Foreign Policy Blogs

Great Decisions for Afghanistan

Last night I led my local Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decision discussion group on the Afghanistan/Pakistan conflict.  My presentation largely stemmed from FPA’s Great Decision article written by Afghan expert and US government consultant on Afghanistan, Barnett R. Rubin, and an accompanying video debating the key issues of the conflict.

707956I strongly recommend getting the FPA’s Great Decisions’ briefing book featuring Rubin’s article, along with articles covering energy, Cuba, Arctic geopolitics, Egypt, and the global food crisis.  Rubin’s article covers the history of the region, regional politics and relations (including Iran), terrorist elements involved in the conflict, and concludes with policy recommendations for both Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The best aspect of Rubin’s piece is his focus on Pakistan’s insecurity, both with an Indian strategic ally in Afghanistan (therefore ‘pinching’ Islamabad) and with domestic extremism and weak governance.  In terms of Afghan policy, Rubin stresses building up the legitimacy of the Afghan state and the expansion of the Afghan army and police numbers and capabilities.  Neither of these are new ideas, but both necessary for progress in the country.

Read the article, watch the 20 minute video, and let us know what you think.

Rubin and FPA also have a useful Recommended Readings section.