Browsing All Posts filed under »Stanley McChrystal«

How do you solve a problem like the Haqqanis?

September 13, 2011


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: A timeline

August 12, 2011


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 and the Great (Blame) Game

May 26, 2011


The former UK representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has written a new book about his time in the region. I’m usually sceptical of contemporary political memoirs, but I thought I’d take a chance with this one, and it arrived this morning. His views about the conflict have been trailed in The Guardian […]

Making sense of the 2015 withdrawal

March 6, 2011


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 […]

A strategist abroad: NATO meets some bloggers

February 22, 2011


The figure used by the NATO official was 70%; the organisation had found that it was mentioned by social media more than on mainstream news sites, and blogs made up 70% of those references. I believe it was that figure which spurred NATO into engaging with the blogosphere, and they hosted a conference last week […]

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

December 19, 2010


To me, Afghanistan is perhaps the most intellectually exciting conflict that there has been for a while now. It captures all the problems of warfare in the 21st Century, as well as being the sum total of decades of internal conflict and great power politics. The downside to this complexity is figuring out a solution. […]

Some morning Afghanistan commentary…

July 19, 2010


As I’ve hit a block in my paper, I thought I’d blog on a couple of pieces about Afghanistan. The first is the new date for British withdrawal from the conflict and the second is a post by Richard North. The Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, said on Sunday that the Prime Minister’s comments about our […]

Replying to Finel

July 7, 2010


Bernard Finel responded last weekend to my critique of him and Andrew Bacevich, writing an interesting history about the American military and its political masters over the last thirty years. As I say in my original post, Finel makes me think even if I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions, and his reply has some […]

Finel responds…

July 3, 2010


Bernard Finel has written a lengthy and good response to my post ‘RollingStan and civil-military relations‘. Well worth a read, and I’ll certainly respond as soon as.

RollingStan: the next stage

June 30, 2010


A whole new meaning to RollingStan (hat-tip to Alan Tindal, my now ex-housemate unfortunately, who made this for me)

RollingStan and civil-military relations

June 29, 2010


Andrew Bacevich and Bernard Finel are like Nietzsche; they make me think, but often the opposite of what they want me to think. They have both written pieces about civil-military relations, focussing on the controversy surrounding Stanley McChrystal’s Rolling Stones profile. Bacevich argues that long wars ‘are antithetical to democracy’; protracted conflicts encourage praetorianism in […]

‘Quick and Dirty’: Obama, McChrystal and Petraeus

June 23, 2010


At Permissible Arms, Karaka describes President Obama’s press conference today dismissing McChrystal as ‘quick and dirty’. It’s a phrase that can be used to describe the whole episode, like a fight which everyone involved feels embarrassed about afterwards. A good commander has been dismissed because of poor judgement; an administration has been humiliated by some […]

Should McChrystal go? (Updated)

June 22, 2010


Stanley McChrystal has committed one of the worst crimes in politics, he’s told the truth. His comments on the Obama administration and its approach to Afghanistan confirm stories coming out both the country and Washington since last autumn. But the problem is that McChrystal is a soldier and not an elected politician, which raises questions […]