May 12, 2020

What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus

By Pat A. Basu and Dr. Jason Dempsey

As worried Americans look for answers in the midst of a global pandemic, it is no surprise that many have turned to the symbols and language of war. Public officials from Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to President Donald Trump have likened the coronavirus response to a war effort. It makes sense: The military is the most trusted of American institutions. But the desire to “militarize” our national response comes from a credulous faith in the capabilities of the U.S. military and a desire for simple solutions to complex challenges.

Just as the American military found, after nearly two decades at war, that it could not shoot its way to victory in Afghanistan, there will be no straightforward solution to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, it is the failures of our strategy in Afghanistan that offer the most valuable lessons for our handling of the pandemic. Acknowledging and acting upon these lessons will be necessary to minimize the damage from this pandemic and put America on a quicker path to recovery.

Read the full article in POLITICO Magazine.

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