Weinberger’s account of the 21 st -century DAPRA is highly critical of its “inability to contribute to the ongoing military operations with usable technology.” However, much as the agency failed in Afghanistan and Iraq, so too did it accomplish little in Vietnam. Still, it was the Vietnam War that inspired cutting-edge projects that eventually made for the high-tech weapons driving the contemporary, so-called revolution in military affairs . DARPA’s greatest advantage is its ability to think far ahead, beyond the narrow interests of the present, and project innovations into the future. It takes time before the seeds of creativity produce the ripe fruits of transformative advancements. So, short-run outcomes shouldn’t prevail over long-term game-changing solutions.
Empress Dowager Cixi was also acutely aware of the tensions that had arisen as a result of the growing influence of regional Chinese leaders: from 1861 to 1890, almost half of the governors general were Chinese who had risen through military command. Regionalism became even stronger because modernization projects were spearheaded by these regional officials. Modernization projects like arsenals and industries increased the influence of regional officials such as Li Hongzhang, Zeng Guofan, and Zuo Zongtang . Qing imperial rule was thus dependent on the loyalty of regional officials. The Empress Dowager thus had to cooperate with these regional leaders initially but her strong influence over these regional leaders continued to determine the success or failure of modernization efforts.