Academic journal article Military Review

Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War

Academic journal article Military Review

Afghan Endgames: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War

Article excerpt

AFGHAN ENDGAMES: Strategy and Policy Choices for America's Longest War

Hy Rothstein and John Arquilla, editors, Georgetown University Press, Washington, DC, 2012, 229 pages, $29.95

Afghan Endgames is a presentation of original thought by a notable team of scholars, coming by an unusual academic path. The book was guided by editors from the Naval Postgraduate School as an outgrowth of a research project funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, but published by Georgetown University Press. It is not a predictable solution to the problem of Afghanistan, but is still a relevant one, even given the announcements of initial decisions regarding post-2014 troop strength and strategy. The independence and originality of thought in the book lead to an innovative combination of recommendations for the endgame in Afghanistan.

Editors Hy Rothstein and John Arquilla assembled some recognizable names to complete this study: Andrew J. Bacevich, Victor Davis Hanson, Frederick W. Kagan, and Edward N. Luttwak, a balanced array of current national security commentators from across the spectrum. The volume divides into four major parts: an overview of the current situation in Afghanistan, a discussion of strategic alternatives, a section on alternative perspectives (which contains the most original ideas in the volume), and a conclusion by the editors, which draws the several strands together.

The arguments that stand out among the eleven original essays are the importance of the local solution, rather than a central government, to long-term success in the NATO coalition effort, and the many impediments to building a solution from the top down, or from the outside. …

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