Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War

Overview

The United States and its allies have been fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for a decade in a war that either side could still win. While a gradual drawdown has begun, significant numbers of US combat troops will remain in Afghanistan until at least 2014, perhaps longer, depending on the situation on the ground and the outcome of the US presidential election in 2012. Given the realities of the Taliban's persistence and the desire of US policymakers — and the public — to find a way out, what can ...

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Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War

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Overview

The United States and its allies have been fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for a decade in a war that either side could still win. While a gradual drawdown has begun, significant numbers of US combat troops will remain in Afghanistan until at least 2014, perhaps longer, depending on the situation on the ground and the outcome of the US presidential election in 2012. Given the realities of the Taliban's persistence and the desire of US policymakers — and the public — to find a way out, what can and should be the goals of the US and its allies in Afghanistan?

Afghan Endgames brings together some of the finest minds in the fields of history, strategy, anthropology, ethics, and mass communications to provide a clear, balanced, and comprehensive assessment of the alternatives for restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan. Presenting a range of options — from immediate withdrawal of all coalition forces to the maintenance of an open-ended, but greatly reduced military presence — the contributors weigh the many costs, risks, and benefits of each alternative.

This important book boldly pursues several strands of thought suggesting that a strong, legitimate central government is far from likely to emerge in Kabul; that fewer coalition forces, used in creative ways, may have better effects on the ground than a larger, more conventional presence; and that, even though Pakistan should not be pushed too hard, so as to avoid sparking social chaos there, Afghanistan's other neighbors can and should be encouraged to become more actively involved. The volume's editors conclude that while there may never be complete peace in Afghanistan, a self-sustaining security system able to restore order swiftly in the wake of violence is attainable.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"A thoughtful group of essays that are particularly valuable for presenting a range of views at a critical juncture in the American experience in Afghanistan." — Eliot A. Cohen, Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins University

"At a time when many scholars are thinking of failure in Afghanistan, this book says that the key to success is greater creativity in finding alternative endstates that can serve our interests. That advice could not be more timely. It offers a chance to think afresh. It also offers a new perspective on strategic goal setting for issues still in the future." — Leon Fuerth, former national security advisor to Vice President Al Gore, and research professor of international affairs, The George Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589019089
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2012
  • Series: South Asia in World Affairs Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,275,997
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Hy Rothstein served in the US Army as a Special Forces officer for more than 26 years, spending much of his time training and advising governments threatened by active insurgencies. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Defense Analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Afghanistan and the Troubled Future of Unconventional Warfare. John Arquilla is a professor of defense analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School and is the author of Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Part I: Overview1. Understanding the Afghan Challenge Hy Rothstein and John Arquilla

2. A Familiar Western Experience in Ancient Afghanistan Victor Davis Hanson3. Afghan Paradoxes Thomas Barfield 4. America's Longest War Hy RothsteinPart II: Strategic Alternatives5. A Case for Withdrawal Andrew J. Bacevich6. A Case for Staying the Course Frederick W. Kagan7. Afghanistan: A Third Way Edward N. Luttwak8. Beyond Victory and Defeat Scott Sigmund Gartner and Leo Blanken

Part III: Other Perspectives9. The Ethics of Exit: Moral Obligation in the Afghan Endgame Russell Muirhead 10. Shaping Strategic Communication Robert Reilly11. Civil and Uncivil Society Jade I. Rodriguez and Rebecca Lorentz Part IV: Conclusion12. Conclusion: Assessing the Strategic Alternatives John Arquilla and Hy RothsteinContributorsIndex

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