You are on page 1of 21


429 March 21, 2002

Old Folly in a New Disguise

Nation Building to Combat Terrorism
by Gary T. Dempsey

Executive Summary

Since September 11, 2001, there have been calls economic aid, trained bureaucrats, and military
from various quarters to embrace nation building force of arms, “bad” states anywhere can be trans-
as a tool for combating terrorism. The logic formed into open, self-sustaining, peaceful states.
behind the idea is that “good” states do not do In reality, combating terrorism is tied to the
“bad” things, so Washington should build more realist perspective, which says that it increasingly
“good” states. That idea, however, relies on several makes sense for states to use or condone violence,
dubious assumptions—for example, that embark- including terrorism, when they fall prey to the idea
ing on multiple nation-building missions will that violence will succeed. A realist approach to
reduce the potential for anti-American terrorism. combating terrorism, therefore, does not hinge on
If anything, nation building is likely to create nation building or making the world safe for
more incentives, targets, and opportunities for ter- democracy. It hinges on a policy of victory and
rorism, not fewer. The nation-building idea also credible deterrence. And if there is no competent
draws on false analogies with the past. For exam- government for the United States to deter? U.S.
ple, some people assert that Europe’s experience policymakers should understand that that is pre-
under the Marshall Plan can be readily duplicated cisely where the terrorists are at their most vulner-
in a whole host of countries and that, with enough able, because there is no power to protect them.

Gary T. Dempsey, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute, is the author of Fool’s Errands: America’s
Recent Encounters with Nation Building (2001) and the editor of Exiting the Balkan Thicket (2002).
The “Nation Although the conference participants were
Building Is the Introduction not unanimous in all their opinions, most
maintained that “U.S. interests would be well
Best Defense” In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the served by a peaceful and prosperous African
school of thought World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many continent,” and they further argued that the
authors, analysts, and politicians have claimed “United States should . . . [therefore] make
has become very that the events of September 11, 2001, provide certain that Africa receives its fair share of
popular lately. concrete evidence that the United States should UN resources for prevention, peacekeeping,
incorporate “nation building” into its national and nation building.”4
security strategy as a tool for preventing the for- This view represents what can be called the
mation or continued existence of states where “Nation Building Is the Best Defense” school of
international terrorists can organize and oper- thought, and it has become very popular lately.5
ate.1 The more partisan of those observers fur- The European Union’s external affairs commis-
ther claim that candidate George W. Bush was sioner, Chris Patten, says that the “events of
wrong to criticize nation building during the September 11 brought home to us that the exis-
2000 presidential campaign and that the Clinton tence of failed states”—like the one the Taliban
administration’s much-maligned efforts in took over in Afghanistan—is “something which
Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo are vindicat- contributes to both regional and global insta-
ed as a result.2 Such claims, however, are simplis- bility; that is a problem to which we must
tic and amount to little more than an attempt to devote more time, more political energy, and
dress up nation building in the realist attire of more money.”6 Similarly, German foreign min-
national self-interest. ister Joschka Fischer says: “Investments in peace
are now more essential than ever in light of the
threat from a murderous international terrorist
Is Nation Building the network. That has to mean greater commit-
ment to . . . the construction of civil societies.”7
Best Defense? In the United States, many former Clinton
Shortly after September 11, the Washington, administration officials have been voicing
D.C.–based Fund for Peace held a four-day con- similar recommendations. Former state
ference to discuss African perspectives on mili- department lawyer Paul Williams claims that
tary intervention. Urging greater U.S. assistance not only must Washington “be ready with a
and more American involvement in African strategy for Afghan nation building” but that
affairs, one participant pointedly asked: it “cannot prevent the . . . spawning of new ter-
rorist networks unless it works to build a more
Whoever thought Afghanistan could stable post-terrorist environment in . . . the
be a place where terrorism could be region from the Black Sea to Western China.”8
bred and organized to attack the Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, both former
United States? [It] was the most use- Clinton national security council officials, go
less, disorganized place. . . . The state even further. They claim that the “post–Cold
had collapsed. A group of people War era abruptly ended the morning of
organized themselves and pretended September 11” and now “we must intensify
to be a government. Someone with a our efforts to resolve conflicts around the
lot of money came in and became an world, and especially in the Middle East. . . . We
important person. What is going to must also intensify support for democracy
stop terrorists from organizing in and promote economic development—espe-
Africa? When African nations are cially in areas like Central Asia, the Arab world,
working to restore order, democracy, and northern Africa.”9 Derek Chollet, a former
and stability, [U.S. involvement] is in aide to U.S. Ambassador to the United
American as well as African interests. 3 Nations Richard Holbrooke, agrees. He says

that “nation building” should be “a legitimate Furthermore, the idea that “Nation
and fundamental part of U.S. foreign and mil- Building Is the Best Defense” rests on several
itary policy.” He warns that “if the United debatable assumptions—such as that poverty
States doesn’t put serious resources behind and ignorance are the “root causes” of terrorism
such efforts now, then it’s only planting the and that undertaking multiple nation-building
seeds for future crises.”10 missions will significantly reduce the potential
Recommending perhaps the most expansive for terrorist acts.
nation-building agenda, however, is UN It also draws on false analogies with the
Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He says that past. Several observers, for example, assume
September 11 should make everyone realize that that Europe’s Marshall Plan experience can be
when governments like the Taliban are allowed readily exported to an assortment of countries
to “violate the rights of their individual citizens, and that, with enough money, experienced
they become a menace not only to their own peo- bureaucrats, and military firepower, retro-
ple, but also to their neighbors, and indeed the grade states anywhere can be turned into
world.” Thus, enforcing rights across borders open, self-sustaining, peaceful democracies, as
should supersede traditional notions of sover- Germany and Japan were after World War II.
eignty and national interest from now on. “This As worrisome, the ideological underpinnings
will require us to look beyond the framework of of the idea that “Nation Building Is the Best The idea that
states,” he says, and “focus, as never before, on Defense” echo one of the standard justifications “Nation Building
improving the conditions of the individual men of the welfare state in our domestic setting; Is the Best
and women who give the state or nation its rich- namely, we are wise to support big government
ness and character.”11 and generous entitlement programs to prevent Defense” rests on
the formation of social pathologies that could several debatable
cause the rest of us physical harm. Some advo-
Time for a Reality Check cates of nation building have made that ideolog- assumptions.
ical link explicit. Author David Callahan, for
Are any of those proposals a realistic way example, says:
to combat terrorism? Osama bin Laden’s al-
Qaeda organization, which was responsible Domestically, Americans are all too
for the September 11 attacks on the United familiar with the consequences of allow-
States, reportedly has operations in 68 coun- ing certain places to sink into despair
tries, from the Philippines and Indonesia to and squalor. Most Americans have no
Egypt and Algeria.12 How many of those regular contact with inner cities, and . . .
countries should be targeted for nation the ghettos are largely isolated from the
building? And al-Qaeda isn’t the only terror- mainstream of U.S. life. But still, their
ist organization out there. According to the cost to the public at large is enormous.
State Department’s latest Patterns of Global . . . While most of the violence of inner-
Terrorism, there are 42 other significant ter- city residents is targeted at one another,
rorist organizations operating in dozens of some of it is perpetrated against citizens
countries around the globe.13 Complicating in the wider society. Global ghettos like
matters still further—at least under Annan’s Burundi and Kurdistan have similar
sprawling definition of potential terrorist effects. . . . The violence within them reg-
threats—are an estimated 106 countries with ularly overflows in the form of terror-
oppressive or semioppressive governments. ism or drug and arms exports.15
That means as many as 3.6 billion people, or
59 percent of the world’s population, should In other words, nation building, like the
logically become the subjects of foreign welfare state, is good for us. Self-interest and
nation-building efforts.14 Such numbers raise the interest of broadening the government’s
obvious practical questions. dominion are no longer incompatible.

