If you haven't taken the plunge yet on Barnett, he describes the article contained in this post as 'a better job than anybody to date capturing the sense of what it's like to be briefed by me.'
The author of the article writes:
"The problems with Barnett's view are both political and technical. Rebuilding countries expends the patience of democracies, particularly when the commitment is long and the friendly casualties accrue."
This is also the problem with our current operation in Iraq. It's a major reason why the way the Bush Administration led us into Iraq is a problem. When you go in based on an arguable mistake, democracies lose their will to fight even faster. I'm worried about whether or not we can muster the ongoing political will to stay the course in Iraq. I often argue for multinational peacekeepers in Iraq, and one of the things I think that would do is bolster domestic morale (others are shouldering the burden, too), as well as shore up the international opinion which, when negative, can suck political will at home (especially from those with affinities in the international community).
Would the political willpower to invade Iraq have materialized with an explanation like Barnett might offer? Off the top of my head: That Saddam's a bad guy and the region's unstable. We need to make it more secure. So we're going to take him down and rebuild Iraq. I don't know. Can't tell. What do you think?