Browsing All Posts filed under »al-Qu’aida«

Great Britain, license to kill: The geopolitics of James Bond

November 30, 2012

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What role should a post-imperial Britain play in the world? This question has dogged us since at least 1962, when the former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson made his infamous remark. Arguably, though, the new Bond film has an answer: Our role is to kill bad guys competently and with style. Throughout Skyfall, it […]

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With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza.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 […]

Tim Montgomerie can add Iraq to his list of foreign policy failures

December 20, 2011

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I have a complicated relationship with neoconservatives. Laws prohibiting murder complicate things, but also the way ‘neocons’ ruin good ideas with bad analysis. Democratization in the Middle East is tainted by its association with them (though the claim that the Arab Spring vindicates their beliefs is like Jehovah’s Witnesses claiming credit for the Second Coming…). […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and British grand strategy

May 17, 2011

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Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that David Cameron has told the military to draw up plans for an early exit from Afghanistan. American commanders are alarmed by this and they are putting pressure on their British counterparts, as it might hasten an early US withdrawal. The story also ties into concerns the United States supposedly […]

Understanding the Pakistani dimension

May 2, 2011

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I woke up this morning to a text from a friend saying, ‘That’s Obama re-elected in 2012…’ M’boss at Egremont, Nik Darlington, had also texted me asking if I wanted to write something on Osama Bin Laden. Why, I wondered. The news came as a pleasant surprise. I listened to this song to celebrate, because, […]

Failed states and their threat to our country

April 21, 2011

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Why does David Cameron support the war in Afghanistan? This is the title of a speech I’m giving soon, in which I examine his stated reasons for backing our involvement and explore possible ones. “Our forces are in Afghanistan to prevent Afghan territory from again being used by al-Qaeda as a base from which to […]

Making sense of the 2015 withdrawal

March 6, 2011

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The Foreign Affairs Committee published a report this week on Afghanistan and Pakistan, looking at how the United Kingdom has handled the conflict – especially the Coalition government. I have been following the inquiry since it began last summer and was excited to finally get my hands on its conclusions. From what I’ve read, regional […]

Steven Metz: Islamophobia and the crumbling of American strategy

February 7, 2011

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Although I don’t agree with the conclusions, this guest post by Dr. Steven Metz is an excellent critique of American grand strategy since September 11th and the corrosive effects which Islamophobia has had. He is the author of more than a hundred publications on future war, the emerging security environment, military strategy, defense policy, international […]