Do Poverty and Ignorance Cause Terrorism? that 95 percent of them “had sympathy for the
Hardly a day goes by without a politician or cause of . . . Osama bin Laden.”20
expert proposing more foreign aid or support Moreover, if there were any truth to the
for education as a cure for terrorism. “The idea that poverty and ignorance are the root
dragon’s teeth are planted in the fertile soil of causes of terrorism, one would also expect
. . . poverty and deprivation,” British prime terrorism to rise in countries during periods
minister Tony Blair tells us, so foreign assis- of economic hardship and fall during boom
tance efforts must be ramped up around the times. “In fact, the opposite tends to hold,”
world because that will reduce the terrorist says Alan Krueger, professor of economics
threat.16 Jessica Stern, a Harvard University lec- and public affairs at Princeton University.
turer on terrorism, proclaims, “We have a The academic evidence on terrorists “sug-
stake in the welfare of other peoples and need gests that the common stereotype that they
to devote a much higher priority to health, come from the ranks of the most uneducated
education, and economic development, or and economically deprived is a myth.”2 1
new Osamas will continue to arise.”17 Her clear Indeed, consider the research of United
implication: if these issues are adequately Nations relief worker Nasra Hassan. From
addressed, the terrorist threat will be reduced 1996 to 1999 she interviewed nearly 250 peo-
or eliminated. ple involved in terrorist attacks, including
That line of reasoning, however, makes sev- failed bombers, families of deceased
eral false assumptions about the root causes of bombers, and trainers. Her conclusion, as
terrorism. For starters, no evidence links reported by Krueger: “None of them were
poverty and ignorance to the present terrorist uneducated, desperately poor, simple-mind-
challenge faced by the United States. Bin ed, or depressed.”22
Laden is a multimillionaire, and the hijackers Professor Ariel Merari, director of the
who flew fully fueled jetliners into the World Political Violence Research Center at Tel Aviv
Trade Center and the Pentagon on September University, agrees: “All information that I have
11 were highly educated and well off. Bin also indicates that there is no connection
Laden, moreover, has never claimed that he between socioeconomic indicators and involve-
acts on behalf of the poor and the illiterate, or ment in militant/terrorist activity in general
that his goal is to redress the disparities and in suicide attacks in particular, at least as
between rich and poor countries. His goal is to much as the Palestinian case is concerned.”23
eliminate opposition and gain power. Similarly, Egyptian social scientist Saad
The “root causes” explanation is flawed for Eddin Ibrahim has found that followers of
No evidence links another reason: Poverty can exist without ter- militant Islam in his country tend not to be
rorism, as it did during the Great Depression children of poverty and ignorance. After inter-
poverty and and does today in most of sub-Saharan Africa. viewing several of them serving time in
ignorance to the And terrorism can thrive without poverty. In Egyptian prisons, he discovered that the typi-
present terrorist fact, left-wing terrorists, such as the German cal member is “young (early twenties), of rural
Baader-Meinhoff gang and the Italian Red or small-town background, from the middle
challenge faced by Brigade, during the 1970s and 1980s were or lower-middle class, with high achievement
the United States. overwhelmingly middle class, and 15 of the 19 and motivation, upwardly mobile, with sci-
September 11 hijackers were from Saudi ence or engineering education, and from a
Arabia, an exceptionally rich country.18 If the normally cohesive family.” In short, Ibrahim
view that poverty and ignorance cause terror- found that these individuals were “signifi-
ism were correct, then Saudis would be some cantly above average in their generation” and
of the most peaceful people on earth. Instead, otherwise “ideal or model young Egyptians.”24
Saudi Arabia is a top breeding ground for ter- In a subsequent study, he found that 21 of 34
rorists.19 In fact, a recent survey of educated members of the militant At-Takfir w’al-Hijra
Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 found group in Egypt had fathers who were not

impoverished; they were midlevel bureau- what they produce duty-free in the U.S. market.28 Contrary to the
crats. More recently, the Canadian Security But the bulk of the necessary reforms must be claim that poverty
Intelligence Service noted that the leadership made by the countries themselves.
of another militant Egyptian group, Al-Jihad, and ignorance are
“is largely university educated with middle- Money and Terrorism the root causes of
class backgrounds.”25 Contrary to the claim that poverty and
What is more, the average illiteracy rate of ignorance are the root causes of terrorism,
terrorism, recent
men in the seven countries the U.S. recent research suggests that easy access to research suggests
Department of State considers sponsors of cash is a better predictor of political violence. that easy access to
terrorism—Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Looking at 47 civil conflicts between 1965
Korea, Sudan, and Syria—is 17 percent, about and 1999, World Bank economist Paul cash is a better
the same as the worldwide rate. What is Collier has found that rebellion and civil war predictor of polit-
more, Ireland and Spain, which have strug- largely occur in countries with lootable ical violence.
gled with terrorism for decades, are neither sources of cash, such as diamonds in Angola,
poor nor neglectful of education.26 cocaine in Colombia, and timber in
In addition to being flawed, the idea that Cambodia. The existence of a large diaspora
poverty and ignorance are the root causes of that funnels money to rebel or terrorist
terrorism is inconsistently applied. No one groups is another powerful predictor of civil
making the case for more foreign economic violence. (For example, Irish Americans have
or educational aid, for example, has suggest- funded the Irish Republican Army for years,
ed that the Oklahoma City bombing carried and ethnic Albanians living in Switzerland
out by Timothy McVeigh and his collabora- and Germany set up the Homeland Calling
tors had its “root causes” in poverty or a lack Fund to bankroll the Kosovo Liberation
of basic education, or that such terrorism Army.) “The economic theory of conflict,”
would have been prevented by spending explains Collier, “argues that the motivation
more on entitlement programs and schools. of conflict is unimportant; what matters is
The “root causes” approach also wrongly whether the organization can sustain itself
assumes that the United States and its allies are in financially. . . . It can only fight if it is finan-
a position to alleviate poverty and ignorance cially viable during the conflict.”29
around the globe. The source of poverty and igno- “Equally striking,” continues Collier, “is
rance in much of the world tends to lie in the what does not appear to affect conflict risk.
unwillingness of many states—especially in the Inequality, whether of income or assets, has
Muslim world—to make themselves competitive no discernible effect. Unequal societies are
in the global economy. Poor countries, in other not more prone to conflict.”30 If poor or
words, have adopted poor policies. The key to unequal societies are at risk, it is because
becoming rich does not lie in another splurge of their governments’ internal opponents have
foreign aid. It lies in poor countries adopting poli- access to money. “Indeed,” says Collier, “if
cies that reduce trade barriers, respect the rule of anything, rebellion seems to be the rage of
law and private property, curb inflation, cut waste- the rich.”31
ful spending and corruption, and limit meddling According to that view of conflict, gener-
in domestic markets. Western governments can ous foreign aid and nation building could cre-
augment those reforms by opening their own ate tempting new targets for looting that
markets to Third World exports. Right now, the could feed the cycle of violence. That is pre-
United States imposes its highest trade barriers on cisely what happened in Somalia in 1992–93.
the exports that are most important to poor coun- Somalia’s warlords attempted to exact as
tries, such as sugar, footwear, clothing, and tex- much political advantage for themselves as
tiles.27 Washington could deliver far more imme- possible from the well-meaning intervention.
diate and long-lasting “aid” to poor farmers and They also siphoned off large amounts of cash
workers around the world by allowing them to sell from the multitude of nation builders who

descended on Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. lion Marshall Plan for the developing world.
Relief workers, reconstruction experts, and “After World War II,” he says,
UN personnel were all charged exorbitant rent
to live and work in properties that, in one way American visionaries seized a power-
or another, were controlled by the principal ful and unprecedented moment of
warlords. The local drivers, translators, and opportunity. They created not only a
office personnel who were hired were also new military and political settlement
almost always affiliated with the area clan and but a new economic and social order.
paid part of their earnings to the local warlord. . . . And their plan, the Marshall Plan,
On many occasions, factional skirmishes transferred one percent of national
occurred over the spoils of nation building, income every year, for four years, from
not clan politics. Somalia’s warlords would America to poverty-stricken coun-
then turn around and use their newfound tries—not as an act of charity but in
cash to buy more guns and ammunition. recognition that, like peace, prosperi-
ty was indivisible and to be sustained
it had to be shared. America’s postwar
Several politicians, A New Marshall Plan? achievement should be our inspira-
tion today for both rebuilding
nongovernmental If poverty and ignorance are not really the Afghanistan and for a new global
organizations, and root causes of terrorism, then foreign aid can- alliance for prosperity between devel-
not be seriously considered the cure. Still, sev- oped and developing worlds.34
policy experts eral politicians, nongovernmental organiza-
have called for a tions, and policy experts have called for a new In a similar vein, the Washington,
Marshall Plan for Central Asia and, in some D.C.–based Worldwatch Institute is propos-
new Marshall cases, the entire Third World. The idea would ing a new global Marshall Plan to provide
Plan for Central be modeled on Secretary of State George C. everyone on earth with a basic standard of
Asia and, in some Marshall’s economic plan for the reconstruc- living. The directors of the international anti-
tion of Europe after World War II. In an poverty group RESULTS, say:
cases, the entire address at Harvard University in 1947,
Third World. Marshall proclaimed that the “desperation of In thinking of future global security,
the people” ravaged by years of war needed to we would advise U.S. President
be considered and that U.S. policy was direct- George W. Bush to consult a presi-
ed not against the Soviet Union or commu- dential advisor from the past, former
nism specifically, “but against hunger, poverty, U.S. Secretary of State George
desperation, and chaos.”32 Following those Marshall, the architect of the
words, the U.S. government proceeded to European Recovery Program, the
pump billions of dollars into Europe. Marshall Plan. We have seen the
Today, the chairman of the Senate precedent for this. After World War
Foreign Relations Committee, Joseph Biden II, an unprecedented amount of for-
(D-Del.), says that an American-led nation- eign aid was poured into Western
building effort in Central Asia is the long- Europe in order to reconstruct
term solution to the terrorism problem and national economies and people’s
that this effort should focus on changing the lives that had been decimated by the
economic and social climate of Afghanistan ravages of war. The result of that aid
and its neighbors with something akin to the created some of the world’s most
Marshall Plan’s reconstruction of Europe.33 developed countries within two
Going even further, British finance minis- decades. Surely the ravages of global
ter Gordon Brown has called on the industri- poverty deserve a global response of
alized world to draw up a 50-year, $2.5-tril- equal magnitude.35

Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs says that, The failures are not so surprising if one
by devoting just a few tenths of a percent studies the actual Marshall Plan experience
more of our gross domestic product to for- more carefully. If massive government spend-
eign aid, the U.S. government could save mil- ing could work anywhere, it was in Europe in
lions of lives in poor countries and “ensure 1948: Skilled labor was largely available, the
that the basic needs of health and education rule of law and property rights had a long
are met for all impoverished children in this history, and the customs of a commercial
world.”36 Jim Redden, policy director for the society were readily recoverable. The only
Australian Council for Overseas Aid, advo- thing lacking was physical capital, since so
cates not only an increase in foreign aid but much of it had been destroyed during the
also “highly desirable . . . concepts of global war. But even given those favorable circum-
taxation aimed at redistributing from the stances, there is no conclusive evidence that
rich to the poor.”37 the Marshall Plan alone was responsible for
That tax idea has been taken up elsewhere. Europe’s regrowth. Indeed, U.S. assistance
Prime Minister Gerhard Schroder of Germany never exceeded 5 percent of the GDP of any
and his French counterpart Lionel Jospin recipient nation, an assistance total that was
recently set up a high-level commission to study minuscule compared with the growth that
the feasibility of the so-called Tobin Tax on occurred in the 1950s, according to econo-
international financial transactions. The idea of mist Tyler Cowen. Moreover, there seemed to
imposing a tax of from 0.1 to 1 percent on cur- be an inverse relationship between economic
rency conversions was originally floated by aid and economic recovery. In fact, France,
economist James Tobin 30 years ago as a way to Germany, and Italy all began to grow before
dampen currency speculation, which hit devel- the onset of the Marshall Plan, and Great
oping countries especially hard. Today, it is Britain, the recipient of the most aid, per-
being discussed as a way to finance a massive formed the most poorly.40 The real lesson of
new program of foreign aid. In related moves, the Marshall Plan is that the rule of law,
French finance minister Laurent Fabius has property rights, free markets, and an entre-
ordered a study of an arms tax on weapons preneurial culture are what are necessary for
manufacturers to raise more money for foreign economic success. 41
aid spending, and a European Commission That brings any analysis of the Marshall Plan
team is looking into a carbon tax, which would back to a central point: The rest of the world is
be levied on businesses according to their con- not like Germany or Japan. Both countries had
sumption of fossil fuels.38 homogeneous populations that had not been
divided by years of bloody interethnic conflict. The idea of a
Moreover, high levels of education and industri-
A Critical Appraisal al know-how helped launch in both countries an new Marshall
economic recovery that is inconceivable almost Plan must be
The idea of a new Marshall Plan must be anywhere else in the world. Germany had a approached criti-
approached critically. It is telling that one has strong tradition of the rule of law, property
to go back more than 50 years to find an rights, and free trade before the Nazi era.42 And cally. It is telling
example of such an aid plan that worked. Japan’s elite embraced an honorific culture that that one has to go
Similar plans have routinely failed since then. respected and obeyed the wishes of the victor in
Indeed, since World War II the United States battle.43 In contrast, Afghanistan, its neighbors,
back more than 50
alone has provided $1 trillion in foreign aid to and most of the Muslim world have little in the years to find an
various countries. The result? According to way of either liberal traditions or cultural atti- example of such
the United Nations, 70 of the countries that tudes that might make a foreign economic
received aid were poorer in 1997 than they reconstruction effort as successful. an aid plan that
were in 1980, and an incredible 43 were worse What’s more, in contrast to Afghanistan’s worked.
off than in 1970.39 ascendant warlords, the leaders of Germany

Withholding and Japan were utterly vanquished and their suade, and if necessary defeat local factions
foreign aid political agendas were totally discredited in determined to play a ‘spoiler’ role.”48 More
the eyes of their own people by war’s end. broadly, RAND Corporation counterterror-
from oppressive, Historians and social scientists have also ism expert Ian Lesser recommends that the
nationalistic, or documented how the Germans and Japanese United States do more “environment shap-
had become receptive to profound political ing” all around the world to reduce the terror-
undemocratic change even before the war was over. 44 Those ist threat.49 But that is just a euphemism for
countries and ter- factors made both countries prime candi- more interventionism and nation building.
ritories would dates for nation building. Consider Lesser’s argument in more detail:
The belief that the same pattern holds for
mean withhold- other countries that are poor and ravaged by war The failure of regimes to provide for
ing it from the is simply not supported by recent history: the West peaceful political change and the
has spent nearly seven years and $20 billion nation phenomenon of economies unable
very places nation building in Bosnia, but the extremist parties and to keep pace with population growth
builders claim politicians have remained popular, if not highly and demands for more evenly dis-
pose the greatest electable, since the war ended. Ironically, with- tributed benefits can provide fertile
holding foreign aid from oppressive, nationalistic, ground for extremism and political
danger of produc- or undemocratic countries and territories would violence affecting U.S. interests. For
ing terrorism. mean withholding it from the very places nation this reason, the United States has a
builders claim pose the greatest danger of produc- stake in promoting political and eco-
ing terrorism, which is their rationale for more for- nomic reform as a means of reducing
eign aid spending in the first place. Granting aid the potential for terrorism. . . .
does not necessarily “uncause” terrorism: the Similarly, unresolved ethnic and
United States was by far the largest donor of food nationalist conflicts have tradition-
and other aid to Afghanistan before September ally been a leading source of terror-
11, but still, New York and Washington were the ism. Diplomacy and the use of force
targets of terrorism. can contribute both to the contain-
ment and the eventual resolutions of
such conflicts, whether in the con-
False Pragmatism text of the Palestinian issue, nation-
alist confrontations in the Balkans
According to Prime Minister Tony Blair, or the Caucasus, or ethnic frictions
“In the war against terrorism, the moralists in Africa. 50
and the realists are partners, not antago-
nists.”4 5 Washington Post columnist E. J. The idea of “shaping the international
Dionne Jr. agrees: Afghanistan’s failure and environment” is not new; it was a catchall
the rise of the Taliban demonstrate that phrase developed by the Clinton administra-
“there is a practical side to humanitarianism tion in the mid-1990s to shoehorn interna-
and even nation building.”46 tional social work and nation building into its
A variant of that idea has taken root in the national security strategy. It became the cen-
defense and counterterrorism communities, terpiece of the White House’s 1997 National
where it is sometimes argued that molding the Security Strategy for a New Century and the
political landscape of other countries is now a Pentagon’s 1997 Report of the Quadrennial
precondition of U.S. security.47 In the case of Defense Review.51 The idea, explained former
Afghanistan, for instance, a senior defense secretary of defense William Cohen, would be
analyst at DFI Government Practices, a con- “to shape people’s opinions about us in ways
sulting group for the Pentagon, says the that are favorable to us. To shape events that
“international community” must not only will affect our livelihood and our security.”
eliminate the Taliban but also “disarm, dis- And we can do that, he said, because “when

people see us, they see our power, they see our nation building creates incentives and targets
professionalism, they see our patriotism, and for terrorism, especially when U.S. forces are
they say, that’s a country that we want to be drawn too deeply into internal power struggles.
with.”52 In addition to military intervention,
advocates of that approach want U.S. military Lebanon
commanders to attempt to shape the interna- On June 6, 1982, the Israeli Defense Force
tional environment through such tactics as launched attacks into southern Lebanon as
military-to-military contacts, ship visits, part of Operation Peace for Galilee. What the
equipment transfers, training missions, and IDF initially said would be a limited offensive
exercises that are supposed to win friends and against Palestinian Liberation Organization
influence for the United States. Diplomats, forces to clear a buffer zone of safety for
meanwhile, should try to shape the interna- Jewish settlements in northern Israel ended
tional environment through international up producing major battles with Syrian
assistance activities, democracy promotion forces from the north. The IDF’s cross-bor-
programs, and economic sanctions. der pursuit of the PLO soon turned into a
Such thinking is only a step away from full-scale siege of Beirut, a city on Lebanon’s
claiming that “empire” is America’s best coast and home to more then half a million
defense, a view being promoted by journalists people. The United States decided to inter- America’s experi-
such as Max Boot, Sebastian Mallaby, and vene to provide a buffer between the IDF, the ences in Lebanon,
William Kristol.53 The fact remains, however, PLO, and Syrian forces so that the PLO could Somalia, and the
that “shaping” will not necessarily stem the be evacuated. That was supposed to end the
tide of terrorism: It can actually provoke it stalemate, save face for the PLO, and allow Balkans suggest
and export fresh targets right to the terrorist Israel to achieve its security objective for its that nation build-
at no appreciable gain to the United States. northern settlements.55
Witness the ill-fated visit of the USS Cole to The intervention was based on the
ing creates incen-
the port of Aden in Yemen in October 2000. premise that a neutral third party can inter- tives and targets
The decision to send a U.S. warship to such a pose itself between hostile parties and act as for terrorism,
snake pit of Islamic militancy came, not as the a deterrent because none of the hostile par-
result of some bureaucratic error, but on the ties would want to shoot at the neutral party especially when
orders of Gen. Anthony Zinni, then serving as and be seen as an aggressor. But Lebanon’s U.S. forces are
the U.S. Central Command’s commander in unfortunate and distinguishing characteris-
drawn too deeply
chief responsible for the Middle East and tic was that it was the home of a violent, mul-
Persian Gulf. Zinni dispatched the Cole to tidimensional religious rivalry involving into internal
Aden, not because it was the only port in the some 16 sects. Militias abounded through- power struggles.
area that had fuel available, but because he out the country, and each faction attempted
had decided that “we needed to do more to use the intervention of Israel, Syria, and
engagement” in Yemen in support of the the United States to its own advantage.
Clinton administration’s larger effort to A major goal of U.S. policy became the
“shape” the region through military con- establishment in Lebanon of a strong central
tacts.54 Seventeen Americans paid with their government capable of extending its author-
lives, and the terrorist organization that car- ity beyond Beirut to both Christian and
ried out the attack, al-Qaeda, continued to Muslim areas; that is, nation building. But
operate in Yemen afterwards. the political facts on the ground made any
The Cole incident, however, is not the only attempt on the part of an outsider to appear
example that should raise doubts about the for- nonpartisan virtually impossible. The United
mulation that more nation building, or “shap- States soon found itself sucked into
ing,” or whatever one wants to call it, leads to less Lebanon’s internal politics on the side of one
terrorism. America’s experiences in Lebanon, faction: the Maronite Catholics allied with
Somalia, and the Balkans suggest the opposite: Israel. It was precisely the strengthening of

