What began as a luncheon conversation on intriguing similarities between the Soviet Union's intervention in Afghanistan, Israel's in Lebanon and America's in Vietnam turned into a book, based on those cases and three others-Syria in Lebanon, India in Sri Lanka, and Cuba and South Africa in Angola. The cases themselves, written by distinguished scholars, are rich, and their focused comparison in the method of Alexander George not only confirms some conventional conclusions-it's easier to go in than to get out-but also elucidates the complicated politics between intervener and client. It may thus help remedy a defect it identifies: policymakers considering intervention often draw analogy to their own experience or to the country in question but seldom learn from other interveners.
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