The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency

There are moments that define a war. Just such a one occurred on June 21, when Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry helicoptered into Marjah for a photo op with the locals. It was to be a capstone event, the fruit of a four-month counterinsurgency offensive by Marines, North Atlantic … Continue reading “The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency”

Turkey, America, and Empire’s Twilight

When U.S. forces found themselves beset by a growing insurgency in Iraq following their lightning overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the most obvious parallel that came to mind was Vietnam: an occupying army, far from home, besieged by a shadowy foe. But Patrick Cockburn, the Independent‘s ace Middle East reporter, suggested that the escalating chaos was … Continue reading “Turkey, America, and Empire’s Twilight”

The Af-Pak Train Wreck

When President Barack Obama laid out his plan for winning the war in Afghanistan, behind him stood an army of ghosts: Greeks, Mongols, Buddhists, British, and Russians, all whom had almost the same illusions as the current resident of the Oval Office about Central Asia. The first four armies are dust. But there are Russian … Continue reading “The Af-Pak Train Wreck”

Blood and Oil in Central Asia

In the past month, two seemingly unrelated events have turned Central Asia into a potential flashpoint: an aggressively expanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a nascent strategic alliance between Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than who holds the future high ground in the competition for the world’s energy resources. Increasing Competition … Continue reading “Blood and Oil in Central Asia”