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In Uncertain TimesAmerican Foreign Policy after the Berlin Wall and 9/11$
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Melvyn P. Leffler and Jeffrey W. Legro

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449093

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449093.001.0001

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Faulty Learning and Flawed Policies in Afghanistan and Iraq

Faulty Learning and Flawed Policies in Afghanistan and Iraq

(p.150) 9 Faulty Learning and Flawed Policies in Afghanistan and Iraq
In Uncertain Times

Odd Arne Westad

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s, with particular emphasis on possible lessons of the Cold War that can be drawn from the invasions. It explains why the invasions failed and why U.S. technology could not deliver results in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It also considers U.S. policy during the Cold War, known as “regime change,” along with one aspect of U.S. diplomacy in the period when the Cold War came to an end: its willingness to help speed up processes of change. Focusing on U.S. actions in the aftermath of 9/11, the chapter also argues that U.S. policymakers drew the wrong conclusions from their victory in the Cold War, misconstrued the role of technology, exaggerated the universal appeal of their own values, and tried to impose societal change from without.

Keywords:   technology, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cold War, regime change, diplomacy, 9/11

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