How America's Iraq Obsession Left Us Vulnerable

Topic: How America’s Iraq Obsession Left Her Vulnerable

James Goldgeier:  I do believe that Iraq has been an obsession of the United States now for almost 20 years. And one of the things we try to do in the book is show that Iraq is not a post-2003 problem; it's been there since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. And you had George H. W. Bush reversing that invasion with a coalition under the authorization of the United Nations. Hugely successful Gulf War. He had 90 percent approval rating, which then evaporates as the campaign goes on because people, you know, aren't that appreciative once the whole thing is over. He did not decide to send American troops to Baghdad to topple Saddam Hussein, so Saddam remains in power. And the Clinton administration, for eight years, tries to figure out what to do with that regime. There is an international sanctions regime to prevent Saddam Hussein from building weapons of mass destruction. The United States is patrolling no-fly zones in the north and south to protect populations in Iraq from the regime in Baghdad. When we spoke to Madeleine Albright, who was the UN Ambassador in the first Clinton term, she said her whole time as UN Ambassador was spent dealing with resolution after resolution on Iraq because the resolutions that ended the Persian Gulf War were constantly coming up for renewal and she had to keep the coalition together. And so there was this huge amount of attention paid to Iraq through the period Bill Clinton told George W. Bush that he regretted not being able to do something about Saddam Hussein and of course George W. Bush is going to hand off the Iraq problem to his successor. It will be the third Iraq hand-off. While Iraq's an important country in an important region, it has distorted American foreign policy. There are lots of other big problems out there. During this past 20 years we've seen the rise of China, for example, in general the rise of Asia. And we're really under-equipped as a nation to think about these problems. Strategically we haven't thought through these problems. And these are the kinds of things. The rise of Asia, climate change, these are the things that are going to dominate our world in the coming decades and we've been distracted by our entanglement in Iraq.

 

Recorded on: 07/0820/08

 

James Goldgeier explains that a 20-year-old obsession has blinded us to other geopolitical changes.

A new franchising model offers business opportunities to those who need it most

A socially minded franchise model makes money while improving society.

Freethink
Technology & Innovation
  • A social enterprise in California makes their franchises affordable with low interest loans and guaranteed salaries.
  • The loans are backed by charitable foundations.
  • If scaled up, the model could support tens of thousands of entrepreneurs who are currently financially incapable of entering franchise agreements.
Keep reading Show less

Gamification: can video games change our money habits?

Fintech companies are using elements of video games to make personal finance more fun. But does it work, and what are the risks?

Mind & Brain
  • Gamification is the process of incorporating elements of video games into a business, organization, or system, with the goal of boosting engagement or performance.
  • Gamified personal finance apps aim to help people make better financial decisions, often by redirecting destructive financial behaviors (like playing the lottery) toward positive outcomes.
  • Still, gamification has its risks, and scientists are still working to understand how gamification affects our financial behavior.
Keep reading Show less

3,000-pound Triceratops skull unearthed in South Dakota

"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.

Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College
Surprising Science
  • The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
  • It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
  • Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Keep reading Show less

Want to save more money? Start playing video games.

Playing video games could help you make better decisions about money.

Sponsored by Million Stories
  • The word is out on gaming—it's not just something that children do for fun anymore. Games are tools that can be used to teach new skills, reduce stress, and even change behaviors by triggering chemical reactions in the brain.
  • These benefits and more have provided scientists and developers with a promising path forward. "Games reduce the stress of making decisions," says neuroscientist and professor Paul Zak. "App designers have now used game structures to help people learn new information, make new decisions; and one of the most exciting applications is in financial decision making."
  • But simply turning something into a game isn't enough to see meaningful changes in habits. Developers of gamified apps like Long Game have found ways to combine the engaging and fun experience we expect from video games, with something that has traditionally not been very fun: saving money.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast