Translating Military Power into Desired Political Outcomes

Military Power
Military Power

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Translating Military Power into Desired Political Outcomes

Three greatest challenges for United States in translating Military Power into Desired Political Outcomes or End States


United States today faces a number of challenges in effectively translating military power to the Country’s desired outcomes in politics. However, there are three greater challenges namely:

  • Unconventional weapons along with proliferation of technology
  • Proliferation of nuclear
  • Engaging in fights using asymmetric counterforce

This paper intends to analyze the great challenges that United States as a country face when it comes to translating military power to desired outcomes in politics. In addition, this paper will also look at how the three challenges have led to outcomes of selected conflicts in the United States.

Unconventional weapons along with proliferation of technology

Most countries that engage in war with the United States prefer not to employ the immense conservative armory used by the United States (Kaplan, 2013). Instead, such nations make use of unconventional weapons to attack the United States, since there is a higher likelihood of gaining advantage over United States. Unconventional weapons result from an intelligent use of proliferation of technology.

Such technologies may include: nuclear technology, devices for radiation dispersal, biological technology, cyber warfare use, chemical weapons use, high explosives utilization, an electromagnetic pulse, as well as directed energy. In some cases, when high explosives are used in an innovative way the resultant outcome causes more destruction compared to chemical weapons, biological technology, nuclear technology as well as radiological weapons (Katagiri, 2010). On the other hand, due to globalization in information technology, cyber warfare also has great potential of causing destruction.

Therefore, cyber warfare presents a great challenge to the United States due to the damage it has the potential of causing as well as the accessibility of the weapon. For single attacks, most enemies will prefer to use nuclear weapons. However, the most effective destructive form of weapon directed towards the United States would be biological attacks.

Most of the enemies of United States however, choose to make use of high explosives in attacking the United States which if correctly executed would result in tactical serious consequences as well as strategic consequences (Lake, 2009). To achieve execution of effective attacks on the United States, then rivals of United States may employ a number of techniques.

Rival countries may increase the sentiments of anti- America in different parts of the world. Sentiments of anti- America are spread through showing support to a team that seems dominant in a conflict between two groups. In order to spread the sentiments faster strategic communication is employed which then calls for utilization of the internet (Leffler, & Westad, 2010). This helps United States rivals to gain back up and develop a larger team to fight against the United States.

A clear example of this is the conflict known as Operation New Dawn. In this conflict, the United States engages in war with a group known as Al-Qaida as a war of reducing terror globally. However, Al-Qaida continues to grow its popularity and backing against the United States operations from countries that practice Islamic religion highly. In Arabic translation, Al- Qaida stands for the foundation.

To grow its backing the Al-Qaida group has been spreading its popularity by seeking training grounds through working with different governments globally. Moreover, Al-Qaida helps its host countries in efficiently achieving their broader objectives which in turn buys Al-Qaida more backing for their operations. For instance, the Taliban government established control over most Islamic groups that had been formed with the aim of performing terrorism (Mueller, & Stewart, 2012). Afghanistan provided a suitable ground for training the combined groups.

Recruits were taken from: the host country Afghanistan, neighboring country Pakistan, from Central Asia as well as from differentiated parts of the world including Africa. In addition, Al- Qaida started receiving active sponsorship from Iran. Iran provided support through involving the government ministries. All along Al-Qaida has been persuading Iraq to support them in their activities. Iraq was reluctant which at one point led to Iran supporting attacks on Iraq. However, things took a turn when Iraq was invaded by the United States.

At the time, Islamic groups initiated support on Iraq to fight against the United States. Al-Qaida used this opportunity to show its support to Iraq by fighting against the United States, and forming small sub groups such as Al-Mahdi Army among others (Mulloy, 2011). This act by Al-Qaida made its popularity grow. More countries were now willing to support its activities, which has led to the constant attacks experienced against the United States and its allies. 

Proliferation of nuclear

The United States faces a number of challenges in the environment of nuclear security. Most of these challenges develop from nuclear relations that exist between the major countries considered as nuclear powers (Leffler, & Westad, 2010). Among the countries are: Russia, Republic of China, Great Britain and France. However, United States is also considered as one of the nuclear powers.

In addition to the nuclear powers, challenges from nuclear technology directed towards the United States also develop due to establishment of new states for nuclear weapons. Moreover, some states which have no capacity of producing nuclear weapons also seek nuclear weapons and use them against the United States. For instance Iran is believed to advance its efforts in producing nuclear weapons. Iran being an influential country to most countries practicing Islamic religion has led to most of the countries initiating efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Some of the countries include: Egypt, Saudi Arabia as well as Turkey. It is expected however that, more countries may feel the need to prove their superiority hence start developing nuclear weapons in future (Kaplan, 2013). One of such countries is Brazil. Effects of need for proving superiority may result in nuclear competition. With nuclear competition, the risk of attacks on United States and other European Countries becomes higher.

Notably, when the percentage of states armed with nuclear weapons goes up then states with no capacity of producing nuclear weapons will increase their purchase levels for nuclear weapons. For United States the challenge from proliferation of nuclear emerges from the need to create a military position that will insulate United States from the world of anarchy. The other challenge develops from United States feeling the need to initiate and execute punishment to their enemies who are armed with nuclear weapons.

