Abandon Nation Building

We cannot mold other states in our own image.

Issue: May-June 2014

THE JANUARY 2014 AL QAEDA TAKEOVER of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, the scenes of some of the bitterest fighting between American and insurgent forces only a few years earlier, has prompted numerous questions along the lines of “Who lost Iraq?” and “Was the intervention in Iraq generally, and in these towns in particular, all in vain?” Of course, with hindsight, more and more Americans have come to the conclusion that the answer to the latter question is “yes.” It is always easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback, and Washington has no shortage of those who look brilliant when th

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