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The west does not have a “story” any more. In 1989, the anti-communist rationale melted away and western leaders have since failed to construct an alternative narrative for their actions. This is hardly a new observation, but it has become especially evident in recent months in arguments about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear proliferation (even the Trident discussion in Britain), as well as in the divisions within the west between the US and Europe. Now, with open acknowledgement of failure in Iraq and the political pendulum swinging in the US, the “democratic imperialism” stage of the post-cold war period can…

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