Afghanistan from the Cold War Through the War on Terror

Barnett R. Rubin. Oxford, $34.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-19979-112-5
A longtime policy wonk and adviser to the U.N. and the U.S., Rubin spent decades deliberating upon best practices for saving Afghanistan from its chronic tribulations. His sustained analyses and advocacy are compiled here, addressing a time frame from the late 1980s to the start of the Obama administration. Rubin makes important points along the way, including the need for statecraft objectives to be matched by adequate resources to achieve them, and the predictable dangers inherent in a border region as “underdeveloped and overarmed” as the ambiguously defined Afghan-Pakistani frontier. Praised by a colleague as a “voice for reconciliation,” Rubin hopes that America can “negotiate with the Taliban,” a wish that evinces his steadfast belief that violent fanatics can be dissuaded from extremism through diplomacy or pressure tactics. The book’s time period excludes recent events as crucial as Osama bin Laden’s assassination and the likelihood of Pakistan’s complicity in harboring him, the enhanced drone campaign of the Obama administration, and Obama’s determination to withdraw from this exhausting theater of war by 2014. Nevertheless, Rubin’s work serves as a timely codicil, if not a coda, to a war winding down, and will interest pundits and academics alike. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2012
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 529 pages - 978-0-19-997025-4
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-19-022927-6
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