Academic journal article Military Review

NATO in Afghanistan: The Liberal Disconnect

Academic journal article Military Review

NATO in Afghanistan: The Liberal Disconnect

Article excerpt


The Liberal Disconnect

Sten Rynning, Stanford University Press

Redwood City, CA, 2012, 288 pages, $25.95

OTHER NATO-MEMBERARMED forces have been in Afghanistan almost as long as the U.S. armed forces have and NATO, as an organization, has been in Afghanistan as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) lead since 11 August 2003. What has NATO done well, what has it done poorly, and is regional NATO the best organization to settle a conflict in an out-of-region remote locale? Dr. Sten Rynning, who has written extensively about NATO strategic issues, examines these issues and produces a detailed political and diplomatic account of NATO in Afghanistan that is also an examination of NATO's future.

NATO in Afghanistan: The Liberal Disconnect is more a diplomatic and political history than it is a military history. Fighting a war as an alliance is never easy and, despite the dominant roles of the United States and Great Britain, the conduct of the Afghanistan Conflict has been a thorny one for NATO. NATO-liberal governments initially expected that NATO would provide Afghanistan with a benevolent transition to democracy and a thriving economy with little fighting, whereas the ground truth has been a long, hard campaign dominated by military actions, not nationbuilding. Several NATO militaries arrived in Afghanistan prepared to do anything but fight. After initial entry, U.S. action and interest in Afghanistan waned as the bulk of its personnel and material shifted into Iraq. Consequently, NATO's initial performance was not stellar and the enemy regained some of its strength, support, and territory. …

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