that one side’s control that undermined the administration sent 21,000 U.S. troops to
security of the other sides. reopen supply routes and to get the food mov-
Having lost their neutrality, U.S. Marines ing again. On March 26, 1993, roughly nine
increasingly became targets of violence. By weeks after taking office, President Bill
October 22, 1983, Marine casualties totaled 7 Clinton had his newly appointed ambassador
killed and 64 wounded as a result of direct to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright,
and indirect weapons fire.56 The following cast Washington’s vote in favor of UN Security
day, 241 were killed when a terrorist truck Council Resolution 814, a six-page document
bomb was driven into their barracks at the that formally commenced America’s attempt
Beirut airport. The U.S. mission to nation at nation building in Somalia.
build in Lebanon quickly collapsed. At first, the commander most responsible
The chronology was clear: outside inter- for ousting the Barre government, Gen.
vention disrupted the internal political set- Mohammed Farah Aidid, welcomed the out-
ting in Lebanon, triggering a backlash that side intervention. He felt it was only natural
led to the embarrassing withdrawal of that he would become Somalia’s new leader.
American troops. And therein lies the lesson: His view was reinforced when the Americans,
It is impossible for an intervening party, act- and later the United Nations, established their
ing alone or in concert with others, to keep headquarters in his sector of Mogadishu. To
its nation-building activities from altering his dismay, however, their presence meant that
the power calculations of rival factions that foreign peacekeepers were more likely to be
It is impossible are still maneuvering to dominate or outlast disarming his militia, which advantaged his
each other, as they were in Lebanon. chief rival, Ali Mahdi.57 Meanwhile, Ali Mahdi
for an intervening Invariably, the outside party will do some- understood that he was weaker than Aidid
party to keep its thing that will be seen to benefit one side’s militarily, so he maneuvered to use the United
interests at the expense of the others’. In States and the United Nations to his political
nation-building many cases the aggrieved factions will advantage. He soon began forging numerous
activities from respond with violence. Ten years later, the links with influential American and UN per-
altering the power consequences of that problem were again sonnel and played along with their nation-
made painfully evident in Somalia. building plans.58 Consequently, tension grew
calculations of even more between Aidid and the U.S. and UN
rival factions that Somalia forces, which he came increasingly to see as an
are still maneuver- For much of 1992 Somalia was in a state emerging ally of Ali Mahdi.
of anarchy. The two rebel movements that With the Clinton administration’s fateful
ing to dominate had successfully ousted the government of decision to launch a manhunt for Aidid,
or outlast Gen. Mohammed Siad Barre had become Washington unintentionally fed into Somalia’s
engulfed in internal clan rivalries. In all, more cycle of violence. “Unfortunately, we’ve allowed
each other. than a dozen factions began fighting and ourselves to be sucked into choosing sides and
maneuvering for control in Somalia. Clan picking good guys and bad guys,” warned T.
elders tried in vain to negotiate a cease-fire, Frank Crigler, a former U.S. ambassador to
and the fighting continued for months as the Somalia.59 Depending on their clan allegiance,
quantity of guns and ammunition quickly many Somalis came to view U.S. and UN forces
surpassed that of food and medicine. Relief as the newest parties in their war, and that view
organizations soon began to see their sup- only helped fuel the conflict between the differ-
plies plundered by Somalia’s warlords, each ent Somali factions. In fact, dozens of factional
of whom was committed to keeping his own chiefs and subchiefs immediately began jockey-
militia well fed. ing for power and Western largesse after the
Under increasing pressure from the media U.S.-led military campaign commenced against
and some members of Congress to do some- Aidid. Meanwhile, Aidid portrayed himself as
thing about the situation, the outgoing Bush the aggrieved party, and his stature as a folk

hero was raised. He then launched a low-inten- where were smuggled into Bosnia to help fight In October 2001
sity guerrilla war against the multinational the Serbs and Croats during the country’s NATO narrowly
presence in Somalia. 1992–95 civil war. Many remain in Bosnia
The turning point in Washington’s today and are considered an ongoing threat to foiled a terrorist
nation-building operation in Somalia came Western forces there despite NATO’s interven- attack on
on October 3, 1993, when a major U.S. tion on the Muslim side and billions of dollars
assault on Aidid’s positions in Mogadishu spent on nation building.
American mili-
resulted in the shooting down of two U.S. In October 2001 NATO narrowly foiled a tary installations
Black Hawk combat helicopters. Eighteen terrorist attack on American military installa- by Islamic mili-
U.S. Army Rangers were killed and 76 were tions by Islamic militants living in Bosnia.
wounded in the firefight that ensued. More According to Western news reports, the terror- tants living in
than 1,000 Somalis, including women and ists, five of whom were naturalized Bosnian Bosnia.
children, were killed during the fighting.60 citizens, had intended to fly small planes and
President Clinton’s initial response was to helicopters from Visoko airfield, a grass strip
justify the soldiers’ deaths by claiming that northwest of Sarajevo, and strike two U.S.
they “lost their lives in a very successful mis- bases, including Eagle Base in Tuzla where
sion against brutality and anarchy.”61 Days thousands of U.S. soldiers are stationed.64
later, he announced that U.S. troops would Earlier that month British and American
be withdrawn within six months. The folly of troops arrested Bensayah Belkacem, who was
Beirut had been repeated. conspiring with the al-Qaeda terror net-
work’s senior command to obtain Bosnian
The Balkans passports. U.S. intelligence believed the
The Bosnian government has long been urgent demand for passports suggested that
criticized for providing an easy backdoor al-Qaeda was actively plotting new suicide
route to Europe for Islamic terrorists posing missions in Western Europe or the United
as asylum seekers. Muslims from anywhere in States. Belkacem was a naturalized Bosnian
the world do not need visas to enter Bosnia, citizen from Algeria. When he arrived in
and only cursory checks are made on the iden- Bosnia in 1995, he went to Zenica, a strong-
tities of incoming travelers. Moreover, UN hold for militant Muslims 25 miles north-
investigators say that fewer than one-tenth of west of Sarajevo. 65 The eventual decision by
“vacationers” from the Middle East and Bosnia’s fragile coalition government to
Central Asia ever return home from Bosnia. allow the extradition of Belkacem and other
Western immigration and intelligence offi- terrorist suspects to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
cials are especially concerned about people angered many Bosnian Muslims. 66 The back-
who fly to Bosnia and then move across its lash could help propel the Party of
porous borders into Western Europe with offi- Democratic Action, Bosnia’s main national-
cial Bosnian documentation.62 ist Muslim party, back into the national dri-
The Bosnian Muslim weekly Dani has ver’s seat in elections later this year.
reported that bin Laden himself was issued a In Kosovo U.S. peacekeepers have been
Bosnian passport in Vienna in 1993. The nation building since June 1999, but in
newspaper also revealed that the Bosnian December 2001 they raided the offices of a
Foreign Ministry was “seized by panic” when a Muslim charity as part of an ongoing investi-
Bosnian passport surfaced in the hands of gation of funding for bin Laden’s al-Qaeda
Mehrez Aodouni, an Arab terrorist arrested in terror network. A NATO statement said that
Istanbul, Turkey. Aodouni had obtained the raids were on two offices of the Global
Bosnian citizenship and a passport “because Relief Foundation, which each year raises and
he was a member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina distributes millions of dollars to Muslim
army.”63 Thousands of Mujahideen fighters nations and territories around the world.
from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and else- “After receiving credible intelligence informa-

tion that individuals working for this organi- a paramilitary strike against the al-Qaeda net-
zation may have been directly involved in sup- work operating within its own borders.69
porting worldwide international terrorist In Sudan the government has been trying
activities,” the statement explained, NATO to clean up its act. It has expelled roughly
was forced to take action.67 3,000 al-Qaeda supporters from the country
Just as worrisome, former Kosovo and put under house arrest Hassan Turabi,
Liberation Army guerrillas—whose goals the an influential Islamic cleric and militant
United States helped to champion—have leader who gave bin Laden sanctuary in
fought alongside al-Qaeda units in Sudan during the 1990s. 70 There are also
Afghanistan. At an abandoned al-Qaeda train- some indications that the Sudanese govern-
ing camp in Afghanistan, U.S. forces found ment is willing to cooperate with the United
recruitment applications written by prospec- States on a more covert level, too. On
tive al-Qaeda terrorists. Damir Bajrami, a 24- September 13, a cargo jet that bin Laden had
year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, wrote: left at the Khartoum airport for five years
“I am interested in suicide operations. . . . I have suddenly burst into flames. 71 The Sudanese
Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience government officially says that a brushfire
against Serb and American forces. I need no was responsible. “The only problem with
The problem of further training. I recommend [suicide] opera- that [explanation],” says a U.S. official, “is
failed states is not tions against [amusement] parks like that the aircraft was parked on tarmac.”72
usually one of too Disney.”68 It seems that even places the United
States apparently “saves,” such as Kosovo, can
little outside produce viciously anti-American terrorists. Are Failed States
involvement or Really a Threat?
not enough Deter Them If You Can, When it comes to combating terrorism in
foreign aid. It is lands where there is no government to
a problem of Kill Them If You Must deter—that is, in failed states—recommend-
A policy of credible deterrence—in conjunc- ing the nation-building solution miscon-
fake countries and tion with improving the traditional counterter- strues the political problem. The problem of
flawed borders. rorist instruments of diplomacy, intelligence, failed states is not usually one of too little
and law enforcement—would be a far more effec- outside involvement or not enough foreign
tive way to combat terrorism than are unpromis- aid. It is a problem of fake countries and
ing and open-ended nation-building efforts. The flawed borders, which are usually the rem-
groundwork for that policy is already being laid nant of colonialism or the practical conse-
by the Bush administration’s handling of quence of intercommunal warfare, or both.
Afghanistan, which is setting an unambiguous Redrawing new boundaries has been anathe-
precedent in the pursuit of American national ma to policymakers, but it is the adherence to
security: if you harbor terrorists that target unrealistic old borders that creates failed
America, you will forfeit your control over the states and their deadly byproducts. 73
levers of power. That message already appears to Combating terrorism in failed states by
be getting across to other countries. nation building also misconstrues the mili-
On December 18, 2001, soldiers and police tary problem. Take Somalia, where U.S.
in Yemen raided a village in the east of the forces were involved in nation building a
country where they believed members of al- decade ago. Deputy Secretary of Defense
Qaeda were hiding. At least 12 people were Paul Wolfowitz correctly notes that Somalia
reported killed during the operation. While is a “special case because it really isn’t a gov-
the number of government forces involved in erned country at all. It also means there’s not
the action was small, it was nonetheless high- much to protect the terrorists when they get
ly significant that a Muslim country launched there.”74 Jonathan Stevenson, a research fel-

low at the International Institute for who did not like someone in the convoy, told
Strategic Studies in London, agrees: U.S. military operatives the convoy was
“Keeping al-Qaeda out of Somalia—not paci- Taliban, so U.S. warplanes destroyed the con-
fying the country—is the prime objective. voy, killing more than 50 people.78
This . . . will not require a commitment of the According to an Afghan intelligence offi-
25,000 ground troops deployed in 1992–93, cer, feuding Afghan clans have also been using
and will not raise comparable force-protec- the hunt for bin Laden and Taliban chief
tion concerns.”75 In other words, if the goal is Mullah Mohammad Omar to mislead U.S.
to combat terrorism, then nation building in forces and drag them into Afghanistan’s age-
failed states is unwarranted. Failed states are old tribal disputes. 79 In January 2002
where the terrorists are most vulnerable to American special forces raided Hazar Qadam,
covert action, commando raids, surprise 60 miles north of Kandahar. Local villagers
attacks, and local informants willing to work claimed that U.S. troops were badly misled
for a few dollars. Failed states are not “safe about the operation, which they say killed 15
havens”; they are defenseless positions. anti-Taliban fighters headed by Haji Sana Gul,
Appealing to the “Nation Building Is the a local ethic leader who had just disarmed a
Best Defense” lobby, however, three Somali number of Taliban soldiers still holding out in
warlords are calling for a new international the area. A U.S. Army spokesman said that
military and political intervention in suggestions that anti-Taliban forces had been
Somalia to rout out terrorism. But diplomats wrongly attacked “are not consistent with our
warn that the three warlords—including the intelligence.”80 But American officials have
one whose militia was responsible for the since acknowledged that they made a mistake
deaths of 18 U.S. Army Rangers in 1993— and admitted they rely on information from
have seized on the U.S. anti-terror campaign members of rival ethnic groups whose loyal-
as their own route back to power. They ties are frequently shifting.81
apparently hope that accusing Somalia’s Meanwhile, the problems of creating a
shaky transitional national government of multiethnic state have been underlined by
doing too little to combat terrorism will con- skirmishes in the north between rival com- If the goal is to
vince Washington to intervene and destroy manders linked to the interim government’s
the transitional government on their two top defense chiefs, fighting in the east combat terrorism,
behalf.76 According to one official familiar between two warlords battling for local domi- then nation build-
with Somalia, “The new game in town is to nance, and a tense standoff between two other ing in failed states
call your enemy a terrorist and hope that warlords in the southwest. The skirmishes in
America will destroy him for you.”77 the north have been between one commander is unwarranted.
There are already signs that this phenome- loyal to Afghanistan’s interim defense minis- Failed states are
non is occurring in Afghanistan. In December ter Mohammad Fahim, an ethnic Tajik, and
2001 U.S. air strikes destroyed a convoy on a another loyal to interim deputy defense minis-
where the terror-
road in Paktia province. The Pentagon said ter Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek. In ists are most vul-
the attack was a legitimate and deliberate the east, heavy fighting broke out in late nerable to covert
strike on fleeing Taliban officials, but Afghan January 2002 between rival Pashtun warlords
leaders protested that it was a mistake, that Padsha Khan and Saif Ullah.82 And in the action, comman-
the convoy was made up of local leaders on southwest another conflict looms as a com- do raids, surprise
their way to Kabul for the inauguration of mander in Kandahar province says 20,000
attacks, and local
Afghanistan’s new leader, Hamid Karzai. Both tribal fighters are ready to attack western
sides were partially correct. The convoy was Herat province because the Herat warlord, informants will-
made up of tribal elders heading to Kabul, and Ismail Khan, has been allowing in Iranian ing to work for a
they were Taliban who had just switched sides fighters and preying on trade convoys.83
when it became clear to them that the United Still, many observers insist that nation build- few dollars.
States was going to win the war. An informant, ing must be the right answer in Afghanistan

The thinking because “it was our failure to stay engaged in the members of ethnic groups from other members
today is that, with region after the Cold War that permitted the rise who are the majority in neighboring states.
of the Taliban and turned Afghanistan into a “Even today, many—perhaps most—Afghans
enough money, safe harbor for terrorists.”84 But why should out- give their primary allegiance to local leaders, eth-
bureaucratic side “engagement” have been the default U.S. nic groups, and tribes,” explain Carnegie
position after Washington helped Afghanistan Endowment scholars Marina Ottaway and
administrators, to liberate itself? That France did not stick Anatol Lieven. “Afghanistan was only created at
and military force around to nation build in the United States after the end of the nineteenth century. All of its bor-
of arms, outsiders it helped the American colonists throw off the ders were in effect determined by the British
British crown was a good thing. What’s more, Empire, and reflected not an internal historical
can impose mod- Afghanistan had been relatively stable from 1930 or ethnic logic, but an imperial one.”88
ern economic and through 1978. The reality is that it was external Proponents of nation building behave as
meddling—not the lack of it—that disrupted if none of that matters in the long run. What
democratic state internal Afghan politics and led to the emer- is important is that “the international com-
structures on any gence of the Taliban. First, the Soviet-backed munity pursues an aggressive strategy for
country in the Afghan communists sought to impose their regional development, [or] new bin Ladens
authoritarian rule on a fiercely independent and will emerge to take his place and
world. traditional society. That led to civil war. Then the Afghanistan-like states will proliferate.”89 But
United States further unbalanced Afghanistan’s what does that mean in practice? Is the inter-
internal politics by supporting its most extreme national community prepared to send peace-
anti-Soviet and anti-modern elements.85 Finally, keeping forces to countries like Afghanistan
Pakistan’s internal security services, or ISI, sup- proportional to what it has to, say, Kosovo?
ported the Taliban faction, because it was best Even with 40,000 NATO troops, the prob-
positioned to secure Islamabad’s strategic inter- lems in transforming that tiny corner of
ests in the region.86 The lesson of Afghanistan is Europe have been immense. Indeed, NATO’s
not that there hasn’t been enough outside med- military occupation, which began in June
dling but that there has been too much. 1999, did not prevent the intimidation and
expulsion of 250,000 non-Albanians, the
massive spread of organized crime, or the ini-
Some of These Things Are tiation of a cross-border insurgency into
neighboring Macedonia by the Kosovo
Not Like the Others Liberation Army. Afghanistan is 59 times the
In 1860 the Italian nationalist writer size of Kosovo and has a population 13 times
Massimo Taparelli d’Azeglio wrote: “We have cre- larger. It also has extremely difficult terrain
ated Italy. Now all we need is to create Italians.”87 and an array of battle-hardened warlords
They were able to do so because they had a with their own personal fiefdoms to protect.
shared language, a common religion, growing Many advocates of nation building claim
economic prosperity, and were surrounded by that the “right response to this danger is to pro-
water or high mountains on all sides. vide the central government [in Afghanistan]
The thinking today is that, with enough with the military muscle to enforce its writ in
money, bureaucratic administrators, and mili- the country”; that is, send in a massive U.S.-led
tary force of arms, outsiders can impose mod- peacekeeping force.90 As is so often the case with
ern economic and democratic state structures nation builders, they presume that nation
on any country in the world. And if a country building will work and that failure simply
is composed of antagonistic groups, then it is means that insufficient force of arms, political
the duty of the West to ensure that they live energy, or economic aid was applied. Thus,
together until they like it. nation builders always have the same unfalsifi-
Afghanistan is ethnically, tribally, and reli- able excuse when nation building comes up
giously segmented. Its borders separate some short: it’s not because there are practical limits

