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Kagan-O’Hanlon Prehistory

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"Kagan-O’Hanlon Prehistory"

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I was looking for some background on yesterday’s ludicrous op-ed from Fred Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon about how we need to prepare to invade Pakistan, and I found this Charles Knight blog post from the spring. The post noted that Kagan and O’Hanlon collaborated on an essay for this book from the Stanley Foundation — a collection of papers where one Republican and one Democrat team up to write something about US national security policy.

Well, what Pollack and O’Hanlon came up with was the need for a dramatic expansion in America’s ground forces. And it turns out that one of the scenarios they canvassed to justify this troop build-up was precisely this sort of “stabilization” mission in Pakistan.

Mostly this goes to show how senseless it is to make “bridging the partisan divide” as such a goal of an intervention into the American political debate. There are lots of people with Republican Party backgrounds who have sensible things to say about aspects of US national security policy, and a person like Steve Clemons at New America who’s gone to great lengths to try to find such people and get them networked with the progressives who’ve been leading the pushback against the Bush administration is a very valuable endeavor. But a Fred Kagan-O’Hanlon teamup, just like this teamup of Ivo Daalder and Robert Kagan makes things worth rather than better. A bad idea doesn’t become better just because you can find some Democrat somewhere who supports it.

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