Monday, 30 August 2010

Stanley McChrystal to Yale

McChrystal will teach grad students a course in leadership at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in New Haven, which is opening this fall. He’ll be in good company: McChrystal will join John Negroponte, the former U.S. ambassador and former deputy secretary of state, as well as former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo at the institute.

Read more:

Sunday, 29 August 2010

How to beat the Tamil Tigers

Surprise, surprise!

Rajapaksa made military victory over the Tigers a cornerstone of his administration and signaled to the military that it could get whatever resources it wanted simply by asking.

"They did everything a general dreams of," said retired Indian Maj. Gen. Ashok Mehta, a commander of the Indian peacekeeping forces in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. "Unfettered resources and no political interference."

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Development Aid in Five Easy Steps

Actually, more like 5 different sources for the necessary money for primary healthcare:

Using immunizations, modern medicines, state-of-the-art diagnostics, mobile phones, and other new technologies, universal primary health care is now highly effective and very inexpensive, costing around $54 per person per year in the poorest countries.

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Trouble with the Congo

A brilliant new book by Barnard Professor Séverine Autesserre, The Trouble with the Congo (Cambridge, 2010), can help us think this through. ... Autesserre blames the failure of peace-building in Congo on the national-level "election fetish" of international aid culture. Instead, she says, security problems are mainly local and need to be solved by corralling spoilers, strengthening local capacity, and setting up working legal institutions at the grass roots level. These moves aren't a substitute for the strong national institutions that will eventually be needed to make democracy work, she says, but the bottom-up spadework needs to be done first.


Saturday, 7 August 2010

A counterinsurgency conundrum in Salaam Bazaar

A counterinsurgency conundrum in Salaam Bazaar

Very interesting tale of two cities in The Long War Journal, with especial emphasis on the opium economy and its currency - opium paste.

A typical farm in the area uses a 100-meter well that extracts water from the ground with an electric submersible pump powered by a diesel generator. This system – limited by the cost of the fuel to run the generator – is suited for modest subsistence farming and ranching, but not the more extensive flood irrigation required for most business agriculture. An exception to this rule is poppy, which requires less water per acre while providing a greater profit margin than alternatives like wheat and corn. The illegal crop has additional advantages: bricks of opium paste can be stored for up to five years; the Taliban and other drug lords will pick up poppy from farmers, removing the hurdle of prohibitively expensive distribution; and the bricks can be used as cash to buy goods and services.

“Any bazaar will accept poppy as cash at a daily spot market rate in payment for anything from kids’ shoes, to land rent, to medical care. It’s the currency of the realm,” explained one American expert who declined to be named. “And water is so expensive, once it’s lifted to the surface, poppy is the only crop that is profitable enough to justify the expense, and there is enough profit left to grow a subsistence amount of wheat to feed the family and maybe sell a little bit on the side.”

The Iraq War and Its Strategic Lessons for Counterinsurgency

The Iraq War and Its Strategic Lessons for Counterinsurgency

by Anthony H. Cordesman

Friday, 6 August 2010

Two Winnable Wars

Two Winnable Wars
By Anthony H. Cordesman
Sunday, February 24, 2008

No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won...

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Art of Afghan Alliance Building

The Art of Afghan Alliance Building
Winning Hearts and Minds, Eight Years On
By Kathy Gannon
October 13, 2009

Summary: As the United States and its NATO allies slog on in Afghanistan, it is Washington's mismanagement of local alliances that has proved to be the undoing of its strategy in the country.

KATHY GANNON is an Associated Press correspondent based in Pakistan. She has covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for the Associated Press since 1988 and was the 2003–4 Edward R. Murrow Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations.

The Soviet Victory That Never Was

The Soviet Victory That Never Was
What the United States Can Learn From the Soviet War in Afghanistan
Nikolas K. Gvosdev
December 10, 2009

Summary: The Soviet Union came closer than many think to achieving its objectives in Afghanistan. How it almost managed to win -- and why it ultimately did not -- should serve as a lesson for U.S. policymakers today.

NIKOLAS K. GVOSDEV is Professor of National Security Studies at the Naval War College. The views expressed herein are entirely his own.

Land Tenure Reform Crucial Component of Future Peace in Africa

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Tajik Solution

I have always maintained that first comes order before you can have development. Recent thinking however is the very persuasive argument that development contributes to order.

Nevertheless, it is good to see an article getting back to the basics.

Summary: By lowering its sights and concentrating on order, the international community has helped to stabilize Tajikistan. The same cheap, simple approach could work in Afghanistan, too.

GEORGE GAVRILIS is Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin and an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.