Chainsaw Diplomacy

The Iraq war has spelled the end for muscular moralism in U.S. foreign policy. Here's what should replace it

Illustration by Alex Nabaum for TIME

The Iraq war has spelled the end for muscular moralism in U.S. foreign policy.

When America invaded Iraq five years ago, most of the people who set American foreign policy believed two things. First, they believed that the U.S. military could not lose. From Panama to Kosovo, the Gulf War to Afghanistan, America had been on a wartime winning streak since the late 1980s. Our defeat in Vietnam seemed about as relevant as the War of 1812. Second, the policymakers believed that people in Iraq wanted us to win. Hadn't the Poles and Czechs celebrated when we defeated the Soviets? Hadn't Afghans cheered the overthrow of the Taliban? Swirling in the air in the spring...

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