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In other words, there can be little doubt that culture informs and in some signicant way, can shape the priorities of a state when dening its foreign policy objectives, but culture does not exist in a Not only do Taliban leaders regularly give TV and online interviews, they also have websites, sophisticated media operations teams, and even embedded journalists. PAGE 45 44 vacuum and is itself shaped by material experience.

An ideological worldview is dened and in many ways propelled by the harsh realities of experience. His observation echoes that of political theorist Hannah Arendt, who warned in , on the occasion of war in Palestine, that Israel could become something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. Nevertheless, when it comes to writing history, an overly deterministic cultur alist approach underestimates the tangled relationship between war, politics, and culture.

For instance, in a culturally multifaceted society, policy may be dened through the interaction of competing cultures and their own particular interpre tations of experience, which ultimately determines how competing interests are prioritized. But in the real world, of course, nations do not behave as culturally-chained-and-bound actors. PAGE 46 45 that pragmatic leaders can cheat and play musical chairs with identities. Although the domestic policies of successive Iranian regimes may have been vastly dierent, there has been remarkable continuity in their search for political and economic autonomy, as well as regional preeminence.

According to one expert, an indefatigable commitment to independence is a core component of Iranian political culture. First, the word Islamic implies a transnational identity and a global interest because it refers to a world religion that cuts across territorial boundaries and ethnicities. In this way, it transcends the interests of the Iranian nation.

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But this is hardly the case in Iran. Apart from rampant cronyism, nepotism, and rigged elections, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has speculated that one day the elected oce of the presidency may no longer be needed. To say that such choices were made because of state interests is exactly the point.

Conclusion Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. In theory, an understanding of culture is advantageous for militaries and policy makers at every level, from the strategic to the operational to the tactical. Further, by incorporating cultural studies into its training curricula, the military shows that it is capable of reforming and transforming itself, while the larger society acknowledges the utility and morality of improving its ability to communicate and empathize with others.

Under such circumstances, recognizing and mapping the maze of networks, cross-cutting relationships, power dynamics, and ethnic perspec tives that inuence local decision making may allow for a certain nimbleness in dealing with the possible problems at hand.

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At the same time, we should not uncritically invoke culture in international relations and policy making. Although culture is an important variable, it may not always be highly predictive. Taking a purely cultural perspective makes it easy to miss the practical, protean, and exible nature of people everywhere. To avoid being caught in the amber of our own stereotypical thinking, we must account for, consider, and appreciate contradiction on the one hand and change and continuity on the other.


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Foreign policy is best understood as resulting from the interaction of competing cultures and their interpretations of experience, which provides the prism through which interests are rationalized and priori tized. In multicultural polities, this process can oen result in a contradictory experience at dierent levels of policy making, a reality that can complicate any constructive international response.

Republican on 27 July Knopf, Operation Bodyguard was one of several successful operations devised by the Allies in World War II to mislead German intelligence as to the size, strength, location, and timing of a potential Allied invasion of the French coast. See Tim Benbow, e Magic Bullet? He was also a cultural critic and public intellectual who is best known for the book Orientalism.

Instead, these views are inherently political, shaped by imperialist and colonialist interests. Friedrich iemann is a secondary character in the pro-Nazi play Schlageter , by Hanns Johst. Ford B. If their actual behavior is compared to a medieval Afghan dynasty like the Ghaznavids, similarities such as book burning and a fondness for public hanging are found, but these are vastly outweighed by the dierences: in the ancient dynasty, women and poets had a prominent role in society, people played the game of chess, and they drank alcoholic beverages.

See Colin S. Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Michael I. Jerome Kohn and Ron H. Feldman New York: Schocken Books, , Ramazani, Independence without Freedom Charlottesville, Va. It would have little eect on the nuclear issue: Iran has been seeking nuclear energy and possibly nuclear weapons ever since the Shah. Robert F. Frederick Starr Baltimore, Md. Beyond the literal meaning and purpose of these two days, however, I believe there is a deeper purpose that is oen entirely overlooked, but that should, in fact, be accounted for above most others.

To begin, it is worth clarifying the dierence between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Looking Back Veterans Day is intended to be a day of recognition, whereas Memorial Day is a somber day of remembrance. Memorial Day, observed annually in late May, is the holiday with the longer tradition and grew out of a custom of decorating the graves of those who died in the US Civil War in the years following the conict that divided the nation.

