay by George Friedman, CEO of Stratfor. A quote:
On a pretty arbitrary scale -- between Korea (1950-53), Cuba (1960-63), Vietnam (1963-75), Iran (1979-1981) and Iraq (2003-present) -- the United States has spent about 27 of the last 55 years engaged in politico-military maneuvers that, at the very least, did not bring obvious success, and frequently brought disaster. Yet, in spite of these disasters, the long-term tendency of American power relative to the rest of the world has been favorable to the United States. This general paradox must be explained. And in the course of explanation, some understandings of the Iraq campaign, seen in a broader context, might emerge.
He makes the point that these "minor" (without national mobilization, and pursued with economy of force) wars generally achieved their geopolitical objectives without a WW ll-style victory. Read the whole thing.