In a recent post, Adam Garfinkle talks about why our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will necessarily fail.
Well, strictly speaking, he is talking about statism and anarchism, and advertising campaigns, and the Tower of Babel. But he still gives a pretty good explanation of why we are tilting at windmills in the Middle East.
What also follows from this is a second verity of political life, namely that the political institutions of any society emerge from that society far more than the other way around. The United States is a democracy because its founding society was egalitarian-minded, not the other way around. All of the American Founders and all of their tutors, from Locke to Montesquieu to even the great bad-boy of the time, Rousseau, understood this. The idea that a governmental form could remold or create a society after its desired image earned the derisive label “talismanic” at the hands of William Taylor Coleridge.
I have noted this concern before, in my much less erudite way.