THE CULTURE AND CONFLICT REVIEW
The Culture & Conflict Review is an online peer-review journal produced by the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, bringing you analysis of current events, policy, operations, and human terrain in South and Central Asia as well as other regions of the world. Premised on the belief that the United States must understand the culture and human terrain of other nations and peoples, we offer
commentary and analysis on issues of current interest to policy makers, military commanders, academics, and the
general public. We are particularly interested in issues addressing culture, anthropology, regional and identity politics, and the
contemporary role of U.S. forces in areas of conflict. New issues of The Culture & Conflict Review are published on a quarterly
Welcome to The Culture & Conflict Review
I am pleased to welcome you to the 3rd edition of our e-journal The Culture and Conflict Review (TCCR). This edition takes a look at some of the historical as well as current problems plaguing Central and South Asia. Specifically the articles address: the corruption plaguing Afghanistan, the recent assassination of Pakistan’s democratic icon, Benazir Bhutto, and a western perspective of the historical problems the Soviet Union and Russia faced during their counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
First we take a look at the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and contemplate what the future will hold for Pakistan. Will democracy be shrouded in the midst of chaos? The current level of violence on institutions of “democracy” ultimately presents an ominous statement for future developments in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Jarad Van Wagoner presents an important analysis on the current level of corruption in Afghanistan. According to Transparency International’s 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index, Afghanistan scored a dismal 1.8 out of 10 in terms of honesty in government, ranking 172 out of 180 countries. This presents a critical risk for implementing democratic institutions and ensuring security and development in Afghanistan. From the highest levels of government to the lowliest foot soldier in the Afghan National Police, corruption is rampant.
In contrast to last month’s piece Lessons Unlearned by Chris Mason, this edition of the TCCR includes an interesting article by Shane Smith that compares the wars fought by the Soviet Union and Russia against insurgent forces in Afghanistan and Chechnya respectively. The analysis begs one to look at current operations in Afghanistan and wonder whether we will learn from the mistakes etched in the history of warfare in Afghanistan.
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