Green, who served in Uruzgan from 2005 to 2006 as a U.S. Department of State political adviser to a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), reveals how unrealistic expectations, a superficial understanding of the Afghans, and a lack of resources contributed to the Taliban’s resurgence in the area. He discusses the PRT’s good-governance efforts, its reconstruction and development projects, the violence of the insurgency, and the PRT’s attempts to manage its complex relationship with the local warlord cum governor of the province.
Upon returning to Afghanistan in 2009 with the U.S. military and while working at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul until 2010, Green discovered that although many improvements had been made since he had last served in the country, the problems he had experienced in Uruzgan continued despite the transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.
Distilling eleven years of expert reporting for the New York Times, Reuters, and the Atlantic, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde presents an incisive look at the calamitous privatization of the war on terror. Beyond War is a clarion call for change in American policies and attitudes toward a rapidly changing Middle East. Rohde argues that using lethal force is necessary at times, but economic growth and Muslim moderates —not American soldiers—will eradicate militancy in the long term. Vast mistakes have been made, but it is not too late. By scaling back our ambitions, focusing on economics and working with Muslim moderates, we will achieve more.
America’s goals in Afghanistan were lofty to begin with: dismantle al Qaeda, remove the Taliban from power, remake the country into a democracy. But not only did the mission come completely unmoored from reality, the United States wasted billions of dollars, and thousands of lives were lost. Our Latest Longest War is a chronicle of how, why, and in what ways the war in Afghanistan failed. Edited by historian and Marine lieutenant colonel Aaron B. O’Connell, the essays collected here represent nine different perspectives on the war—all from veterans of the conflict, both American and Afghan. Together, they paint a picture of a war in which problems of culture and an unbridgeable rural-urban divide derailed nearly every field of endeavor. The authors also draw troubling parallels to the Vietnam War, arguing that deep-running ideological currents in American life explain why the US government has repeatedly used armed nation-building to try to transform failing states into modern, liberal democracies. In Afghanistan, as in Vietnam, this created a dramatic mismatch of means and ends that neither money, technology, nor the force of arms could overcome.
The war in Afghanistan has been the longest in US history, and in many ways, the most confounding. Few who fought in it think it has been worthwhile. These are difficult topics for any American or Afghan to consider, especially those who lost friends or family in it. This sobering history—written by the very people who have been fighting the war—is impossible to ignore.
After a brief introduction to the history of diplomacy, Jones follows the changes wrought in the service by the intense political and social pressures of the nineteenth century. Against the background of the growth of the Victorian Civil Service and the emergence of Great Britain as a world power in the age of the Pax Britannica, Jones traces the demise of the family embassy, and of a diplomacy deeply rooted in patronage, and the corresponding development of the professional, bureaucratic elite of the Edwardian era.
In case studies of the Near Eastern crisis of 1839-41, the Mason Sliddell Affair of the American Civil War, and the Dogger Bank Crisis of 1904, the volume sets forth the working environment of an embassy, both before and after the communications revolution following upon the introduction of the telegraph. Also examined are the social structures of the unreformed diplomatic service and the later, professional service.
The volume will be of interest to historians of diplomacy and foreign policy, to political scientists, and to students of social change.