Month: October 2008

Readings of Note

I don’t normally do this, but it’s been a slow week here, and these are exceptionally relevant pieces. I started off the morning coffee-reading with Cass Sunstein’s review of Marc Sageman’s latest book in The New Republic. I only recently began paying attention to Sunstein – since he stole my woman married Samantha Power – but he’s got a few interesting observations to make, so worth noting even without the celebrity-intellectual-coupling angle. So go take a look at that. More substantially, find listed below some of the latest refereed journal articles that I think address some important questions.

BBC’s David Loyn on Intervention in Afghanistan

When it comes to Afghanistan, and Western involvement in it, expressions like “we told you so” and “we’ve been through this before” seem a lot less trite and churlish today than they might have a few short years ago. Of course, a few short years ago, things were not quite what they are now, and while a short and sharp military operation in 2001-2002 to smash Al Qaeda‘s Ansars and their Taliban sponsors felt epic and righteous, the slow slog of the subsequent counterinsurgency mission holds much less appeal. For a time, it looked like everyone understood the generational investment in troops, resources, and political will needed to secure, hold, and democratize Afghanistan. That still holds, but the idea that a single generation might do the trick is held as little more than eyewash. With this, the interventionism of the post-Cold War era may have had its hopeful (or pragmatic, depending on where your partisan sympathies lie) bubble rudely popped.