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December 01, 2008


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Emily Ng

The stress on post-conflict reconstruction in Susan E Rice’s expertise, and in the general Obama approach to foreign and security policy, is very timely, and not only because of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some interesting sites on this include:



and across the pond - http://www.stabilisationunit.gov.uk/

At this time when Keynes is flavor of the month in economic policy, it’s interesting to think how far our approach to post-conflict reconstruction has come since, at and after the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, he had to argue against a veangeful “peace” (on this, see J M Keynes, “The Economic Consequences of the Peace”, 1919, and D Markwell, “John Maynard Keynes and International Relations”, 2006).


We've been down the path before of having a team of very, very smart people in the White House -- JFK's team, which LBJ inherited -- McNamara, the Bundy bros, Ball, et al -- who took us, self-confidently and arrogantly, into the mess of Vietnam. Let us hope there's somebody in the Obama team with some humility.

Ian Leslie

Yes I think that's a good point. Although didn't JFK's team contain a lot of brilliant outsiders like Robert McNamara with limited or no experience of governing? In contrast to some of Obama's supporters, I like the dominance of heavyweight Washington players on his team - it's not a bunch of eggheads who think they're going to reinvent government overnight, Camelot-style.

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