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I personally think the "surge" and current offensive is part of an end game to bring the Taliban to negotiations. I don't think the military any longer believes in nation-building and spreading democracy, if it ever did.

The trouble, of course, is that no one needs to believe in nation building (so called!) for nation building to happen. The 1960 article includes references to American companies paid to build things. Rent seeking and all that. Maybe I'm starting to understand the Austrian melancholia that led to so many suicides. I don't suppose Afghanistan is a testing ground for world destruction, but it sure is a gloomy thing to think about.

Sen. Taft emphasized the importance of a strong economy as the cornerstone of a strong national defense. Eisenhower incorporated that view in his administrtation.

Republican realists limited foreign-policy interventions to instances in which vital interests of the US were directly threatened. In the vice presidential debate, Bob Dole called the democrats the war party. He was roundly criticized for saying that, but it was true.

Bush 43 thought his father weak for stopping the first Gulf War at the gates of Baghdad. But the father was pursuing a war of limited objectives and did not want to take on responsibility for governing Iraq.

Bush 43 pursued a messianic agenda in true Wilsonian fashion. He ignored the balance of power in the Middle East. The only sure outcome of the son's adventurism was the rise of Iran and Syria. And so it happened.

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