The Afghanistan War: Lecture Overview

The Afghanistan War: Lecture Overview


Ambassador Karl Eikenberry is the William
J. Perry fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security
and Cooperation at Stanford. He is also a faculty member of the
Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
from May of 2009 until July of 2011. Before that, Ambassador Eikenberry had a 35
year career in the U.S. army, retiring in April 2009 with the rank of
Lieutenant General. His posts include serving as Director for
Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command, Defense Attaché at the
U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military
Committee in Brussels and Commander of the American-led coalition
forces in Afghanistan. He is the recipient of numerous awards and
honors from the Defense Department, the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and
the State Department. A graduate of West Point, with a Master’s
degree in political science from Stanford, Ambassador Eikenberry can always be found
at the Army Stanford football game. In this lecture, Ambassador Eikenberry
raises three probing concerns about U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, or COIN. First, COIN hinges on protecting the
population, but what does protecting the population
actually mean in practice? Second, COIN assumes that giving more
resources to the Afghan government will produce a more legitimate government
but that’s not entirely correct. And third, COIN’s strategy assumes the
strategic goals of the United States and Afghanistan are aligned. And as ambassador Eikenberry argues, this
is decidely not the case.

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