Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

4 smart perspectives on Afghanistan

I don’t necessarily endorse these “smart perspectives” that Linker recommends, but they make for interesting reading.

By Damon Linker, The Week

If you’re like me, you’ve been frustrated and more than a little irritated by media analysis of recent events in Afghanistan. While on-the-ground reporting has been invaluable, much of it has been couched in highly polemical terms, with journalists flinging around words like “fiasco,” “reckless,” and “calamity,” as if the awfulness of the Biden administration’s policymaking and implementation should be self-evident to all.

Thankfully, others are doing a better job of furthering our understanding of rapidly unfolding events — and, more importantly, of how we got to the present. Here are four of the best recent takes:

Francis Fukuyama’s short essay for American Purpose looks all the way back to the Bonn Conference in late 2001, shortly after the collapse of the Taliban government, for the source of our current problems in the region. That’s when we set a goal of creating a centralized, bureaucratic Afghan state instead of trying “to stabilize the country under a coalition of local warlords and tribal militias.” The latter would have rubbed a lot of Americans the wrong way, but it likely would have been far more effective than the (ultimately doomed) approach we adopted instead.


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