Nine years before that, in 1982, Israel`s air force, using its own and U.S. technology, had quickly attained air supremacy over Syria`s Soviet-equipped air defenses in Lebanon, demonstrating (to the horror of Soviet Air Force generals) that ground-based radar networks were a sitting duck for countries with the best airliner-based radar networks. In other words, the era when a country— other than America and its close personal friends — could use tanks to conquer another country (or even a rebellious province, as in Yugoslavia in 1999) without Washington`s permission was drawing to a close.
This awareness dampened the arms race, such that by the outbreak of feverish speculation over Hezbollah`s 2006 Schmutzkrieg assault on Israel, America was accounting for almost half of world`s military spending. (For example, Libya was spending 3.9% of its GDP on its military, compared to 4.06% for the U.S.)
Israel`s subsequent sobering enwallowment in Lebanon was an early hint of a second major lesson of post-modern warfare: that, even if you are America or its close personal friend, conquering another country these days usually turns out to be less fun that it sounds.
If you are a foreigner, therefore, the smart thing to do is to buy friends and influence people in the DC/NYC world imperial capital: you can call it the Prince Bandar Strategy. Gaddafi`s strategy of buying friends in Rome was 2000 years-out-of-date.