Browsing All Posts filed under »Afghanistan«

From the Archives: The New Year’s War in Gaza

November 16, 2012

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With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza. Some of the observations are understandably dated, but I think the piece is still relevant. At eleven o’clock Saturday morning, on December 27th 2008, the New […]

David Cameron can avoid a war with Argentina by preparing for one

February 2, 2012

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It sometimes feels like the Cameron premiership has so far been a replay of the early Thatcher one what with the cuts, the riots, bust-ups with France, and backbench discontent over the direction of the government. This sense of de jà vu is heightened by tensions over the Falkland Islands a month before the 30th […]

Can democracy save us from Pakistan?

December 14, 2011

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British policy in Central and South Asia is in a bit of a bind. We want stability in Afghanistan, a special relationship with India, and have signed up to a strategic partnership with Pakistan. The problem for us in achieving our goals in the region is that the latter two see a stable Afghanistan as […]

The West needs to drink a glass of man up!

November 3, 2011

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These last few years have been tough for the Western Alliance and a dispiriting time for those like me who feel the well-being of the world is best served by Western primacy. It isn’t the rise of the emerging powers that has been dispiriting, but rather the self-pity their rise has engendered in the West. […]

Striking Pakistan

September 26, 2011

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Since the September 13th attacks in Kabul, relations between Pakistan and the United States have become so bad that it is rumoured the baddies in the next Indiana Jones film will be the ISI, which is much more damaging to a country’s reputation than being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Thursday, Admiral […]

How do you solve a problem like the Haqqanis?

September 13, 2011

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I came to study Afghanistan because of a Big Idea, which was counterinsurgency. One of the earliest things I wrote about the war, in the summer of 2009, was an article about how wonderful this new doctrine was and the ways in which it would win us this war. Had I written it now, I […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and the perils of bad history

September 7, 2011

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The political use of history, including bad history, has always interested me, and the way bad history can persuade a politician to make bad decisions. In his survey of the British Foreign Secretaryship, Douglas Hurd warns that the most dangerous form of ignorance ‘is that smidgeon of shallow knowledge which lacks any understanding of the […]

A plea for honesty in the aid debate

September 1, 2011

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Many years ago, David Cameron pledged to protect the international aid budget from cuts if he became Prime Minister, and, since then, there has been a recurring debate in Conservative circles about the wisdom of this commitment. It appears on the horizon like a cloud promising rain; supporters of the pledge become very Wet; and […]

Unhappy families: Libya and Afghanistan

August 25, 2011

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I have a new article on Egremont today, pointing out worrying similarities between the intervention in Libya – and its alleged success – and the mistakes we made in Afghanistan in 2001/02. We helped a loose coalition of factions to topple a regime without knowing much about them or about what we wanted the postwar […]

Libya: A clarification

August 18, 2011

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Since February, when the drumbeat for war with Colonel Gaddafi began, and I made an awful racket in response, I have been bugged by someone called Kellie Strøm. He has supported the intervention from the beginning and regularly makes obtuse comments about my opposition. Yesterday, Strøm pointed out my apparently uncertain position. On 17th March, […]

Ellis of Benghazi!

August 16, 2011

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This letter, which has been classified for fifty years, sheds a fascinating light on British foreign policy in the early 21st Century and the career of Lord Litherland (more popularly known as “Ellis of Benghazi”…) 16th August, 2011 To the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs My dear, […]

Afghanistan: A timeline

August 12, 2011

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I was surprised to discover recently that there is no comprehensive, publicly available timeline of the war in Afghanistan. This was also annoying, as it meant I had to construct my own. Here is what I have so far, but will continue to build it and hope others will contribute too. My aim is cover […]

Younes, smugness and the future of Libya

August 2, 2011

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I have been smug about Libya for a while now. This afternoon, at lunch, a friend of mine complained that I seem to use Twitter simply to express smug satisfaction about this ill-considered war. “Facebook, too,” I added, with a smirk. The killing of General Abdel Younes, a senior rebel commander, and the retributions going […]