On Point: Time To Prepare To Fight and Win Two Major Wars Simultaneously

by Austin Bay
June 19, 2024

In 2024 -- or even 2028 -- can the U.S. fight and win two major simultaneous wars, one in Europe and one in the western Pacific?

I'll answer the question -- but first let's review the history of the "win two at once" strategy.

The concrete foundation of "win two at once" was poured at Pearl Harbor. December 1941, Britain faced Hitler. Then Japan attacked Pearl.

In World War II, America waged two widely separated wars -- in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) against Germany and Italy, and in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) against imperial Japan -- East Asia, South Asia, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, their island chains).

The ETO included North Africa and the Middle East.

America and its allies won in both theaters, paying an enormous price in lives and GDP. In 1945, President Harry Truman made one of history's greatest decisions: He judged nuking Japan would stop the high explosive slaughter. U.S. nukes stunned Japan's militarist fanatics. The sane sought peace, saving millions of Japanese civilian and American GI lives.

The Cold War forced the U.S. to maintain its "Two War" structure. Soviet Russia threatened Western Europe -- what became NATO Europe. After 1949, the Communist Chinese Party threatened Asia. In 1950, Communist China invaded Tibet -- imperialist war. In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, igniting the Korean War. In 1962, China attacked India.

America's "Two War" strategy made deterrence sense. Mutual assured destruction kept the nuclear peace among the superpowers. So "limited conventional conflicts" erupted -- Korea, Vietnam, endless dirty wars in Africa, Central and South America, and proxy battles in the Middle East.

In 1991, the USSR collapsed. Enter the peace dividend. U.S. military force structure shrank. Money for weapons could be spent on other projects -- like welfare?

The peace dividend proved to be Washington, D.C. rhetorical fantasy.

PTO 2024: China routinely violates Taiwanese air and sea space. China steals from the Philippines' maritime economic zone and claims the South China Sea as sovereign territory.

ETO meets PTO: This week, Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un held a dictator's business meeting in north Korea's capital, Pyongyang.

Hard facts: Russia and North Korea both have nuclear weapons, and they threaten to use them. Putin threatens Ukraine and NATO -- NATO equates to Western Europe. Kim threatens to nuke South Korea, Japan, Guam and Hawaii. If his new intercontinental ballistic missile ever works, he'll threaten Chicago.

Putin and Kim are instructive enemies. Putin, a former Russian KGB colonel with Soviet imperial territorial goals, shattered the post-WWII understanding that no nation changes European borders using guns. In 2014, Putin invaded and annexed Crimea. He thoroughly revived war in the ETO Sweden and Finland joined NATO.

In 2022, Putin tried to seize all of Ukraine. He failed. Now he's snared in a war of attrition he isn't winning.

He needs artillery shells, rockets, missiles and, yes, soldiers, warm infantry bodies for his ETO war. So he consorts with Kim, the hereditary despot of an impoverished East Asian communist-totalitarian regime.

Putin makes money selling oil and gas despite international sanctions.

Kim faces international economic sanctions but Putin's cash busts them wide open. Kim sells decent shells (for Soviet-era tube artillery); his rockets usually work. Nor. K shoddy missiles, when they don't blow on launch, might strike Kyiv.

The point: In 2024, an "East War and West War" waged simultaneously by major near-peer adversaries is a clear and present danger.

"Capabilities-based threats" have emerged -- terrorists armed with chemical and biological weapons and anti-ship missiles interdicting freighters.

Can the U.S. military handle this reality?


In 2022, Adm. Mike Gilday, former chief of naval operations, testified the current fleet "is not sized to handle two simultaneous conflicts." The U.S. Navy can "fight one and keep a second adversary in check," but two all-out conflicts - no.

That goes for the Army and Air Force as well. Truth be told, the Pentagon has wasted money on a lot of useless ships. America needs a massive rearmament program. We must build small, fast warships, drones and hyper-sonic missiles -- now. Independent candidate for president Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he'll cut the Pentagon budget in half. He's a fantasist.

Read Austin Bay's Latest Book

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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