The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions.
Ancient Rome was a village that grew into a world empire. At the peak of its territorial reach, AD 117, it stretched from the British Isles to Mesopotamia and from the Rhine to the Sahara. Its history spans more than a millennium. Before the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late fifth century, Romans enjoyed a standard of living not seen again in the West until the mid-nineteenth century.
On December 31, 2014, the NATO mission in Afghanistan was replaced by a non-combat mission for training and advising the Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) and Afghan security ministries. This report from the U.S. Department of Defense, prepared in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act 2015, describes the progress of the ANDSF and how the United States is providing support. See also previous reports on "Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan."
As the international troop presence in Afghanistan shrinks, the United States and India have a shared interest in a stable future for Afghanistan. CFR Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Alyssa Ayres writes that the United States should encourage Indian support for Afghanistan in areas of Indian expertise: democracy, economics, and civilian security.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke to a joint session of Congress on March 25, 2015. He discusses U.S.-Afghan agreements such as the Bilateral Security Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the withdrawl of American combat troops from Afghanistan, and the threat of the Islamic State (or Daesh).
The Quarterly Reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to the United States Congress are required by Section 1229 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year 2008. Click on months below to view reports, beginning with the first in October 2008.
The foreward of this U.S. Department of Defense document states, "This report to Congress is submitted consistent with Section 1230 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181). It includes a description of the comprehensive strategy of the United States for security and stability in Afghanistan. This report is the first in a series of reports required every 180 days through fiscal year 2010." See also the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) Quarterly Report to Congress and updates on the U.S. support role in Afghanistan after the end of the NATO combat mission.
President Barack Obama held a press conference on August 9, 2014, to discuss U.S. airstrikes and delivery of humanitarian aid in Iraq. On August 11, 2014, President Obama provided an update on military operations in Iraq and the establishment of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry gave statements on May 27, 2014, on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan after 2014. They outline the number of staff and troops that will be involved in upholding security commitments and assisting in political and economic transitions. President Obama also spoke on May 28, 2014, at the graduation ceremony at the West Point Academy, to discuss how Afghanistan fits into the broader military strategy.
In his essay "The Rise and Fall of the Failed-State Paradigm" (January/February 2014), Michael Mazarr heralds the end of "the recent era of interventionist U.S. state building," which he argues lasted from the mid-1990s to around 2010.
Following recent decisions made during a meeting of the Afghan grand assembly, Gayle Lemmon discusses how Afghans, U.S. foreign policy leaders, and others are working to shift the international perception of the Afghanistan war from one of hopelessness to one that reflects the strides the country has taken in economic growth, development progress, and human rights.
"Analysts pointed out that the renewed fear of a Soviet-style nightmare in China might reflect the leadership's anxiety over slowing economic growth, rising social tensions and growing calls for political reform following the leadership transition last November."
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »