I'M no fan of America's 21st century military adventures as my contributions to these Letters Pages illustrate. However, last week’s decision by the Trump administration to slash the budget of the State Department should worry us all.

If carried through the United States will cease to project power, it will "merely", if I can be forgiven for putting it like this, project only violence and as a consequence add its lustre as a 21st century serial war loser.

Unfortunately for conventional military institutions who think of battle and victory, the smart phone superseded the smart bomb some time ago now, and they refuse (or their pensions institution of first resort, the arms industry, never allows them) to get their heads around it.

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They talk ad infinitum of counter-insurgency warfare, of course, but in the 21st century they have still to win one.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, whose Marine Corps sobriquet is "Mad Dog" summed it up when he warned "if you don't fund the State Department fully, then you will have to supply me with more ammunition".

This will be music to the ears of the masters of asymmetric warfare, none of whom reside in the Pentagon but in Middle Eastern abodes of modest appointment and worse. Moreover, the US's principal auxiliary in foreign adventurism, us, will once again be struck dumb and "crack on" to defeat, again.

Bill Ramsay,

84 Albert Avenue,