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I don’t claim that America’s culture, consumer goods or Bruce Springsteen was entirely responsible for that, but the obvious comparison between Soviet repression and America’s vibrancy did play a part. Eventually, people in the Soviet bloc wanted what we had.
These cultural and economic influences work, and they are less likely to create new enemies and bankrupt America than bombing and invading.
So let tourism flow. Let our music alarm mullahs. Let neocons donate books to the Middle East filled with ideas dictators hate. Let our cell phones expose isolated people to the wonders of the free world.
There are times when we have to go to war, but real progress means making those times as rare as possible.