Politics & Society

In Iran showdown, conflict could explode quickly – and disastrously

Mourners at the funeral for Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani burn Israeli and U.S. flags. Hamid Vakili/NurPhoto via Getty Images Bear F. Braumoeller, The Ohio State University Despite the claims of optimists, the odds that an international conflict will snowball into a bloody war haven’t gone down significantly since the end of World War II. Trump administration officials’ confidence that the …

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The political role of drone strikes in US grand strategy

Jacqueline L. Hazelton, US Naval War College How do you feel about drone strikes? Chances are you have an opinion – or at least a gut reaction. Years of debate on the issue show that many Americans have reservations. People are concerned that drone strikes devalue non-American lives, dangerously expand executive power, and drive terrorism and anti-Americanism. Yet do we …

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Afghanistan: women are at the forefront of protests against the Taliban

Weeda Mehran, University of Exeter Despite what they insisted as they swept through Afghanistan, the Taliban appear to have remained largely the same since the days they ruled the roost in the 1990s. But Afghan society has changed tremendously since they were ousted by the US-led invasion in 2001. This is shown by the level of civil resistance observed in …

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The ‘new’ Taliban regime in Afghanistan: different methods but the same political goal

Niels Terpstra, Utrecht University In the press conferences that have followed the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the group has projected a changed image. Its spokesmen have attempted to distance this Taliban from the legacy of brutal force and violent oppression of women and ethnic minorities that characterised their 1990s regime, instead emphasising their concern for the safety and security of …

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Calculating the costs of the Afghanistan War in lives, dollars and years

Heading for the exit. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Neta C. Crawford, Boston University The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 to destroy al-Qaida, remove the Taliban from power and remake the nation. On Aug. 30, 2021, the U.S. completed a pullout of troops from Afghanistan, providing an uncertain punctuation mark to two decades of conflict. For the past 11 …

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20 years of ‘forever’ wars have left a toll on US veterans returning to the question: ‘Did you kill?’

Every soldier has a different story. Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images Marian Eide, Texas A&M University Military service members returning from America’s “forever” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have often faced deeply personal questions about their experience. As one veteran explained to me: “I’ve been asked, ‘Have you ever killed anyone in war? Are you messed up at all?’” “I …

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