In one word, Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is the ideal place to destroy a mighty republic by any measure.
Rule number one of war, and a fundamental principle of modern economics, a principle clearly stated in the famous “Art of War” is that “There is no
instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.”
The first reason for this is treasure.
War is treasure.
Treasure is money, and money is a representative of scarce resources and commodities. War, in all its forms, is the greatest consumer of treasure of
anything on the planet. War costs more in economic costs, bar none, than anything else a nation could engage in on a large, defined, and general scale. Often times, in modern warfare, the one bomb dropped on some lone shooter carrying a old Russian AK is as expensive as a new bridge.
In war, someone is always losing money and someone is gaining money. In a short, well planned, highly strategic campaign with an absolute ending and an absolute outcome, the treasure looted, or favorable conditions made can lead to the treasure received by the victor being greater than the treasure spent.
Almost never, year for year, does war create more benefit for a country than it costs, especially if the campaign, or war is prolonged.
There is no place on the entire planet better suited for prolonged war than Afghanistan.
The very nature of fighting in Afghanistan is A-Symmetric.
Afghanistan is populated with its own breed of humans. They are extremely rugged, independent, culturally defined people who do not want to be occupied or controlled from the outside.
On top of the people, the terrain is ever changing, it is mountainous, rocky, hot, cold, valleys, and barren. It has very few and very limited natural
resources ready to be looted, developed or traded with on a grand scale.
It has very few urban centers and it covered in farm fields, villages, and the never ending compounds and tree lines.
It is paradise for insurgents who cannot be found in any way other than when they choose to reveal themselves and who have mastered the use of low tech bullets and bombs.
When conventional and well regulated warfare is engaged upon unconventional but well unified forced, nothing but a prolonged campaign will ensue. It does not matter how much money is spent, the insurgents, if are not opposed by locals or are not massacred by the masses cannot be defeated.
In Afghanistan warfare, it literally costs $100 million or more in assets to destroy less than 100 of them. This was not always the case, at one point, the Taliban was having a conventional fight with the alliance and with only a few embedded Army Special Forces Unconventional soldiers, the Taliban was quickly and effectively destroyed.
So in review, if a country needs treasure to be strong, and prolonged war costs an obscene amount of treasure, the greatest way to spend an obscene amount of treasure with no hope of ever recouping it is a prolonged war in Afghanistan.
The second reason for this is opium.
Opium is the active ingredient in heroine, heroine is the street version of morphine, and morphine is an extremely powerful and physically addicting
Afghanistan has near ideal conditions to growing opium.
The Taliban suppressed the growth of opium. The Taliban allowed Al Qaeda to grow opium, which in turn allowed Al Qaeda and the Taliban to stay in power, but the amount that was grown came to a very miniscual amount on the worlds market for the illicit drug.
By invading and occupying Afghanistan, market forces and specialization has exploded the growth of the cash crop increasing the aggregate production from a minor fraction to the strong majority of the world’s supply and production.
This means that a highly addictive and very illegal drug’s supply curve shifted greatly to the right which means that the price automatically dropped which means that to use the drug is categorically much cheaper and that it is much more available which means that, regardless of the means in which it is delivered, any nation that has the drug listed as illegal will now have to significantly grow its police force in order to police the now growing law breaking.
Large police forces are very economically expensive. Police, at their best, and as a metric for the economic benefit of a nation, are a means in which to
keep production regular and smooth as production is the key to being great. But at their worst, are a significant barrier to production. A user of Heroin, especially recreational, may still hold a job and live a productive, although reduced productive lifestyle, but still productive.
A heroin addict locked in a cage is not productive.
Police do not add to production. Large police forces cost a lot of treasure. The use of large police forces locks up and stops the creation of new
So in review, by going to war in Afghanistan, highly destructive and addictive and illegal drugs flood the streets which independently increase crime,
which crime is often costly, decrease productivity and savings, as addiction typically increases a person’s risk taking, and creates a large and aggressive and costly police force who actively seek to take civilians out of the labor force and not to mention creates a domestic army if you will that can easily be co-opted by “intriguing” individuals.
Lastly, heroin or an addiction to heroin, greatly increases an individual’s personal discount rate. Increasing ones discount rate means that they value the future at a much lower amount than the present. As one values the future less, they save and invest less which allows for less available capital for
investment which allows for less production.
The vast amount of heroin available from Afghanistan sadly perpetuates the war as the drug creates a demand for it in a self-perpetuating way through addiction that makes a ending to the war a dismal prospect until a stable infrastructure to continue the heroin production is fully in place!
Therefore, in one phrase, Afghanistan is the single greatest way to destroy a mighty Republic!