About Joshua Rosenblum

Phlegmatic paladin of the Enlightenment, Defender of Liberty hither and yon!

Public Notes


Recent Activity

  • Joshua shared from Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era by Michael Mandelbaum
    All these victories—against, it is true, very weak adversaries—came at relatively low cost to America. The military missions that the United States undertook succeeded. It was the political missions that followed, the efforts to transform the politics of the places where American arms had prevailed, that failed.
  • Joshua shared from Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era by Michael Mandelbaum
    Yet another difficulty hindered American state-building, the same kind of difficulty that obstructed nation-building: loyalties of narrower scope than the project required. To function properly modern institutions must command universal compliance with impersonal rules. This is especially important for the rule of law. The natural allegiance of human beings, by contrast, is neither universal nor impersonal: it is to other people either with whom they have ties of blood or to whom they are bound by a history of reciprocal assistance.
  • Joshua shared from Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era by Michael Mandelbaum
    The United States could and did compel Serbs to live with Muslims in Bosnia and Sunni and Shia Muslim Arabs and Kurds to remain within the framework of a single Iraq; but Washington could not and therefore did not get them to do so voluntarily or peacefully in the absence of a military presence from the outside. Enduring American success required the creation of a widely shared Bosnian, or Kosovar, or Afghan, or Iraqi identity to supplant the narrower allegiances that had provoked conflict; but the United States, although the most powerful country in the world, did not have the capacity to do...
  • Joshua shared from Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era by Michael Mandelbaum
    The tools of foreign policy are guns, money, and words implying that either or both will be used. These can and do affect what other countries do outside their own borders; they are far less effective in shaping what other countries are like within those borders. In making the domestic transformation of other countries the object of its foreign policy, the American government resembled someone trying to open a can with a sponge. It unwittingly embarked on variations on what was, to borrow a phrase, mission impossible.
  • Joshua shared from Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era by Michael Mandelbaum
    The most important limits on what the United States was able to do when it intervened after the Cold War came not from without but from within. They came less from the resistance of other countries than from the reluctance of Americans to support what their government was trying to do.
(Kandahar, Afghanistan)
Joshua Rosenblum