Afghanistan: The Mission Determines the Coalition

Sarah E. Kreps

in Coalitions of Convenience

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199753796
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199827152 | DOI:
Afghanistan: The Mission Determines the Coalition

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This chapter begins by discussing the US military response to 9/11, tracing how the United States largely eschewed offers of allied assistance and intervened in Afghanistan with limited support from the British and the Northern Alliance. It then suggests that the short time horizon after 9/11 and faith in what became known as the Afghan Model—reliance on small numbers of special operations forces (SOF) instead of large numbers of conventional forces—made allied support seem both unnecessary and potentially counterproductive. Longer time horizons that followed the fall of the Taliban coupled with the realization that postconflict operations would be lengthy and costly produced the multilateral strategy that later incorporated international institutions and a number of allies that had offered to contribute at the outset. Norms and domestic politics had little effect on the cooperation strategy, the former because norms were relegated to a distant second priority behind effectiveness after 9/11, and the latter because both the public and Congress wrote the president a blank check for the post-9/11 response. The Afghanistan case study finally turns to the regional power argument, which finds support from US actions to obtain logistics support from states in the region whose assistance was imperative and whose interference would have created prohibitive obstacles.

Keywords: United States; military response; 9/11; Afghanistan; multilateralism; Afghan Model

Chapter.  9678 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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