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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Daydream Believers

Question of the Day: Who was both the youngest and oldest Secretary of Defense? (answer below)

Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power by Fred Kaplan is a fascinating book regarding the false assumptions made by Bush et al in going into Iraq. One of the great ironies of the fall of the Soviet Union is that it made the United States less strong rather than more, according to Kaplan, and this is something that was completely missed by the administrations following 1991. Because the world was no longer divided into two spheres of influence, which dominated the political landscape, countries were now free to basically ignore the wishes of the United States and go their own way. It was impossible, politically and militarily, to field a large enough imperial army to dominate. It was thus imperative that we develop alliances and coalitions to achieve our goals. This both Clinton and the Bushes failed to do. This made our influence much weaker.

The prevailing theory was that we could fight the same battles we had prepared for under the old Soviet threat. But we failed to allow for rebuilding what had been destroyed.

Donald Rumsfeld: 32 under Gerald Ford and 68 under George W Bush.
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