Afghanistan 2050


Our Roundtable discussion, looking back on the American involvement in Afghanistan from the perspective of 2050, begins this week.

We have a distinguished group of contributors, who will be posting during this week and next week.

Stand by.

Defeat in Afghanistan? The View from 2050


As previously announced, ChicagoBoyz will be hosting a roundtable discussion of the American campaign in Afghanistan, looking back from a forty year distance, from 2050.

In the few weeks since the initial post went up, we have had several dramatic events occur: The end of Gen. McChrystal’s command, the rise of Gen. Petraeus for a historic second command of a very troubled war, the apparent abandonment of President Obama’s timetable, the appearance of the Wikileaks document trove … . These are major developments.

Yet, looking back at any historical events from a long enough distance, all the details get ironed flat, the granularity milled to smooth powder, the larger patterns emerge, while the roles of key individuals sometimes come into clearer focus.

But for now, we don’t know how this war is going to play out. We are doomed to live history marching backward, facing only the past, and not knowing what we will trip over next.

Imagining possible outcomes, and possible explanations for those outcomes, can help us understand what is happening now, and help to clarify what we should be doing.

Our Roundtable contributors will publish their posts and responses during the third and fourth weeks of August, 2010.

Defeat in Afghanistan? The View from 2050


Voices from many quarters are saying dire things about the American-led campaign in Afghanistan. The prospect of defeat, whatever that may mean in practice, is real. But we are so close to the events, it is hard to know what is and is not critical. And the facts which trickle out allow people who are not insiders to only have a sketchy, pointillist impression of the state of play. There is a lot of noise around a weak signal.

ChicagoBoyz will be convening a group of contributors to look back on the American campaign in Afghanistan from a forty year distance, from 2050.

40 years is the period from Fort Sumter to the Death of Victoria, from the Death of Victoria to Pearl Harbor, from Pearl Harbor to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. It is a big chunk of history. It is enough time to gain perspective.

This exercise in informed and educated imagination is meant to help us gain intellectual distance from the drumbeat of day to day events, to understand the current situation in Afghanistan more clearly, to think-through the potential outcomes, and to consider the stakes which are in play in the longer run of history for America, for its military, for the region, and for the rest of the world.

The Roundtable contributors will publish their posts and responses during the third and fourth weeks of August, 2010.

The ChicagoBoyz blog is a place where we can think about the unthinkable.

Stand by for further details, including a list of our contributors.