"During the Cold War, the United States faced a single challenge that was greater than any we face now," he said in an interview with the German magazine. "But I can't think of a time when the United States has faced so many difficult challenges at once. What makes it worse is we are facing them at a time when we are increasingly stretched militarily. We are divided politically. We are stretched also economically, and there is a good deal of anti-Americanism in the world. It's a very bad combination."
Asked about President Bush's characterization five years ago of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as "the axis of evil," Haass said the situation with all three is more dangerous now. At the same time, the country has also learned the limits of military force the hard way.
"As the United States has learned to its great cost in Iraq, military force is no panacea," he said. "Any option that would be heavily reliant on the Army is not a realistic option, because the only Army we have is busy right now."