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Earlier this month, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen of Middle Eastern descent, opened fire at two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing five.Indeed, unforeseeable consequences were precisely what concerned Kennan when the United States charged into Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq two years later. After all, it was no coincidence that many of those the U.S. was fighting in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden himself, had been associated with the mujahedeen, the guerilla-style units of Muslim warriors whom U.S. forces trained as insurgents during the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation. Likewise, the U.S. had armed Saddam Hussein's Iraq to go to war with Iran in the 1980s.The resulting discontent in those countries and across the Muslim world has increasingly been felt in Europe – and now is emerging in the U.S., too.Rather than considering such questions, the U.S. remains focused on the external scourge of Islamist terrorism. Kennan recognized this tendency decades ago, when he warned that shortsighted policies at home and abroad had already put America in a vulnerable position. Instead of basking in its own superiority, he advised, the U.S. should learn from the mistakes of its enemies, including Russia.
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