Ryan Long: Nation Building Masterclass | Video

RYAN LONG: I remember early in my career, I was at a dinner party with the CEO of Lockheed Martin. He looked at me and said, “Paul, the only way this will end is if weapons are free.”

That’s when I realized nation-building is a lifelong pursuit, this is not something you just dabble in. Always improving, always looking for a new target, always spending. This is my nation-building Masterclass.

Nigeria, Afghanistan, Cuba, Libya, Venezuela. These are just a few of my massive successes.

Being lobbied to can be very tiresome, but it can also be very rewarding financially.

If you’ve left things worse than you started, that’s how you know you’ve done your job.

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What Einstein didn’t mention is that’s also the definition of a successful career in foreign policy.

Corruption has gotten a sort of bad rap. You have to realize that is coming from the point of view of the people not benefiting from the corruption, so they’re only telling one half of the story.

I plan to teach you destabilization. Sometimes you have to make things worse before you can force people to pay you to make it better.

An amateur nation-builder will arm one side of a conflict. A true professional knows how to arm both — fairly.

I remember after bombing a civilian wedding, thinking that the media is going to have a field day with this. But to my surprise, they were actually quite charitable to our efforts. And that’s when I realized these reciprocal friendships need to be cherished.

Location, oil, drugs, diamonds. These are the telltale signs of a region in need of democracy. You have to look past the death toll to the contracts that were attached to those death tolls.

When I was a kid, I used to bike over to poor neighborhoods and throw smoke bombs into the stairwells of the apartment complexes, sometimes injuring the pets. A man in a suit came up to me, I was just a kid at the time, and he asked if I’d ever heard of nation-building. I said that I haven’t, this was just something I did instinctually at the time.

And I now know that man to be John Bolton.

Some nights, I do have trouble sleeping when I think of the damage we’ve done. I get sort of a giddy, excited feeling, akin to having a caffeinated beverage before bed. And I have to rely on counting drones to calm myself back into a slumber.

Nation-building brings people together from all sides of the aisle. I remember thinking back to summer on the beach, where George Bush, Hillary Clinton, and myself were riding a triple bicycle along the waterfront, and thinking to myself: “Where else could you find this kind of bipartisanship?”

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