Saturday, July 28, 2012

after-action regrets

Ryan Crocker has been a distinguished public servant. He's now leaving his challenging post as US ambassador to Afghanistan and has given an exit interview to the NY Times.  I felt honored to have Ryan as a colleague at the National War College prior to his most recent assignments and I consider him the quintessential diplomat.

But what he tells the Times is to be careful.
¶ Remember the law of unintended consequences.
¶ Recognize the limits of the United States’ actual capabilities.
¶ Understand that getting out of a conflict once you are in can often be dangerous and as destructive for the country as the original conflict.
These are old lessons, not new ones. Everybody should remember them before major diplomatic or military operations, not just after.

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