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  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In most parts of the world, the lines on maps separating countries are true borders. That is, they are controlled by the governments on one or both sides. But in some places, they remain the quasi-open frontiers they were in the past or have reemerged as such because of recent political changes; those borders are highly porous zones, where people and goods can move more or less freely in one or both directions without much regard to the powers that be. Such situations invite outside involvement that can ramp up quickly and disturb preexisting international arrangements. One poignant example is the adjoining border area shared by Tajikistan and Afghanistan. In recent years, that frontier has attracted attention because of the danger that Islamist militants from Afghanistan could cross it to move north into Tajikistan and beyond. But another danger is emerging: China is establishing increasing control over Tajikistan and, thus, is putting itself in a position to project power southward from Tajikistan into Afghanistan. If Beijing does so, that could fundamentally change the security situation and geopolitical balance in Central and South Asia as a whole.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Borders
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner, Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Taking advantage of the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, Russia intends to strengthen its influence in that country by increasing contacts with the Afghan government and the Taliban. The aim is to become a key mediator in the peace process, which will enable it to influence the participants, increase control over the situation in Afghanistan, and use it in relations with the countries of the region. Russia’s policy may make the stabilisation of Afghanistan more difficult and undermine the effects of the efforts made by NATO countries during the stabilisation mission.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, South Asia, Eurasia
  • Author: Ibrahim Karatas
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Institution: Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ)
  • Abstract: When the United States was hit by al-Qaida's terrorist attack on 11 September 2001 (hereafter 9/11 attacks), not only Americans but the whole world was shocked: The world’s only superpower was attacked at home and had lost more than three thousand people. To take revenge for the attack as well as to prevent new ones, the Bush administration decided to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, which they claimed were sheltering and supporting al-Qaida. Afghanistan was invaded on 7 October 2001 because the US wanted (1) to eliminate Osama bin Laden (the mastermind of 9/11) and al-Qaida; (2) to remove the Taliban group from power and bring stability to Afghanistan by creating a democratic and peaceful state.[1] The US Army subsequently invaded Iraq in 2003, claiming that Saddam Hussain was supporting terrorism and producing chemical weapons. There were also allegations that the Hussain regime was behind the 9/11 attacks, but it was never proven. The US eventually removed both Taliban and Saddam Hussain from power and captured Hussain, who was later judged and executed by the new Iraqi government on 30 December 2006. US special forces killed Laden on 2 May 2011. As of today, the US has killed its two archenemies and changed regimes allegedly supporting terrorism in both Afghanistan and Iraq, yet could not bring stability. What is more, the remaining US troops are preparing to leave the two countries. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is in better condition than the pre-invasion era as both states have failed, lack a strong authority, and cannot !ght terrorism. In Afghanistan, the Taliban was the enemy to be removed, however the US’s recent agreement with the organization has paved the way for re-control of the country by the group. On the other hand, Iraq has become a land of widespread terrorism, and the country is more divided than before, not mentioning Iranian in"uence on Baghdad. Based on the current situation, my arguments are that (1) the US is about to make the same mistake it did in Vietnam, and (2) Afghanistan and Iraq might again become the hub of terrorist organizations as well as regional rivalries. Although I do not approve of the US invasions, as Afghanistan and Iraq saw the worse with its invasion, these countries will face the worst with the US’s withdrawal.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, War on Terror, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Alexander B. Downes
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: The rapid-fire overthrow of the theocratic Taliban regime in Afghanistan (2001) and Saddam Hussein’s Baathist dictatorship in Iraq (2003) by the United States—and the disastrous aftermaths of those and other recent interventions (such as the ouster of Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011)— has sparked popular and scholarly interest in the causes and consequences of foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC). One of the enduring puzzles about FIRCs is that, as highlighted in Melissa Willard-Foster’s terrific book Toppling Foreign Governments, three-quarters of them are carried out by great powers against minor powers in situations of extreme power asymmetry. “Though this asymmetry of power makes an imposed change feasible,” writes Willard-Foster, a political scientist at the University of Vermont, “it should also make that change unnecessary” because “militarily weak leaders who are bereft of allies should back down when confronted by stronger states” (pp. 2–3). The 133 regime changes in Willard-Foster’s study, however, testify that the weak regularly defy the strong—and pay the price for it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Regime Change, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: China has embarked on a grand journey west. Officials in Beijing are driven by aspirations of leadership across their home continent of Asia, feelings of being hemmed in on their eastern flank by U.S. alliances, and their perception that opportunities await across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean. Along the way, their first stop is South Asia, which this report defines as comprising eight countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—along with the Indian Ocean (particularly the eastern portions but with implications for its entirety). China’s ties to the region are long-standing and date back well before the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Alliance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The United States dramatically increased the commitment of troops and military equipment to a string of permanent bases in the Middle East after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the defeat of the Iraqi army after its 1991 invasion of Kuwait. In the nearly two decades since the Al Qaeda-linked attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States has deepened its military and political commitment to the region, following the decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and then to intervene militarily in Syria. The Barack Obama and Donald Trump administrations have sought to focus more on Asia, but have failed to disentangle the United States from