Browsing All Posts filed under »Taliban«

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A few thoughts on the Iranian arms seizure

March 9, 2011

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It was reported earlier that NATO had seized Iranian rockets on their way to the Taliban. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, released a statement condemning this as ‘unacceptable’. Before the usual suspects claim to be shocked – shocked! – at this revelation, and use it as a cause for war, I think we should […]

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 […]

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

December 19, 2010

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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. […]

Tim Mathews: Time to talk, time to kill

December 13, 2010

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This week will likely be dominated by Afghanistan, with Andrew Exum launching his new paper at CNAS tomorrow and the White House releasing its December review on Thursday. Perhaps as a last minute pitch to the review, a number of experts signed an open letter to President Obama last week calling for negotiations with the […]

Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and military Orientalism

December 1, 2010

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A new briefing paper analysing the relationship between al-Qu’aida and the Taliban was released today by the think tank Quillam. It was a welcome addition to my workload. My regular readers will know I’m working on a paper about Afghanistan and the UK Conservative Party, and understanding that relationship is important in dealing with their […]

The New ‘New Taliban’

August 10, 2010

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A reply to Melanie Phillips in defence of David Cameron and Conservative foreign policy

July 29, 2010

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Melanie Phillips has written a blistering attack on the Prime Minister and his foreign policy, accusing him of everything from cowardice to incompetence but stopping short of sodomy. As crazy goes, the diatribe is pretty crazy. David Cameron is ‘dangerous’ to the national interest, as shown by his speech in Turkey on Tuesday. He praises […]

Some morning Afghanistan commentary…

July 19, 2010

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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 […]