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The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Author: Nick Turse
Publisher: Verso Books
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In a collection of essays that argue against President Obama's policy in Afghanistan, leading analysts examine the current U.S. strategy and offer sobering conclusions about its parallels to the British and Soviet wars in the region and reasons why it is so unlikely to succeed. Original.


Hearts and Minds

Author: Hannah Gurman
Publisher: The New Press
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The first book of its kind, Hearts and Minds is a scathing response to the grand narrative of U.S. counterinsurgency, in which warfare is defined not by military might alone but by winning the "hearts and minds" of civilians. Dormant as a tactic since the days of the Vietnam War, in 2006 the U.S. Army drafted a new field manual heralding the resurrection of counterinsurgency as a primary military engagement strategy; counterinsurgency campaigns followed in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that counterinsurgency had utterly failed to account for the actual lived experiences of the people whose hearts and minds America had sought to win. Drawing on leading thinkers in the field and using key examples from Malaya, the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Hearts and Minds brings a long-overdue focus on the many civilians caught up in these conflicts. Both urgent and timely, this important book challenges the idea of a neat divide between insurgents and the populations from which they emerge—and should be required reading for anyone engaged in the most important contemporary debates over U.S. military policy.


Ghosts of Afghanistan

Author: Jonathan Steele
Publisher: Catapult
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“Fine modern history . . . [Steele] demolishes some Western myths about Afghanistan that betray short memories and government spin.” —The Economist A masterful blend of graphic reporting, illuminating interviews, and insightful analysis. Ghosts of Afghanistan is the first account of Afghanistan’s turbulent recent history by an independent eyewitness. Jonathan Steele, an award-winning journalist and commentator, has covered the country since his first visit there as a reporter in 1981. In Ghosts of Afghanistan, he turns a spotlight on the numerous myths about Afghanistan that have bedeviled foreign policy-makers and driven them to repeat earlier mistakes. Steele has conducted numerous interviews with ordinary Afghans, two of the country’s Communist presidents, senior Soviet occupation officials, as well as Taliban leaders, Western diplomats, NATO advisers, and United Nations negotiators. Steele cautions that military victory will elude the West just as it eluded the Kremlin. Showing how and why Soviet efforts to negotiate an end to the war came to nothing, he explains how negotiations today could put a stop to the tragedies of civil war and foreign intervention that have afflicted Afghanistan for three decades. “In this original look at the West’s obsession with Afghanistan the ghosts include, of course, the inevitable innocents who fall in war but also the public myths, official lies and inconvenient truths that lie behind so much of the bloodshed there.” —Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker “Steele has covered events in Afghanistan for many years, and he skewers with palpable glee the myths and half-truths that are peddled by politicians, generals, official spokesmen, and too many commentators.” —The Observer


Withdrawing Under Fire

Author: Joshua L. Gleis
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
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The post-9/11 world has witnessed a rebirth of irregular and asymmetrical warfare, which, in turn, has led to an increase in conflicts between conventional armies and non-state armed groups. In their haste to respond to the threat from insurgencies, nations often fail to plan effectively not only for combat operations but also for withdrawal, which is inevitable, win or lose. In order to answer the question of how to withdraw from engagement with an insurgency, Gleis examines how insurgencies are conducted and what, if anything, is unique about an Islamist insurgency. He then proposes ways to combat these groups successfully and to disentangle one’s military forces from the war once strategic objectives have been met--or once it is clear that they cannot be. Because this type of warfare is dynamic and ever-changing, this book is not meant to suggest a set of cookie-cutter solutions for how to withdraw from insurgencies. Rather, the author analyzes six counterinsurgency operations that have taken place in the past, with the intention of gleaning from them as many lessons as possible to better prepare for future withdrawals.The literature on how wars end has failed to explore irregular warfare.This much needed reexamination serves as an indispensable starting point.


The Case for Socialism Updated Edition

Author: Alan Maass
Publisher: Haymarket Books
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Is socialism an impossible, discredited dream or the only realistic path for human survival? If you're not sure of the answer, or are just curious about what the Left really believes in, you need to read Maass. He's the Tom Paine of the contemporary American left." --Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums "This is a vivid, fluent and rare book about socialism for those uninterested in tracts and excited by new prospects." --John Pilger, author of Freedom Next Time Growing numbers of people are disgusted by the disaster of poverty, war, oppression, and environmental destruction caused by global capitalism. But is there an alternative? Author Alan Maass argues that socialism—a democratically planned economy based on workers’ control—is rational, necessary, and possible. With an afterword by Howard Zinn. Alan Maass is the editor of the website SocialistWorker.org.


