History's Against Us
The challenge of Afghanistan suggests another important ingredient of leadership: a knowledge of history. One might argue that the issue for the U.S. has less to do with military strategy and military leadership - our capabilities are formidable on both of those fronts - than with the problematic nature of waging a war half way around the world on terrain we may never be able to really secure. The history of such efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere is sobering. It's hard to imagine tribal forces not finding ways to reassert themselves long after we are gone - and us not wondering what we achieved.
U.S. policy makers seem to have a sense of history that goes back three to four decades, and for which they invariably over-compensate, when the lessons learned over three to four centuries might serve us better. There's rarely a political constituency invested in taking the long view, but that's leading is all about.
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