Vortex of Conflict: US Policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq by Caldwell Dan

Dr Saroj Bishoyi was Research Assistant at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for more details
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  • March 2013
    Book Review

    The United States is currently facing daunting security challenges in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. In the midst of a growing domestic economic crisis and anti-Americanism abroad, there is an ongoing debate in the academic and policy-making circles questioning the basic American foreign policy goals towards these countries. For the present, it seems that the restoration of peace, stability and security and normal diplomatic relations with these countries is still a distant prospect. In this context, Dr. Caldwell Dan, a distinguished professor of political science at Pepperdine University, California, in his book Vortex of Conflict, discusses US policy relating to the war on terror, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, and offers a meticulous analysis of the reasons for the US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq by examining the historical, ideological, military, political and cultural context of the wars. The author argues that the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in the middle of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan diluted its efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and further aggravated the problem of terrorism. Pakistan is also a key factor in this conundrum and, according to the author, despite the abundance of literature on each of these subjects, there is no single volume on the subject. The underlying premise of this book is that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can only be understood in relation to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on America and the ensuing war on terrorism, just as the wars in Korea and Vietnam can only be understood in relation to the Cold War.