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The Real “Long War”: The Illicit Drug Trade and the Role of the Military

In common with the military establishments in most of the world’s other countries, the U.S. military faces two challenges. The first of these is to decide strategic priorities in the aftermath of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the likely de-emphasis on preparation for large-scale counterinsurgency missions. The second connected challenge is the balance to be struck between traditional military functions and the “newer” nontraditional ones. Of course, the deterrence and prevention of war will remain the top priority for the U.S. military as for most others, and thus the maintenance of the capacity to “fight and win” so far as resources will allow, remains a non-negotiable requirement.