Official studies have turned up many serious problems in the expenditure of American aid to Afghanistan. However, these reports should not be equated with the progress, or lack of progress, of the economy and society of Afghanistan as a whole. On the one hand, some 82% of American assistance has been focused on security, as opposed to economic and social development. On the other hand, many other donors, and initiatives by Afghanis themselves, have contributed to the development of Afghanistan's economic and social life. The speaker will discuss the briefing paper, entitled "How is Afghanistan Really Doing". The purpose of the paper is not to argue with the official studies but to suggest that Afghan society has in fact made important progress in many areas over the years since 9/11. If one takes that progress into account, it will affect how one views Afghanistan's emerging place in the world and the next phase of America's relationship with that country .
Speaker: Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at AFPC
Moderator: Svante Cornell, Director, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at AFPC
Where: American Foreign Policy Council: 509 C Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
When: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 2:00 - 3:45 pm
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One of the main tools of Russian influence across Central Asia remains poorly understood.
S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell
The Diplomat, January 17, 2020
Since Vladimir Putin came to power twenty years ago, much ink has been spent detailing the role of the security services in Russian politics, and it is generally accepted that the Putin regime essentially is a result of the Soviet-era KGB's takeover of the Russian state. But few have connected this to Russian foreign policy in its neighborhood. Meanwhile, many observers have puzzled over the reluctance of former Soviet states to embrace political reform or liberalization. Many have connected this to Russia's active opposition to greater openness and political participation in neighboring states. But few have ventured into specifics – how does Russia make its influence felt? Who is the "enforcer" with the power and resolve to translate Moscow's words into action?
The Hill, December 10, 2019
It is in American interests to deter an increasingly assertive Russia. One way of doing this is to strengthen the independence and sovereignty of the countries around Russia, most of which face growing pressure from Moscow. The Black Sea states of Ukraine and Georgia, as well as Moldova and Belarus, are primary targets of Russian power. Other countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia also face assertive Russian policies. All these nations have suffered the collateral damage of changing ideologies of various administrations in the United States. American disengagement from different parts of the world over the last decade has created a large geopolitical vacuum now filled by Russia, China, and other adversaries.