Monica Toft Gives a Big Think Interview

October 11, 2017

How Rebel Victories Stop Civil Wars While Foreign Intervention Prolongs Them

How do you end a civil war? In the movies, all you really need is for Daniel Day Lewis as Abe Lincoln to make a great speech (or Iron Man and Captain America to shake hands, depending on your definition of “civil war” in movies). But in real life, things are much more complex than that. You might need a third party that is prepared to stay there for generations. You may need to prepare for a whole new government. And this doesn’t even begin to address how to operate after a civil war. Two opposing sides must learn how to deal with each other and not enact revenge. It’s a complicated situation, so should America stay out of the conflicts and stop playing the “policeman of the world”? History argues that letting the rebels win at their own pace often solves much of the problem, says Monica Duffy Toft, whose work at the Center for Strategic Studies is made possible through funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.

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