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The Obama administration should either spend the political capital needed for an actual deal with the Taliban or cut its losses and get all the way out of Afghanistan now. So far, the White House has chosen neither path, opting to muddle through instead.
In Afghanistan, even minimally accountable democracy may soon be beyond reach. If so, some form of constrained warlord rule will be the most that's achievable.
CFR Senior Fellow Stephen Biddle answers questions about the war in Afghanistan.
Since 2001, the West has tried to build a strong centralized government in Afghanistan. But such an approach fits poorly with the country's history and political culture. The most realistic and acceptable alternative models of governance are decentralized democracy and a system of internal mixed sovereignty.
Stephen Biddle and Steven Simon how to ensure stability continues in Iraq in this inaugural Foreign Affairs Live debate.
The situation in Iraq is improving. With the right strategy, the United States will eventually be able to draw down troops without sacrificing stability.
In this special Web-only feature, Stephen Biddle, Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, and Leslie Gelb analyze the report of the Iraq Study Group and debate what should be done in Iraq.
In this special web-only supplement, Christopher Hitchens, Fred Kaplan, Kevin Drum, and Marc Lynch respond to the roundtable, "What to Do in Iraq."
Can anything -- international mediation, regional collaboration, decentralization, or constitutional negotiations -- save Iraq from a full-fledged civil war and the Bush administration from a foreign policy fiasco?
Most discussions of U.S. policy in Iraq assume that it should be informed by the lessons of Vietnam. But the conflict in Iraq today is a communal civil war, not a Maoist "people's war," and so those lessons are not valid. "Iraqization," in particular, is likely to make matters worse, not better.
See also: "What to Do In Iraq: A Roundtable," a debate including Biddle, Larry Diamond, James Dobbins, Chaim Kaufmann, and Leslie H. Gelb.
"What to Do In Iraq: Responses and Discussion," a debate including Biddle, Christopher Hitchens, Fred Kaplan, Marc Lynch, Kevin Drum, and Diamond.
The stunning success of the combination of special operations forces, precision weapons, and indigenous allies in Afghanistan has led some to laud the "Afghan model" as the future of warfare. Others dismiss it as an anomalous product of local circumstances. but neither position is wholly correct. On closer inspection, the conduct of the war was not as revolutionary as people think.
What happened in Kosovo, and what lessons can be learned from it? Three new books examine the conflict and its influence on how America fights. But as scholars debate the recent past, the new war on terror may rewrite military textbooks once again.