Vortex of Conflict: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq

Vortex of Conflict: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq

Vortex of Conflict: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq

Vortex of Conflict: U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq


More than two million Americans have now served in Afghanistan or Iraq; more than 5,000 Americans have been killed; and more than 35,000 have been grievously wounded. The war in Afghanistan has become America's longest war. Despite these facts, most Americans do not understand the background of, or reasons for, the United States' involvement in these two wars.

Utilizing an impressive array of primary and secondary sources, author Dan Caldwell describes and makes sense of the relevant historical, political, cultural, and ideological, elements related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps most importantly, he demonstrates how they are interrelated in a number of important ways.

Beginning with a description of the history of the two conflicts within the context of U. S. policies toward Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan- because American policy toward terrorism and Afghanistan cannot be understood without some consideration of Pakistan- he outlines and analyzes the major issues of the two wars. These include intelligence quality, war plans, postwar reconstruction, inter-agency policymaking, U. S. relations with allies, and the shift from a conventional to counterinsurgency strategy. He concludes by capturing the lessons learned from these two conflicts and points to their application in future conflict.

Vortex of Conflict is the first, accessible, one-volume resource for anyone who wishes to understand why and how the U. S. became involved in these two wars- and in the affairs of Pakistan- concurrently. It will stand as the comprehensive reference work for general readers seeking a road map to the conflicts, for students looking for analysis and elucidation of the relevant data, and for veterans and their families seeking to better understand their own experience.


It is always difficult to evaluate the legacies, lessons, and implications of the wars in which the United States has been involved, and for a number of reasons this is even more difficult with the wars on terrorism and in Afghanistan and Iraq. In many ways, World War I set the stage for the ensuing drama of the twentieth century; the empires of the Romanovs in Russia, the Hohenzollerns in Prussia, the Ottomans in Turkey, and the Habsburgs of Austria-Hungary were destroyed by the war, and new technologies—the “revolution of military affairs” of that day—both prolonged the war and made it more devastating than previous wars. The conclusion of the war halted the fighting and killing, but it did not bring peace to the world. Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to establish a new system and organization for managing power in international relations, the League of Nations, faltered and ultimately failed due in part to the refusal of the United States to join the new international organization.

The vindictive peace treaty following World War I contributed to the onset of the worldwide depression and the crippling of the international economy and the rise of hyperinflation, which, in turn, increased the desperation that led the people of one of the most advanced countries in the world, Germany, to turn to a marginally sane, racist megalomaniac, Adolf Hitler. The “second Thirty Years War” (1914–45) ended with the detonation of the most destructive weapons ever invented over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the shadow of the nuclear mushroom clouds, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence was developed which, contrary to the predictions of many, resulted in the “long peace” of the cold war. Nuclear deterrence was supplemented by the farsighted programs of the Marshall Plan, which enabled the victorious and vanquished countries of Europe to rebuild and develop, contributing to the cohesion and stability of the Western alliance of democratic, capitalist states.

For more than four decades, the cold war between the United States and the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.