“Television creates the illusion of a linear narrative and gives events the semblance of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Real life is never like that; 1848 wasn’t like that. It’s useful to ponder the messiness of history from time to time, because it reminds us that the present is really no different.”—
Deep cultural expertise is more than just a few phrases of Pashto and a hand over the heart. It’s something that takes years, decades. And if we think the main existential threat to the United States comes from militant extremism in places like Afghanistan, Iraq or Somalia, then we need a decades-long investment in real social science research, language studies and higher education, not cheap solutions delivered by contract.