From AI, Jakub Grygiel on the coming competition over failed states. Let's face it: America just isn't very good at nation-building. Sheri Berman (Barnard): From The Sun King to Karzai: Lessons for State Building in Afghanistan. Jonathan Stele on Afghan Ghosts: American Myths. Meet Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the sadistic Afghan warlord who wants to be our friend. Can individual agency triumph over deep-seated historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic forces? Drawing on his experiences, Stanley McChrystal has his own answer to that question. Obama has staked his entire foreign-policy vision on his decision to escalate in Afghanistan — what if he made the wrong choice? From Der Spiegel, a special report on America's Drone War, including an interview with P. W. Singer: "The soldiers call it war porn" (and Seth Hettena reviews Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer). From NJ, a debate: What should Obama do next on Iran? Appeasing Iran: Can the strategy the US successfully pursued towards the USSR also work towards Iran? From FP, Obama’s top advisors think they can get results from dictators and autocrats without making odious moral choices — time to prove it, says James Traub; and how should Barack Obama deal with evil? Washington may be deeply polarized on domestic matters, but when it comes to foreign affairs, a remarkable consensus is taking shape. From declamations in Cairo to silence over Gaza, occupation of Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tariq Ali asks what has changed in US foreign policy since the departure of Bush. What the neocons got right: Believe it or not, they made a few good calls. The conventional wisdom isn't always wrong: Five things you think are true that are.

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