In This Review

Afghan Alternatives: Issues, Options, and Policies
Afghan Alternatives: Issues, Options, and Policies
Edited by Ralph H. Magnus
Transaction Books, 1985, 221 pp

This is a very useful collection of papers and discussion on Afghanistan. Jiri Valenta suggests that the Soviets have three options: continuation of the present limited, protracted commitment hoping for a long-term military solution; a large-scale military escalation; or a "Finlandization" style of negotiated withdrawal with security guarantees but without the continuation of a Leninist regime in Kabul. He favors a two-track Western policy of increased military aid to the resistance coupled with serious diplomatic overtures to the Soviets to try to bring about a "Finlandized" Afghanistan, the best outcome the West can hope for under present circumstances. In another good essay, Noor Husain, director of Pakistan's Institute for Strategic Studies, observes that Pakistan confronts a "megacrisis." It is situated at the geopolitical crossroads of central, south and west Asia, in close proximity to three nuclear powers and next to the highly inflammable Persian Gulf. On its western borders there have been conflicts involving the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the PLO and the peacekeeping forces of the West. He sees South Asia as the key to control of the Gulf.