Aspiration and Ambivalence

Title:                      Aspiration and Ambivalence

Author:                 Vanda Felbab-Brown

Felbab-Brown, Vanda (2013). Aspiration and Ambivalence: Strategies and Realities of Counterinsurgency and State Building in Afghanistan. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press

LCCN:    2012040225

DS371.4 .F45 2013


Date Posted:      March 28, 2016

Reviewed by Joshua Sinai, Ph. D.[1]

This is a highly insightful critique of the counterinsurgency and state building efforts by the United States and its allies in Afghanistan as they prepare to draw down their involvement in 2014. One of the author’s conclusions is that too much focus has been devoted to achieving short-term military objectives in securing parts of the country rather than on effective governance by the Afghanistan government itself, to the detriment of achieving long-term peace, stability, and economic and political development for this conflict-ridden country.


[1] Sinai, Joshua in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 2, Fall/Winter, 2013, p. 121). These reviews present books which examine national security issues that need to be considered in terrorism and counterterrorism analysis. Joshua Sinai is a Washington, DC-based consultant on counterterrorism studies. He can be reached at: Joshua.sinai@

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