CSIS: Losing by “Winning”: America’s Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria

By Anthony H. Cordesman

 

August 13, 2018

 

The U.S. has now reached the point where the third Administration in a row is fighting wars where the U.S. often scores serious tactical victories and makes claims that it is moving toward some broader form of victory but cannot announce any clear strategy for actually ending any given war or bringing a stable peace. Once again, a new Administration seems to have focused on the tactical level of conflict and called this a strategy but has failed to have any clear strategy for ending the fighting on favorable terms.

More than that, the new Administration seems to have accepted the legacy of the previous Administration by largely abandoning the civil side of each war. It is dealing with major insurgencies and civil war as if they were limited terrorist movements. It has no clear civil-military strategy, plans for stability operations, or options to create the level of governance and development that could bring a lasting peace. It has no grand strategy and is fighting half a war.

 

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