Accession Number : AD1019125

Title :   Afghanistan in the Balance: Air Politik

Descriptive Note : Technical Report

Corporate Author : Air War College School of Advanced Air and Space Studies Maxwell AFB United States

Personal Author(s) : Lyons,Robert III P

Full Text :

Report Date : 01 Jun 2010

Pagination or Media Count : 148

Abstract : The United States faces a classic challenge in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, as it attempts to meet its pragmatic security interests. The rugged, landlocked terrain has provided historic sanctuary for its warrior-tribes and safe havens for terrorist groups that have attacked and continue to threaten America. Afghanistans geographic and cultural realities favor insurgency as a normal form of warfare. The context in Afghanistan is different today than it has been in the past, however, and the military forces available to the US are more mobile, effective, and powerful than ever before. These capabilities emanate from its unprecedented airpower, without which the United States would have no seat at the balance-of-power table in Central Asia. If it employs its airpower responsibly, America can help sow the seeds of a previously unknown creationa stable, economically vibrant Afghanistan.The balance-of-power dynamics of the nineteenth century Great Game in Afghanistan between Britain and Russia reveal timeless patterns of realist behavior. The record of airpowers use (and misuse) in the twentieth century informs the failures of Britain and the Soviet Union and instructs the employment of airpower by the United States today. Because Afghanistan will continue to be strategically important to its neighbors, strategists must understand the motivations of internal actors, regional states, and the great powers, all of whom influence the strategy of intervening powers. Fortunately, America does not stand alone in waging counterinsurgency. A 60-nation partnership aims to transform Afghanistan. Airpower can help provide the time and space necessary to effect a positive transformation.To harness the potential of modern airpower, strategists and policy-makers can gain significant insights from Afghanistans turbulent history, especially from the airpower period beginning in 1919.

Descriptors :   military history , treaties , international organizations , contingency operations (military) , intergovernmental organizations , air power , afghanistan conflict , national security , government (foreign) , military strategy , counterinsurgency , united states government

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE