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Leaving without Losing

The War on Terror after Iraq and Afghanistan

Mark N. Katz

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As the United States withdraws its combat troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, politicians, foreign policy specialists, and the public are worrying about the consequences of leaving these two countries. Neither nation can be considered stable, and progress toward democracy in them—a principal aim of America and the West—is fragile at best. But, international relations scholar Mark N. Katz asks: Could ending both wars actually help the United States and its allies to overcome radical Islam in the long term?

Drawing lessons from the Cold War, Katz makes the case that rather than signaling the…

As the United States withdraws its combat troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, politicians, foreign policy specialists, and the public are worrying about the consequences of leaving these two countries. Neither nation can be considered stable, and progress toward democracy in them—a principal aim of America and the West—is fragile at best. But, international relations scholar Mark N. Katz asks: Could ending both wars actually help the United States and its allies to overcome radical Islam in the long term?

Drawing lessons from the Cold War, Katz makes the case that rather than signaling the decline of American power and influence, removing military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq puts the U.S. in a better position to counter the forces of radical Islam and ultimately win the war on terror. He explains that since both wars will likely remain intractable, for Washington to remain heavily involved in either is counter-productive. Katz argues that looking to its Cold War experience would help the U.S. find better strategies for employing America’s scarce resources to deal with its adversaries now. This means that, although leaving Afghanistan and Iraq may well appear to be a victory for America’s opponents in the short term—as was the case when the U.S. withdrew from Indochina—the larger battle with militant Islam can be won only by refocusing foreign and military policy away from these two quagmires.

This sober, objective assessment of what went wrong in the U.S.–led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the ways the West can disentangle itself and still move forward draws striking parallels with the Cold War. Anyone concerned with the future of the War on Terror will find Katz’s argument highly thought provoking.

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Leaving without Losing

Mark N. Katz

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Reviews

As the U.S. searches for a way forward, Katz’s largely objective and thoughtful analysis offers much to consider.

A fine pick for any military or political science holding.

Katz offers a strong, cogent argument.

A model of its kind.

This slender volume is packed with many insights. A collection of short chapters, some not much longer than op-eds, reveals author Mark Katz's wisdom and prudence when it comes to the use of military power, and the need for patience and persistence when pursuing long-term objectives... His straightforward prose engages the reader in what often feels like a quiet one-on-one conversation... The book is suffused with a tone of welcome optimism, but not naïveté.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
168
ISBN
9781421411835
Illustration Description
2 maps
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: The Beginning of the End of the War on Terror?
The War on Terror in Perspective
The Second Decade of the War on Terror
What Exactly Is the War on Terror?
Understanding What Went

Acknowledgments
Prologue: The Beginning of the End of the War on Terror?
The War on Terror in Perspective
The Second Decade of the War on Terror
What Exactly Is the War on Terror?
Understanding What Went Wrong in the First Decade
Assessing the Bush Strategy
Why Couldn't the United States Foster Democracy in Iraq?
Why Couldn't the United States Foster Democracy in Afghanistan?
Democratization and the Legacy of History in the Muslim World
Assessing the Obama Strategy
Opportunities after Withdrawal
Consequences of Withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan
Regional Opposition
Radical Repression
Rifts among the Radicals
Withdrawal Need Not Be Defeat
Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan
Regional and Local Conflicts in the War on Terror
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Iran
Yemen
Pakistan
Decoupling Regional and Local Conflicts from the War on Terror
New Factors and Broader Contexts
The Death of Osama bin Laden
The Arab Spring
The Geopolitical Context
The Historical Context
The Bush and Obama Legacies
Works Cited
Index

Author Bio
Mark N. Katz
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Mark N. Katz

Mark N. Katz is a professor of government and politics at George Mason University. He has authored several books, including Russia and Arabia: Soviet Foreign Policy toward the Arabian Peninsula, also published by Johns Hopkins.
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