As part of peacekeeping efforts, stability operations—post-conflict military efforts to bring peace and security to a region or country—represent an ongoing challenge for both military planners and civilian policymakers. RAND research has provided effective strategic recommendations in many such operations, helping those involved in unified stabilization, peacekeeping and security, transition, and reconstruction.
We don't have to settle for a choice between losing and losing expensively, writes Paul Miller. We can choose to sustain our commitment to the Afghans and secure our vital interests in South Asia. There is thus a heavy burden on the president to make a politically risky move against popular opinion.
Friends have gone home or on to other wars. Reports of crime are on the rise in a city once safe, save for the occasional bombing. Afghans still call their government a “mafia” but have stopped asking me what the United States is going to do to fix it, writes Rebecca Zimmerman.
If steps are not taken to get control of security, there is little hope for Libya's future. Qaddafi's fateful warning that Libya would become a “Somalia on the Mediterranean” without him could come true. The investment that NATO and its partners made in toppling Qaddafi would then be almost entirely wasted.
The international community has once again defined a global standard of “the wicked” against whom sovereign states have a duty to fight, writes Paul D. Miller. Instead of pirates and cannibals, it is war criminals and genocidaires. This appears to be the implicit argument for military action against Syria.
U.S. policy should not be hamstrung by a narrow focus on democratization, writes Seth G. Jones. More than ever, the United States and its allies should think first about protecting their vital strategic interests in Egypt and the region.
“Intervention” is not a useful organizing concept for a foreign policy. Foreign policy must encompass a vast range of ideas and issues — from great-power rivalry to international trade, transnational terrorism, environmental treaties, and more — that are not related in any way to intervention.
Fortunately, the rules by which Afghans (and particularly Pashtuns) forge durable pacts may be difficult to master, but they are quite comprehensible, writes Jonah Blank.
America's imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan raises the possibility of renewed tension between Pakistan and India. With this month's election of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan's next prime minister, Islamabad and New Delhi have a fleeting window of opportunity to improve relations.
By adopting a laissez-faire policy toward security in Libya after the war, the United States and its allies who helped the Libyan rebels topple Gadhafi share in the responsibility for the country’s current predicament, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Trepidation about boots-on-the-ground engagement has unnecessarily forestalled even small-scale efforts to repair Libya's fractured security environment....Meanwhile, in Syria, the over-learned lessons of Iraq are taking an even more serious toll, writes Christopher Chivvis.
The post-Vietnam “never again” attitude led to a severe atrophy of the U.S. military's counterinsurgency skills and it is quite possible that the U.S. military will go through a similar phase of unlearning over the next several years, writes James Dobbins.
Ten years after the United States helped overthrow the Taliban regime, it is remarkable that successive U.S. administrations have refused to target the Taliban safe haven in Baluchistan, writes Seth Jones.
A successful partnership within Europe, as well as between Europe and the US, to overcome extremism and terrorism in North and North Central Africa could provide allies with a sense of common purpose and a model of unified effort, writes Harold Brown.
The clock is ticking for Libya's future, writes Christopher Chivvis. Libya's government is dysfunctional, armed militias control much of the country, and the population is increasingly frustrated with the pace of postwar progress.
A smaller-scale training mission to help the Libyan government build reliable forces that will answer to the country's elected leadership would do much to help the Libyan state get control over its own territory, writes Christopher Chivvis.
In 2014, Afghanistan will hold its third presidential election since the fall of the Taliban. If the country can hold reasonably free and fair elections, and defeated candidates can agree to step aside, Afghanistan has a chance of moving beyond its Soviet legacy, writes Seth G. Jones.
The government has successfully used a combination of counterinsurgency strategies against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in recent years, raising expectations that the new peace deal will also succeed—and in a manner that favors the government's interests, writes Molly Dunigan.
Libya should remain in charge of its own post-conflict path, but it needs the help of external actors to succeed with its transition, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Afghanistan will fail if it does not have a central government with enough strength, support, and willpower to maintain control of the bulk of its forces, writes Olga Oliker.
The Afghan government and the Taliban have signaled that the United States would be the most suitable third-party interlocutor and most effective at holding the parties to their word in any agreement. Yet the U.S. must accept that the timeline must be organically determined by the Afghans and not manufactured to meet a predetermined schedule, writes Jason Campbell.