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PLA cadets take part in bayonet drills at the Armored Forces Engineering Academy Base near Beijing Chinese People’s Liberation Army cadets take part in bayonet drills at the PLA’s Armored Forces Engineering Academy Base, on the outskirts of Beijing, China, July 22, 2014 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

The Dangers of Groupthink on China

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

There is perhaps nothing so difficult or so important as thinking independently in the face of a gathering consensus. Very few people have the courage displayed by Rep. Barbara Lee, who just three days after the attacks of 9/11 cast the sole vote in Congress opposing the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which gave the Bush administration broad discretionary powers to wage war against terrorists.

Lee’s opposition was not based on naïveté or ideological purity, both of which can be the source of what otherwise resembles iconoclastic thinking. Rather, she had the prescience and lucidity to see the dangers of granting such broad war powers to the executive. Almost 20 years later, very few now argue that she was wrong to be alarmed. Three presidential administrations have already used that congressional authorization to engage the U.S. military in wars and conflicts far afield from Afghanistan and against adversaries that, though unsavory, have no link to al-Qaida. There is no reason to believe the Biden administration won’t be the fourth. ...

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