Monday, January 4, 2010

On terrorist safe havens and failed states...

Yglesias,
But there are real questions about how reasonable this fear of safe havens is. For one thing, the strategy is frighteningly unbounded. Today America is worried about chaos in Afghanistan, but there are also indications that al Qa’eda has found safe haven in Somalia and Yemen. Broken states, alas, are not all that rare. To suggest that the United States could succeed in its mission to vastly improve governance in Afghanistan, given enough time and money and manpower, hardly provides evidence that the task could be repeated in Sudan and Nigeria and Chad. If it’s true that the world’s security depends on eradicating every pocket of instability on Earth, then we really are doomed.
I agree with Matt here and would just add that even if we could narrow down the boundaries of what unstable states we would be involved in there's the matter of how we would achieve stabilization. Present conventional wisdom in Washington is that you deal with a "safe haven" country by blowing it up, several times over.

I don't think it's too controversial to note that this strategy does not have a good track record.

1 comment:

Dean said...

Indeed it's very disappointing. It's clear that changing our oftentimes devious foreign policy, reducing oil dependency and taking a more balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict would do far more to reduce hatred of our country than any military action has proven to do.