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The late historian Barbara Tuchman, in her work The March of Folly, chronicles how governments throughout history have regularly and repeatedly pursued policies contrary to their self-interest. Looking as far back as the ancient Trojans, who imprudently took the wooden horse within their walls, through the Vietnam War, Tuchman shows how nations persist in pursuing self-defeating policies. She suggests governments do this even when those policies are known to be counterproductive and when a feasible alternative course of action is available. Tuchman notes that this happens when “wooden-headedness” and self-deception play a significant role in government.

For the United States…

Michael Wilkerson

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