Mr Nagl writes that the world's greatest security threats in this century come not from states that are too strong, but from states that are too weak to control their territory. That's true, and it is probably the single fundamental thing that the Bush administration failed to get. He writes that the most important responses to the challenge of such instability are economic and political-diplomatic, not military. And that's right too. But he then wants to build a massive organisational capacity to solve the problems of global underdevelopment and instability through heroic expeditions. At that point, you need to stop and ask yourself whether that $60 billion a year might buy a lot more successful development, and hence a lot more stability, somewhere else in the world, where nobody would shoot at your Nebraska agricultural expert while he tried out a few types of bioengineered seed stock that might work in the local climate.
Aren't here many places in the US that could do with a bit of economic-political development? Like the Deep South or parts of rural America that have been left behind by the global economy? We understand those places a teensy bit better than we do Afghanistan.
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