Quote of the day by mattsteinglass
September 2, 2008, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Iraq, United States

“The idea is to stay away from the whole optimism-pessimism thing.” — David Petraeus, cf. Steve Coll in The New Yorker.

I started feeling that way while living in Africa. I remember coming back and having a quite smart American at a party ask me, “So, is Africa going to modernize, become prosperous, and have malls and gas stations and things?” If you make that your fundamental question, it ruins your ability to see other places as they are or to appreciate them at all, or to understand what the people living there might count as progress on their own terms. All partisan rancor aside, David Petraeus is a brilliant guy, and he clearly has a much more well-grounded way of relating to America’s presence in foreign countries than the goofballs who launched our intervention in Iraq in the first place. If everyone could take that kind of measured, non-utopian, non-superficial approach, the US might end up with a decent foreign policy again.


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