I’d suggest that the idea that we can change another country is not proven. In the examples of Japan, and Germany we destroyed those states, in wars they started; they wisely selected to change the way they operated, and of course their previous mode was completely discredited. One reason we failed in Iraq is that we were not at war with Iraq, just Saddam. Though we defeated Saddam’s forces brilliantly, we did it with the connivance of the Iraqi people who did little to help Saddam. Therefore we did not earn the right of a conqueror. In fact, we could have seen flowers thrown at our troops on their way out, if only we had left right after overthrowing Saddam, which is what we had led people to expect. We have the power to overthrow most governments, and almost no power to compel the people of those places to emulate us. But I do agree with the author’s discrediting of our ad hoc approach. Perhaps we can usefully help western/democratic style governments from external aggression. And we should decide whether we acknowledge other state’s sovereignty or not as a blanket rule.
It is basically double talk and equivocation that has gotten us into trouble. A coherent national policy would be nice!