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January 15th, 2010 3:27 pm
America’s Drift Towards Perpetual War?

In The American Conservative, Andrew Bacevich writes a thought-provoking meditation on American military outcomes since World War II.  Contra William Kristol and the neo-cons, Bacevich argues that “kinetic” (i.e. violent) power is actually much less effective than its supporters in the punditry suggest.  If anything, the career soldiers cutting their teeth in Afghanistan and Iraq on their way up the chain-of-command are likely to incorporate the limits of using force into their future strategic thinking.

Extending this thread a bit, support for Bacevich’s point may be found in this week’s disaster in Haiti.  Though the earthquake is devastating, the conditions that pre- and post-date it (lack of infrastructure and political leadership) are contributing mightily to the scale of its toll.  Like the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake brought the state and its citizens to their knees.  At some point, the pieces will be picked up, but the recent past doesn’t predict a better future for countries that produce strongmen and weak societies.

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