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Afghan Lessons

Culture, Diplomacy, and Counterinsurgency

translated by Angela Arnone. Fernando Gentilini

Fernando Gentilini served nearly two years as the civilian representative of NATO in Afghanistan, running a counterinsurgency campaign in the wartorn nation. Afghan Lessons is the fascinating story of his mission, a firsthand view of Afghanistan through a kaleidoscope. He explores Afghan history, literature, tradition, and culture to understand some of the most basic questions of Western involvement: What is the purpose? What does an international presence mean, and how can it help?

Highlights from Afghan Lessons

"This is a book about different worlds, different realities. The reality of everyday life in an unreal world. People that need to be looked after, jobs that need to be done, a country that needs to be restored, all from within the necessary confines of an armed camp. And this in the middle of another reality, which we do not understand, full of things forgotten under decades of war. The keys to this reality lie in the past, perhaps lost." —from the Foreword by Robert Cooper

"To tempt me to explore their country, the Afghans kept repeating that there were three different Afghanistans: 'The first is the one you Westerners imagine; another coincides with the city of Kabul; the third is the country of remote provinces, far away from the cities, and of the three, this is the only real Afghanistan.'"

"'There can be no development without security and no security without development.' ... Everyone said it over and over again, both the civilians and the military, but depending on whether it was said by the former or the latter, the emphasis was placed on the first or second part of the slogan. In all honesty this seemingly obvious concept concealed two contrasting ways of seeing things."

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Afghanistan

A Cultural and Political History

Thomas Barfield

Afghanistan traces the historic struggles and the changing nature of political authority in this volatile region of the world, from the Mughal Empire in the sixteenth century to the Taliban resurgence today. Thomas Barfield introduces readers to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He shows how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in a small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan's rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets. Armed insurgency proved remarkably successful against the foreign occupiers, but it also undermined the Afghan government's authority and rendered the country ever more difficult to govern as time passed. Barfield vividly describes how Afghanistan's armed factions plunged the country into a civil war, giving rise to clerical rule by the Taliban and Afghanistan's isolation from the world. He examines why the American invasion in the wake of September 11 toppled the Taliban so quickly, and how this easy victory lulled the United States into falsely believing that a viable state could be built just as easily.

Afghanistan is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how a land conquered and ruled by foreign dynasties for more than a thousand years became the "graveyard of empires" for the British and Soviets, and what the United States must do to avoid a similar fate.

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Afghanistan

Transition under Threat

Many have questioned the wisdom of the international intervention in Afghanistan in light of the escalation of violence and instability in the country in the past few years. Particularly uncertain are Canadians, who have been inundated with media coverage of an increasingly dirty war in southern Afghanistan, one in which Canadians are at the frontline and suffering heavy casualties. However, the conflict is only one aspect of Afghanistan’s complicated, and incomplete, political, economic, and security transition.

In Afghanistan: Transition under Threat, leading Afghanistan scholars and practitioners paint a full picture of the situation in Afghanistan and the impact of international and particularly Canadian assistance. They review the achievements of the reconstruction process and outline future challenges, focusing on key issues like the narcotics trade, the Pakistan—Afghanistan bilateral relationship, the Taliban-led insurgency, and continuing endemic poverty. This collection provides new insight into the nature and state of Afghanistan’s post-conflict transition and illustrates the consequences of failure.

Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation

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Africa and France

Postcolonial Cultures, Migration, and Racism

Dominic Thomas

This stimulating and insightful book reveals how increased control over immigration has changed cultural and social production in theater, literature, and even museum construction. Dominic Thomas's analysis unravels the complex cultural and political realities of long-standing mobility between Africa and Europe. Thomas questions the attempt to place strict limits on what it means to be French or European and offers a sense of what must happen to bring about a renewed sense of integration and global Frenchness.

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Africa’s Deadliest Conflict

Media Coverage of the Humanitarian Disaster in the Congo and the United Nations Response, 1997–2008

Africa’s Deadliest Conflict deals with the complex intersection of the legacy of post-colonial history—a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions—and changing norms of international intervention associated with the idea of human security and the responsibility to protect (R2P). It attempts to explain why, despite a softening of norms related to the sanctity of state sovereignty, the international community dealt so ineffectively with a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which between 1997 and 2011 claimed an estimated 5.5 million. In particular, the book focuses on the role of mass media in creating a will to intervene, a role considered by many to be the key to prodding a reluctant international community to action.

