Today I talked with Robert Kaplan about his PBS documentary "Inside America's Empire." It's a fascinating look at how our military is trying to fight the global war on terrorism with ideas, not just arms, and how the front lines are not just in Iraq and Afghanistan. He refers to the special forces as "warrior/diplomats," because of their mission, which is more about training and working with indigenious armies than in fighting their battles for them. Kaplan believes this serves our interests much better than a policy of isolationism would.
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Kaplan's book, "Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts," explains this work even more, going into detail about how far-flung the US military really is (we currently own or rent some 700 bases around the world).