Les Gelb, ever the wise sage, has hit the nail on the head. It always seems so easy to just send in the 82nd Airborne Division, let them perform their magic for a year or two, then pull them out and think the problem is solved. Never, never that simple. It almost always boils down to quality of life, which means economics. A solid long term strategy will have to answer that question, and if it doesn’t, chaos will continue unabated…….
I encourage you to read his essay Countering the Neocon Comeback in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.
In rounding up he notes:
The key strategic question is: How does Washington once again create something—a winning coalition and a winning policy—out of nothing? The answer now, as then, is a good, simple, workable strategy based first and foremost on reconstituting the economies of our key allies. They have to be strong enough in their daily lives and economic hopes to once again field armies, to provide economic aid to friends in need, and to add heft to their common diplomacy. No amount of preaching to the choirs of Asia or Europe will succeed in getting them to ante up, to meet the threats to their own and American security, without economic restoration. If anything is now plain, it is that austerity is not the answer.
Governments must renew intellectual and physical infrastructures, create jobs, and support technological innovation. They must address the despicable inequality of wealth; putting more in the hands of the middle class will expand buying power and expand the economy. It will take a great leader to sell this most obvious of good strategies. Alas, no sale, no strategy.
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