The Final Frontier

Today in The National I have a new article out arguing that the fear of safe havens doesn’t make a great deal of sense and is part of a lack of strategic priority setting. After all, the truth about Afghanistan is that it’s not so much “the graveyard of empires” as it is simply a place empires eventually realize isn’t very important.

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What the piece doesn’t deal with is the idea that a large American military deployment in Afghanistan is necessary for the stability of Pakistan and a broader South Asian security context. I’m not sure whether I think that argument is right or not, but for what it’s worth it strikes me as a much more plausible idea. Which is to say that if it’s true that our efforts in Afghanistan are playing a crucial stabilizing role in Pakistan, then that definitely seems like the kind of thing we should be pouring a lot of resources into. My colleague Brian Katulis has a smart recent take on Pakistan, but it doesn’t really delve into the Afghanistan connection.