Both holidays matured over time and grew to take on larger meanings: Memorial Day came to include the war dead from all US conicts, while Veterans Day now recognizes not only veterans of all US wars, but all US military veterans, regardless of whether they served in peacetime or wartime.

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Many Americans enjoy a day o from work on these two federal holidays. It also marks the unocial start of summer for Americans. As a veteran of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I personally knew a number of people who were killed in each of those places. The three-day-long Memorial Day weekend in particular is often associated with travel deals and sales on appliances. An unexpected series of questions from a fellow ocer from Europe helped me put my nger on it. He had a number of ques tions about the anity between the US military and the American people, how it came to be, and how it is maintained.

Given the disconnect I had experienced on the street days before, I was intrigued by his inquiry and observations. But the apparent disconnect between me and that passerby has given me cause to question the health and status of that relationship. On closer consideration, it further occurred to me that it is the responsibility of both parties, civilians and service members, to maintain it. American troops walking along a road during World War I. But the delicate relationship between the military and the civilian population goes back much further than that.

James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, was an outspoken critic of having a standing professional mili tary. Take, for example, the unity of purpose shared by the military and civilians during and at the conclusion of World War II. With the exception of Desert Storm, the military draed civilians into service to increase its ranks during those earlier conicts, cutting across American social strata to build a force that was, in many ways, more socially diverse and integrated than the society that it sought to protect back home.

As these veterans pass on, however, so too will the painful lessons learned during that post-Vietnam low. And as the latent veteran support base that has played such a key role in maintaining the link between civilians and the military shrinks, so too will our access to the vivid memories that these veterans carry.

Already we can see them fading slowly from our collective memory to the black-and-white pages of history books. Looking forward, the current veterans of the all-volunteer force who reenter civilian life aer their time in service are a mere fraction of those who did so during periods of conscription.

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PAGE 54 53 has served in the military. At its heart, this relationship is a two-way street of trust. From the military to the civilian population, it entails a promise and commitment to support and defend the Constitution and the nation against all enemies.

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My concern is that most Americans are not even thinking about the relationship between the military and the people. Aer years of service, I venture to say that most members of the military can be equally insensitive to this bond. I know I was. Over the years, there have been a number of reasons why I brushed o thinking about the topic myself.


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Another reason is that I have been busy; more than a decade of conict has le the US armed services stretched thin, and has kept servicemen and -women in a continuous cycle of combat or training for combat. To a large degree, someone was: the media have been supportive of individuals in uniform during the conicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; citizens on the street oen stop to thank the service members they meet; and the large body of veterans has been working tirelessly to support the troops and maintain the bond.

But what happens next? Disabled veteran, ca. Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, African American soldiers return home, PAGE 55 54 What will become of civil-military relations when the war in Afghanistan comes to a close, and the public face of what was once called the Global War on Terror moves to the background of our collective social consciousness? What will change as the US military continues to draw down, a process that will further decrease the proportion of those in military service to the overall population?

I think this point becomes of increasing concern as the number of veterans who provide the critical bridge between citizens in uniform and their civilian coun terparts decreases over time. Is this much ado about nothing?

At this time, it also appears unlikely that the media will change its generally favorable coverage of the uniformed services. During the conicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was a notable distinction in media coverage between the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who were ghting the wars, and the policies that sent them there. Dicult policy choices made in highly volatile conicts are being complicated even further by instant, unltered global communications. Trust is what is at stake, and trust is one of the hardest things to earn but among the easiest to spend. It is easy to take the status quo for granted and assume that the current good relationship will remain positive indenitely, but history has shown us that the civil-military relationship is like any other: to be successful, it requires the active participation of both partners and the ability of each to trust the other.

Moving Forward I am glad that the person who wished me a happy Memorial Day was enjoying the holiday and celebrating the freedom that I and my comrades-in-arms have The American military, news media, policy makers, and people learned a lot about the importance of the civilmilitary relationship from the Vietnam experience. The point is this: the odds of a serious disconnect between the military and the rest of the country may be low, but the stakes are high.

What will change as the US military continues to draw down, a process that will further decrease the proportion of those in military service? PAGE 56 55 The conversation may be as simple as setting the record straight on the meaning of a holiday deeply connected to your profession.

Like any relationship, maintaining this connection between the armed services and civil society demands effort from both sides. In retrospect, I should have stopped and politely re minded that well-wisher of the actual meaning of the holiday, and of the nature of the relationship between those who are protected and those who protect.

Like I said, prior to this experience, I had never really given any thought to civil-mil itary relations here at home, let alone my responsibility in helping to maintain that relationship.