By Ian Shapiro
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Additional resources for Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror
The architects of the Bush Doctrine made it clear, ﬁfth, that there was no possibility of neutrality in the coming war on terror. The week after the 9/11 attacks, the president invoked divine authority on behalf of this stance. ”46 As the invasion of Afghanistan began in October, the president was unequivocal that “every nation has a choice to make. ” We “did not seek it, but we will ﬁght it and we will prevail,” he said—leaving no doubt that others must join. “Over time it’s going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity,” Bush continued.
Support for the war at home will just as inevitably erode as the casualties and other costs mount, and more pressing priorities take center stage. Peripheral interests should therefore be pursued by means other than war: diplomacy, economic incentives, sanctions, and the use of multilateral and international institutions. Kennan’s commitment to containment was perhaps more strategic than principled, rooted in what he thought would work. It also reﬂected his recognition, as millions of soldiers were being demobilized after the war and military spending was being sharply cut, that national security would have to be assured on signiﬁcantly reduced resources.
From the perspective of containment, it is vital to support competition for power within potentially hostile regimes as well as competition among them. The Bush administration squandered opportunities on both fronts. The traditional ethnic and national rivalries between Iraqi and Iranian Shiites have faded into the background as Iranian and Iraqi Shiites have cooperated in the face of a common enemy. As one journalist noted to me in early 2006, if one called to reserve a hotel room in southern Iraq, the phone was as likely to be answered in Persian as in Arabic.
Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror by Ian Shapiro