to what government, including the U.S. govern- forces and our resources when they face
ment, can do but because the effort was not growing demands from critical missions in
pursued vigorously enough. the war on terrorism.”92
Putting aside the obvious self-reinforcing More important, the overriding strategic
circularity of that reasoning, deploying a huge problem with the nation-building prescription
number of American troops in Afghanistan is is one of sustainability, especially if, as some
unnecessary and unwise. It is unnecessary people propose, Afghanistan is just the first in a
because the security of the United States does string of new Kosovo- or Bosnia-style nation-
not require a multiethnic, liberal democracy in building missions. During World War II the
Afghanistan. In requires only that the govern- United States shipped huge numbers of sol-
ment or governments there be deterred from diers and sailors around the world. But that sit-
harboring terrorists as the Taliban once did. uation was clearly meant to be temporary, and
It is unwise because making Americans the vast majority of the American fighters came
peacekeepers risks needless U.S. casualties, home within a few years. During the Cold War
kidnappings, and other distractions that can the United States forward deployed large num-
erode morale and public support for the war bers of troops to contain communism. But
against terrorism. As columnist Charles most were concentrated in Western Europe,
Krauthammer points out: Japan, and Korea.93 A campaign of global The overriding
nation building à la Kosovo or Bosnia would be strategic problem
Being the best, and representing the quite a different undertaking. It would spread with the nation-
strongest country in the world, they the U.S. military to the four corners of the
automatically become prime targets. earth. Should a major war break out, those mis- building prescrip-
You’re a terrorist. You see three peace- sions would compete for limited manpower tion is one of sus-
keepers—a Fijian, a Canadian, and an and resources, and that would compromise the
American—riding shotgun, say, for a U.S. military’s ability to fight and win this
tainability, espe-
food shipment headed for Kabul. nation’s wars, which is, after all, its raison d’être. cially if
Whom are you going to ambush? On That is not an idle concern. Troop deploy- Afghanistan is
whom are you going to expend a sui- ments are a lot like tax hikes—“temporary”
cide bomber? Or, best of all, whom are when proposed but “permanent” when put just the first in a
you going to kidnap? If you think into practice. And, as former Reagan assistant string of new
Osama is worth $25 million to us, secretary of state Charles H. Fairbanks Jr. wor-
Kosovo- or
think of what one American peace- ries, overextension often happens by small steps
keeper held hostage and tortured on and for the best of reasons. Maybe America can Bosnia-style
videotape is worth to al-Qaeda.91 resist the imperial temptation, he says, but “the nation-building
example of what happened to the Roman
Deploying a large number of American empire does give me cause for concern.”94 missions.
troops in Afghanistan is also unwise because It also does not make for very good strategy.
the United States needs to keep its troops As Massachusetts Institute of Technology polit-
available and its powder dry for whatever ical scientist Barry Posen explains: “Strategy
high-intensity contingencies may arise later. requires the establishment of priorities because
Getting bogged down in another open-ended resources are scarce. Resources must be ruth-
nation-building mission like Kosovo or lessly concentrated against the main threat,”
Bosnia would be a diversion from the real which in this case is “the extended al-Qaeda
work that may still lie ahead in destroying organization and the states that support it.”
the al-Qaeda network elsewhere. As Secretary And since it cannot be everywhere at once,
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has already
noted, America’s open-ended nation-build- the United States must make it clear
ing missions in Bosnia and Kosovo are that direct support for terrorists who try
putting “an increasing strain on both our to kill large numbers of Americans is

tantamount to participation in the accepting some limited constraints on America’s
attack. Particularly in the age of weapons freedom to do as it pleases.”100
of mass destruction, the United States Even environmentalists have jumped on
cannot allow any state to participate in the “national self-interest” bandwagon. In
catastrophic attacks on its homeland the wake of September 11, the president of
with impunity. More intensive defensive the Waterkeeper Alliance has argued that
precautions can reduce but not elimi- stricter regulations on gas mileage for cars
nate U.S. vulnerability . . . so deterrence and SUVs are in the national interest because
must be the first line of defense. For better fuel economy will not only make for
these reasons, the Taliban regime in cleaner air but will also reduce America’s
Afghanistan had to be destroyed.95 reliance on foreign oil. “If Congress is serious
about ensuring our national security,” he
writes, “it should immediately pass legisla-
Conclusion tion to raise fuel economy standards to 40
miles a gallon by 2012 and 55 by 2020.”101
According to former president Bill Clinton, In a related claim, the president of the
the forces behind the September 11 attacks on Worldwatch Institute, Christopher Flavin,
the United States “feed on disillusionment, declares, “If the lofty social and ecological goals
poverty, and despair.” His solution: “spread pros- of the [1992] Rio Earth Summit had been
perity and security to all.”96 Presidential aspirant achieved, it is possible that the crisis of the last
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) says that the year would not have occurred.”102 And UCLA
next great foreign policy challenge is to promote professor of physiology and public health Jared
“American values” in Muslim countries; doing Diamond argues that “combating the forces of
so, he contends, will enhance America’s national poverty and hopelessness on which interna-
security.97 Liberal internationalism, in short, is tional terrorism feeds” means that the United
back, and this time it is posing in the realist attire States should pursue “three strategies—provid-
Liberal interna- of national self-interest. But its utopian premise ing basic health care, supporting family plan-
tionalism, in short, is still the same: if only we could populate the ning, and addressing such widespread environ-
planet with “good” states, we could eradicate mental problems as deforestation.”103
is back, and this international conflict and terrorism.98 None of those suggestions, however, gets to
time it is posing in Liberal internationalism’s latest disguise, the heart of the current terrorism problem.
the realist attire of however, extends beyond just the project of Large minorities in the Muslim world openly
nation building and trying to spread democracy declared their support for and solidarity with
national self-inter- and good government. Liberal internationalists the perpetrators of the September 11 terrorist
est. But its utopian are also using September 11 to justify signing all attacks, and many governments of Muslim
sorts of feel-good treaties—many of which have countries preferred to keep silent—including
premise is still the no counterterrorism component—claming that the government of Kuwait, which not only pre-
same: if only we national self-interest requires it. For example, sides over a wealthy citizenry but owes its very
could populate the Lawrence Korb, director of studies at the Council existence today to the United States.104
on Foreign Relations, says that the United States In the real world, combating terrorism is not
planet with “good” must now work cooperatively on land mines and tied only to choking off its funding and remov-
states, we could global warming.99 Why? Not because the pro- ing its motivations. Combating terrorism is tied
posed treaties in those areas are well-conceived or to the realist perspective, which says that it
eradicate interna- strong deterrents to terrorism—they are not—but increasingly makes sense for states to use or
tional conflict because the tragic events of “Black Tuesday” are condone violence, including terrorism, if they
and terrorism. “a wake-up call about the dangers of a unilateral- perceive that they can get away with it—that is,
ist foreign policy.” Korb’s advice: the Bush when they fall prey to the idea that violence will
administration should “demonstrate that it is succeed, it becomes a more commonly adopted
ready to stand with the world, even if it means alternative.105 A realist approach to combating

terrorism, therefore, does not hinge on nation 7. Quoted in “EU Group Sees Poverty behind
Terror,” Investor’s Business Daily, December 4, 2001,
building or making the world safe for democra- p. A4.
cy. It hinges on a policy of victory and credible
deterrence. The point is to prevent terrorism by 8. See Bruce Hitchner and Paul Williams,
making its sponsors and accomplices fear the “Rebuild Afghanistan; Or Terrorists Will Find
Fertile Ground for Growth,” Washington Times,
costs. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger October 24, 2001, p. A23.
got it right when he wrote, “Governments on
whose territory terrorists are tolerated,” espe- 9. Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay, “Is U.S.
cially in the Muslim world, “will find it especial- Destined to Repeat Its Cold War Mistakes in
Battling Terrorism?” San Jose Mercury News,
ly difficult to cooperate [with the United States] October 4, 2001.
unless the consequences of failing to do so are
made more risky than their tacit bargain with 10. Derek Chollet, “Wise U.S. Would Make Nation-
the terrorists.”106 And where there is no compe- Building a Priority,” Baltimore Sun, October 18,
2001, p. 27A.
tent government for the United States to deter?
U.S. policymakers should understand that that 11. Kofi Annan, “We Can Love What We Are,
is precisely where the terrorists are at their most Without Hating What—and Who—We Are Not,”
exposed, because there is no power to protect Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2001.
them. Nation building, therefore, is the wrong 12. See George W. Bush, news conference of October
prescription. It is likely to create more incen- 11, 2001, “This Is a Time of Testing,” transcript,
tives, targets, and opportunities for anti- Washington Post, October 12, 2001, p. A20; and Anatole
American terrorism, not fewer. Kaletsky, “Whatever Happened to September 11?”
Times (London), December 27, 2001.

