Friday, 16 February 2007

From "Statesmanship in the New Century"

By Paul Wolfowitz.

Oddly, we seem to have forgotten what Vietnam should have taught us about the limitations of the military as an instrument of "nation-building." Promoting democracy requires attention to specific circumstances and to the limitations of U.S. leverage. Both because of what the United States is, and because of what is possible, we cannot engage either in promoting democracy or in nation-building as an exercise of will. We must proceed by interaction and indirection, not imposition, In this respect, post-World War II experience with Germany and Japan offer misleading guides to what is possible now, even in a period of American primacy.

("Statesmanship in the New Century" is a chapter in Present Dangers, ed. Kagan and Kristol (2000)).

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