Seven broad errors account for America’s recent inability to turn tactical successes into strategic victories. In every instance, responsibility for the error has belonged to the White House. Excessive confidence in democratization and poor choices of allies left sustainment of strategic gains to governments incapable of preserving domestic order. Attempts to defeat insurgencies on the cheap, by speeding up counterinsurgency or relying on surgical strikes, allowed insurgencies to survive. Refusal to commit or maintain US ground forces undercut American efforts to assist and stabilize allies. By conveying intentions of military withdrawal, the United States encouraged opportunists to side with its enemies.
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