On Shifting Ground

In 1991 the United States trounced the Iraqi army in battle, only to stumble blindly into postwar turmoil; 12 years later, Americans found themselves in the same situation. How could the world’s strongest power fight two wars against the same opponent in just over a decade, win lighting victories both times, and yet still be woefully unprepared for the aftermath? Gideon Rose, the Editor of Foreign Affairs and author of How Wars End: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle, will explore how American leaders, throughout the 20th century, have repeatedly ignored the need for careful postwar planning. Time and again, American presidents and generals have focused more on beating up the enemy than on creating a stable postwar environment. Rose will illustrate how and why each war ended as it did, identifying the choices of key figures involved and showing how those choices were constrained by domestic politics and ideology. Despite efforts to learn from past errors, our leaders continue to miscalculate and prolong conflicts or invite unwelcome results. Can the next generation of leaders learn from the mistakes of past presidents, or is the US destined to another repeat of history?

Direct download: 10_27_10_Gideon_Rose.mp3
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