MacGregor Knox contends America is fighting one. He argues that the US has a long history of willingness to bear the burdens of grand causes:

The US secured its continental position in wars against the British Empire and Mexico. But the country’s formative conflict was the “second American revolution” of 1861-65, which destroyed slavery. The civil war cost 600,000 dead – the largest and deadliest war between industrial societies before 1914. The winning side fought for an objective more total than any in the western world since the Wars of Religion: destruction of the enemy state and “reconstruction” of its society.

He thinks this is unlikely to abate any time soon:

Europeans may wish to believe that a small coterie of “neo-conservative” maniacs has hijacked US policy. They may assume that the natural order of things as they perceive it – the restraint of American power through European wisdom – will sooner or later triumph. But such expectations are delusional. Those who find militant Islam terrifying have clearly never seen a militant democracy.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.