The U.S. Obsession With Failed States After 9/11 Was a Costly Distraction

A U.S. Army doorgunner aboard a Chinook helicopter looks down onto the Afghan landscape enroute to the inauguration ceremony for a Coalition-led Provincial Reconstruction Team outpost in Asadabad, Feb. 19, 2004 (AP photo by Bob Strong).
A U.S. Army doorgunner aboard a Chinook helicopter looks down onto the Afghan landscape enroute to the inauguration ceremony for a Coalition-led Provincial Reconstruction Team outpost in Asadabad, Feb. 19, 2004 (AP photo by Bob Strong).
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The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is an opportune moment to reflect on the lessons the United States drew from those horrible events. One of the most problematic was the belief that the main threats to U.S. and international security emanated not from powerful states, as in the past, but from weak and failing ones. This questionable conviction led to a sweeping reorientation of U.S. foreign and national security policy that distracted the country from more important sources of danger and reinforced a militarized approach to the very real development and humanitarian needs of the world’s fragile states.  In late summer […]

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