Recently, China has been developing itself to a major super power in the world. China has achieved its superiority due to its high percentage of expertise with knowledge of advanced technology (Mueller, & Stewart, 2012). Moreover, China has the capacity and sufficiency of resources of developing new technology. In addition, the labor force employed in China is readily available due to China’s high population. China therefore stands at a very good position of producing destructive nuclear weapons. United States then considers China a threat for its security.

Therefore, cold rivalry has developed between China and United States due to the need to prove superiority. China is known to have been producing nuclear weapons. From the silent rivalry existing between United States and China, it is expected that if China was to go to war with Japan over Senkaku Island then United States would enter the war in support of Japan (Katagiri, 2010). Notably, if United States was to consider supporting Japan, then China would fire its nuclear weapons which are believed to have been produced a few years back, and are now placed directed to United States lands and waters.

Engaging in fights using asymmetric counterforce

In terms of asymmetric counterforce United States faces the challenge of forces being attacked directly. When United States forces are attacked the main focus is on command and execution of control. Moreover, support centers for logistics, reconnaissance assets as well as United States fields of intelligence along with the Surveillance fields are at risk (Leffler, & Westad, 2010). In most cases, a situation involving asymmetric counterforce is marred with interruption by United States enemies on logistic lines used by the United States for communication.

The aim of interruption is to cause interference in United States giving support to its forces that have been deployed in the enemies’ territory. Furthermore, various attack attempts are made on the United States waters and lands. Moreover, some enemies use intimidation on allies of the United States to make them withdraw the support they are offering to the United States (Mulloy, 2011).

When the United States forces are subject to attack in a foreign land, it becomes critically hard for the United States government to fully protect a base they consider as critical. In addition, it also becomes hard to project and also sustain United States forces in an environment that is distant and cannot be easily accessed. Most of the attacks directed towards United States make use of space. The challenging part for United States is to have awareness on how the space looks like in terms of security.

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Another challenge is the constant improvement witnessed for cyber crime. Networks are being developed very fast and information revealed and past in a rate that is hard to always monitor. Some of the United States government information gets corrupted by enemies through degrading of networks. United States faces these challenges due to a number of reasons.

Three among them include: first the United States depends on countries that have neither chemical attack protection, biological attack protection nor radiological attack protection for its operations in military (Kaplan, 2013). In such a situation the partners will be subjected to so much loss and suffering which will force them to withdraw unwillingly the support they are offering to the United States. The second reason is because the United States has executed very few changes on its forces since the time the cold war ended.

With lack of changes, the United States puts itself in a situation where getting support is a hard experience since most of the allies of United States will be considered as ineffective at combat. The third reason is because forces of the United States are vulnerable to nuclear attacks that are done in small scale. It is believed that just one nuclear weapon, that has been properly used can cause an entire United States force to surrender (Katagiri, 2010).

For instance, Al-Qaida had easily mastered the weakness of the United States government in 1998. Al-Qaida used interruption to reduce the support that United States was getting from neighboring countries. After causing a division Al- Qaida went ahead and utilized the United States space to carry on with a deadly attack, by bombing the United States embassy in Kenya (Metz, In Martin, & Army War College (U.S.), 2010). On the other hand, China’s has asymmetric counterforce against United States through drawing the support United States was getting from Asia into support for China.

China has achieved with large ensuring large production of products in qualities of high value, middle value and low value. With high production China has been able to raise its economy to a level that is threatening to the United States. Since China has a more stable and ever growing economy, its influence on both the allies and enemies of United States is at a considerable level (Katagiri, 2010). China has the ability of taking away one by one United States support from different countries around the globe.


In order to address these challenges, it is important for the United States to consider installing sensors in bases they would consider as high targets to help in detection of chemical agents or any form of biological weaponry. In addition, United States should consider purchasing and providing to its forces protective equipment for nuclear attacks. Moreover training should be offered on how to use the protective equipment.

In the time of any attack, then the United States government should ensure that it has appropriate equipment for sounding alarm to all people affected. Furthermore, potential victims and real victims should be identified in order to provide first aid services. In addition to this, a system should be established for disseminating information to the world, to help United States sell itself to the world for other nations to understand her and support the policies it has for national security.

It would also be important for United States to have a channel for analyzing public opinion of citizens from foreign countries. Information products should also be made available to all individuals, regardless of whether they are nationals of United States or other countries. In order to cub cyber attacks, the United States government should implement the utilization of websites on the internet for its services.

Information from the United States should be distributed to other nations through the United States embassy radio channel as well as TV. A platform should also be created for coordination of all military force groups of the United States. Therefore, the government of United States should make good use of methods of production utilized by commercial media.


From the paper it comes out clearly that the United States faces a challenge in trying to translate the power it has in military into the outcomes it may desire in politics. The most dangerous forms of challenge are unconventional weapons, proliferation of nuclear weapons and the use of asymmetric counterforce against the United States. Two outcomes have also been discussed that developed as a result of the three challenges.

The first outcome is attacks by the Al-Qaida group. The second outcome is a silent conflict between United States and The Republic of China. However, the paper has presented clearly an analysis showing that most of the enemies of the United States prefer the use of high explosives. In addition, it was also clear that the United States needs to prepare itself better for cyber attacks.


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Leffler, M. P., & Westad, O. A. (2010). The Cambridge history of the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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