13. U.S. Department of State, Patterns of Global

Notes Terrorism, April 2000, www
1. Nation building can take many shapes, from (accessed December 27, 2001).
full-scale occupation or establishing a UN protec-
torate to seizing command of a capital and 14. Freedom House, “The Map of Freedom 2001,”
installing a sympathetic government or manipu-
lating local politics by using diplomatic pressure /2001/map2001.pdf (accessed December 27, 2001).
and financial aid.
15. David Callahan, Unwinnable Wars: American
2. See, for example, Al Hunt, “The Gore Power and Ethnic Conflict (New York: Hill and
Nightmare,” Wall Street Journal, November, 29, Wang, 1997), p. 202.
2001, p. A19; former Democratic leader of the U.S.
Senate George Mitchell quoted in Ramesh 16. Quoted in Peter Ford, “Injustice Seen as Fertile
Ponnuru, “Get Realist,” National Review, December Soil for Terrorists,” Christian Science Monitor,
31, 2001; and Al Gore campaign adviser Tad November 28, 2001, p. 7. See also Stryker McGuire,
Devine quoted in Mark Silva, “America’s Toughest “Onward, Christian Soldier,” Newsweek, December
Task in Afghanistan: Leaving,” Orlando Sentinel, 3, 2001, p. 44.
November 18, 2001, p. A1.
17. Jessica Stern, “Being Feared Is Not Enough to Keep
3. Quoted in “African Perspectives on Military Us Safe,” Washington Post, September 15, 2001, p. A27.
Intervention: Conference Summary,” Fund for
Peace Reports no. 1, December 2001, p. 12. 18. Edward Rothstein, “Exploring the Flaws in
the Notion of the ‘Root Causes’ of Terror,” New
4. Quoted in ibid., p. 4. York Times, November 17, 2001, p. A17.
5. See especially Peter Beinart, “‘Nation-Building’ Is 19. For this and other arguments for questioning
the Best Defense,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November the link between poverty and terrorism and
18, 2001, p. E1. poverty and crime, see Bruce Bartlett,
“Misreading the Scorecard,” Washington Times,
6. Quoted in Denis Staunton, “Afghanistan October 31, 2001, p. A20.
Promised Billions in Aid,” Irish Times, December 21,
2001, 20. Elaine Sciolino, “Don’t Weaken Arafat, Saudi
1221/wor11.html (accessed December 22, 2001). Warns Bush,” New York Times, January 27, 2002, p. A8.

21. Alan B. Krueger, “Economic Scene; To Avoid Malveaux, “U.S. Needs Marshal Plan for World and at
Terrorism, End Poverty and Ignorance. Right? Guess Home,” Detroit Free Press, December 18, 2001, p. 7A.
Again,” New York Times, December 13, 2001, p. C2.
34. Gordon Brown, “Make a Marshall Plan for the
22. Quoted in ibid. Next 50 Years,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December
23, 2001, p. E1.
23. Quoted in ibid.
35. See St. Denis and Cassels.
24. Quoted in Daniel Pipes, “God and Mammon:
Does Poverty Cause Militant Islam?” National Interest 36. Jeffrey D. Sachs, “One-Tenth of 1 Percent to
no. 66 (Winter 2001–02): 16. Make the World Safer,” Washington Post, November
21, 2001, p. A23.
25. Quoted in ibid.
37. Jim Redden, “Fighting Poverty Can Help Fight
26. See ibid. Terrorism,” Canberra Times, January 4, 2002.

27. In the World Trade Organization’s 1995 38. See Ford.

Agreement on Textiles and Clothing the United
States pledged to phase out all textile and apparel 39. Doug Bandow, “A Look behind the Marshall
quotas over a 10-year period, but only a tiny per- Plan Mythology,” Investor’s Business Daily, June 3,
centage have been scrapped so far. See J. Michael 1997, p. A28.
Finger and Ludger Schuknecht, “Market Access
Advances and Retreats: The Uruguay Round and 40. Tyler Cowen, “The Marshall Plan: Myths and
Beyond,” Paper presented at the Annual World Bank Realities,” in U.S. Aid to the Developing World: A Free
Conference on Development Economics, April Market Agenda, ed. Doug Bandow (Washington:
1999, p. 22, Heritage Foundation, 1985), pp. 61–74.
/abcde/pdfs/finger.pdf (accessed January 18, 2002).
41. See Ian Vásquez, “Marshall Plan, Two Views:
28. On average, developing countries face tariffs on More Harm Than Good,” Journal of Commerce,
their manufactured exports that are nearly four June 4, 1999.
times the tariffs facing exports of developed coun-
tries. Because of that inequitable pattern of protec- 42. See Ludwig Erhard, Germany’s Comeback in the
tionism, Thomas W. Hertel and Will Martin of the World Market (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976);
World Bank have concluded that developing coun- Gustav Stolper, Karl Hauser, and Kurt Borchardt,
tries would capture around 75 percent of the world- The German Economy: 1870 to the Present (New York:
wide economic benefits from further trade liberal- Brace and World, 1967); Egon Sohman,
ization in the manufacturing sector. See Thomas W. “Competition and Growth: The Lesson of West
Hertel and Will Martin, “Would Developing Germany,” American Economic Review 49, no. 1
Countries Gain from Inclusion of Manufactures in (1959); and Henry Wallich, Mainsprings of the
the WTO Negotiations?” Paper presented at the German Revival (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University
WTO/World Bank Conference on Developing Press, 1955).
Countries, Millennium Round Secretariat Meeting,
September 20–21, 1999, pp. 3, 12. 43. See Ruth Benedict, The Chrysanthemum and the
Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (New York:
29. Paul Collier, “Economic Causes of Civil Houghton Mifflin, 1989).
Conflict and Their Implications for Policy,” World
Bank, Washington, D.C., June 15, 2000, p. 4. See 44. According to University of Illinois political scientist
also Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, “Greed and Richard Merritt, by the time the war was over substan-
Grievance in Civil War,” World Bank, Washington, tial numbers of Germans “were disgusted by what the
D.C., October 21, 2001. Nazis had done and increasingly realized that Nazi
actions were not accidental but were consistent with
30. Ibid., p. 7. Emphasis in original. and even prefigured by Nazi ideology. . . . To some mea-
sure, then, the American Military Government
31. Ibid., p. 10. enjoyed a ready market for its product.” Richard L.
Merritt, Democracy Imposed: U.S. Occupation Policy and the
32. Quoted in Stephen St. Denis and Alan Cassels, German Public, 1945–1949 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
“Global Effort Required for War on Poverty,” University Press, 1995), p. 394. Similarly, historian
Daily Yomiuri, December 5, 2001. John Dower explains that, in the case of Japan, the U.S.
occupying force “encountered a populace sick of war,
33. See “Biden Says Up to $15 Billion Needed in contemptuous of the militarists who had led them to
Afghan Aid,” Reuters, January 13, 2002; and Julianne disaster, and all but overwhelmed by the difficulties of

their present circumstances in a ruined land.” The Beirut 1982–1984,” Federation of American
Japanese, moreover, embraced their defeat not as an Scientists, Military Analysis Network, http://
end but as the beginning of a better future. As a result,
explains Dower, “The ideals of peace and democracy baczkow.htm (accessed January 10, 2002).
took root in Japan—not as a borrowed ideology or
imposed vision, but as a lived experience and a seized 56. Ibid.
opportunity. . . . It was an extraordinary, and extraordi-
narily fluid, moment—never seen before in history 57. Steven Holmes, “The Man Who Makes Somalia
and, as it turned out, never to be repeated.” John W. Worse,” New York Times, August 15, 1993, p. WR4.
Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War
II (New York: Norton, 1999), pp. 23–24, 84. 58. Keith Richburg, “It Makes a Warlord Smile,”
Washington Post, June 24, 1993, p. A32.
45. Quoted in Ford.
59. Quoted in Keith Richburg, “UN Helicopter
46. E. J. Dionne Jr., “A New and Improved George Assault in Somalia Targeted Aideed’s Top
W.,” Washington Post, October 12, 2001, p. A33. Commanders,” Washington Post, July 16, 1993, p. A1.

47. Even political scientist Stephen Walt contends 60. Harry Johnston and Ted Dagne, “Congress and
that “the attacks of September 11 demonstrate the Somalia Crisis,” in Learning from Somalia: Lessons in
that failed states are more than a humanitarian Humanitarian Intervention, ed. Walter Clarke and
tragedy; they can also be a major national security Jeffrey Herbst (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1997), p. 202.
problem” and that “nation building, it seems, is
not such a bad idea after all.” Stephen M. Walt, 61. Quoted in John Cushman Jr., “5 GIs Are Killed
“Beyond bin Laden: Reshaping U.S. Foreign As Somalis Down 2 U.S. Helicopters,” New York
Policy,” International Security 26, no. 3 (Winter Times, October 4, 1993, p. A1.
2001–02): 62, 69.
62. Daniel McGory, “Bin Laden Aide Arrested in
48. Josh Pollack, “Afghanistan’s Missing Peace,” Bosnia,” Times (London), October 11, 2001, http:
DFI Government Practices Current Defense //,,2001350005-
Analysis no. 1, January 2002, pp. 2–3. 2001353143,00.html (accessed January 9, 2002).

49. Ian O. Lesser, “Countering the New Terrorism: 63. See Nikolas Stavrou, “Balkan Branches of the Terror
Implications for Strategy,” in Ian O. Lesser et al., Network,” Washington Times, October 21, 2001, p. B4.
Countering the New Terrorism (Santa Monica, Calif.:
RAND Corporation, 1999), p. 134. 64. See Daniel Rubin, “NATO Says It Stopped Plot to
Attack U.S. Military Sites,” Detroit Free Press, October 25,
50. Ibid., p. 128. 2001,
probe25_20011025.htm (accessed January 9, 2002);
51. National Security Strategy for a New Century and Toby Helm, “NATO ‘Foils’ Terror Attack on U.S.
(Washington: White House, May 1997), passim; and Bases in Bosnia,” Telegraph (London), October 25, 2001,
Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review (Washington: http://www. /main.jhtml?
U.S. Department of Defense, May 1997), passim. xml=/news/2001/10/25/wint125.xml&sSheet=/news/
2001/10/25/ixhome.html (accessed January 9, 2002).
52. Quoted in Andrew J. Bacevich, “Do-Goodism
Gone Bad: The Lesson of the U.S.S. Cole,” National 65. Alexander Dragicevic, “Bosnia Hands over 6
Review, November 20, 2000. Algerians to U.S.,” Associated Press, January 18, 2002.

