For most of Western history, Sitaraman argues, constitutional thinkers assumed economic inequality was inevitable and inescapable - and they designed governments to prevent class divisions from spilling over into class warfare. The American Constitution is different. Compared to Europe and the ancient world, America was a society of almost unprecedented economic equality, and the founding generation saw this equality as essential for the preservation of America's republic.
Since the "surge" in Iraq in 2006, counterinsurgency effectively became America's dominant approach for fighting wars. Yet many of the major controversies and debates surrounding counterinsurgency have turned not on military questions but on legal ones: Who can the military attack with drones? Is the occupation of Iraq legitimate? What tradeoffs should the military make between self-protection and civilian casualties? What is the right framework for negotiating with the Taliban? How can we build the rule of law in Afghanistan?
The founders knew that economic inequality would destroy America’s democracy. So why can’t the constitution save us?