conflicts in the Middle East. This report assumes that the United States will retain an overwhelming interest in ensuring close alliances and partnerships with America’s transatlantic allies (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and close partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific even if President Trump is re-elected in 2020. It also assumes that the United States will begin to focus primarily on Asia, with the Russian Federation being considered of secondary importance to the rise of the People’s Republic of China. Given these twin assumptions, the role of American forces and Washington’s policy priorities in the Middle East require new thinking about how to wind down wars that are draining American resources and to re-allocate finite, high-demand assets that could be leveraged for operations in Europe or the Indo-Pacific. This report proposes an interlinked political and military policy that would allow for the United States to retain a robust presence in the Middle East, but in a way that would de-escalate tensions with the Islamic Republic of Iran, and alter how U.S. forces are deployed around the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Power Politics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Marvin G. Weinbaum, Saad Mohseni, Anthony H. Cordesman, Muqaddesa Yourish, David Sedney, Ali Jalali
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The future of Afghanistan’s constitutionally liberal democratic system is very much at issue. On its survival rests the aspiration of the greatest number of its people, the deep investment of the international community in the country’s stability and wellbeing, and ultimately the security of the region and beyond. Negotiations are beginning in what is certain to be a lengthy process that may in the name of a compromise trade away social and economic gains realized over nearly two decades. Afghanistan has additionally to cope with the disengagement of foreign forces just at a time when their leverage militarily and diplomatically could be critical. In the absence of a verifiable ceasefire, the country confronts a prospect of exploding violence and possible descent into chaos. Can Afghanistan pull itself together to not only protect its achievements but to overcome past errors? Should Afghans and their international partners think about formulating a Plan B to save the republic while striving for true reconciliation with the insurgency? The Middle East Institute is pleased to host a panel of experts to discuss these questions and more.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Political stability, Domestic politics, Violence
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States of America
  • Author: Sharifullah Dorani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: Students of International Relations (IR) and Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA) have been confused as to what factors influence foreign policy. FPA focuses mostly on human decision-makers. However, generally speaking, IR theories, realism in particular, instead have focused mostly on the nation-state as the level of analysis to explain foreign policy or foreign policy behaviour. Both fields have found shortcomings within each other. The author of this article, however, applied a number of decision-making approaches from FPA to inform his study of George W. Bush, Barrack Obama and Donald Trump Administrations’ decision-making towards Afghanistan and the broader region and found the discipline of FPA to be extremely helpful. Based on the personal experience of the author, this article attempts to provide a comprehensive introduction to FPA with the aim that students of IR and FPA learn answers to the following questions: What is FPA? How is FPA different from IR? How can decision- making approaches from FPA be employed to inform a foreign policy choice? What (and how) methods can be used to access primary and secondary sources? What are the weaknesses of FPA and is it applicable as an analytical framework outside of the United States (US) or the West (in a country like Afghanistan)? The main objective is to make it easier for students to learn how to apply approaches from FPA as analytical frameworks to analyse a foreign policy decision.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Leadership, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dayyab Gillani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The following paper attempts to analyze the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan by critically evaluating the insurgent ideology, its past, current and future relevance. The paper draws on lessons from the recent Afghanistan history and discusses the irrelevance for the future of Afghanistan. It traces the success of Taliban insurgency by highlighting the role of „mullahs‟ and „madrasas‟ in the Afghan society. It argues that the US policy in Afghanistan thus far has failed to isolate the public from the insurgents, which poses serious present and future challenges. By drawing parallels between the sudden Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s and a potential US withdrawal in the near future. It also points out that an untimely US withdrawal from Afghanistan may entail an end of US engagement but it will not be an end of war for Afghanistan itself. The essay stresses the importance of a consistent long-term US policy aimed at addressing the very root causes of insurgency in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Taliban, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Asifa Jahangir
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Political Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Pakistan‟s reactive foreign policy attitudes and actions negate (or seem contradictory to) the core principle of realist paradigm, which says that intentions may vary independently without having any influential peer-pressure. Holistically, the critical analysis of Pakistan‟s foreign policy history exhibits that this country always chooses to pursue a reactive policy rather than proactive one. The best and recent example is Pakistan‟s dealing with Afghanistan problem since 9/11. This study uses archival evidence of long-simmering tensions about the continuing Afghanistan War and its unexpected consequences of Pakistan‟s policy decision to examine hypotheses derived from Barry Buzan‟s Regional Security Complex Theory. This paper aims to make the following inquiries: (1) how did Pakistan react in the response to U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and its War on Terror? (2) What have been the factors implicating Pakistan in Afghanistan War? (3) Why has Pakistan been failed in designing a proactive policy to prevent the challenges surfaced from enduring Afghan conflict and pose the serious threats to its security? (4) What are the unintended consequences of Pakistan‟s reactionary policy towards Afghanistan and in which direction have these outcomes guided Pakistan towards? While foreseeing the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and its spillover effect on region, this paper will provide Pakistan‟s proactive strategies in the form of National Action Plan and CPEC so as to overcome such possible effects in future over the internal security situation and economic condition of the country.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Conflict, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, United States of America