Still, I can relate… Editor’s note: this is Andrew Sullivan, main man of über-blog The Daily Dish, in conversation with Marc Ambinder, associate editor of The Atlantic.
I don’t normally do this, but it’s been a slow week here, and these are exceptionally relevant pieces. I started off the morning coffee-reading with Cass Sunstein’s review of Marc Sageman’s latest book in The New Republic. I only recently began paying attention to Sunstein – since he stole my woman married Samantha Power – but he’s got a few interesting observations to make, so worth noting even without the celebrity-intellectual-coupling angle. So go take a look at that. More substantially, find listed below some of the latest refereed journal articles that I think address some important questions.
When it comes to Afghanistan, and Western involvement in it, expressions like “we told you so” and “we’ve been through this before” seem a lot less trite and churlish today than they might have a few short years ago. Of course, a few short years ago, things were not quite what they are now, and while a short and sharp military operation in 2001-2002 to smash Al Qaeda‘s Ansars and their Taliban sponsors felt epic and righteous, the slow slog of the subsequent counterinsurgency mission holds much less appeal. For a time, it looked like everyone understood the generational investment in troops, resources, and political will needed to secure, hold, and democratize Afghanistan. That still holds, but the idea that a single generation might do the trick is held as little more than eyewash. With this, the interventionism of the post-Cold War era may have had its hopeful (or pragmatic, depending on where your partisan sympathies lie) bubble rudely popped.