53. See Max Boot, “The Case for American Empire: 66. Daniel Williams, “Hand-Over of Terrorism
The Most Realistic Response to Terrorism Is for the Suspects to U.S. Angers Many in Bosnia,” Washington
United States Unambiguously to Embrace Its Post, January 31, 2002, p. A18.
Imperial Role,” Weekly Standard, October 15, 2001, p.
27; Sebastian Mallaby, “The Reluctant Imperialist: 67. Quoted in Philip Shenon, “U.S.-Based Muslim
Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Charity Raided by NATO in Kosovo,” New York Times,
Empire,” Foreign Affairs 81, no. 2 (March–April 2002): December 18, 2001, p. B6.
2–7; and William Kristol, “Taking the War beyond
Terrorism,” Washington Post, January 31, 2002, p. A25. 68. Quoted in Jack Kelley, “Bin Laden’s Training
Camps Teach Curriculum of Carnage,” USA Today,
54. Quoted in Bacevich. November 26, 2001, p. 1A.

55. See Ronald F. Baczkowski, “Tactical Lessons 69. “Yemen Attacks al Qaeda ‘Hideout,’” BBC
for Peacekeeping: U.S. Multinational Force in News, December 18, 2001.

70. See Ron Martz and Moni Basu, “Who’s Next Security Fears Loom,” Reuters, January 21, 2002.
on List? U.S. Treads Cautiously,” Atlanta Journal
and Constitution, December 19, 2001, p. A1. 84. Tom Donnelly, “What to Do Next: How to
Consolidate the Victory in Afghanistan—and
71. See ibid. and Karl Vick, “Sudan, Newly Beyond,” Weekly Standard, November 26, 2001.
Helpful, Remains Wary of U.S.; Officials Share
Files but Deny Ties to Foiled Attack,” Washington 85. Ted Galen Carpenter, “The Unintended
Post, December 10, 2001, p. A15. Consequences of Afghanistan,” World Policy Journal
11, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 76–87.
72. Quoted in ibid.
86. According to Human Rights Watch, “The ISI
73. For this and other arguments as to why the and Pakistan army sought leverage against the hos-
partition of Somalia may be the most pragmatic tile neighbor on its eastern border, India, by giving
answer to its ongoing problems, see Austin Bay, Pakistan ‘strategic depth’—a secure Afghan frontier
“Somalia’s Lethal Magnetism,” Washington Times, permitting the concentration of Pakistani forces
January 13, 2002. on the Indian frontier and economic advantages
through stronger political and economic links to
74. Quoted in Stephen Fidler, “U.S. Forces Central Asia. . . . In addition, Pakistan promoted
Prepare for a Return to Somalia,” Financial Times, the emergence of a government in Afghanistan
December 12, 2001, p. 2. that would reduce Pakistan’s own vulnerability to
internal unrest by helping to contain the national-
75. Jonathan Stevenson, “Somalia Redux?” Wall ist aspirations of tribes whose territories straddle
Street Journal, January 3, 2002, p. A6. the Pakistani-Afghan border.” Human Rights
Watch, “Crisis of Impunity: The Role of Pakistan,
76. See Katy Salmon, “Opposition Looks to Russia, and Iran in Fueling the Civil War,”
Exploit U.S. Attention,” Washington Times, January Afghanistan 23, no. 3 (July 2001), http://www.
28, 2002, p. A11; and Tsegaye Tadesse, “Warlords
Call for Foreign Intervention in Somalia,” San Jose 02.htm (accessed January 28, 2002). See also Larry
Mercury News, December 29, 2001. P. Godson, Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure,
Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban (Seattle:
77. Quoted in Holger Jensen, “U.S. Won’t Evade Fallout University of Washington Press, 2001), pp. 106–15;
by Waging ‘Proxy Wars,’” Rocky Mountain News, January Ahmed Rashid, “Pakistan and the Taliban,” in
8, 2002, Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban,
/news_columnists/article/0,1299,DRMN_86_932942, ed. William Maley (Islamabad: Vanguard Books,
00.html (accessed January 10, 2002). 1998), pp. 72–89; and Kamal Matinuddin, The
Taliban Phenomenon: Afghanistan 1994–1997
78. See Richard Reeves, “Afghanistan: Making War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 2–3,
without Battle,” Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2001. 128.
79. “Feuding Afghan Tribes Misleading U.S. 87. Quoted in Nadar Mousavizadeh, “Washington
Forces,” News International (Pakistan), January 24, Diarist: Bosnia,” New Republic, June 24, 1996.
daily/24-01-2002/world/w8.htm (accessed January 88. Marina Ottaway and Anatol Lieven,
25, 2002). “Rebuilding Afghanistan: Fantasy versus Reality,”
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
80. Quoted in Rory McCarthy, “U.S. Accused of Policy Brief no. 12, January 2002, pp. 1–2.
Killing Anti-Taliban Leaders,” Guardian (London),
January 28, 2002, 89. See Martha Brill Olcott, “Preventing New
/afghanistan/story/0,1284,640507,00.html Afghanistans: A Regional Strategy for Reconstruction,”
(accessed January 28, 2002). Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Policy
Brief no. 11, January 2002, p. 1.
81. Roland Watson, “Soldiers May Have Shot
Wrong People,” Times (London), January 31, 2002. 90. “Two Visions of Afghanistan,” editorial,
Washington Post, January 20, 2002, p. B6.
82. “Fighting Erupts between Afghan Warlords,”
Agence France Presse, January 31, 2002. 91. Charles Krauthammer, “We Don’t Peacekeep,”
Washington Post, December 18, 2001, p. A27.
83. See Peter Millership and Sayed Salahuddin, “Bush
Plans to Boost Military, Afghan Tribes Clash,” 92. Quoted in John Hendren, “Rumsfeld Asks NATO
Reuters, January 23, 2002; and Linda Sieg and Sayed to Trim Bosnia Forces to Bolster War on Terrorism,”
Salahuddin, “Donors Promise Afghan Funds; Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2001, p. 4.

93. See Peter Grier, “A Reluctant Empire Stretches Are No Quick Fixes,” Boston Globe, September 13,
More,” Christian Science Monitor, January 17, 2002, 2001.
usmi.html (accessed January 18, 2002). 100. Lawrence J. Korb and Alexandre L. Tiersky, “The
End of Unilateralism? Arms Control after September
94. Quoted in Thomas Bray, “America Beginning to 11,” Arms Control Today, October 1, 2001.
Create an Empire?” Detroit News, January 23, 2002. For
a fuller critique of the temptation to do too much, see 101. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “Better Gas Mileage, Greater
Ronald Steel, Temptations of a Superpower (Cambridge, Security,” New York Times, November 24, 2001, p. A27.
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995).
102. Fox News Sunday Roundtable, Fox News
95. Barry R. Posen, “The Struggle against Terrorism: Network, January 13, 2002, transcript.
Grand Strategy, Strategy, and Tactics,” International
Security 26, no. 3 (Winter 2001–02): 43–44. 103. Jared Diamond, “Why We Must Feed the Hands
That Could Bite Us,” Washington Post, January 13,
96. Quoted in Pipes, p. 15. 2002, p. B1.

97. Joseph Lieberman, “Afghanistan and the Next 104. See Michael Radu, “The War on Terrorism Is
Steps in the War against Terrorism,” Remarks at Not an American War,” Insight Turkey 3, no. 4
Georgetown University, Federal News Service, January (October–December 2001): 50–51. Kuwait’s per
14, 2002; and David Lightman, “Lieberman’s Foreign capita GDP is higher than that of such European
Policy: Propagate U.S. Values,” Hartford Courant, countries as Spain and Greece, and its govern-
January 14, 2002, ment sponsors many social welfare, public works,
politics/hc-joeforeign0114.artjan14.story (accessed and development plans financed with oil and
January 17, 2002). investment revenues. Among the public benefits
for Kuwaiti citizens are retirement income, mar-
98. Realist thinker John J. Mearsheimer describes lib- riage bonuses, housing loans, virtually guaran-
eral internationalism as follows: “For liberals . . . teed employment, free medical services, and edu-
there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ states in the international cation at all levels. See U.S. Department of State,
system. Good states pursue cooperative policies and “Background Note: Kuwait,” December 2001,
hardly ever start wars on their own, whereas bad
states cause conflicts with other states and are prone =5409 (accessed December 31, 2001).
to use force to get their way.” Thus, he explains, lib-
eral internationalists believe that “the key to peace is 105. See Steven Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and
to populate the world with good states.” John J. the Roots of Conflict (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University
Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New Press, 1999), pp. 14–34.
York: W. W. Norton, 2001), pp. 15–16.
106. Henry A. Kissinger, “Phase II and Iraq,”
99. Lawrence J. Korb, “U.S. Must Realize There Washington Post, January 13, 2002, p. B7.

Published by the Cato Institute, Policy Analysis is a regular series evaluating government policies and offer-
ing proposals for reform. Nothing in Policy Analysis should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views
of the Cato Institute or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before congress. Contact the
Cato Institute for reprint permission. Additional copies of Policy Analysis are $6.00 each ($3.00 each for five
or more). To order, or for a complete listing of available studies, write the Cato Institute, 1000
Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, call toll free 1-800-767-1241 (noon - 9 p.m. eastern
time), fax (202) 842-3490, or visit our website at