The Fallacy of Choosing Favorites in Afghanistan

July 10, 2012 by

Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution has written a piece in the Washington Post “Picking a Winner in Afghanistan” that argues that whoever replaces Karzai in 2014 will prove to be as important in holding the country together as whether a return of the Taliban and Al Qaeda can be prevented. O’Hanlon takes the position that the United States should in essence help facilitate selection of the next Afghan president once Karzai’s second term ends, and do whatever it can to encourage the election of a reformer.

Damned by Riches: How Afghanistan’s Mineral Wealth Undermines NATO Mission

June 27, 2012 by

It is like something out of a movie: deep in the archives of a war torn country a team of intrepid scientists discovers forgotten maps leading to buried treasure. Fantastical as it seems, such a scene played out in 2004 when American geologists found a cache of charts in the Afghan Geological Survey’s library dating from the days of Soviet occupation. Returned to the library after the NATO invasion, these Russian charts were protected in geologists’ homes through the tumultuous 1990s’ and for good reason.

Libya’s Next Fight: Overcoming Western Designs

August 31, 2011 by

At a press conference in Tripoli on Aug. 26, a statement read aloud by top Libyan rebel commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj was reassuring. Just a few months ago, disorganized and leaderless rebel fighters seemed to have little chance at ousting Libyan dictator Moammar Ghaddafi and his unruly sons. But despite vague references to “pockets of resistance” throughout Tripoli, and stiffer battles elsewhere, Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is moving forward to extend its rule as the caretaker of Libyan affairs.

NATO: Everything to Everyone

August 29, 2011 by

The Libyan intervention has severely tested NATO’s operational capacity and the alliance itself. NATO’s continued involvement in Afghanistan and its subtle involvement in a number of theaters around the globe does beg the question of whether NATO has succumbed to mission creep. Furthermore, the mere fact that NATO has field operations throughout Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans, implies an international organization that literally defines its role in the world as international. NATO’s strength is that its makeup is homogeneous and its members more or less pursue the same grand strategies and goals. This is not to suggest that its members fall in line behind and support, without reservation, any potential operation.