The Inverse Midas Touch: Why America’s Interventions So Often Go Wrong


In this week’s episode of Horns of a Dilemma, we hear from retired U.S. Army Colonel Dr. Christopher Kolenda about his new book, Zero-Sum Victory: What We Get Wrong About War.  Kolenda draws on his experience in Iraq and Afghanistan to help explain why it feels as if the United States has had what he calls “the inverse Midas touch” when it comes to interventions: everything we’ve tried has bogged down into quagmire or defeat.  Kolenda argues that U.S. leaders aren’t adept at identifying measures of success other than total victory, that they are slow to learn and adapt, and that when the decision is made to withdraw, they often mishandled that process, as well.  This talk was given at the University of Texas, Austin.

Image:NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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