The War for Afghanistan A Very Brief History

Author: Thomas Barfield
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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When it invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the United States sought to do something previous foreign powers had never attempted: to create an Afghani state where none existed. More than a decade on, the new regime in Kabul remains plagued by illegitimacy and ineffectiveness. What happened? As Thomas Barfield shows, the history of previous efforts to build governments in Afghanistan does much to explain the difficulties besetting this newest experiment. Princeton Shorts are brief selections taken from influential Princeton University Press books and produced exclusively in ebook format. Providing unmatched insight into important contemporary issues or timeless passages from classic works of the past, Princeton Shorts enable you to be an instant expert in a world where information is everywhere but quality is at a premium.


Changing Course

Author: Sarah E. Mendelson
Publisher: Princeton University Press
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Soviet foreign policy changed dramatically in the 1980s. The shift, bitterly resisted by the country's foreign policy traditionalists, ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. In Changing Course, Sarah Mendelson demonstrates that interpretations that stress the impact of the international system, and particularly of U.S. foreign policy, or that focus on the role of ideas or politics alone, fail to explain the contingent process of change. Mendelson tells a story of internal battles where "misfit" ideas--ones that severely challenged the status quo--were turned into policies. She draws on firsthand interviews with those who ran Soviet foreign policy and the war in Afghanistan and on recently declassified material from Soviet archives to show that both ideas and political strategies were needed to make reform happen. Focusing on the Soviet decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, Mendelson details the strategies used by the Gorbachev coalition to shift the internal balance of power in favor of constituencies pushing new ideas--mutual security, for example--while undermining the power of old constituencies resistant to change. The interactive dynamic between ideas and politics that she identifies in the case of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan is fundamental to understanding other shifts in Soviet foreign policy and the end of the Cold War. Her exclusive interviews with the foreign policy elite also offer a unique glimpse of the inner workings of the former Soviet power structure. Originally published in 1998. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


The Reckoning Debt Democracy and the Future of American Power

Author: Michael Moran
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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A leading forecaster of economic and political trends takes a sharp look at the decline of American influence in the world, and how it can prepare for the new reality. The age of American global dominance is ending. Today, a host of forces are converging to challenge its cherished notion of exceptionalism, and risky economic and foreign policies have steadily eroded the power structure in place since the Cold War. Staggering under a huge burden of debt, the country must make some tough choices—or cede sovereignty to its creditors. In The Reckoning, Michael Moran, geostrategy analyst explores the challenges ahead -- and what, if anything, can be prevent chaos as America loses its perch at the top of the mountain. Covering developments like unprecedented information technologies, the growing prosperity of China, India, Brazil, and Turkey, and the diminished importance of Wall Street in the face of global markets, Moran warns that the coming shift will have serious consequences not just for the United States, but for the wider world. Countries that have traditionally depended on the United States for protection and global stability will have to fend for themselves. Moran describes how, with a bit of wise leadership, America can transition to this new world order gracefully—by managing entitlements, reigniting sustainable growth, reforming immigration policy, launching new regional dialogues that bring friend and rival together in cooperative multinational structures, and breaking the poisonous deadlock in Washington. If not, he warns, history won't wait.


Dominoes and Bandwagons

Author: Robert Jervis
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Fearing the loss of Korea and Vietnam would touch off a chain reaction of other countries turning communist, the United States fought two major wars in the hinterlands of Asia. What accounts for such exaggerated alarm, and what were its consequences? Is a fear of the domino effect permanently rooted in the American strategic psyche, or has the United States now adopted a less alarmist approach? The essays in this book address these questions by examining domino thinking in United States and Soviet Cold War strategy, and in earlier historic settings. Combining theory and history in analyzing issues relevant to current public policy, Dominoes and Bandwagons examines the extent to which domino fears were a rational response, a psychological reaction, or a tactic in domestic politics.


Endgame for the West in Afghanistan

Author: Charles Arthur Miller
Publisher: Strategic Studies Institute
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Analyses of the War in Afghanistan frequently mention the declining or shaky domestic support for the conflict in the United States and among several U.S. allies. This paper dates the beginning of this decline back to the resurgence of the Taliban in 2005-06 and suggests that the deteriorating course of the war on the ground in Afghanistan itself along with mounting casualties is the key reason behind this drop in domestic support for the war.