British MP, Rory Stewart, has spoken in Parliament of our failure to deeply understand the cultures of the foreign countries we invade, with the consequence that invasion efforts are doomed not to succeed. His view relates to an argument he has put before, about the failure of contemporary international aid organizations and personnel to reckon deeply with the cultures of their host countries, in a manner profoundly worse than that of 19th-century colonial administrators. Colonial administrators may have typically been racist and exploitative, but at least they cared for – and sought to understand – the cultures and languages of the countries they administered, and were prepared to devote their working lives to those countries.
Video here and Hansard Transcript here. (Note that in his speech, Stewart refers to Gordon Brown by name, but the Hansard reporter has recorded this as, “the right hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown)“.)