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"We're not interested anymore in trying to influence the conditions in other countries. We're just interested in managing the threats they produce," said Katherine Zimmerman, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who studies global terrorism.

Still going after the bad guys →

U.S. personnel "would be best as enablers for a civilian-led approach, giving a platform and support to a menu of foreign assistance engagements designed to resolve local conflicts, restore governance, and return resiliency to local populations now poisoned by these terrorist groups," Ms. Zimmerman said. "We all pay lip service to addressing the issues outside of the military domain, but have little invested in actually working to improve the conditions."

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