Best Drupal HostingBest Joomla HostingBest Wordpress Hosting

World Policy Journal is proud to share our weekly podcast, World Policy On Air, featuring former Newsweek On Air host David Alpern. Click here to subscribe on iTunes!



The Road Ahead in Afghanistan

By Harry W.S. Lee

Last night, President Obama laid out his plans for the future of the war in Afghanistan. Announcing the withdrawal of 33,000 American troops, about a third of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by next summer, Mr. Obama declared that "the tide of war is receding." In a speech praising the U.S. war effort which has "put al-Qaeda on a path to defeat," Mr. Obama said, "we won't try to make Afghanistan a perfect place," and emphasized shifting the responsibility of retaining security to the Afghan government "which must step up its ability to protect its people and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace."

In the current issue of World Policy Journal, Michael Daxner--who has consulted for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan for the past decade--evaluates the war on Afghan insurgents so far in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden, the nation-building efforts of U.S. forces, and what a drawdown would mean for the future of Afghanistan.

For the first time in at least five years, I have the sense that there is a genuine movement among Afghans toward taking the initiative and reclaiming a role in determining their country’s future. This is a crucial development, one that leaves me with a grim kind of optimism. At this point, there is really no way to “win” the war in Afghanistan, because it has become impossible to say who is fighting against which enemy and to what end. But it might be possible to achieve a “cold peace” with a minimum of exit costs and a low toll in lives and budgets. Even that best-case scenario would be far from perfect. The NATO alliance, led by the United States, would pull out of the country, leaving the Afghan state responsible for governing at a “good enough” level of competence and transparency. NATO or the United States would maintain a few military bases and increase development aid, but leave almost wholly unsolved most of the problems facing the country and the wider region. In short, it would be a mess—but less than a total disaster.

To read the entire article, click here.


Harry W.S. Lee is an editorial assistant at World Policy Journal.

[Photo courtesy of the White House photographer Pete Souza]


Post new comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account, used to display your avatar.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image. Ignore spaces and be careful about upper and lower case.


Around WPI

Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa 

This paper, “Jihad in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenging the Narratives of the War on Terror,” examines the history of Islamic movements in Africa's Sahel region to contextualize current conflicts.

World Economic Roundtable with Vicente Fox 

In this World Economic Roundtable, former Mexican President Vicente Fox discusses his current quest to make his country a hub for technology. 

Intern at World Policy

Want to join our team? Looking for an experience at one of the most highly sought-after internships for ambitious students? Application details here.


Al Gore presides over Arctic Roundtable 

As the United States prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, this inaugural convening of the Arctic Deeply Roundtables launches a vital conversation for our times. 


When the Senate Worked for Us:
New book offers untold stories of how activist staffers countered corporate lobbies in the U.S.

MA in International Policy and Development
Middlebury Institute (Monterey, CA): Put theory into practice through client-based coursework. Apply by Feb. 1.

Millennium Project’s State of the Future 19.0: Collective Intelligence on the Future of the World


To learn about the latest in media, programming, and fellowship, subscribe to the World Policy Weekly Newsletter and read through our archives.

World Policy on Facebook