Included in the book are a primer on Congolese history, a review of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the Congo, and a detailed examination of both US television news and New York Times coverage of the Congo from 1997 through 2008. Separate conclusions are offered with respect to peacekeeping in the Age of R2P and on the role of mass media in both promoting and inhibiting robust international responses to large-scale humanitarian crises.

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Africa Through Structuration Theory � ntu

Elonga Mboyo

Despite all the talk about African renaissance, much of the continent is plagued by poverty and instability. To break out of that cycle, the guardians of African heritage (the old independence freedom fighters turned political leaders and their successors) and much of Afrocentric literature rightly promote African ideas and solutions for African problems. While the idea in itself is noble, the danger is for Africa to close itself off and ignore �outside� technical and intellectual innovations that it desperately needs to advance further. Africa through Structuration Theory - ntu joins the discourse by attempting to restore intellectual freedom and convincingly defends structuration theory not only as the way forward for Africa but also as a legitimate African concept. It is innovative, refreshing and deserves to be heard across the world and appreciated especially by African graduates, current and future leaders of various African institutions or businesses, non-Africans who might hesitate to refer to such a theory when trying to understand and deal with African problems and the wider public who constitute the audience for this book.

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African American Perspectives on Political Science

Race matters in both national and international politics. Starting from this perspective, African American Perspectives on Political Science presents original essays from leading African American political scientists. Collectively, they evaluate the discipline, its subfields, the quality of race-related research, and omissions in the literature. They argue that because Americans do not fully understand the many-faceted issues of race in politics in their own country, they find it difficult to comprehend ethnic and racial disputes in other countries as well. In addition, partly because there are so few African Americans in the field, political science faces a danger of unconscious insularity in methodology and outlook. Contributors argue that the discipline needs multiple perspectives to prevent it from developing blind spots. Taken as a whole, these essays argue with great urgency that African American political scientists have a unique opportunity and a special responsibility to rethink the canon, the norms, and the directions of the discipline.

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African Americans in Global Affairs

Contemporary Perspectives

Michael L. Clemons

The repression historically faced by African Americans has had an important effect on the nature of the group's participation in foreign affairs. This book offers a much-needed and long-overdue survey of the field, setting the stage for further exploration and analysis.

Chapters discuss the Congressional Black Caucus and TransAfrica Forum; African American political organizations and Africa; Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice; the evaporation of strong black voices in events such as those in Rwanda and Darfur; and self-critical Pan Africanism. A prologue by Michael L. Clemons and introductory chapter by Ronald W. Walters provide new ways to conceptualize these international perspectives, while Clemons's epilogue speculates on the opportunities and challenges offered by the presidency of Barack Obama.

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African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy

From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama

Linda Heywood

Bookended by remarks from African American diplomats Walter C. Carrington and Charles Stith, the essays in this volume use close readings of speeches, letters, historical archives, diaries, and memoirs of policymakers and newly available FBI files to confront much-neglected questions related to race and foreign relations in the United States. Why, for instance, did African Americans profess loyalty and support for the diplomatic initiatives of a nation that undermined their social, political, and economic well-being through racist policies and cultural practices? Other contributions explore African Americans' history in the diplomatic and consular services and the influential roles of cultural ambassadors like Joe Louis and Louis Armstrong. The volume concludes with an analysis of the effects on race and foreign policy in the administration of Barack Obama. Groundbreaking and critical, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy expands on the scope and themes of recent collections to offer the most up-to-date scholarship to students in a range of disciplines, including U.S. and African American history, Africana studies, political science, and American studies.

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African Conflict & Peacebuilding Review

Vol. 1 (2011) through current issue

African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review is an interdisciplinary forum for creative and rigorous studies of conflict and peace in Africa and for discussions between scholars, practitioners, and public intellectuals in Africa, the United States, and other parts of the world. It includes a wide range of theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives on the causes of conflicts and peace processes including, among others, cultural practices relating to conflict resolution and peacebuilding, legal and political conflict preventative measures, and the intersection of international, regional, and local interests and conceptions of conflict and peace. ACPR is a joint publication of the Africa Peace and Conflict Network, the West African Research Association, and Indiana University Press.

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