Afghanistan from the Cold War through the War on Terror

Afghanistan from the Cold War through the War on Terror

by Barnett R. Rubin
     
 

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One of our foremost authorities on modern Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin has dedicated much of his career to the study of this remote mountain country. He served as a special advisor to the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke during his final mission to the region and still serves the Obama administration under Holbrooke's successor, Ambassador Marc Grossman.

Now

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Overview


One of our foremost authorities on modern Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin has dedicated much of his career to the study of this remote mountain country. He served as a special advisor to the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke during his final mission to the region and still serves the Obama administration under Holbrooke's successor, Ambassador Marc Grossman.

Now Rubin distills his unmatched knowledge of Afghanistan in this invaluable book. He shows how the Taliban arose in resistance to warlords some of whom who were raping and plundering with impunity in the vacuum of authority left by the collapse of the Afghan state after the Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban built on a centuries-old tradition of local leadership by students and teachers at independent, rural madrasas--networks that had been marginalized by the state-building royal regime that was itself destroyed by the Soviets and radicalized by the resistance to the invasion. He examines the arrival of Arab Islamists, the missed opportunities after the American-led intervention, the role of Pakistan, and the challenges of reconstruction. Rubin provides first-hand accounts of the bargaining at both the Bonn Talks of 2001 and the Afghan Constitutional Loya Jirga of 2003-2004, in both of which he participated as a UN advisor. Throughout, he discusses the significance of ethnic rivalries, the drug trade, human rights, state-building, US strategic choices, and international organizations, analyzing the missteps in these areas taken by the international community since 2001. The book covers events till the start of the Obama administration, and the final chapters provide an inside look at some of the thinking that is shaping today's policy debates inside the administration.

Authoritative, nuanced, and sweeping in scope, Afghanistan in the Post-Cold War Era provides deep insight into the greatest foreign policy challenge facing America today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A longtime policy wonk and adviser to the U.N. and the U.S., Rubin spent decades deliberating upon best practices for saving Afghanistan from its chronic tribulations. His sustained analyses and advocacy are compiled here, addressing a time frame from the late 1980s to the start of the Obama administration. Rubin makes important points along the way
. . . Rubin's work serves as a timely codicil, if not a coda, to a war winding down, and will interest pundits and academics alike." --Publishers Weekly

"With decision time on Afghanistan now at hand, it is a good moment to reflect on what has gone wrong, and on the historical mistakes that should not be repeated. This is one of the many themes in an important new book by Barnett Rubin, the great American scholar and veteran of all things Afghanistan . . . I consider [Rubin] to be the inheritor of the mantle of the American scholar Louis Dupree, whose groundbreaking book Afghanistan, which appeared in 1973, and long sojourn in that country with his equally famous wife Nancy Dupree, made him the dean of scholars and reporters alike for two generations."
--Ahmed Rashid, The New Republic

"[C]rucial to an understanding of Afghanistan, the flaws of the Western project there, the enemies we are facing, and therefore of possible future policies . . . Barnett Rubin, senior advisor to the US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the first Obama term, has been consistently among the wisest and most sensible of US expert voice on Afghanistan." --Anatol Lieven, New York Review of Books

"After decades of violent conflict, the path to a peaceful and prosperous future is fraught with difficulties; Afghanistan from the Cold war to the War on Terror provides a frank, insightful account of the challenges the country faces; as well as its rich history, and enormous potential." --Kofi Annan

"For over fifteen years, Barnett Rubin has been a source for me of deeply informed and concerned advice on how we international actors might help Afghans and their neighbors find a way to live with each other with dignity and without bloodshed. This book illuminates how hard we tried, and how, so far, we have fallen short." --Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Envoy of the UK and Arab League to Syria, and Former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Iraq

"If published a decade ago, the insights in Barney Rubin's book could have prevented the Americanization of the war in Afghanistan. His words are steeped in that quixotic country." -
-Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former New York Times columnist

Publishers Weekly
A longtime policy wonk and adviser to the U.N. and the U.S., Rubin spent decades deliberating upon best practices for saving Afghanistan from its chronic tribulations. His sustained analyses and advocacy are compiled here, addressing a time frame from the late 1980s to the start of the Obama administration. Rubin makes important points along the way, including the need for statecraft objectives to be matched by adequate resources to achieve them, and the predictable dangers inherent in a border region as “underdeveloped and overarmed” as the ambiguously defined Afghan-Pakistani frontier. Praised by a colleague as a “voice for reconciliation,” Rubin hopes that America can “negotiate with the Taliban,” a wish that evinces his steadfast belief that violent fanatics can be dissuaded from extremism through diplomacy or pressure tactics. The book’s time period excludes recent events as crucial as Osama bin Laden’s assassination and the likelihood of Pakistan’s complicity in harboring him, the enhanced drone campaign of the Obama administration, and Obama’s determination to withdraw from this exhausting theater of war by 2014. Nevertheless, Rubin’s work serves as a timely codicil, if not a coda, to a war winding down, and will interest pundits and academics alike. (Feb.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780190229276
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/01/2015
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
1,180,332
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Barnett R. Rubin is Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. His books include Blood on the Doorstep: The Politics of Preventive Action, The Fragmentation of Afghanistan, and The Search for Peace in Afghanistan.

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