A similar dynamic appears at work in the U. Against an entrenched Taliban insurgency, U. On the other hand, Obama later retreated from his own stated deadline for total withdrawal, opting to leave 11, troops in place. Now Trump has also reneged from previous pledges to disengage from Afghanistan, instead sending additional troops. It may be that the logic of the stalemate machine is built into the very concept of limited war.
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Or that it is a predictable consequence of how presidents manage the constraints posed by American politics. In any case, the histories of U.
Low pay, earnings mobility and policy — Manchester, Lancashire. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. David Skidmore , Drake University. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Ellsberg argued that policymakers during the Kennedy and early Johnson administrations followed two rules: Do not lose South Vietnam to communism, and Do not involve the U. Dan Ellsberg in AP The perceived domestic political costs of either extreme — withdrawal or unrestrained escalation — steered Kennedy and Johnson toward the middle.
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Who was right? You might also like A couple watch film footage of the Vietnam war on a television in their living room. Library of Congress. What is moral injury?
Students for a Democratic Society was the largest — and arguably most successful — student activist organization in U. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Temporarily Out of Stock Online Please check back later for updated availability. Overview During the Cold War, military conflicts in Vietnam and Afghanistan validated the importanct of war in global power dynamics.
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Table of Contents Military "Expertly comparing the impact of military intervention on the domestic political legitimacy and international credibility of the superpowers, the author helps the reader to gain a better understanding of these wars as very similar but quite different events. Afghan casualties probably number in the high thousands or low tens of thousands.
The most pessimistic estimates suggest there are at most 25, or so Taliban fighters.
This is not to make light of the loss of life, but to highlight that there is no comparison to Vietnam. There are some superficial similarities between Afghanistan and Vietnam. These similarities only highlight all the more why the comparison is unhelpful.
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- Afghanistan is similar to Vietnam?
But that is simply a feature of war. Wars are not fought on timetables. World War II was an "open-ended commitment. Counterinsurgency and State-Building.
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The wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam both involved what the U. In other words, we were fighting an unconventional war, training foreign forces, and doing development and reconstruction all at the same time. The blend is rare and difficult, but it is neither unique nor impossible. Army and Marines successfully implemented one or more of those elements in the American West in the 19 th century, during Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War, in the Philippines after the War of , and in the Banana Wars across the Caribbean in the early 20 th century.
Superpowers Defeated: A Comparison of Vietnam and Afghanistan
These are unglamorous and unremembered chapters in U. Afghanistan does not resemble Vietnam in the international context; in the strategic, operational, tactical, or ideological dimensions; in the reason the war was fought, or how it was fought; in the type and number of enemy; in the role of our allies and rivals; or in virtually any other respect. Vietnam has almost nothing to teach us that is applicable to the conflict in Afghanistan aside from which counterinsurgency tactics work and which do not. The fact that some administration officials allowed the shadow of Vietnam to color its debate over Afghanistan is a worrying sign that they are paying more attention to the image of the war than the reality of it, and that they are letting the "last war" influence the present one.
Policymakers often reason by historical analogy, and they are almost always wrong. The closest analogy to Vietnam is not the American war in Afghanistan, but the Soviet one.
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To state the obvious: We are not the Soviets, and our involvement in Afghanistan is nothing like theirs. Paul D. Miller is a professor of the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He served as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the U. National Security Council staff from through Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola. Sign up for free access to 1 article per month and weekly email updates from expert policy analysts.